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Courtesy: Zolton Cohen

Petry Shares Tigers Memories, Talks About Life After Baseball at Leadoff Dinner

Courtesy: Ryan Champine, media relations staff assistant
Release: 01/23/2013
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KALAMAZOO, Mich.- On Thursday, January 17, the Western Michigan baseball program held its third annual Leadoff Dinner. Former Detroit Tiger and 1984 World Series Champion, Dan Petry was the keynote speaker at the event, held in downtown Kalamazoo at the Cityscape Event Center.

The Leadoff Dinner is a way to unite the baseball program by bringing together former players, coaches, parents, and current players.

"The Leadoff Dinner without question, adds a special element to our program," said head coach Billy Gernon. "Dan Petry was a remarkable speaker along with being very engaging with our players as well as those in attendance and we were fortunate to have him as our keynote speaker.

"I would also like to thank our staff from Western Michigan as well as the folks from Cityscape for the extra effort they put in to help make the event so enjoyable for our student-athletes."

Gernon spoke briefly before Petry and mentioned the importance of support and coming together as a team. Gernon stated that the current group of players is very special and one that has high expectations.

Following Coach Gernon was keynote speaker Dan Petry. Petry played 13 major league seasons, and was instrumental in helping the Detroit Tigers win a World Series title in 1984. He posted an 18-8 record in 35 starts during the '84 championship season, tossing seven complete games and had a 3.24 ERA in 233 innings pitched. Petry finished fifth in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award that season.

Petry continued on where Coach Gernon left off by comparing the two teams in the recent World Series. On paper, Petry said, the Tigers were easily the favorites to win the World Series. The game still needs to be played and the Giants came together as a team with one thing in common, winning. He wanted the Broncos to understand that with hard work and a common goal, they too can make the 2013 season a success.

Petry discussed what it was like to be part of the World Series team and shared some memorable stories with those in attendance. He discussed the recent Hall of Fame election and talked about playing with the likes of Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris.

Petry also reminisced about interactions with former manager, Sparky Anderson. Petry credited Anderson for bringing to his attention how important it is to think about a life outside of baseball. Petry added, "Someday it eventually happens to everyone," an important emphasis that Petry stressed to the current players.

The Western Michigan baseball team recently recorded a GPA of 3.25, the highest on record in school history. Petry went on to congratulate the team in their achievement and wanted to explain the importance of working hard in the classroom to prepare for their life outside of baseball, whenever that may be.

Western Michigan opens the 2013 season in California against Pepperdine on February 15. From there, WMU travels to Minnesota for a four-game set before heading down to Port Charlotte, Fla., for the Snowbird Classic. The first home series begins March 29 against Mid-American Conference foe Buffalo.