Since Bill Kinneberg became the head coach of the University of Utah baseball team in 2004, he has been unofficially kicking off the season by bringing in baseball celebrities for a special banquet to support the program. These events have been extremely successful in creating exposure for the Utah baseball team prior to the season, as well as generating extra revenue for the program.
"It has been a real thrill for me to bring tremendous people and players to Salt Lake City," Kinneberg said. "There are a lot of wonderful baseball fans in this area and many of them have supported these events tremendously. I've also enjoyed having these men around my team. Our players can learn a lot from guys like this, just being around them for an evening."
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, coming off a World Series victory, was the guest speaker in 2014.
The Utes brought in Dodger legend Tommy Lasorda in 2013.
Utah kicked off its inaugural Pac-12 season in 2012 with Ozzie Smith.
Dave Winfield was the guest speaker in 2011.
Harmon Killebrew with Utah coach Bill Kinneberg in 2009.
Bruce Hurst was the speaker in 2010.
Brooks Robinson is one of two former Baltimore Orioles to speak at the fundraiser. He attended in 2007.
Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, a long-time friend of Utah coach Bill Kinneberg, was the speaker in 2005 and 2008.
Cal Ripken Jr. came to Salt Lake City in 2006.