Baseball Hall of Famer slides into Huntington


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The Marshall Artists Series is pitching a curveball this week as it welcomes Johnny Bench, Baseball Hall of Famer and former Cincinnati Reds player, to give an inspirational speech to Marshall University students and the Huntington community at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Keith Albee.
Though the series typically includes events aimed more toward Broadway plays and musicals, Director of Marketing Angela Jones said this event will appeal to a different audience than usual.
“We’re definitely expecting a different audience,” Jones said. “We are testing out something new because if we always have the same kinds of events then people come to expect the same things. I definitely expect to have more people that maybe have never gone to the Marshall Artists Series before.”
Bench’s lecture is based on the “Vowels of Success,” where he will run attendees through the bases of being successful in life. Jones said the event is expected to be inspiring and fun.
“I listened to a radio interview he did, and he (Bench) said it was going to be an evening of ‘motivation and laughs,’” Jones said.
The Marshall Artists Series also teamed up with Marshall’s Athletic Department in order to organize the event. Chuck McGill, the assistant athletic director for fan/donor engagement and communications, said he thought partnering with the Marshall Artists Series was a good idea because the Huntington community loves baseball.
“This city has a strong passion for baseball, and a large portion of the baseball fans in this area follow the Cincinnati Reds,” McGill said. “Johnny Bench will have a broad appeal. He’s one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, and people from multiple generations remember him.”
McGill also spoke of how the department is working toward getting a new baseball stadium for Marshall’s team, so the collaboration with the Marshall Artists Series was a good opportunity for both departments.
“We’re raising funds to build a new baseball stadium that will serve Marshall University and the community, and that made Johnny Bench mutually beneficial to the Marshall Artists Series and Marshall Athletics,” McGill said.
Bench will be participating in in Marshall’s Homecoming Parade Thursday before his lecture at the Keith Albee. Alongside Bench will be former Marshall baseball players Jeffery Montgomery and Rick Reed.
Jones said she would encourage students to go to the event because full-time Marshall students can get free tickets and part-time students can get tickets at half price. She explained that when students graduate, they will have to pay for events, so they should take advantage of free tickets while they can.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is we have tickets on hold for every events for students that are in a protected state that the public doesn’t have access to,” Jones said. “There’s front row tickets for almost every event that students can get. It’s good to have an experience to go to these events for free while they’re in school and can go.”
Tickets can be picked up at the Box Office from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or at the door on the day of the event.
Sarah Ingram can be contacted at [email protected]