Surprise Stadium will induct its 14th class into the Stadium’s Hall of Fame in a pre-game ceremony Sunday, April 3. The class includes Charlie Woodland, Mike “Swanee” Swanson, Kevin Uhlich, Andrew Benintendi, Michael A. Taylor and Salvador Perez.
Charlie Woodland was a model citizen of the City of Surprise. He served as a Volunteer Youth Sports Coach from 2009-2019 covering a total of 29 seasons of youth basketball and baseball. He was an active, 5 year member of the City of Surprise Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and served his community well during his time. He, as a 16-time Arizona Truck Driving Champion, finished in the top 3 every year from 1987 to 2020 and was a National Runner-Up twice.
Mike Swanson, affectionately known as “Swanee,” spent 43 years in Major League Baseball with 21 of those years representing his hometown team, the Kansas City Royals. His latest role, serving as the Royals VP of communications and broadcasting, included back-to-back American League pennant winning seasons from 2014-15, and a World Series championship in 2015. He also spent time with the San Diego Padres from 1984-90, the upstart Colorado Rockies from 1992-97 and the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks from 1998-2006. In 2002, he was named the prestigious Robert O. Fishel Award winner for public relations excellence. Swanson played an integral role in Spring Training public and media relations. His expansive knowledge of the sports public relations landscape helped position and advance Surprise Spring Training’s footprint in the national media.
Kevin Uhlich spent 15 seasons in Kansas City after being named the Royals Senior Vice President-Business Operations in November 2006. Uhlich had 44 years of professional baseball experience, which started as a batboy for the then, California Angels in 1976. Uhlich oversaw the entire business side of the Royals’ organization and specifically spearheaded the $275M renovation of Kauffman Stadium, which was completed for the 2009 season. Uhlich also led the complete renovation of the Royals Spring Training home in Surprise, AZ, which was completed in February 2016. Uhlich’s business acumen and experience was critical to the growth of Spring Training in Surprise.
Andrew Benintendi (Gold Glove Award Winner) led the American League left fielders in starts, innings (1116.0), total chances (234), putouts (225) and fielding percentage (.987) and his seven defensive runs saved, in 2021 according to Fangraphs. He tied for the American League lead among left fielders, helping to earn him a Rawlings Gold Glove.
Michael A. Taylor (Gold Glove Award Winner), who became the first Royals’ center fielder to win a Rawlings Gold Glove since Willie Wilson in 1980, appeared in a career high 142 games in his first year with Kansas City and led all center fielders with 11 outfield assists, which ranked fifth among all American League outfielders. His total was the highest by a Royals center fielder since Melky Cabrera recorded 13 in 2011. Taylor also led Major League center fielders with 19 defensive runs saved (Fangraphs), 15 outs above average and 14 runs prevented (Baseball Savant). His 19 defensive runs saved were second among all players at any position, behind only Houston shortstop Carlos Correa (21).
Salvador Perez (Silver Slugger Award Winner) tied for the Major League lead with 48 home runs in 2021, becoming the first Royal to hold at least a share of the Majors lead in home runs. “Salvy” also led the Majors with 121 RBI, becoming just the second Royal to do so, joining Hal McRae, who had a Majors-best 133 RBI in 1982. The now four-time certified slugger's 48 home runs were the most in a single season by a player who played at least 75% of his games at catcher, three more than the previous benchmark held by Bench, who hit 45 home runs in 1970.
The Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. Arizona time on Sunday, April 3, prior to the Royals final home Spring Training game against the Seattle Mariners at 1:05 p.m. Tickets are still available and start at just $8. Following the game, kids 12 and under run the bases courtesy of Uptown Alley Surprise. For more information, visit SurpriseStadium.com