CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and former Miami Hurricanes All-American Ryan Braun will serve as the special guest speaker at the 2017 First Pitch Banquet, head baseball coach Jim Morris announced Monday.
“I’m very excited to have Ryan back. He’s one of the truest definitions of a student-athlete you could ever have,” Morris said. “He was on a half-academic scholarship as well as a baseball scholarship here at Miami. He’s also one of the best players and most productive big leaguers we’ve had. To have him come back and talk to our guys, as an MLB All-Star, it's something that is great for our players and great for our program.”
To purchase tickets to the 2017 First Pitch Banquet, slated for Friday, Feb. 10 – cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed at 7 p.m. by introduction of the 2017 team, dinner and program featuring Braun – at the Watsco Center Fieldhouse on campus, click HERE. For additional information or any questions, please call the Alumni Programs office at either (305) 284-6480 or (305) 284-9517.
Individual tickets are priced at $85, while tables for eight are available for $680 and ‘Premier Tables’ are available for $1,000. The first 250 guests registered will receive a free adidas Miami hat at banquet check-in.
“It’s something I’m really looking forward to. The time I spent at the University of Miami was among the best baseball and life experiences I’ve ever had," Braun said. "Every opportunity I have to get back is special for me. The baseball program is so meaningful to me, and was instrumental in my growth as a person and player. I’m still very good friends with a lot of the guys I played with, and I enjoy every opportunity I have to come back.”
The 2005 ACC Player of the Year, Braun batted .388 with 18 home runs and 76 RBI to go along with a .726 slugging percentage in his final season at Miami. In his three years with the Hurricanes, Braun totaled 45 home runs and 197 RBI. Miami qualified for the College World Series twice during his career (2003, 2004) and compiled a 136-49-2 record (.727 winning percentage).
After a standout debut season in 2003, Braun was named the National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America and was a unanimous Freshman All-American. In his final season at Miami, Braun was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, awarded to the nation’s top amateur player.
“I think going to Miami is something everybody who has gone there is proud of," Braun said. "It’s something that we all take a lot of pride in. I think all the guys who have gone on to play professionally or in the majors, for all of us, there’s a special connection, a special sense of pride in having gone to UM and continuing to root for Miami and enjoying all of its successes.”
Braun was selected as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft by Milwaukee, and has been a mainstay in the Brewers lineup since making his major league debut in 2007.
In 10 professional seasons, Braun has a career .304 batting average with 285 career home runs and 937 career RBI. Through the 2016 season, Braun has totaled 317 doubles, 43 triples, 181 stolen bases and a .544 slugging percentage.
Braun earned All-Star recognition in five of his first six seasons, and was named the 2011 NL MVP after batting .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBI. He is a five-time MLB Silver Slugger Award winner, and batted .305 for Milwaukee in 2016 with 30 home runs and 91 RBI.