Bernie Carbo, former Major Leaguer and founder of Diamond Club Ministry, will be the keynote speaker at the annual University of West Alabama Grand Slam Dinner Saturday at the Bell Conference Center on the UWA Campus.
The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children 12-and-under and may be purchased at the door or by calling (205) 652-3802. UWA baseball souvenirs will also be available.
The banquet is the annual signal to Tiger baseball fans the beginning of the season is just around the corner. West Alabama opens the 2013 season Feb. 1 at Newberry. The home opener is Feb. 13 when Montevallo visits Tartt Field at 2 p.m.
“We are excited about this year's Grand Slam Dinner and about the upcoming season,” UWA head coach Gary Rundles said. “I am certain Tiger fans will enjoy the evening and be enthralled by Bernie's message.”
The Reds' first overall selection in the 1965 MLB Draft, Carbo earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1970 after hitting .310 with 21 homers and 63 RBI. During a 12-year Major League career Carbo played for the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a career .264 hitter with 98 home runs and 358 runs batted in.
Often remembered as a flamboyant personality, Carbo was a part of the Red Sox “Buffalo Heads” and carried around a giant stuffed gorilla he called “Mighty Joe Young.” His three-run, pinch-hit home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series paved the way for Carlton Fisk's dramatic game-winning homer in the 12th inning.
On November 10, 2004, he was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Following his baseball career, Carbo went to cosmetology school and later opened his own salon. A series of bad decisions and life altering consequences led Carbo to turn his life around and eventually found Diamond Club Ministry in 1993, where spends his time ministering to families and their children through his love for God and baseball.