UMSL alumnus and Chicago White Sox scout John Kaznas

The Chicago White Sox presented UMSL alumnus and longtime scout John Kazanas (center) with the 2014 Roland Hemond Award for acts of heroism. Also pictured are Hemond (left), who has served two stints in the White Sox front office, and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

The Chicago White Sox presented longtime baseball scout and University of Missouri–St. Louis alumnus John Kazanas with the 2014 Roland Hemond Award on Sept. 14 for his act of heroism in helping a family in danger. He was presented the award by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a special pregame ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field.

Kazanas, a White Sox scout for the past 25 years, was inducted into the UMSL Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He served as a member of the UMSL baseball coaching staff for seven years and worked in the sports information office for six years. His playing career at UMSL began as a senior when he made the baseball team in 1976. He led the team in hitting that season with a .385 batting average and had team highs of 11 doubles and 34 RBIs.

Kazanas, BSEd 1976 and MEd 1979, worked for six years in the sports information office, including all four years as a student at UMSL, and served as the voice of the then Rivermen on St. Louis Public Radio. After graduation, Kazanas assisted with running the athletic facilities as well as assisting with intramural sports. He was the assistant baseball coach for seven years, from 1977-1983, under head coach and fellow Hall of Famer Jim Dix. The Rivermen went 160-125 during his tenure as assistant coach, including a 30-win season in 1977, and the team made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Regionals from 1977 through 1979.

The White Sox created the Roland Hemond Award in 2003 to honor those who show a tireless dedication to bettering the lives of those around them. The award is bestowed upon those who offer extraordinary personal sacrifice for the benefit of others.

“This award celebrates the character and kindness of Roland Hemond, while at the same time showing our appreciation for the unselfish nature of people like John Kazanas,” said Reinsdorf. “John receiving this award embodies Roland’s spirit and honors his commitment and selfless service to the others.”

Kazanas received the 2014 Roland Hemond Award in honor of his heroism and selfless acts on behalf of others. Earlier this year, he was traveling through the state of Arizona on his way to scout the Area Code Baseball Games tryouts when he witnessed a shocking automobile accident on a dangerous stretch of highway referred to as the “white cross highway” – a truck hauling a camper hit a van, sending it rolling multiple times down the highway. Rather than continuing on the road like other motorists, Kazanas stopped to help a woman and her three children out of the van.

As the award’s recipient, Kazanas will enjoy next year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati as a guest of the White Sox.

In his career, Kazanas has scouted some of the most well-known baseball players, including Sox captain Paul Konerko. In addition to this act of bravery and his baseball contributions to the White Sox, Kazanas has been a model citizen through his selfless service to others.

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Mary Ann Mitchell

Mary Ann Mitchell

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