The Ripken Experience, a baseball-themed attraction in Myrtle Beach, announced this week that Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro will serve as the ambassador to its annual “Beach Blast” summer tournament held at the complex June 22-27.
Niekro, nicknamed “Knucksie” for his signature knuckleball, will also serve as assistant coach for his 12-year-old grandson’s team, the Lanier Longhorns from Sugar Hill, Ga.
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Niekro won 318 career major league games, racking up 3,342 strikeouts and compiling a 3.35 ERA with four teams during his career including the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.
Niekro was a five-time All-Star selection, five-time Gold Glove winner, pitched a no hitter, and received both the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award and Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. His number 35 was retired by the Atlanta Braves in 1984.
In his role of honor as tournament ambassador, Niekro will speak at the opening ceremony of the Beach Blast and throw out the ceremonial first knuckleball at the Myrtle Beach tournament. Players and coaches will have an opportunity to take a team picture with the Hall of Famer, as well to commemorate their experience at the state–of–the-art baseball facility.
“We are honored to welcome Phil Niekro to The Ripken Experience for our annual Beach Blast tournament,” said GM Bobby Holland. “I was a fan of his growing up and I respect the way he carried himself on and off the field. He is a good role model for these young athletes to hear from.”
For more information on the tournament and other events at The Ripken Experience, visit www.ripkentournaments.com or call 843-213-2705.