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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia baseball program will hold the sixth annual Step Up to the Plate’ benefit Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6-9 p.m. at Memorial Gymnasium. The featured speaker is Terry Francona, manager of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

A limited number of tickets are available for the event. Ticket prices are $60 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under and Virginia Baseball alumni. Sponsored tables for the event are $2,500 and include a reserved table for a party of eight, eight general admission baseball season tickets and admission to the pre-event reception. There is also a group or team special with the purchase of 20 or more tickets. The pre-event reception will begin at 5 p.m.

The fundraiser has proven to be a special night during its five-year history, featuring notable speakers, including current St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa (2003), Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (2004), Hall of Famer and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda (2005), Hall of Famer and former Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson (2006) and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs (2007).

The night kicks off with an autograph session with the 2008 Virginia baseball team and silent auction at 6 p.m. A buffet barbecue dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Following dinner, Francona will speak to the event audience, and a live auction will follow the speech to close the night. The silent and live auctions will include autographed memorabilia from Virginia and the pros, game tickets and more.

Tickets for Step Up To The Plate’ are on sale now and can be ordered in person at the UVa Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall or by phone at 1-800-542-UVA1. Tables may be reserved by calling 800-626-8723. Proceeds from the event will go to the Virginia Baseball program.

Noting Francona:
Managerial Career

Just finished his 28th season in pro baseball, including his eighth season as a major league manager and his fourth with the Red Sox
In 2004, helped bring Boston its first World Championship since 1918
Has career record of 375-273 (.579) in his four years with the Red Sox
Also managed four years with the Philadelphia Phillies and was only 37 when he was hired (youngest in the majors at the time)
Began his coaching career immediately upon the conclusion of his playing days in 1991, serving as hitting instructor for the White Sox Rookie-level Gulf Coast League club

Playing Career
First-round draft pick (22nd overall) by the Montreal Expos in 1980
Played 12 pro seasons from 1980-91, including 10 years in the majors with the Expos (1981-85), Cubs (1986), Reds (1987), Indians (1988) and Brewers (1989-90)
Batted .274 with 16 homers and 143 RBI in 708 major league games as a first baseman and outfielder, the same positions played by his father Tito, who spent 15 seasons in the majors
Played only 194 minor league games over parts of two seasons before being promoted to the majors for the first time on Aug. 18, 1981

College Career
Attended the University of Arizona, where he played baseball for three seasons
As a junior in 1980, he won the Golden Spikes Award, presented annually by USA Baseball to the nation’s top amateur player
Batted .401 and named College Player of the Year by The Sporting News in 1980
Batted .458 at the 1980 College World Series and was named the series MVP as he led the Wildcats to the World Series crown

2008 Virginia Baseball Step Up to the Plate
Featured Speaker: Terry Francona
Saturday, January 26, 2007
Memorial Gymnasium – 6-9 p.m.
Adult Tickets: $60
Youth Tickets (12 & under): $35
Virginia Baseball Alumni: $35
Sponsored Tables*: $2,500
*Includes: eight tickets to pre-event reception with Terry Francona and other special baseball guests; eight reserved table tickets to Step Up to the Plate; eight general admission 2008 Virginia baseball season tickets

Event Timeline:
5-6 p.m.

Pre-event reception for table sponsors
6 p.m.
Doors open, silent auction begins and autograph session with 2008 Virginia Baseball Team
7 p.m.
Buffet barbecue dinner begins followed by Terry Francona speech and live auction

Limited Number of Tickets Available call the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-542-UVA1; for tables call: 1-800-626-8723

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