chris singleton

Chris Singleton played baseball at Charleston Southern before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2017. File/Jeremy Sullivan

Chris Singleton and Justin Smoak, two of the Charleston area’s most beloved professional baseball players, will be on hand for the annual Hot Stove Banquet at the Charleston Gaillard Center.

Hosted by the Charleston RiverDogs, the banquet will give fans a chance to meet and socialize with the two local legends.

The event is slated for Feb. 1. Tickets are $135 to attend the banquet and meet and greet, $85 for the banquet only. Visit www.rileyparkevents.com to purchase tickets.

Mike Veeck, the RiverDogs president emeritus, will serve as emcee. Johnny Damon, the former centerfielder who won World Series rings with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, will be the keynote speaker.

“This year’s Hot Stove Banquet is special because of the unique mix of personalities from all over the baseball universe,” said RiverDogs president and general manager Dave Echols. “You’ve got a World Series champion and two of the area’s most prolific homegrown talents, all tied together by Mike’s enthusiasm and charisma.”

Smoak, a Goose Creek native and former star at South Carolina, is preparing for his 10th season in Major League Baseball and 12th overall in the pros.

He reached the MLB All-Star game in 2017 playing first base for the Toronto Blue Jays, and followed that campaign with 25 homers and 77 RBIs in 2018.

While Smoak, 32, continues his career in the MLB, Singleton is navigating the farm system with hopes of breaking into the majors.

The 22-year-old from Goose Creek was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 19th round of the 2017 draft after three seasons at Charleston Southern.

His draft selection made national news because of the circumstances he had to overcome before the Cubs called. The outfielder was drafted just days shy of the second anniversary of his mother's death. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was among nine church-goers killed at Emanuel AME in Charleston on June 17, 2015.

Singleton’s career has gotten off to a solid start. In his first full season with the Cubs’ low-level Class A affiliate, he batted .223 with four homers and 28 RBIs, while stealing 12 bases.

Singleton’s Lowcountry fans may get to see more of him if he’s promoted to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Chicago’s Class A-Advanced team.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct location of the Hot Stove Banquet.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry

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