First Pitch Banquet welcomes back Frogs in the pros

Five former Horned Frogs from  Major League Baseball will come together for the ninth annual First Pitch Banquet in Fort Worth tonight with one common purpose: to share their personal experiences and love for TCU baseball.

Jake Arrieta, Matt Carpenter, Andrew Cashner, Sam Demel and Chad Huffman will be the featured guests at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.

Brandie Davidson, assistant director of athletics media relations, said the purpose of the banquet was “to have a fun weekend, to bring everyone back and to raise money.”

Several alumni, donors and family members attend the event every year.

The banquet starts the beginning of Alumni Weekend for TCU baseball. The current TCU baseball team and former players will participate in the Saturday alumni game at Lupton Stadium.

This would be the first time alumni will act as speakers.

Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said speakers were typically “baseball personalities” as opposed to former players. Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, CEO and president of the Texas Rangers Nolan Ryan and Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington all have been speakers in the past.

As a former TCU pitcher, Arrieta earned second-team All-American honors in 2006 before being drafted to the Baltimore Orioles in 2007.

Another All-American in 2008, Cashner now has found a home by pitching for the Chicago Cubs.

Current St. Louis Cardinal Carpenter leads TCU in the most games played with 241, while Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Demel holds TCU’s record for all-time career saves.

Rounding out the guest list is Huffman, a 2006 All-American who has been in the organizations of the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

Schlossnagle said it was important for former players not only to share with the current team their experiences at TCU and what helped them become successful, but also what they would do differently if they could do it all over again.

“All of our guys need to hear that,” Schlossnagle said. “They hear it from the coaches everyday, but to hear it from someone more close in age, someone who’s been through our program, it usually carries a lot more weight.”

Although redshirt junior third baseman Davy Wright has not played with every alumnus attending the dinner, he said he looked forward to hearing stories from the professionals as well as catching up with those he did play with.

“You get to see the kinds of things that they’re doing and what to look forward to as a college player, looking to go and do the things that they’re doing,” Wright said.

Schlossnagle said that because the baseball season finished after the end of the school year, the banquet was used as a way of honoring the year before and of kicking off the new season.

Individual tickets for the banquet can be purchased online for $100, or 10 for $1,000. All proceeds will go toward funding TCU baseball travel expenses, equipment and scholarships.

For questions, call director of baseball operations Meredith Montgomery at 817-257-5155.