64 student athletes from 16 area high schools were recognized for their leadership at the second annual Wedge Foundation Leadership Awards Luncheon today (Friday, January 25, 2019). Male and female high school juniors were nominated by their school’s Athletic Director to receive this recognition of their leadership on and off the playing field. Only four athletes from each school were selected for this honor. A complete list of recipients is attached.
The Wedge Foundation was established by Fort Wayne native Eric Wedge and his wife Kate as a way to give back to the communities that have invested in Eric’s life, especially Fort Wayne. The Foundation particularly supports agencies that serve at-risk women and children. It also provides a platform for Eric to encourage young athletes that there is more to life than sports.
“Winning on the playing field is great, but leadership matters because it increases the positive impact someone’s life can make. I hope this award inspires this year’s recipients to continue to be difference makers, using their influence to positively impact those around them at home, at school, in their community, and in the world,” Wedge said.
Eric Wedge is an inspiring and proven leader, as evidenced in his career at many levels of sports, starting as a High School State Champion with Northrop High School and College World Series Champion with Wichita State University. Wedge was the American League Manager of the Year in 2007. Currently, Eric is Field Coordinator in charge of all minor league teams, staff, and players on the field for the Toronto Blue Jays. His professional career includes being a Catcher for the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies, and serving as a Major League Manager with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. Wedge has also served as an analyst on the popular ESPN Baseball Tonight program.
Wedge was the featured speaker at the awards luncheon. Also speaking were “Mr. Mad Ant,” Ron Howard, who played for Fort Wayne’s professional basketball team (2007-2014), and is currently Community Development Director for the Mad Ants, and Dr. Jason Russell, Executive Director of Optimum Performance Sports (OPS).
The Leadership Luncheon was organized by World Baseball Academy and hosted at its ASH Centre athletic facility, 1701 Freeman Street in Fort Wayne. Optimum Performance Sports (OPS) was the Event Sponsor, which featured lunch by Fort Wayne’s Casa Ristorante Italiano.
Eric Wedge will be busy at the ASH Centre tomorrow too. The 15th annual Eric Wedge Baseball Camp will be held from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, January 26. More than 250 boys and girls will participate in this day filled with baseball skills training and lessons for life on and off the playing field. Eric donates his time to lead this camp, proceeds of which benefit World Baseball Academy, a not-for-profit organization.