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Bo-maha's Baseball Bites: All-Time MCWS Alumni Read Like Who's Who




NCAA Men's World Series Boasts A-List of College & MLB Heroes


OMAHA, NE – Since the NCAA Men's College World Series began in 1947 at beautiful Kalamazoo, MI, the mecca of Division 1 baseball has seen more than its share of college and MLB standouts, even a future U.S. President on the roster of early finalist Yale.


As the 77th version of the World Series cranks up tomorrow afternoon at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, NE, with four Southeastern Conference members and four members from the Atlantic Coast Conference – both dominating the national scene since pre-2024 – memories of previous Series and memorable performers come immediately to mind.


One such first baseman is George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st President of the United States after starring for and captaining Yale in the 1948 MCWS against NCAA champ California. “Poppy” Bush returned from World War II as a decorated Navy fighter pilot and made many lifelong friends playing for the Ivy League Bulldogs.


Yet another star, with the distinction of tossing the first no-hitter in CWS annals in 1950, was Texas righthander Jim Ehrler, who mastered the then-powerhouse Tufts Jumbos 7-0 some 10 years before Oklahoma State’s Jim Wixson pitched a 7-0 no-no gem over North Carolina (the Tar Heels competing again in Omaha in 2024) in an elimination tussle.


And, the very first MCWS in 1947 had featured a best-of-3 showdown between the same 1948 championship teams California and Yale, with the Golden Bears scoring a 2-0 sweep in games.


It was the following season,1949, which produced the first of six Texas Longhorns title squads, with a young infielder named Cliff Gustafson (later a College Baseball and ABCA Hall of Fame coach for 29 seasons with the Longhorns), when UT topped St. John’s and Wake Forest (twice) in a four-team field.


It was the 1950 series that featured the first of 74 consecutive MCWS fields (minus the 2020 COVID-19 cancellations) in new-location Omaha, and a 3-0 Longhorns finals’ win over Washington State in a field consisting of six other powers – Rutgers, Wisconsin, Colorado State, Alabama, Bradley, and Tufts.


Almost sadly, Wisconsin dropped varsity baseball in 1991 due to weather and women’s Title IX challenges, and Colorado State followed suit in 1992. Tufts moved down to the Northeast Small College Athletic Conference and dropped its DI diamond program after 1970.


On a more positive note, though, the City of Omaha and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the original partners who together brought major college baseball its long-time and supportive championship home, continue to honor many of the stars (even recent years) and famed coaches of the MCWS.


The obvious coaches with larger-than-life posters around the mezzanine area of Charles Schwab Field are:

*USC’s Rod Dedeaux, with a record 11 NCAA crowns and NCAA-record five consecutive MCWS trophies from 1970-74

*Cliff Gustafson of Texas, with a pair of MCWS titles as a coach and two as a student-athlete, along with 1,466 victories for the Longhorns from 1968-96

*Florida State’s Mike Martin, with a NCAA Division I-best 2,029 victories from 1980-2019 and 19 treks to the MCWS

*LSU legend Skip Bertman, with five NCAA first-place finishes from 1984-2001 (along with a 89-29 all-time mark in NCAA Baseball Championships over 18 seasons)

*Augie Garrido, with 1,975 all-time coaching victories and five NCAA crowns with both Cal State-Fullerton and Texas from 1979-2016


The MCWS Most Outstanding Players (MOPs) honored on life-size posters in the stadium are also familiar to college diamond enthusiasts:


*Cal Emery of Penn State,

*Jim Dobson of Oklahoma State

*Sal Bando of Arizona State

*Dave Winfield of Minnesota

*Bob Horner of Arizona State

*Terry Francona of Arizona

*Phil Nevin of Cal State Fullerton

*Todd Walker of LSU

*Pat Burrell of Miami (FL)


Bando, Winfield, Horner, Francona, and Walker are also in the College Baseball Hall of Fame.


There are others from recent MCWS meets with similar credentials, and expect the likes of MOP/Major League successes Huston Street of Texas, Tommy Mendonca of Fresno State, Jackie Bradley Jr. of South Carolina, Vanderbilt’s Dansby Swanson, Oregon State's Adley Rutschman, and even last year's Paul Skenes of LSU to be added to the cavalcade soon.


Who will be the heroic coaches and players remembered from 2024?


Maybe consensus NCAA Division 1 Coach of the Year Nick Mingione of Kentucky, after taking the Wildcats to their first MCWS in program annals…possibly Florida do-it-all superstar Jac Caglianone…No. 1 seed Tennessee has a number of possible candidates…or even Virginia’s clutch-hitting standout Harrison Didawick…


With what has been termed “the ACC vs. SEC Invitational” by some pundits, this revamped-format NCAA D1 Men's College World Series might be one for the ages with any number of MCWS Hall of Fame story lines taking shape.


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