Published On: October 22nd, 2009

He may be small in stature, but he pitches on the biggest stages in all of baseball. His name is Danny Ray Herrera, a former La Crosse Logger hurler who has made it all the way to the big leagues with the Cincinnati Reds, and on Tuesday, November 17 he’ll be returning to La Crosse as the headliner for the 8th Annual Winter Baseball BBQ.

The event is open to the public with doors scheduled to open at 5:00 p.m. at the Best Western Midway Hotel (1830 Rose St., La Crosse) for a social hour. A program featuring presentations from the Loggers staff and an address from Herrera will commence at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at or at the Loggers retail store (1223 Caledonia St., La Crosse) or by calling 608-796-9553. The tickets are just $7 for adults and kids 12 & under will get in for free. Admission includes a ballpark-style meal, beverages and the program.

Herrera just completed his first full season with the Reds and second overall with the big league club and he was a valuable piece of their bullpen. The 5’7″ southpaw from Odessa, Texas ranked second on the team in appearances (70), while sporting a 4-4 record with a 3.06 ERA over 61.2 innings while striking out 44.

“D-Ray” began his professional career in the Texas Rangers organization, having been drafted in the 45th round by the Rangers in 2006. In December of 2007, Herrera was included in a big trade between the Rangers and Reds that sent him and Edison Volquez to Cincinnati for Josh Hamilton. Herrera would then break into the big leagues in 2008.

Prior to his start in professional baseball, Herrera enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at the University of New Mexico. The lefty became a Louisville Slugger second-team all-American and a Baseball America third-team all-American in 2006 as a junior when he led the Lobos with a perfect 10-0 record and miniscule 2.24 ERA.

D-Ray also dazzled Logger fans in his one-year stint in the Northwoods League in 2005. In just half of a season, Herrera went 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA while striking out 31 batters in 46 innings.

Also returning to the annual event will be a special master of ceremonies, Dick Jonckowski, the public address voice of the Minnesota Golden Gophers baseball and basketball teams since 1986. Nicknamed “The Polish Eagle”, Dick has been a much sought after guest speaker and emcee at various events both regionally and nationally since 1965. Most recently Dick emceed the 2007 & 2008 NWL All-Star luncheons as well as the 2008 Wisconsin State American Legion banquet here in La Crosse. With his motto of “Laugh and Live Longer”, he has entertained all over the U.S. and Canadawith his quick wit and spontaneity.

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