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Pitch and Hit Club's Ken Miller receives Illinois "Coaches" Hall of
Fame Call

Ken Miller admits to being like a lot of young people when he left high school.

"I was one of those people that probably went to college for all of the wrong reasons. I went to be an athlete," the long-time Coal City coach said. "But once I was there, I started to realize all of the people that impacted me at a coaching level. It was really all I wanted to be."

After a four year stint at now consolidated Cornell High School (students in that community now attend Flanagan High School), Miller landed at Coal City, where he became something of a coaching utility knife. He coached the baseball team and the basketball team and, when the school instituted football in the fall of 1978, he jumped in there too as an assistant.

Over the course of the next 37 years, Miller became a fixture in the coaching staffs of many successful Coal City football teams. Last year, Miller elected to step down from the coaching ranks, and it marked the first time in nearly 50 years where Miller wasn't coaching some sport, somewhere.

That overwhelming commitment to student athletes didn't go unnoticed by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, as they have selected Miller to enter the organization's Hall of Fame. The 2016 class will be inducted on Saturday, April 2 in Champaign.

"I'm just very humbled by it all," Miller said. "It's probably one of the greatest honors I've ever had. I've always felt that one of the highest compliments someone can call you is to call you coach. I've been very blessed."

Miller never treated the coaching facet of his job as anything like a job.

"I was always something I very much looked forward to doing," Miller said. "At the end of a day of a classwork, it was a pleasure to go outside and help young kids in a way that you just can't in the classroom."

It would be easy for Miller to point to the 1993 season, the year that the Coalers captured the Class 2A state title as the highlight of his coaching career. But Miller really doesn't; he counts pretty much all of it among the highlights.

"I've coached for a very long time, and when you do that, you might take some of it for granted," Miller said. "I've tried not to. I've always felt very fortunate to do what I love to do for as long as I've done."

Although Miller willingly hung up his coaching whistle last season, he remains connected to Coal City and serves as the School Board President and remains connected to sports through his work as director of community relations for the Joliet Slammers, a Frontier League Independent Baseball team.

"I wasn't looking for the job; it just kind of came to me," Miller said. "And it's been a great thing. It allows me to stay connected to sports. And I'm happy to have it. Sports has given me everything I have. I'm happy to try to give some back."


 

70th Pitch and Hit Club Banquet a Success!

This years 2016 Pitch and Hit Club Awards Banquet was held at the Tinley Park Convention Center on Sunday Jan 31, 2016. We experienced a near capacity crowd highlighted by the award winner presentations, the autograph tables, and a nice assortment of memorabilia for our guests. We want to thank all that came out to share the great night at the 70th annual banquet.
Click here to view pictures from the event.

Congratulations to the 70th 2015 Pitch and Hit Award Winners

Click on pictures to enlarge.


CURTIS GRANDERSON
Major League Player of the Year (New York Mets - Chicago resident)


PAT HUGHES
2016 Pitch and Hit Club Hall of Fame Inductee (long time Chicago Cub Radio Announcer)


NATE JONES
MLB Comeback Player of the Year - Chicago White Sox

     


GREG BLAESING of Rhino Baseball
Len Deforte Amateur Service Award


STEVE SPIELMAN
Charlie Humm Pitch and Hit Club Service Award


MEGAN BUGG
Bo Jackson Courage Award

     


KIRBY SMITH
Dizzy Trout Ambassador Award


HEATHER MILLS
Mary Frances Veeck Woman of the Year


CORY RAY
College Player of the Year (Corey Ray Senior accepting the award)

     


ERIC AGUILERA
Chicagoland Minor League Player of the Year


PHIL BEDELLA
Jerome Holtzman Award (Presented by Chicago Baseball Museum) - Comcast Sports Net


TOM SHAER
Harry Caray Broadcasting Award

     


JOHN TRAUTWEIN
Pitch and Hit Club President’s Award


JOHN MALLEE
Major League Coach of the Year (Chicago Cubs Hitting Coach)


DEREK LEE
Nick Kamzic MLB Scout of the Year Award (Paul Kamzic presenting)

 


John Mallee, Major League Coach of the Year 2016 Award Winner

John Mallee, Major League Coach of the Year 2016
John Mallee, Major League Coach of the Year 2016 Award Winner (Chicago Cubs Hitting Coach) pictured with Herb Forkenbrock Pitch and Hit Club President.

