Hall of Fame celebrates newest members
Night of Champions features Class of 2014 induction
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Baseball champions of yesterday and today gathered Saturday for the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions, where seven new members were inducted.
The distinguished baseball players honored and inducted into the Hall of Fame during the Night of Champions include Southern California pitcher Bill Bordley; Miami outfielder Mike Fiore; Miami-Dade North Community College coach Demie Mainieri; Miami/Miami-Dade South Community College pitcher Alex Fernandez; Tuskegee Institute/Harvard shortstop William C. Matthews; Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson; and Baylor outfielder Mickey Sullivan.
Bordley topped the Trojan record books with a winning percentage of .929 and had a career ERA of 2.58.
"I always thought June 8, 1978, was the end of my college career," Bordley said. "And I was standing on the field after we won [the national championship], and we're talking to reporters and things like that, and I said to myself, 'I can't picture a better way to go out.' I was leaving school and putting myself in the January [First-Year Player Draft] and I knew I was going do that, and I said, 'What a perfect way to end it.' And of course when this [award] came up, this was the icing on the cake."
Another collegiate baseball star known for record-setting performances, Fiore broke 12 Miami batting marks, including his totals of 341 hits, 258 runs, 63 doubles, 235 RBIs and 506 total bases.
"It's one thing to play for a university, but it's another thing to play and try to win at the university," Fiore said. "College baseball, I think, gets overlooked a lot because, obviously, Major League Baseball steals the show and the greatest players of the game. College baseball is a great brand. It's a great and unique market. It's a great opportunity for young men to develop not only athletically, but they can use it as a backdrop to get their education, so it's a great brand but more importantly one that needs to continue to grow."
Miami-Dade North coach Mainieri not only joins former player Steve Carlton in the Hall of Fame but 30 of his former players who made it into the big leagues. More than 100 of his former players were drafted or signed by professional teams.
Not only did Mainieri lead his athletes to success professionally, he also coached his team to an NJCAA National Championship in 1964 and finished second three times and third once in the NJCAA World Series.
"Let's face it," