The University of New Mexico baseball program hosted its annual “First Pitch Banquet” Friday night at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club.
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said the event, which was headlined by guest speaker Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, raised $45,000 on just the 280 seats sold for the UNM baseball booster club. Even more was expected from an auction featuring signed memorabilia from local stars such as Blake Swihart and Mitch Garver to former pros such as Luis Tiant and Gary Sheffield. According to Birmingham, it was all profit as Kurkjian’s appearance fee was paid for by an anonymous donor.
Among the crowd at The Event Center was former Lobo and Isotope Brian Cavazos-Galvez, prominent attorney Sam Bregman and Rio Rancho High baseball boss Ron Murphy, who coached Swihart of the Boston Red Sox.
Murphy said Swihart, who played one season with the Rams, paid for the table for the coach and some players to hear Kurkjian speak.