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College Baseball Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Inductees

College Baseball Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Inductees

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, TexasOne of only three men to twice win a recognized college player of the year award plus two men who led their teams to the World Series at both the collegiate and Major League levels highlight the 2015 National College Baseball Hall of Fame induction class.

“This class features players and coaches with some incredible superlatives,” said Mike Gustafson, executive director of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. “There are some unique and outstanding accomplishments by the individuals in this class.”

This year’s class, which will be inducted as a part of the annual celebration of college baseball on June 28-29 in Lubbock, Texas, is headlined by Lance Berkman, who led Rice to its first College World Series appearance before embarking on a stellar Major League career; and Frank Viola, the talented left-hander who led his St. John’s club to Omaha in 1980 and went on to a 15-year Major League career that included winning the 1988 American League Cy Young Award.

The switch-hitting Berkman was named National Player of the Year by the NCBWA in 1997 on the strength of a .431 batting average, 41 home runs and 143 RBIs. During his three years at Rice, the Owls made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1995 and their first College World Series appearance in 1997.

Viola registered a 26-2 career record at St. John’s, leading the Redmen in 1980 to Omaha, where he opened the CWS with a 6-1 victory over eventual national champion Arizona. However, it was another postseason win, a 1-0, 12-inning thriller in the 1981 NCAA regional over Yale and Ron Darling for which he is best remembered.

Also included in the class are Joe Arnold, a two-time NJCAA All-American pitcher at Miami-Dade who also earned Most Valuable Player honors at the 1966 NJCAA World Series; former Lubbock Christian and Texas Tech coach Larry Hays, one of only eight coaches at any level of college baseball with 1,500 wins; Al Holland, who shattered records in his four years at North Carolina A&T; Bill Holowaty, the third-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history; Mike Kelly, who was the consensus national player of the year in 1990 and winner of the Golden Spikes Award in 1991; and Rick Reichardt, who won the first recognized collegiate national player of the year award in 1964.

As a junior college player at Miami-Dade, Arnold played for the legendary Demie Mainieri. He is one of only two junior college players to twice be named NJCAA All-American as well as MVP of the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. He later attended Arizona State where he won 11 games, finishing his collegiate playing career with a 40-5 record. He later enjoyed a stellar coaching career, leading Florida Southern to two NCAA Division II national championships before assuming the reins at the University of Florida, where he twice took the Gators to Omaha.

Hays coached Lubbock Christian to 695 wins and the 1983 NAIA national championship before moving across town to Texas Tech, where he assumed a program that had a losing record throughout its history. In his 22 years on campus, he led the Red Raiders to 813 wins and all four of their con­ference championship titles, as well as their first nine NCAA tournament appearances. In 2008, he became only the fourth coach in NCAA history to win 1,500 games.

Holland rode a blazing fastball to a record-setting career in which he tossed four no-hitters and twice led the nation in strikeouts per nine innings. His microscopic 0.26 ERA in 1975 also led the nation and is the third best ERA in NCAA Division I history.

Holowaty led Eastern Connecticut State to four NCAA Division III national championships and was honored four times as the national coach of the year. His 1,404 wins trail only 2009 inductee Gordie Gillespie and 2013 inductee Don Schaly on the Division III list.

Kelly’s three years at Arizona State rank as three of the most illustrious in school history. He is on a list with 2006 inductees Robin Ventura and Brooks Kieschnick as the only NCAA Division I players to twice take home player of the year honors. He finished his career in Tempe with a .376 batting average, 46 homers and 194 RBIs.

Reichardt was the first player in Big Ten history to repeat as batting champ. His 1964 batting aver­age of .443 in Big Ten play earned him The Sporting News National Player of the Year recogni­tion, plus All-America honors from ABCA.

“Our voting committees consists of longtime college baseball media members, active and former coaches, retired umpires, past inductees, college baseball historians and in several cases they are also former players,” Gustafson said. “I commend them on another outstanding job.”

Tickets for the 2015 induction will be available in May on the Hall of Fame’s website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.

For more information, contact Mike Gustafson, National College Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO, atgus@collegebaseballfoundation.org.

2015 NCBHOF INDUCTEE EXTENDED BIOS:

Joe Arnold, Miami-Dade/Arizona State, 1965-67 (Pitcher)

As a pitcher at Miami-Dade College, he was a two time All-American. In 1965 and ’66, he finished with a combined record of 29-4, while being named the MVP of the 1966 Junior College World Series. In 2006, he was recognized as a member of the 50th Anniversary NJCAA World Series Team. His record of 30 2/3 innings pitched at the 1966 Junior College World Series still stands.

