Former Bulldog Clark added to new hall

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Dave Winfield found himself in another Hall of Fame on Tuesday as he and nine others were inducted into the inaugural class of the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

“This is a prestigious award,” said Winfield, who played college ball at Minnesota before a 22-year career in the majors. “We have great players, great coaches, and — most of all — great people in this class. I was fortunate as a kid to find something that I loved in baseball, and we played it all the time. We only came home during the summer to eat and sleep.”

Winfield was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2001.

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Others inducted into the college hall were fellow former major leaguers Will Clark (Mississippi State), Bob Horner (Arizona State), Brooks Kieschnick (Texas) and Robin Ventura (Oklahoma State).

“Before this honor winning the Golden Spikes Award was my greatest college baseball honor,” Clark said. “I’m truly honored beyond my wildest dreams.”

Ventura, who retired in 2004 after 16 years in the majors, set an NCAA record with a 58-game hitting streak at Oklahoma State in 1987.

“I didn’t get any offers coming out of high school, and it has been a great run at OSU and in the majors,” he said.

Five coaches also were inducted, including the late Rod Dedeaux, who helped Southern California win 11 College World Series titles. His teams won an unprecedented five straight titles in the early 1970s.

“When my dad was a student at Southern California in 1932, he went to the Los Angeles Olympics and wondered why baseball couldn’t be part of that competition in future years,” Justin Dedeaux said in accepting the Hall of Fame honor for his father. “He was a true visionary. The years he spent as baseball coach at USC were the best years of his life as well our family’s.”

Other coaches inducted were Skip Bertman (LSU), Cliff Gustafson (Texas), Ron Fraser (Miami) and Bobby Winkles (Arizona State).

“Like the old entertainer once said, ’I feel so unnecessary,’ with this group,” Gustafson said. “I almost feel for the deserving coaches who were left out of this first class,” he added before changing his mind.

Fraser, who helped Miami win 1,271 games between 1962-92, said the new hall of fame shows how far college baseball has come.

John Askins, chairman and CEO of the College Baseball Foundation that established the hall, said placing it in Lubbock was ideal.

“Some towns are basketball towns. Lubbock is a real baseball town. It’s got a great history,” Askins said. “I think this goes over real well in the college market. In a large metro area, it’s just sort of lost.”

The foundation and the College Baseball Hall of Fame hope to have a permanent facility there by 2008.