Former San Francisco Giant is now a cancer survivor and inspirational speaker. Proceeds will help TC baseball and softball teams

 Former San Francisco Giants pitcher, author and inspirational speaker Dave Dravecky will be featured at the Taft College Triple Play Dinner and Auction.

The event will be held Jan. 11 at the Historic Fort. Tickets are on sale at the athletic office in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.

“We’re very excited to have such a nationally-known speaker and author for our dinner and auction,” said Cougar baseball coach Vince Maiocco. “I think all sports fans know about his tragic story of having cancer in his pitching arm, then making a comeback only to have the cancer come back and have the arm amputated.”

Dravecky was stricken with cancer in his pitching arm in 1988. The surgery removed half of his deltoid muscle and doctors said he’d never pitch again.

A little more than a year later Dravecky defied all odds and returned to the mound, pitching a 4-3 victory over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

His comeback didn’t last long.

Five days later he took the mound in Montreal and threw what was described then as “the pitch that could be heard round the world.”

Dravecky’s left arm split in two. Television images of him tumbling off the mound and screaming in pain flashed around the world.

The arm had to be amputated.

Despite the horrific end of his pitching career, Dravecky used his misfortune to launch a second life as an author writing about his story of faith and renewal and speaking about it throughout the nation.

With his wife, Jan, he created Dave Dravecky’s Outreach of Hope, a non-profit organization in Colorado Springs, has written several books and created several ministries.

“We’re very fortunate to have him come to Taft and tell his story,” Maiocco said. “We have an exciting evening planned. Besides the dinner and Dave’s presentation we will auction off some nice prizes such as tickets to Giants games, dinners at some of the best restaurants in Bakersfield, golf lessons, green fees at county golf courses and memorabilia from the Giants and 49ers.”

Comcast SportsNet, which televises Giants and 49ers games also will contribute memorabilia.

The dinner will be catered by Salty’s BBQ of Bakersfield.

“Salty’s has been called the best barbecue in Kern County,” Maiocco said.

Tickets are $40 per person. Table sponsorships go for $500.

Tickets can be purchased at the TC athletic office or by calling 661-763-7829 or 661-763-7822.