After Miami-Dade, Arnold played for Arizona State University. In one year he compiled an 11-1 record, giving him a total of 40 wins and 5 losses in three years of collegiate competition.

As the Florida Southern head coach from 1977 to 1983, he led the Moccasins to a 316-69 record for a .821 winning percentage. Arnold’s Moccasins teams won Regional titles in six of his seven years and NCAA Division II National Championships in 1978 and 1981. From 1984 to ’94 he served as head coach of the Florida Gators and led them to 434 wins and a .640 winning percentage. In addition, his Gator teams appeared in 1988 and ’91 College World Series.

Lance Berkman, Rice, 1995-97 (First baseman/Outfielder)

Berkman hit .322 with six home runs and a Southwest Conference-leading 26 doubles as a freshman. Rice went 43-19 overall and finished one game behind Texas Tech in the SWC, which was good enough to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

As a sophomore, he led the SWC with 20 home runs and finished fourth in the batting race with a .398 average. The Owls finished at 42-23 and won the final SWC post-season tournament.

Berkman turned in one of the greatest seasons in Division I history in 1997, winning the WAC Triple Crown with a .431 average, 41 homers and 134 RBIs. He also led the conference in runs and hits. Overall, he was 11th in the nation in batting, second in runs, third in hits, second in slugging, and first in total bases, RBIs and home runs. In the NCAA Tournament, Rice swept through the Central Regionals, and Berkman was named the Most Outstanding Player. The Owls’ subsequent trip to the College World Series was the first in school history. For his efforts, he was named National Player of the Year by the NCBWA and was unanimous All-American at first base.

Berkman’s final career stats: .385 batting average, 67 home runs with 272 RBIs.

Larry Hays, Lubbock Christian/Texas Tech, 1971-2008 (Coach)

The first 16 of his 38 seasons as head coach were spent coaching the Lubbock Christian (NAIA) baseball program. From 1971 to 1986, Hays had 10 seasons with 40 or more wins with the Chaparrals, winning the NAIA national championship in 1983. He went 695-381 while coaching the Chaps.

When he took over at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders had an overall losing record, but Hays put out a winning product in two years. The best times, however, came in a stretch from 1995 to 2004. In that span, Tech won two Southwest Conference championships and two Big 12 Conference championships. He won a tournament title in each conference. Tech made nine NCAA tournament appearances, including eight straight from 1995 to 2002.

Hays’ season honors included being named coach of the year following nine different seasons. The highlight was the 1997 season when he was selected Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by the Big 12 coaches, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman.

On April 2, 2008, Hays won game No. 1,500. He left with a career total of 1,509 wins – good for 5th among coaches at four-year schools at the time, behind only Gordie Gillespie, Augie Garrido, Gene Stephenson and Mike Martin.

In 1991, Hays was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, and in 2001 he became the first collegiate baseball coach to be inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Al Holland, North Carolina A&T, 1972-1975 (Pitcher)

Holland pitched at North Carolina A&T from 1972-1975 before beginning a 10-year Major League Baseball career. He threw four no-hitters in college, one in each year he pitched. His no-hitter in 1972 against North Carolina Central included 25 strikeouts.

As a freshman in 1972, Holland led the nation in strikeouts (143) and was second in ERA (0.54). The following year, NC A&T’s last in the NAIA, he recorded an ERA of 1.03 and added another 102 strikeouts. Though the Aggies moved up to NCAA status, Holland continued to dominate the competition during the next two years with a 0.95 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 1974, and a nation-leading 0.26 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 1975.

Holland was a two-time NAIA All-American in 1972 and 1973. He was named to the MEAC Hall of Fame in 1993.

Bill Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut State, 1969-2013 (Coach)

One of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division III history, Holowaty retired with a 1,404- 525-7 career record. Holowaty led Eastern to four national championships and was national coach of the year four times. He finished third on the NCAA Division III wins list behind Gordie Gillespie and Don Schaly, both previous inductees of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. He has the most victories of any coach – in any sport – in New England intercollegiate history.

Having been named national coach of the year four times and regional coach of the year 14 times, Holowaty’s legend was built upon consistency. In addition to winning four national championships, the Warriors posted at least 30 wins 28 times in the last 40 seasons under the head coach and brought a streak of 11 straight 30-win seasons into 2012, when they fell one win shy of extending that streak. Only one Holowaty-coached team in 44 seasons ever won less than 60 percent of its games. Despite winning “only” 58.5 percent of its game, that 1989 team came within an acrobatic outfield catch by its opponent of reaching the national tournament. The following year, the Warriors recorded the first of four 40-win campaigns, and advanced to the national tournament, where they proceeded virtually unchallenged to a second national title.

