The College Baseball Foundation's first-ever induction class into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas, came after the conclusion of an intensive voting process that began with nominations in February 2006 and two elimination ballots thereafter.
The Class of 2006 includes legendary coaches Bobby Winkles of Arizona State, Skip Bertman of LSU, Ron Fraser of Miami, Cliff Gustafson of Texas and Rod Dedeaux of USC, in addition to standout former players Bob Horner of Arizona State, Robin Ventura of Oklahoma State, Dave Winfield of Minnesota, Will Clark of Mississippi State and Brooks Kieschnick of Texas.
Bertman guided LSU to five NCAA baseball titles (1991, '93, '96, '97, 2000), seven SEC championships and a record of 870-330-3 (.724) in 18 seasons (1984-2001). He was named National Coach of the Year six times, and his teams drew huge crowds to venerable Alex Box Stadium, as LSU led the nation in attendance in each of his final six seasons (1996-2001).
Bertman also served as head coach of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team that captured the bronze medal in Atlanta. He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January 2003. In a Baseball America poll released in January 1999, Bertman was voted the second greatest college baseball coach of the 20th century, trailing only Rod Dedeaux of Southern California. Prior to his appointment at LSU, Bertman stellar recognition as one of the nation's brightest assistant coaches while at the University of Miami (Fla.) for eight seasons (1976-83). He also coached 11 seasons at Miami Beach High School, directing the Hi-Tides to a state championship and two runners-up finishes. He was named Florida's Coach of the Year on three occasions. Bertman spent his collegiate playing days at Miami as an outfielder and catcher from 1958-60. He earned his B.A. in health and physical education from Miami in 1961 and received his master's degree from UM in 1964.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Three-year standout first baseman at Mississippi State (1983-84-85)…ABCA All-American in 1984 and consensus All-American in 1985…Two-time SEC Player of the Week in 1985 (first year for the award)…In 1985 became the first player in Southeastern Conference history to win the coveted Golden Spikes Award…First-round draft pick in the 1985 Major League draft (San Francisco)…Set school career record with a .391 batting average, including 61 home runs, 2nd most at MSU, and 199 RBI 2003 inductee into the MSU Sports Hall of Fame…Concluded 15-year Major League career in 2000 (.303 career BA)…Six-time all-star.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Coached the Trojans for 45 years before retiring in 1986; had a record of 1,332-571-11, the most wins in Division I history until Cliff Gustafson of Texas surpassed him in 1994. He led the team to ten College World Series titles; he also won the 1948 CWS title as co-coach with Sam Barry. It also included five in a row from 1970-74 - no other school has won more than two straight - and they won 28 conference titles; Dedeaux's record currently ranks seventh among Division I coaches. He had a winning percentage of .699. Nearly 60 USC players under Dedeaux went on to big league careers, including Mark McGwire, Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, Dave Kingman, Fred Lynn and Roy Smalley. In 1964, he coached the U.S. Olympic demonstration team; a number of baseball publications named Dedeaux "Coach of the Century.' USC plays at Dedeaux Field; Passed away Jan. 5, 2006, at age 91.[ ^ Jump to top ]
"The Wizard of College Baseball." In a career spanning 30 years, the Nutley, N.J., native won just about everything, including NCAA national titles in 1982 and 1985. He left the coaching ranks as second winningest all-time coach with a 1,271-438-9 (.747) record. His UM teams set a NCAA record with 20 consecutive playoff appearances. His career at Miami spanned more three decades, with eight trips to the College World Series. A 26-time coach of the year, he is a member of five halls of fame. Ron Fraser's uniform No. 1 was retired on April 24, 1993.
It was Fraser's knack for marketing and promotion that drew the masses and earned him the nickname "The Wizard of College Baseball." Miami players were wearing white shoes and colored gloves before Charlie Finley. Perhaps Fraser's biggest extravaganza was the baseball fundraiser dubbed "A Night With Ron Fraser" on Feb. 16, 1977, a $5,000-a-plate gourmet dinner on the infield. Five-star chefs served a 10-course dinner of caviar, Alaskan king crab legs and pheasant under glass. A harpist in a white tuxedo played on the mound and violinists strolled among the tables. It was a huge success, covered by media from across the world. Fraser's expertise extended worldwide. On the international front, his crowning glory was becoming the first Team USA coach when baseball was a medal sport at the 1992 Summer Games.[ ^ Jump to top ]
• One of the top five all-time winningest coaches in NCAA Division I baseball history with a career record of 1,427-373-2 (.792) at Texas (1968-96). Was the career leader upon retirement.
• Led the Longhorns to a pair of National Championships (1975 & 1983), 22 Southwest Conference titles and an NCAA record 17 College World Series appearances during his coaching tenure on the Forty Acres.
• A middle infielder at UT during the early 1950's who earned a varsity letter in 1952 and posted a .308 career batting average.
• A two-time National Coach of the Year (1982 & 1983) who won numerous Southwest Conference Coach of the Year honors and received the James Keller Sportsmanship Award in 1998.
• Inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Longhorn Hall of Honor.
