Gov. John Bel Edwards, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced that the College Baseball Foundation has selected Baton Rouge for its 2019 Night of Champions gala and awards ceremony. Championship teams from last season will be honored and the College Baseball Foundation will induct some of the top players in history into its Hall of Fame.
The three Louisiana elected officials joined College Baseball Foundation leaders this afternoon to provide a glimpse of the event. As well, Foundation officials said they are engaged in a process to relocate the Hall of Fame.
More information about the event is at CBFNightOfChampions.org.
“We have been impressed with Baton Rouge’s ability to create momentum, engage local leaders, foster enthusiasm and secure timely and required commitments,” said Mike Gustafson, President & CEO of the CBF. “We are confident that this year’s Night of Champions will be a great experience for all involved.”
“I thank the College Baseball Foundation and the Hall of Fame Committee for trusting Baton Rouge to deliver a world-class event celebrating baseball’s finest athletes,” said Edwards. “This national event, recognizing the best in the game, is the perfect fit for a community with a storied baseball history. We hope this is only the start of a long relationship with the Foundation.”
“Baton Rouge and college baseball fit hand in glove, and I’m grateful that the College Baseball Foundation was impressed with our proposal and chose us for this year’s big night,” said Broome.
The Night of Champions will be held Nov. 2, 2019 at Raising Cane’s River Center Ballroom, which overlooks the Mississippi River in downtown.
A highlight of the evening is a salute to the national championship teams from all levels of college baseball. The Foundation also will present individual awards, including the Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year, the National Collegiate Umpire Award, the Brooks Wallace Award for the top shortstop, the National Pitcher of the Year and the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year.
“Louisiana is thrilled to welcome the College Baseball Night of Champions to Baton Rouge,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Louisiana is an ideal destination for sporting events of all types. The state is home to not only world-class venues, but also culture, cuisine and attractions to Feed Your Soul. Athletes and visitors alike will be welcomed to Louisiana with the state’s legendary hospitality and we are sure they will have a special time.”
The celebration is being organized by SportsBR, which promotes the sports economy of the Metro Region. “We are excited to host the Night of Champions in Baton Rouge,” said SportsBR President and CEO Patrick Coogan. “Given our region’s love of college baseball, it was easy for us to get behind the idea of bringing the event here.”
The College Baseball Foundation has a treasured history with Baton Rouge and Louisiana, having presented the Skip Bertman Award since 2013 and having honored the Tigers’ Alex Bregman with the 2013 Brooks Wallace Award and Aaron Nola with the 2014 National Pitcher of the Year. Southern University’s Danny Goodwin and Lou Brock are National College Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, as are LSU players Todd Walker, Ben McDonald and Eddy Furniss. Grambling Coach Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones is a Hall of Fame member.
The 2006 inaugural Hall of Fame class included Bertman, who won five NCAA baseball titles as head coach of LSU. Bertman built LSU baseball and its fan base; LSU has topped NCAA baseball attendance for 23 consecutive seasons.
“I thank the College Baseball Foundation for trusting us with their biggest event of the year,” Mayor Broome said. “This event could become the start of a long-term partnership between the Foundation and our city.”
Partners in the project are Gov. Edwards, Lt. Gov. Nungesser, Mayor-President Broome, Louisiana Division of Administration, SportsBR, Visit Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, BREC, BREC Foundation, College Baseball Foundation, Marucci Sports and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.