Francona to headline UT Leadoff Banquet

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Terry Francona, a two-time World Series champion manager with the Boston Red Sox, will be the featured guest at the 2012 Tennessee Baseball Leadoff Banquet, presented by Coca-Cola. The event will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center on Wed., Jan. 18.

“I am very grateful to have Terry Francona as our guest at this year’s Leadoff Banquet,” Tennessee Head Coach Dave Serrano said. “He is a great ambassador for the sport of baseball and it is a privilege to have someone of his caliber help us kick off the upcoming season. This is a great opportunity for fans of all ages to hear from one of the most successful managers in Major League Baseball and meet every member of the 2012 Tennessee baseball team.”

The preseason banquet will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the start of the program at 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $40, while a table for 10 will be $350. Tickets will be available for purchase beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 1. For more information, contact Tyler Jones in the UT Marketing Office at (865) 974-9001.

Most recently the manager of the Boston Red Sox for the last eight seasons, Francona guided the club to its first two World Series Championships since 1918, winning the title in both 2004 and 2007. During his time in Boston, he tallied a regular-season record of 744-552 (.574) and won a total of 28 playoff games, including a perfect 8-0 mark in World Series games.

Francona’s 28-17 postseason record ranks as the second-best in MLB history behind only Joe McCarthy (30-13) among managers with a minimum of 25 postseason games.

Before embarking on a 10-year Major League playing career, Francona played collegiately at the University of Arizona where he won the 1980 Golden Spikes Award. That same season, he led the Wildcats to the College World Series and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after they won the national championship.

In 10 professional seasons, Francona played in 708 games for five teams, posting a .274 career batting average with 474 hits, 16 home runs and 143 RBIs. After retiring, he managed several minor league teams before serving as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997-2000. He currently has a career managerial record of 1,029-915 (.529).

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