The inaugural class of the Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame was inducted tonight at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. Prior to the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby, Rod Dedeaux, Augie Garrido, Bob Horner, Brooks Kieschnick, Robin Ventura and Dave Winfield were officially inducted into the Class of 2013. The esteemed group, which was recognized on the field in front of more than 20,000 people at the College Home Run Derby, will be featured in the ESPN broadcast of the event at 8 p.m. ET July 4.
The Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame has been established to celebrate college baseball’s rich history by recognizing legends who have made their mark in Omaha. Inductees into the Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame were selected because of their outstanding contributions to college baseball, specifically through extraordinary performances on the game’s biggest stage: in Omaha. Finalists and winners were selected by a committee comprised of college baseball experts.
In his 45-year tenure at the University of Southern California (1942-86), Dedeaux led the Trojans to 11 national championships and 28 conference titles. A six-time American Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year recipient and a 1970 Hall of Fame inductee, Dedeaux posted an overall record of 1,332-571-11, which translates to a .699 winning percentage. From 1970-74, Dedeaux’ teams won five consecutive NCAA championships, a record that still stands today; of note, no other school has won more than two in a row. Named the “Coach of the Century” by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, Dedeaux was named the head coach of the All-Time College World Series Team during the 50th anniversary celebration of the event in 1996. A true ambassador for the sport of baseball, Dedeaux was presented with keys to the city of Omaha in 1999.
Currently the head coach at the University of Texas, Garrido is the only coach in the modern era of NCAA baseball to lead teams from two different schools to national titles - Cal State Fullerton and Texas. A six-time National Coach of the Year (1975, 1979, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2005), Garrido has earned 14 trips to the College World Series and made 31 NCAA Regional Championship appearances. Garrido’s squads have earned a combined 25 conference titles and he has earned league coach of the year honors eight times. Garrido is the second coach in Division I baseball history to tally 1,700 or more career victories, one of only two Division I coaches to ever win 500 or more games at two different schools and the only coach to ever win 600 or more games at two different schools. He was named to the College World Series Legends Team, as part of the recognition of the final Series in Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.
A two-time All-American who played middle infielder at Arizona State from 1976-78, Horner is the only player in Sun Devil history to hit more than .400 and record 100 RBI and 25 home runs in a single season. His 56 career home runs are the most in school history and Horner’s .720 slugging percentage ranks second in school annals. His 1978 season ranks as the most productive in school history, when he hit 100 RBI and tallied 25 home runs, both of which rank as the second-most in Sun Devil history, while hitting .412. Heading into the 1977 College World Series, Horner led the nation in hits, home runs, RBI and total bases. He earned the Series’ Most Outstanding Player honors after hitting .444 with two home runs and nine RBI. Horner recorded at least one RBI in five of Arizona State’s six games in Omaha, including a two-run single in the opening game and a pair of RBI in two elimination games. The first recipient of the Golden Spikes Award in 1978, Horner was the first overall pick of the 1978 amateur draft by Atlanta and made his Major League Baseball debut that same year.
A three-time All-American, Kieschnick helped lead the University of Texas to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1992 and 1993. A two-time recipient of the Dick Howser Award, which is awarded to the country’s top collegiate baseball player, Kieschnick was named the 1993 National Player of the Year by Baseball America. Kieschnick earned a spot on the 1992 College World Series All-Tournament Team as a designated hitter and in 1993, he threw 172 pitches in a 6-5 victory vs. Oklahoma State, placing him third in the College World Series record book. Kieschnick still ranks in the Top 10 among Longhorn leaders in eleven different hitting and pitching categories. A three-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year as a pitcher and designated hitter, Kieschnick still leads the Longhorns in slugging percentage (.676), is second in total home runs and third in total RBIs. As part of the commemoration of the final Series in Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, Kieschnick earned a spot on the College World Series Legends Team in 2010. After college, Kieschnick went on to a professional career that included six years in the Major Leagues.
In three seasons at Oklahoma State (1986-88), Ventura established himself as one of the top players in college baseball history. A three-time All-American, he led the Cowboys to the College World Series in 1986 and 1987. Ventura boasted a .428 career batting average and set an NCAA record with a 58-game hitting streak in 1987. Ventura currently holds seven Oklahoma State records, including the highest single-season batting average of .469 in 1986. Ventura was named Freshman of the Year in 1986 and Player of the Year in 1987 by Baseball America. As a senior, Ventura went on to win the 1988 Golden Spikes Award and was honored as Baseball America’s Player of the Decade. Ventura played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball and is currently in his second season as manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Winfield indelibly left his mark on the world of college baseball. Winfield’s performance in the 1973 College World Series earned him Most Outstanding Player honors, despite the Gophers being eliminated in the semifinals by USC in one of the most memorable games in tournament history. Winfield pitched 17 1/3 innings, allowed only nine hits and one earned run, struck out 29 batters and batted .467 in the Series. A two-time all-Big Ten selection and a 1973 First Team All-American, Winfield tallied a 9-1 record on the mound, with 109 strikeouts in 82 innings, and hit .385 at the plate to lead Minnesota to the Big Ten title his senior year. Throughout this collegiate career, Winfield was 19-4 with 15 complete games, 229 strikeouts in 169.0 innings and a 2.24 ERA. Winfield also played basketball at Minnesota, where his team won the 1972 Big Ten championship his junior year. Winfield is the only athlete to be drafted in three major professional sports: basketball (Atlanta Hawks and Utah Stars), football (Minnesota Vikings) and baseball (San Diego Padres). A 12-time All-Star, Winfield was inducted into the Major League Hall of Fame in 2001.