RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Former Major League Baseball All-Star Andruw Jones will be the special guest for Opening Night as the Richmond Flying Squirrels begin their home schedule at The Diamond on April 16, the team announced on Wednesday. Jones will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs for fans.
Jones played 17 seasons in the majors with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. A star in Atlanta for 12 seasons, Jones earned 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1998-2007 and was later selected to the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame. In 2005, Jones won the Silver Slugger Award and the Hank Aaron Award while leading the majors with 51 homers and pacing the National League with 128 RBI. The Curacao native hit .254 in his 2,196 career MLB games, adding 434 home runs over 17 years from 1996-2012.
Prior to his major league stardom, Jones suited up for the Richmond Braves in 1996. His stop in Richmond lasted 12 games, during which he hit .378 with five homers and 12 RBIs before earning a call to the majors in mid-August at just 19 years old.
The Flying Squirrels’ first 10 home openers have all sold out, including franchise-record crowds of 9,845 fans in each of the last two years. Since the franchise’s first season in 2010, the Squirrels have welcomed a special guest to help open the home schedule at The Diamond. Jones joins the list of sports stars and dignitaries to celebrate the start of the new baseball season in Richmond.
First pitch between the Flying Squirrels and Bowie Baysox on April 16 is scheduled for 6:35pm with ballpark gates opening at 5:00pm. Richmond opens its schedule the previous week on April 9 at Bowie.
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