READING, Pa. — Baseball legends and future stars collided in Reading to celebrate baseball’s impact in Berks County.
Matt Stairs, Bill Ripken and Steve Blass highlighted the 61st annual Hot Stovers Banquet in Reading.
"The skills you pick up, the life skills you pick up during a sport like this are invaluable," Ripken, a former Baltimore Oriole and current MLB Network Analyst, said.
The organization gifts scholarships to baseball and softball players in Berks County, while celebrating the impact diamond sports have in the area.
"If you can use baseball to impact the community, by having these kinds of events, it helps everybody," Blass, a former player and current broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates, said.
Most remember Stairs for his home run in game four of the National League Championship Series in 2008 on the way to the Phillies World Series title.
However, he’s also a former Harrisburg Senator.
"You get an opportunity to recognize the kids that had great years, programs that had good years," Stairs said. "I always think of it as a way to give back as much as you can."
Guests had the chance to enjoy a silent auction and raffle which, along with ticket sales, helps fund the scholarships.
York College sophomore and baseball player Gabe Trevena was a scholarship winner in 2022.
"It was cool to be a part of that since, you know, how much the Hot Stovers do for baseball in Berks County," Trevena said.
Trevena says he hopes to see the Hot Stovers grow in the future.
"The bigger they get, the more scholarships they can give out, and the more people they can help," Trevena said.
All three speakers say events like these make an impact in local communities. That's best said by the ball players turned broadcasters.
"If I can throw a nugget out there tonight, and I have some kid that actually, the light bulb goes off and it registers and it means something to them later then it's all worth it," Ripken said.
"It only takes a minute to make a moment," Blass said. "That's just not for baseball."