When Southeast Missouri State University's basketball teams play Tennessee State Thursday, there will also be a little baseball in the air at the Show Me Center.
Former Southeast standout and current St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Kerry Robinson will be in the house.
Prior to the men's game, Robinson -- along with several former Southeast baseball All-Americans -- will sign autographs from 5-7 p.m. Each fan will be allowed one item to be autographed.
For fans who wish to have their pictures taken, there will be a professional photographer present at the autograph session. Fans can have their photo taken for $20, and for an additional $10 can have it personalized and autographed. The photographs will be mailed after the event. Personal cameras will not be permitted.
Also available at the autograph table will be raffle tickets for a chance to win dinner for four with Robinson and Southeast baseball coach Mark Hogan. Tickets are $10 per chance and the winner will be treated to an all-expenses paid dinner to the Cedar Street Restaurant following the men's game.
Before the men's game, the former Southeast All-Americans on hand will be recognized, and Robinson will present 2003 standout Indians pitcher Tim Alvarez with his All-American award.
All proceeds from the event will go towards the Southeast baseball program.
As most of you who read my column know, I got to be good friends with Kerry during his Southeast baseball career -- we spent many a day playing basketball at the Rec Center -- and still consider him a friend, even though he last played for the Indians in 1995.
I'm looking forward to seeing Kerry Thursday, and he told me he's excited about returning to Cape Girardeau to see many of the fans who supported him at Southeast and have continued to support him during his professional career.
Former Southeast baseball standout Todd Pennington -- who earned All-American honors for the Indians and is expected to also be at the Show Me Center Thursday -- continues to make quite a name for himself in the professional ranks.
Pennington, a Shawnee (Ill.) High School product, was recently selected to the USA Today 2003 Minor League All-Star Team as the squad's right-handed closer.
Pennington, the 2001 Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year for Southeast, was a 46th-round draft choice of the Cleveland Indians -- but he so far has performed much better than that during his three seasons of pro ball.
During the 2003 campaign, Pennington led all minor league relievers in batting average against (.138) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.07) while playing in both Single A and Double A.
Playing the majority of the season for Single A Lake County, Ohio, Pennington had 20 saves and an 0.72 earned-run average, striking out 65 and allowing just 14 hits in 37 innings.
Todd is another of the many Southeast athletes I have gotten to know well over the years, and it will be interesting to continue following his progress.
Major congratulations to Derek Winans, who became just the 18th player in Southeast men's basketball history to score 1,000 or more career points when he had 13 against Austin Peay Thursday night.
Derek is a perfect example of what college athletics is supposed to be about. Not only a terrific competitor on the court, the junior guard also has a perfect 4.0 grade-point average through 3 1/2 years at Southeast (he redshirted as a freshman), having never received less than an "A" in any college class.
Throw in the fact the Shawnee (Ill.) High School graduate grew up just minutes from the Show Me Center in East Cape Girardeau, Ill., and his college career has so far been something of a storybook variety.
I've gotten to know Derek, and I can honestly say I've never met a more polite, courteous, humble and sincere young man.
Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.