President Herb Forkenbrock with Curtis Granderson


President Herb Forkenbrock with Curtis Granderson Pitch and Hit Club Honoree at Spring Training March 2016 - Pt. St. Lucie, FL


2015 Pitch and Hit Club Member Renewal

Fellow Pitch and Hit Club Members it is that time of the year to renew your membership and we have a few more added outings... i.e. June 10, 2015 Baseball Game at Silver Cross Field with more details to come next month. With our meetings beginning again in October along with a catered dinner.
Please click here for online Membership Renewal.


Pitch & Hit Club Giving Support to Curtis Granderson"Grandkids" Foundation

In its third year on November 19th at the Chicago night club Tunnel, Curtis Granderson hosted his Grandkids Giving which has become the largest growing fundraiser in the Chicago area supporting the Chicago Food Depository. The month-long giving campaign, complimented by an Evening of Giving Reception, which is also supported by Pitch and Hit Club and thousands of Chicagoan's.


Pictured here are (from left to right) board members Bill Motluck, Al Budding, Kellon McFarlin, CURTIS GRANDERSON, Herb Forkenbrock


For Mets' Curtis Granderson, playoff games in Chicago are a homecoming

Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson, from Chicago's south suburbs, has been the leadoff batter in his team's 2-0 series lead over the Cubs. Granderson, who graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, still calls the city his off season home. Curtis is also a member and big contributor to the Chicago Pitch and Hit Club as the Pitch and Hit Club are contributors to Curtis's yearly drive for the Chicagoland Food Depository.


How Curtis Granderson is Expanding the Scope of Baseball

He has been easy to overlook because of all the talent that has entered the room these past few weeks and months. David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud returned, to great fanfare. Yoenis Cespedes and Tyler Clippard arrived to great acclaim.

Yet it is Curtis Granderson who has been the steady, regular influence in the Mets’ lineup, at the top of the batting order. The one guy who was there in the heady peaks of April, the numbing days of early summer, and, lately, the resurgent excitement of a pennant-race September. Read more.


Al Budding and Ohio State Buckeyes Honored

Al Budding (Present Board member and Secretary of the Chicago Pitch and Hit Club) and 25 other Ohio State Buckeyes gathered Sept. 12th to unite and be honored at the Ohio State Hawaii football game in front of 108,000 fans. The reason being was to start celebrating what has been called "The Golden Age of Ohio State Baseball". Al played on teams that won, 3 Big Ten Championships and 3 Midwest Regional Championships in 65, 66, and 67. During that same time the Buckeyes made 3 trips to the College World Series. The Bucks finished 2nd in 1965 and then won the 1966 NCAA National Championship. The remembering will continue for all 3 of these teams marking 50 years since these titles.


Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Ron Coomer

RON COOMER
2015 Pitch and Hit Club Honoree
Chicago Cubs
9 Years MLB Career
Color Analyst Chicago Cubs
A.L. All Star Team 1999
Played for Current Board Member Jim Hall at Lockport IL High School


Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson (Grandy Man) whom is a Chicago Pitch and Hit Club Member is having an outstanding season. Congratulations to our own Curtis Granderson for breaking a Mets' franchise record this year with seven lead-off home runs!

The Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago also wants to congratulate Curtis for leading the Mets to the National East Crown this season. Continue on Curtis we are cheering for you.

 


Awarding Curtis Granderson a Check for his foundation Grand-Kids

Awarding Curtis Granderson a Check for his foundation Grand-Kids
from left to right - Kellon McFarlin, Curtis Granderson (MY Mets), Herb Forkenbrock, and Jim Hall then in front Carter Forkenbrock

 


 
 

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The mission of the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago is to expand, develop and promote the great game of baseball at all levels. We are particularly interested in reaching out to the youth of our communities to increase involvement in baseball here in the Chicagoland area. We continue our nearly 7 decade tradition of honoring the people who have given so much to the game from the youth and amateur levels all the way to the major leagues! Our upcoming annual awards dinner in January 31, 2016 will be our 70th event honoring true baseball heroes!

Thanks to the hard work of our Board and Club Members along with the support of the community, we are able to continue our time honored commitments, donating a portion of our dinner proceeds to numerous great baseball-related causes such as The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, Cubs Care, White Sox Charities, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), and recently the Grand-kids foundation (Curtis Granderson). As club president, I pledge to continue the good work done by previous presidents and club members dating back to our club's inception in 1942.

Herb Forkenbrock, President

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