OVU baseball dinner nears with Al Oliver

VIENNA — The inaugural Ohio Valley University baseball leadoff dinner, featuring former seven-time Major League Baseball All-Star Al Oliver, is getting closer and Fighting Scot skipper Chad Porter is ready for it.

“A lot of programs across the country have started doing this, especially Division I programs,” said Porter of the Saturday, Jan. 27 event to be held starting at 6 p.m. at the Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center with the VIP meet-and-greet hour followed by the evening’s program and then dinner at 7 p.m..

“When we had the opportunity to get Mr. Oliver over for an event, the thought was let’s try a leadoff dinner and really show our program to the community and have a great night with Mr. Oliver and have it as the official kickoff for our season.”

The Fighting Scots are coming off a 28-23 campaign and finished 17-4 at home. OVU is set to begin its season on Friday, Feb. 2 with the start of a three-game series in Alabama versus the University of Montevallo.

“The leadoff dinner is the weekend before our opener and it’s a great way to get it started,” Porter added.

Along with being the starting center fielder on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1971 World Series championship team, Oliver won a trio of Silver Slugger awards and finished his 18-year pro career with 2,743 hits — currently good for 57th all-time.

When asked how Oliver even came into the picture for this event, Porter replied, “Mr. Oliver’s grandson played with one of our players in a summer league this year. That’s initially how we got in touch with Al.

“I’ve always had this idea to do this leadoff banquet. It all came together and he agreed to come and we’re real excited.”

General admission for the event is $60 and VIP admission is $100. Corporate tables, which seat 10, are $1,000. All corporate tables get the same benefits as the VIP tickets, which will include one autographed picture and a meet-and-greet during the reception hour.

Corporate tables also will get advertising for the event and with the Ohio Valley University athletic department along with two all-sport passes to Fighting Scots home games.

“Mr. Oliver is going to come in the afternoon and will hang out with the guys a little bit and talk to them,” Porter added of his players getting the chance to pick Oliver’s brain about baseball. “We’re all excited.”

Attendees also will have the chance to bid on silent auction items with all proceeds going to the OVU baseball program.

For more information or to register for the event, visit www..ovu.edu/leadoffdinner or email/call coach Porter at chad.porter@ovu.edu or 304-865-6091.