Photos from Ron Kittle's playing days and currently.
Jan. 9, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois Baseball and the Fighting Illini Dugout Club will host the annual Hot Stove Banquet to kick off the 2008 season, and this year former Major Leaguer Ron Kittle will serve as the keynote speaker. Kittle, who was named the 1983 American League Rookie of the Year, will be the featured guest at the banquet, which will be held Saturday, February 9, at 4 p.m. at the Round Barn Banquet Center.
Kittle burst onto the big-league scene a year after winning the 1982 Minor League Player of the Year award by being named the 1983 A.L. Rookie of the Year and being selected to the American League all-star team. That season, he hit 35 home runs and drove in 100 runs. He currently ranks ninth on the White Sox career home runs list. In addition to his career on Chicago's South Side, Kittle also played for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.
Since retiring in 1991, Kittle has remained active in baseball, has contributed to community and charity work, and has served as a motivational speaker. Kittle managed the independent Merrillville Mud Dogs in 1995 and led the Schaumburg Flyers in the team's inaugural 1999 season, helping 23 Flyers signed to affiliated baseball during his three-year tenure. He was Valparaiso's hitting instructor from 1991-2000 and conducts hitting clinics across the U.S.
Kittle also founded and serves as chairman for the Indiana Sport Charities, which has raised over $1 million dollars to help fight cancer. He is an executive board member of the Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities, and received the 1994 Oscar Meyer Coach of the Year award for his volunteer work with inner-city Chicago youth. Kittle also serves as a motivational speaker and co-wrote Ron Kittle's Tales from the White Sox Dugout with Bob Logan.
Banquet tickets can be purchased by calling the baseball office at 217-333-8605. A table of 10, including an Illini player, can be purchased for $500; or a table of eight, with an Illini player, can be purchased for $400. Individual tickets are available for $50.