The Italian American Baseball Foundation (IABF) will be hosting its 2019 Gala Dinner on December 4th at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn, New York. The 2019 guest of honor is former MLB All-Star, four-time World Series Champion and NL Manager of the Year, Joe Girardi. The gala will also honor Natalie M. Spedaliere of the MLB Network and an IABF Baseball Executive.
The event promises to be well attended by current and former MLB players, such as Brandon Nimmo, John Franco, Frank Catalanotto, Carl Pavano, Lee Mazzilli and Mike Pagliarulo. Mets Radio announcer Wayne Randazzo will be the Master of Ceremony for this, the fourth annual gala for the IABF. Tickets for the dinner are $300 and may be purchased through the IABF website (IABF.Foundation) or by calling or emailing (Carmine) cgpizz[email protected]; 917.562.6838. Please make checks payable to the IABF.
About the Honorees
Joseph Elliot Girardi was born in Peoria, Illinois and grew up in East Peoria. He attended Peoria’s Sacred Heart/Father Sweeney, where he was coached in basketball by his father. He then attended Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute in Peoria, where he played quarterback for the football team and catcher for the baseball team.
Joe enrolled at Northwestern University, which he attended from 1983 through 1986. He played for the Northwestern Wildcats baseball team and was named an Academic All-American and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering.
Girardi was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1986 MLB draft, making his major league debut in 1989. During his 15-year playing career, Joe had two stints with the Chicago Cubs (1989-1992 and 2000-2002). He played for the Colorado Rockies from 1993–1995 and finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003. He is best remembered for his time with the New York Yankees from 1996–1999, when the team won three World Series with Joe as the backstop. During those years he caught Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter and David Cone’s perfect game.
After his playing career ended, Girardi became a manager and in 2006 was named National League Manager of the Year while at the helm of the Florida Marlins. In 2008, he became the Manager of the New York Yankees and in 2009, during his second year as skipper, led the team to its 40th American League Pennant and their 27th World Series title. He continued to manage the team through 2017. He currently serves as an analyst for MLB Network and Fox Sport. Girardi was recently named the Team USA Manager and will look to lead the team to a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Natalie M. Spedaliere is the first woman to be an IABF honoree and has been a remarkable addition since joining the foundation. Natalie has taken the lead in organizing several events for the IABF, including its All-Star Weekend event in Cleveland, Ohio and its inaugural golf outing in Ramsey, New Jersey.
A native of the Bronx, New York, Natalie is the Senior Executive Assistant to the President of MLB Network, handling administrative functions for the president and senior vice president of production. She also contributes to MLB Network’s premiere events, including opening day, the MLB All-Star Game and the postseason series.
In addition to her professional duties, Natalie founded All Fore ALS and has raised over $36,000 for the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter through charity events and golf outings. She also volunteers her time to numerous charitable organizations in the sports industry. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Manhattanville College and a Master’s degree in Sports Business from New York University.