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Morneau to be Banquet Guest

October 2, 2018

Over the years we have had some great guest speakers at the annual Rochester Sports Banquet. This year will also feature an outstanding athlete and person as former Minnesota Twin and Major League Baseball star Justin Morneau has agreed to be the featured guest at the January 21, 2019 Sports Banquet.

Making his major league debut in June of 2003 with the Twins, Morneau went on to another ten years with the team before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. After signing a free agent deal with the Colorado Rockies in 2014 he proceeded to win the National League batting title. He finished his career in 2016 with the Chicago White Sox.

Morneau accomplished a lot in his major league career including the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, joining Twin greats Zoilo Versalles, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew (the 2010 Sports Banquet speaker) and Joe Mauer who have won that honor. He was also a four-time All-Star and the winner of the 2008 All-Star Home Run Derby. In addition, he was also a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (best league batter for their respective position).

Morneau is now a special assistant with the Minnesota Twins front office. Inspired by their niece, Maddie, who suffers from juvenile arthritis, the Morneaus have been active in fundraising for the Arthritis Foundation and organized the Giving Back Fund – Morneau Family Foundation located in Los Angeles, California.

Our committee identifies high-profile athletes that have not only done well on their field of play but off the field in the manner they handle themselves. Justin Morneau fits this role perfectly as he reflects hard work, a kind heart and respect for all. On a personal note: while my wife Sue--who was a huge fan of the Minnesota Twins--was battling terminal cancer, Justin took the time to write her and send her a few signed items. She was thrilled to receive the letter and items and it reflects a professional player who cares and gives to others where he can help make a difference.

While Justin pretty much mastered the art of hitting a baseball he still has a bit of skepticism in speaking in front of larger crowds. One of the items of agreement to get him as the guest speaker was to forgo a standard speech but instead offer up time at the banquet where he could be introduced and do a question and answer session with the audience. We gladly agreed – how often do we all get to visit with an MLB batting champion, MVB and Home Run Derby winner?

We are thrilled to have Justin Morneau as our guest speaker for the 2019 Rochester Area Sports Banquet next January. While it a fun night of honoring our local outstanding athletes, teams and coaches – it will also be a chance to get to know Mr. Morneau for those in attendance. I am betting they will enjoy what they see – he is a class act!

Upcoming Events:

October 6-7: PGF Northern Premier Club Fastpitch Challenge

October 13-14: MYSA Fall State Soccer Tournament