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OZZIE SMITH TO SPEAK AT ODU BASEBALL CLINIC WEEKEND

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: December 14, 2009
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Dec. 14, 2009

NORFOLK, VA -- Ozzie Smith, known in baseball as "The Wizard", will be the keynote speaker and Clinician for the 32nd annual GTI Systems, Inc. "Meet the Stars" Banquet at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, and annual ODU Baseball Clinic, Jan. 29th and 30, 2010.

Tickets for the Jan. 29th banquet are $60 and will be on sale at the Old Dominion Athletic Ticket Office in the Ted Constant Convocation Center . The ODU Baseball Clinic will be held Saturday, Jan. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Student Recreation Center on the ODU campus.

Ozzie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 28, 2002 in his first year of eligibility. He was the 37th player chosen in his first year of eligibility and was the 22nd shortstop to make the Hall. His plaque Inscription depicts his stellar career, saying Ozzie "revolutionized defensive play at shortstop with his acrobatic fielding and artistic turning of double plays."

Smith is considered the best defensive shortstop of all time. He retired after the 1996 season after playing 19 years in the major leagues, the first four with the San Diego Padres and the last 15 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ozzie broke countless records during his 19 years of service. He is the all-time assist leader at shortstop with 8,375 assists, and the all-time leader at turning double plays with 1,590. He was awarded 13 Gold Glove awards at shortstop, and was selected for 15 All Star games. Smith was The National League starting shortstop 10 consecutive years. In 1987 and 1988, he was the top vote getter in the All-Star balloting. In 1994 and 1995, Ozzie received the most votes in the National League All Star balloting.

An effective offensive player, Ozzie accumulated 2,460 hits and stole 580 bases. He helped lead the Cardinals to three World Series, including a 1982 championship. The Mobile, AL., native hit a ninth inning home run which won game five of the 1985 National League Championship Series.

In 1987, Ozzie hit .303 with 43 stolen bases, 75 RBI, and 104 runs scored and finished second in the MVP balloting to the Cub's Andre Dawson.

Off the field, Ozzie is a great ambassador for baseball. He was the 1995 recipient of the Roberto Clemente award, the humanitarian award of Major League Baseball, the 1994 recipient of the Branch Rickey Award, honoring Major League Baseball's outstanding individual who personifies "Service above self." In 1992, he was named the St. Louis Man of the Year, an award previously given only to Business and civic leaders. His charitable endeavors most often benefit children, whether it be instructing inner city children in baseball, serving as chairman for fund raisers at area Boys Clubs or hosting underprivileged children when they visit his restaurant and the ballpark.

Since his retirement, Ozzie has been the new host of This Week in Baseball, succeeding Mel Allen, and joined the KPLR Channel 11 Cardinal broadcast team as color analyst for all home televised games on the station.

The ODU event annually features some of the top names in major league baseball. In past years Hall of Famers Rich Gossage, Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Gaylor Perry, Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, and Cal Ripken, Jr. have served as clinicians.

Tickets for the banquet and clinic will be available for purchase at the box office at the Ted Constant Convocation Center or by calling 683-4444. Parking information for clinic participants can be found at www.odusports.com

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