One of the most decorated players in Arizona State University history, Bob Horner left an indelible mark on Sun Devil baseball during his three seasons in Tempe. A versatile fielder, Horner played shortstop, second base and third base during his career, earning All-WAC honors three times. A feared hitter, Horner hit 56 career home runs, still a school record. He helped lead the Sun Devils to three consecutive College World Series appearances, including the 1977 National Championship. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1977 CWS, where he hit .444, hitting two home runs and knocking in nine RBI. During his final season in Tempe, Horner hit .412, while belting 25 homers and knocking in 100 runs. He was the very first Golden Spikes Award winner, as well as The Sporting News Player of the Year. Twice he was named a First Team All-American, and the Atlanta Braves made him the Number One overall pick in the 1978 Major League Baseball Draft. In 1999, Horner was ranked No. 2 by Baseball America on the College Player of the Century Team.
• Two-time ABCA Player of the Year (1992-93)
• Two-time Dick Howser Award-winner (1992-93)
• Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year (1993)
• Two-Time USA Baseball/MLBPA Golden Spikes Award Finalist (1992-93)
• Baseball America Freshman of the Year (1991)
• Three-time AP/Southwest Conference Player of the Year (1991-93)
• AP/Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year (1991)
• Three-time First-Team All-American (1991-1993)
• Baseball America Freshman All-American (1991)
• Three-time First-Team All-Southwest Conference (1991-93)
• Three-time Longhorns Most Valuable Player (1991-93)
Truly one of the greatest collegiate baseball players of all-time…Ventura finished third in Baseball America's "Player of the Century" poll for college baseball behind Bob Horner and another Oklahoma State Hall of Famer, Pete Incaviglia. Ventura still holds college baseball's hitting-streak record at 58 games while boasting a .428 career batting average. In addition to the aforementioned feats, Ventura holds seven Oklahoma State offensive records, including the highest single season batting average at .469. Ventura had an unbelievable freshman year in which he hit .469 with 21 homers and 96 RBI. He earned All-America honors at third base over Arkansas' Jeff King, who was the first player chosen in the 1986 major league draft. In addition, Ventura was named Freshman of the Year by Baseball America. All this came after starting the season as the backup at third base. His 96 RBI led the nation, and he also led the team with his 28 doubles and 21 dingers. Ventura established the school record for runs in a season with 107, which also led the nation. Other honors bestowed to the freshman included All-Big Eight and all-tournament honors as well as being named the Most Valuable Player in the latter.
Ventura proved that there would be no sophomore slump as the left-handed hitter was named Baseball America's Player of the Year in 1987. On the season, he batted .428 with 21 homers and 110 RBIs. It was in this season that he set the record of 58 consecutive games with a hit, establishing himself as one of the best hitters to ever play the college game. He once again claimed All-America and All-Big Eight honors and also claimed the Big Eight Tournament MVP award after going an astounding 11-for-12. Ventura led the Cowboys into postseason play, where he was named to the Mideast All-Tournament team when he hit .417 and led the Cowboys to the College World Series. The Cowboys set a school record with a 61-8 mark in 1988, and once again Ventura was named an All-American. He batted .391 at the plate with a career-high 26 homers and 96 RBIs. He was named to the All-Big Eight team while leading the Cowboys to another NCAA appearance. He also received the Golden Spikes Award as the best player in college baseball for the 1988 season. To cap off his collegiate career he was named the Player of the Decade by Baseball America as well as the starting third baseman on the all-time team. After the 1988 season, Ventura played in the Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox with the 10th pick in the first round.
In December of 2001, Baseball America named him The College Baseball Player of The Last Twenty Years at the magazine's 20th Anniversary celebration in Boston. Ventura retired in 2004 after 16 seasons in the major leagues.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Winfield was a First-Team All-American in 1973 and was a two-time All-Big Ten in 1971 & 73; In his senior season he was 9-1 with a 2.74 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 82.0 innings; He also batted .385 with eight home runs and 33 RBI in 130 at-bats that season; Named Most Outstanding Player in the 1973 College World Series; Winfield was 1-0 in the College World Series, giving up 10 hits, three earned runs and striking out 29 batters in 17.1 innings of work, he had 14 strikeouts in 1-0 victory over Oklahoma as he tallied the complete game shutout, Winfield got a no-decision as he struck out 15 batters in 8.1 innings in a stunning 8-7 loss to USC; he had a 1.56 ERA in the two games he pitched against Oklahoma and USC; Winfield was also 7-for-15 with two RBI in the College World Series; In his career Winfield was 19-4 with 15 complete games, 229 strikeouts in 169.0 innings and a 2.24 ERA; Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame 2001.[ ^ Jump to top ]
ASU's first varsity baseball coach. 524-173 record during his 13 years, a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year. In all, Winkles won three national championships ('65, '67, '69) in four appearances over the span of five years. Winkles took the ASU program from scratch and built it into one of the premier powerhouses in all of college baseball. Only six years into the program's history, Winkles led his 1964 Sun Devil squad into Omaha and ended up placing sixth. Only one year later, the Sun Devils reached the pinnacle of college baseball, finishing with a 41-11 record and the school's first national championship. Winkles led ASU back to the College World Series and again reigned as NCAA champions in 1967 and 1969. Winkles was named the 1965 and 1969 NCAA Coach of the Year and The Sporting News Coach of the Year in 1965, 1967 and 1969. He was also a trailblazer in another area, as he became one of the first college coaches to transition to Major League Baseball. After leaving ASU, he managed four years in the Majors with the California Angels and the Oakland Athletics. He was a 1997 inductee into the ABCA Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame. He recruited and coached such top talents as Rick Monday, Sal Bando, Sterling Slaughter, Reggie Jackson, Larry Gura and Gary Gentry during his coaching career. His No. 1 jersey is retired at Arizona State, and the playing field at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark is named in his honor.[ ^ Jump to top ]