Chris Chambliss, 15 season major league veteran and two-time World Series champion will be the featured guest at the 14th annual Claremore Field of Dream Banquet to be held January 14 at the Claremore Conference Center.
The banquet and auction raise funds for the baseball programs at Rogers State University and Claremore High School.
“Chris had a great big league career with those great Yankee teams of the ‘70’s and we look forward to his visit to Claremore,” said Claremore High School baseball coach, Jim Sherl.
Chambliss was the American League rookie of the year in 1971 with the Cleveland Indians. In 1974 he was part of a seven player trade to the New York Yankees. He was the starting first baseman for New York from 1974-1979. While wearing pinstripes, Chambliss was named an All-Star in 1976 and won a Gold Glove award in 1978. During the three straight pennant winning teams of 1976-78, Chambliss averaged 92 runs batted in each year.
He is best remembered for being the hitting star of the 1976 American League Championship Series as he hit a two-run homer in Game 3 to help the Yanks win 5-3. He hit .524 with two home runs and eight RBI’s to win the League Championship Most Valuable Player.
In the deciding Game 5 of the series with Kansas City, Chambliss hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Yankees to a 7-6 victory and their first pennant in 12 years.
Chris Klimas, head baseball coach at Rogers State stated,” This banquet is a great fund raiser for both of our teams. It brings awareness to our baseball programs and the city of Claremore. I urge any baseball fan to get their tickets for the event soon, as every one of the previous banquets has been a sellout.”
Banquet tables of eight are $ 700 each and half tables of four seats are $ 375. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Paul Pixley at Pixley Lumber at 918-341-4223.
The banquet also features one of the top sports memorabilia auctions in the state.
Chambliss was the first overall selection in the January, 1970 Major League draft by the Cleveland Indians. He won the American League rookie of the year award in 1971, traded to the Yankees in 1974 and he finished his career with the Atlanta Braves from 1980-86.
In 1988, he became a big league hitting coach with the Yankees. Chambliss also coached for the Cardinals (1993-1995), Yankees again from (1996-2000), winning 4 World Series titles, Mets (2002), Reds, (2004-2006) and Seattle (2011-2012).
He managed in the minor leagues for five teams over seven seasons.
Chambliss has a couple of connections to Tulsa baseball. He played college baseball at UCLA in 1969 and the Bruins met the University of Tulsa in a 1969 World Series game, with Tulsa winning 6-5. He played for Indians, triple team Wichita for the 1970 season and a few weeks into the 1971 season. Wichita and the Tulsa Oilers were in the American Association and Chambliss played in several games at Tulsa’s Oiler Park.
The banquet master of ceremonies and other sports celebrities that will be at the event will be announced at a later date.