January 7, 2018 - Eastern League (EL) - Reading Fightin Phils
(Reading, PA) - Former Reading Fightin Phil and current Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins along with newly hired Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff and former Reading Fightin Phil and current Phillies pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. will headline the Phillies Caravan on Tuesday, January 16th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Eric Valent, a member of the Baseballtown Hall of Fame will be crowned the 2018 King of Baseballtown. More special guests from the Phillies organization are expected to be announced at a later date.
Hoskins, a fan-favorite with the Phillies, is a 2016 Fightin Phils alum. The first baseman played in 50 games for the Philadelphia Phillies after getting called up from the triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, where he mashed an incredible 29 home runs. He hit .259 with 18 home runs and 48 RBI while scoring 37 runs for the Phillies. Hoskins finished fourth in the Rookie of Year vote.
During the 2016 season with the Fightin Phils, Hoskins hit .281 with 26 doubles, 38 home runs, 116 RBIs and 95 runs scored in 135 games. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star Team and awarded the Eastern League Rookie of the Year award.
Kapler, 42, was named the 54th manager in Philadelphia Phillies history on October 30, 2017. This will be his first major-league managerial post. Kapler managed one season in the minor leagues the Greenville Drive, the single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in 2007.
Prior to being named manager, Kapler served as the Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2014 through the end of the 2017 season. The 42-year-old has spent time in broadcasting and also as a coach for the Israeli national baseball team in 2013.
The first-year manager turned in a 12-year career in the major leagues, playing for the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays. Kapler was a member of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and retired after the 2010 season.
Eickhoff, made 24 starts for the Phillies in 2017. He struck out 118 batters in 128 innings, while finishing the season with a 4-8 record and 4.71 ERA. The Evansville, Indiana native won 11 games in 2016 after making his big-league debut a season prior on August 21, 2015 against the Miami Marlins.
The right-hander appeared in one game for the Fightin Phils in 2017 on a rehab assignment. He logged five innings in a start against the Trenton Thunder on July 4th at Arm & Hammer Park. Eickhoff was acquired along with Nick Williams, Matt Harrison, Jake Thompson, Alec Asher and Jorge Alfaro on July 31, 2015 from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.
Former Fightin Phils pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. played for the Fightin Phils in 2015 and 2016. He went 8-9 with a 3.82 ERA in 31 games and 25 started during his two seasons, while recording one complete game and one save. He struck out 132 batters in 150 2/3 innings and issued just 41 walks.
Leiter Jr. pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies and Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA) in 2017. The former Fightin Phil made his big-league debut for the Phillies in relief on April 28, 2017 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He appeared in 27 games for the Phillies while making 11 starts. He struck out 84 batters in 90 2/3 innings. He went 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in seven games and five starts for the IronPigs.
The Lacey Township, New Jersey native was drafted by the Phillies in 22nd round of the 2013 Draft from New Jersey Institute Technology. He is the son of former Phillies pitcher Mark Leiter and nephew of former Marlins and Mets pitcher Al Leiter.
Valent is a resident of Sinking Spring and played for the Reading Phillies throughout the 2000 season. He led the Reading Phillies in home runs (22), RBI (90), walks (70), runs (81) and slugging percentage (.467). A standout at UCLA, was named Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1998. Valent holds the record for most career home runs in Pac-10 history with 69 and is the UCLA career RBI leader with 219. He was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2015.
He was a first round (42nd) pick of the Phillies in the supplemental draft in 1998 from UCLA. The Sinking Spring resident played five seasons in the majors, including his 2004 season with the New York Mets where he hit .267 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs. He was inducted into the Baseballtown Hall of Fame in 2016 with Pat Burrell, Jason Michaels, Gary Burnham, Nick Punto and broadcaster Steve Degler. Valent has been a coach and scout with the Philadelphia Phillies organization since 2009. The 2018 season will be his first with the Miami Marlins working as a scout. In recent years, Valent has been providing youth baseball instruction, including his "Fun and Fundamentals" baseball camps at FirstEnergy Stadium for youth baseball players.
The Phillies Caravan, "Not Your Father's Chicken Dinner Banquet...This is a Baseball Celebration!" is an exciting format sure to excite hard-core baseball fans, Phillies fans, families and community-minded citizens of Baseballtown. The 2018 Baseballtown Caravan and Phillies Winter Tour, presented by Baseballtown Charities, will help benefit the Savage 61 Dream Field.
The program will not only include the crowning of Eric Valent as the 2018 King of Baseballtown, but will also include: a family-friendly cocktail party from 5:30 until 7:00 pm, with an opportunity to meet other Baseballtown figures. Great food will be served that will include a Slider Bar, a French Fry Bar, and more!
Individual tickets are $25. Tickets are $20 when you purchase ten or more tickets. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the program gets underway at 7:00 pm. The event will include 2018 Philadelphia Phillies players, coaches and front office staff members that will speak to the crowd and answer questions about the 2018 Philadelphia Phillies.
The event will also feature an auction featuring sports collectibles and other items, raffles, highlight videos, and more. There will be an update on the Savage 61 Dream Field and construction.
Those who wish to attend can call 610-370-BALL to purchase tickets or go online at fightinphils.tix.milbstore.com.