WILLMAR, MN- The Willmar Stingers are pleased to announce that former major league pitcher Bret Saberhagen will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at 7 p.m. for the Home Opener on May 30th presented by Christianson and Associates.
Saberhagen is a two-time American League Cy Young winner and former World Series pitcher who played 16 seasons in the majors with the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox. He’s a three-time American League All-Star who began his career in 1984 as the third youngest player to make his debut on April 4th against the New York Yankees.
Saberhagen ended up being the ace of the Royals staff and earned his first Cy Young award after going 20-6 with a 2.87 ERA (75 ER/235.1 IP) and 158 strikeouts in 32 starts in 1985. That year he also led the Royals to a World Series Championship over the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
In that legendary game, Saberhagen took the mound and delivered a five-hit shutout against the Cardinals, just one night after the birth of his son Drew. The World Series MVP, Saberhagen went 2-0 and was part of the first World Series winner to lose their first two games at home before rallying to win in 7 games.
In 1989, Saberhagen set the Royals single-season franchise record for wins with 23 and won the American League Gold Glove as the best fielding pitcher in the league. Against the Chicago White Sox on August 26, 1991, Saberhagen threw the fourth no-hitter in the history of the Kansas City Royals. Over his eight years with the team, Saberhagen won 110 games with an ERA of 3.21 in over 1,660 innings pitched.
Following the 1991 season, Saberhagen was traded to the New York Mets, where he spent four seasons. He later joined the Rockies and Red Sox before he retired in 2001.
Since his retirement, Saberhagen has been inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 2005 and has had various business ventures along the way. He has also been able to spend time coaching high school baseball and follow his children across the country. This summer, Saberhagen will share in the excitement of seeing his son Drew as the field manager for the Alexandria Beetles.
Drew played collegiate baseball for Pepperdine University and Western Carolina University and pitched for the Beetles from 2005-2008. He has spent the last two years as the pitching coach, helping lead the club to their second playoff appearance in franchise history last summer
Fans will have the opportunity to meet Bret and receive autographs on Wednesday, May 30th beginning at 6 p.m. at Bill Taunton Stadium. The Stingers play host to the Mankato MoonDogs and season tickets are available for the upcoming season.
“We’re excited to have Bret for opening night and so should the fans as he’s arguably the best pitcher in the American League during the 80s,” Co-owner Ryan Voz said. “We look forward to seeing fans again this summer and bringing excitement back to the Bee Hive in 2012.”
Season tickets for the 2012 season are $169 for reserved seat backs and $199 for box seats. For more information regarding the Home Opener presented by Christianson and Associates, visit www.willmarstingers.com.