Pittsburgh Pirate star infielder from the 1950 ‘s and ’60’s, Dick Groat, has been selected to receive the eighth annual Chuck Tanner Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was established by the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh to honor the late, great Chuck Tanner to recognize a former player with a long, distinguished baseball career and his service to the community. Past awardees have been Jim Leyland, Steve Blass, Sean Casey and Kent Tekulve.
Groat, a shortstop who played for the Pirates from 1956 to 1962, was a highly regarded ball player and helped Pittsburgh win the 1960 World Series. After winning the batting title that year, with a .325 average for the champion Pirates, he also was named the National League MVP.
Groat was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963 where he continued to perform well and was part of their World Series championship team. In his first year with the Cardinals, Groat finished second in the MVP race. Groat played 14 years in the majors and compiled a .286 batting average, while enjoying over 2,000 hits in his major league career.
Each year the Pittsburgh Rotary Club holds its Chuck Tanner Awards Banquet in Pittsburgh. The highlight of the event is the presentation of the Chuck Tanner MLB Manager of the Year Award, as selected by a distinguished group of baseball professionals from around the country. Previous winners of the Chuck Tanner MLB Manager of the Year award were Joe Torre, Joe Maddon, Ron Gardenhire, Jim Leyland Bob Melvin, Davey Johnson and Clint Hurdle. This year, the Manager of the Year is the Baltimore Orioles’ Buck Showalter.
The awards presentation will take place at a banquet on November 15, 2014 at the Rivers Club in downtown Pittsburgh. The Master of Ceremonies will be Dan Zangrilli of 93.7-FM “The Fan,” and a live auction of sports memorabilia will be conducted throughout the gala event.
Mercyhurst coach Joe Spano will accept the College Coach of the Year Award, and Major League Baseball executive Katy Feeney also will be presented with this year’s Sally O’Leary Distinguished Women in Baseball Award.
Erie native and nationally recognized celebrity sports artist Kevin-John is returning to create a special limited edition print of Dick Groat for everyone in attendance, and he will be present to personally sign his creation. Kevin-John is one of only 20 Disney master artists worldwide, and his artwork has been showcased on ESPN, Spike TV, NBC and at Super Bowl XXXIX, XL, XLI and the PGA Tour.
To purchase tickets to the banquet or to find out about other ways to support the event, visit www.chucktannerbanquet.com or call (412) 471-6210.
This charitable event and its silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items will be used to support Pittsburgh Rotary Club operations and its programs, including global humanitarian relief, such as polio inoculation and shoes for Nicaraguan children, as well as post-high school scholarships and an annual high school ethics symposium, which is attended annually by more than 400 students.
KeepScore Baseball/Softball Scorebooks is a contributor on the Chuck Tanner Banquet committee.