READING, P.A.- Each winter Baseballtown Charities and the Reading Fightin’ Phils host fans and baseball players alike for the annual Phillies Winter Banquet. While the event is a great night for fans to interact with players from both the major and minor league teams, the evening also includes the crowning of the King of Baseballtown.

The first King of Baseballtown, “Broadway” Charlie Wagner, was crowned in 2003, the year Baseballtown Charities was formed. Since then, there have been 11 kings and one queen crowned in Baseballtown.

Each king and queen has their own special ties both to the sport of baseball and to Baseballtown and the Fightins’. Experience in the sport ranges from coaching at different levels in Reading to playing with the Reading Indians to playing in the majors or in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

In an article published on the official Baseballtown site, http://baseballtown.org/baseballtown/kings-queen-baseballtown.html, the organization gives insight into what qualifies someone for the title of King or Queen of Baseballtown.

The article states “The honor of the title King or Queen of Baseballtown is bestowed upon someone who embodies the spirit of the game in Baseballtown at any level of the sport, whether it be as a player, coach, administrator, executive, philanthropist, or ambassador. The King or Queen is someone who has contributed mightily to the game of baseball here in Baseballtown.”

Previous Kings of Baseballtown include Paul “Cooter” Jones, a member of the Reading Indians and coach at Reading High School from 1973-96, Dr. David Q. Voigt, a baseball author, and Kevin Devera, director of the Olivet RBI Baseball Program in Reading.

The lone Queen of Baseballtown was Ruth Hartman, a former member of the All-American Professional Baseball League Fort Wayne Daisies and Racine Belles. Hartman also played amateur ball in Pennsylvania and worked in the Reading School District.

The 2016 Phillies Winter Banquet will take place on Jan. 19 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Reading Crowne Plaza Hotel. The evening will include a cocktail hour, dinner, a sports auction, prizes, special guests and, of course, the crowning of new Baseballtown royalty. The recipient of this honor has not yet been announced by the team.

If you find yourself looking for a way to get out of your house this winter and want an early taste of spring, go to www.fightins.com and purchase your ticket to the 2016 Winter Banquet. Be there as Baseballtown welcomes its newest king or queen to the realm.