|December 4, 2006 - LOVES PARK, Ill. - One of the top relief pitchers in major-league history will be the headliner at Rockford RiverHawks FanFest 2007.
Former Chicago Cub Lee Smith will be the featured guest at the RiverHawks' annual fan event. This year, FanFest returns to its traditional midwinter date. FanFest is scheduled for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, February 11, 2007 at Cousin's Bar & Grill, 510 S. Perryville. Tickets are just $6 and can be purchased at the RiverHawks box office, by phone, or at Cousin's.
Fans who purchase a full-season ticket package will have special VIP status at Fan Fest. Not only will they receive a free ticket to Fan Fest for every season ticket purchased, but they will have exclusive access to Smith and the other guests for the first 30 minutes of Fan Fest. In addition, they can bring up to two items to be autographed by each celebrity. Other fans can enter the autograph line at 11:30 a.m. and are limited to one autograph per celebrity.
"It's our way of rewarding the people who have been our biggest supporters," RiverHawks general manager Josh Olerud said. "Our biggest supporters will be the first to meet somebody who is going to be in Cooperstown someday. There will be many great memories created at FanFest."�
In addition, anyone who purchases RiverHawks gift cards will receive one free admission to FanFest for every $100 in gift cards.
Smith was a seven-time All-Star, including five consecutive appearances from 1991-95. He came up to the majors in 1980 with Chicago, where he spent eight seasons. He also pitched for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos in an 18-year career.
Smith retired in 1998 with 478 career saves, a record that stood until San Diego's Trevor Hoffman broke it in September. Smith led the league in saves four times and won the Rolaids Relief Man Award three times. In addition, he finished a major-league record 802 games.
The Baseball Hall of Fame has again included Smith on its annual ballot. Last season, he was listed on 45 percent of the ballots cast by 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Just five players received more votes. Seventy-five percent is the threshold for Hall of Fame membership.
The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 15th season in 2007. Advertising, season-ticket and suite information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.