Wingnuts Recognize Wichita Baseball Legends Stephenson and Hooper
WICHITA, Kan. - Throughout the 2018 season, the Wichita Wingnuts have honored and recognized figures who have proven fundamental in shaping the Wichita baseball community. On Tuesday night, the Wingnuts welcome two icons of the game in the Air Capital: legendary Wichita State head coach Gene Stephenson and former Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper.
Stephenson built Shocker Baseball into a nationally dominant program with numerous national NCAA Division I records over his 36 years as head coach, highlighted by the 1989 National Championship. His teams made 27 NCAA Tournament appearances, including seven that reached the College World Series. Along the way, Wichita State won 20 Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles and 17 MVC Tournament Championships, piling up 1,768 wins. Coach Stephenson is one of only three NCAA Division I head coaches in the history of the game to compile more than 1,500 wins.
Hooper is one of the most decorated figures in Wingnuts history. He joined the club for the inaugural season in 2008, winning the league batting title with a .373 average before taking over as manager the following season. He led the Wingnuts to five consecutive division titles, winning Manager of the Year three times. In 2014, Hooper guided Wichita to the American Association championship, sweeping the Lincoln Saltdogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Hooper is a former Major Leaguer who spent parts of two seasons with the Detroit Tigers, following an All-American career at Wichita State University, where he hit .358 over four seasons.
Several former Wichita State players are expected to be in attendance, in addition to the former Shockers on the Wingnuts roster. Travis Banwart, Jordan Cooper, Chase Simpson, and pitching coach Anthony Capra all put together outstanding careers while wearing the black and yellow.
Furthermore, Tuesday offers fans a chance to take home their own piece of Wichita baseball history, with a replica Lawrence-Dumont Stadium giveaway for the first 1,000 fans through the gates.
The Wingnuts conclude their two-game series with the RailCats on Tuesday night. Righty Charlie Gillies (7-5, 4.44) gets the start for Wichita, while Gary SouthShore will counter with lefty Jeff McKenzie (5-9, 4.51) First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM KGSO, TuneIn and americanassociationbaseball.tv.
For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.
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