Under Holowaty, Eastern either won the Little East Conference regular-season or post-season championships or both in the same season 14 times in 16 years. The Warriors are the only program to win back-to-back LEC tournament titles – having done it twice – and are the only program to win consecutive outright LEC regular-season titles, having captured four straight between 2002 and 2005. Eastern won or shared LEC regular-season titles eight times in the first nine seasons of LEC competition.

Mike Kelly, Arizona State, 1989-91 (Outfielder)

Kelly put together one of the best three-year careers in the illustrious history of Arizona State baseball. He was a career .350 hitter with 197 runs scored, 46 doubles, 194 RBIs and 46 home runs. His 46 home runs rank third in ASU career history.

At the time of his induction into the ASU Hall of Fame in 2014, Kelly also ranked sixth in RBIs (194) and ninth with in runs scored (197). He was a three-time All-American during his playing career, including winning the 1991 Golden Spikes Award and was the consensus 1990 National Player of the Year. He was also the 1990 Pac-10 Player of the Year after a season when he hit .376 with 17 doubles, six triples, 21 home runs and 82 RBIs, which ranks among the top individual efforts in college baseball history.

Kelly was the second overall selection in the 1991 major league draft by the Atlanta Braves and went on to play parts of six seasons in the major leagues with four different teams.

Rick Reichardt, Wisconsin, 1963-64 (Outfielder)

A native of Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, he enrolled at Wisconsin to play football. During the 1963 baseball season, he led the Big 10 in home runs (5) and batting average and recorded a .429 average in conference games. He also was a third-team All-Big Ten selection.

During the 1963 football season, Reichardt led the Big Ten in receptions with 26 catches for 383 yards and one touchdown for the conference champion Badgers.

In the 1964 baseball season, he finished second in the nation with a .443 batting average in conference games, also a school record. He was the first Big Ten player to repeat as batting champion and recorded 15- and 17-game hitting streaks. On the season, he also scored 28 runs and stole nine bases, which led the conference. Following that season, he was named first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American by ABCA and The Sporting News.

He finished his Wisconsin career with a .394 batting average, a school record, and was named the 1964 National Player of the Year by The Sporting News. Reichardt signed the largest Major League Baseball bonus contract at the time with the LA Angels.

Frank Viola, St. Johns, 1979-81 (Pitcher)

Viola recorded a 6-1 record with a 2.09 ERA during his first season at St. John’s. He followed that up in 1980 with a 10-1 record and a 2.16 ERA in 87.2 innings and recorded his best season in 1981, finishing with a 10-0 record and a 0.87 ERA in 83 innings pitched.

St. John’s appeared in NCAA post-season play in each of his three years and in game one of the 1980 College World Series, Viola helped defeat eventual national champion Arizona, 6-1. His most memorable victory was a 1981 Regional victory of Yale and Ron Darling, in which Viola pitched 11 scoreless innings. Following the 1981 season, Viola was named first-team All-America by Baseball America.

NATIONAL COLLEGE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE NOTES:

Mike Kelly joins Brooks Kieschnick and Robin Ventura as the only players to win an ac­knowledged national player of the year award in two separate years.

Larry Hays is one of only eight coaches in the history of college baseball at any level with 1,500 wins, joining Augie Garrido, Gordie Gillespie*, Gene Stephenson*, Mike Martin, Lloyd Simmons, Wayne Graham*, Mark Marquess and Larry Hays*.

* National College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee

Lance Berkman will be the fifth-youngest inductee at 39 years, 4 months (Brooks Kieschnick was the youngest at 34 years, 1 month, followed by Nomar Garciaparra, John Olerud and Robin Ventura at 38 years, 11 months)

Frank Viola’s 1981 NCAA regional win over Yale and Ron Darling was detailed by legend­ary New Yorker scribe Roger Angell, who covered the anticipated matchup during the 1981 MLB strike and watched the game with 92-year old Smokey Joe Wood.

Both Larry Hays and Bill Holowaty played and coached collegiate basketball.

Rick Reichardt won the first acknowledged national player of the year recognition when he was named The Sporting News Player of the Year in 1964.

Joe Arnold was named to the JUCO World Series 50th Anniversary Team in 2007.

This is the first induction class since 2012 in which every member is living.

The three pitchers (Arnold, Holland, Viola) in this class combined to go 96-12 in their collegiate careers.

The three coaches in this class (Arnold, Hays, Holowaty) combined to win seven national championships, with a total of 3,723 wins.

The three position players in this class combined to win seven national player of the year recognitions.

With the induction of the 2015 class, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame will have 93 inductees

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