FROM THE SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS
After two seasons on the bench due to COVID, the Hugs for Cubs/Santa Barbara Foresters Hall of Fame Hot Stove Dinner is back.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, the induction of three outstanding Foresters players, all of whom played in the Major Leagues, will highlight an evening filled with baseball, memories, and great food. Local baseball hero Ryan Spilborghs will be a special guest, along with former Foresters player and MLB All-Star Morgan Ensberg. The Hugs for Cubs/Foresters Hall of Fame Dinner also returns to its former home at the newly renovated Cabrillo Pavilion. Tickets are on sale now at the Foresters website at www.sbforesters.org for the family-friendly event, which will run from 4 to 8 p.m.
“We’re so excited to be able to re-start this great tradition,” said manager Bill Pintard of the 10-time national champion summer ballclub. “We’re so proud of what our inductees have done with their careers, and we look forward to seeing everyone together again for what will be our 11th Hall of Fame class.”
Pitcher Jon Duplantier was part of the Foresters’ 2014 NBC World Series national championship team. Foresters fans will remember Duplantier for his fireball arm; he had 74 strikeouts in 55 innings in 2014 before going on to Major League action with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Duplantier signed in 2023 with the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Along with being one of the top hitters on that 2014 team, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox outfielder Jaylin Davis was part of one of the most famous plays in Foresters history. His incredible outfield assist cut down a possible winning run in the title game, allowing the ’Sters to win in extra innings.
Aaron Bates was a slugging catcher and first baseman for the Foresters in 2003 and 2004, posting a .320 average in 2003. In both seasons, Bates helped the Foresters reach the national championship game. After eight minor-league seasons, Bates played with the Boston Red Sox in 2009. He then moved into coaching, and in 2022 was named the hitting coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That trio will join more than 25 other people (and the 2006 national championship team) in the Foresters Hall of Fame, a group that includes 11 Major Leaguers. The Hugs for Cubs program that helps kids and families battling cancer is represented by the late Eric Pintard and Chris Messier. Other HOF members include longtime volunteers and supporters.
Spilborghs himself was inducted in 2010. He grew up in Santa Barbara, playing at Santa Barbara High and UCSB before spending seven years with the Colorado Rockies. He is now a broadcaster for MLB Radio. Ensberg is one of the most successful former Foresters, a 2012 inductee. A slugging third baseman, his nine-year MLB career includes an All-Star Game and World Series appearance with the Houston Astros. Ensberg is now a manager in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Those special guests and the new inductees will join Foresters fans, family and friends at the Hall of Fame event, which will include food, wine and beer provided by local sponsors. Tickets are $75 for adults, $25 for kids 5-17, and kids 5 and under free. Groups can also buy a table of eight. Highlights of past Hall of Fame events will be shared, along with stories from the Foresters’ 2022 national championship, the team’s third in a row.
For information on how to sponsor a Hugs for Cubs kid in 2023, visit www.sbforesters.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.