From staff reports
The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals Caravan will be making a stop in Joplin on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Pitcher Shelby Miller and minor leaguers Oscar Taveras and Seth Maness will be joined by Cardinals alumni John Mabry, Cal Eldred and Alan Benes for a meet and greet with fans at Missouri Southern State University’s Taylor Performing Arts Center. The event, which will be hosted by Al Hrabosky, is scheduled to start at noon.
Miller entered the 2012 season as Baseball America’s No. 8 prospect in the game and was called up by the Cardinals in September. After being called up, Miller pitched six games that included one start. He boasted a 1.32 ERA with 16 strikeouts over 13 2/3 innings in the regular season. The 22-year-old righthander made two appearances in the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.
Taveras, a 20-year-old outfielder, hit .321 with 23 homers and 94 RBI in 124 games for Double-A Springfield this past season. He opened 2012 as the No. 74 prospect in baseball.
Maness, a 24-year-old pitcher, was 14-4 with a 2.97 ERA over 27 starts at the High-A and Double-A levels in 2012.
Mabry, who played 14 years in the major leagues, was a St. Louis Cardinal from 1994-98, 2001 and 2004-05. The outfielder and first baseman played in 24 postseason games during his time with the Cardinals. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1995 when he hit .307 with 41 RBI over 129 games. Mabry now serves as the Cardinals’ hitting coach.
Eldred pitched 14 seasons in the majors, including his final three (2003-05) in St. Louis. He served as a reliever for the Cardinals but began his career as a starter for the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1992 when he was 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA with two complete games over 14 starts.
Benes pitched eight years in the majors, including his first six with the Cardinals. He started 55 games over the 1996 and 1997 seasons but suffered a shoulder injury in July 1997 that forced him to miss the entire 1998 season. Benes started only 12 games in his career after the injury.
Hrabosky pitched 13 seasons in the majors, including eight with the Cardinals and two with the Kansas City Royals. The current Cardinals color commentator on Fox Sports Midwest finished fifth in the Cy Young voting in 1974 and third in 1975. Over those two seasons for the Cardinals, he was 21-4 with a 2.23 ERA and 31 saves in 72 appearances.
There will be a new autograph ticket system for the caravan event. The first 400 children age 15-and-younger at each caravan stop will receive a free autograph ticket, which guarantees one signature from each current and former player. Autographs will be available only for kids 15-and-younger.
The Cardinals will have five separate caravans from Jan. 18-21 that will make stops in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas.
For more information, go to cardinals.com.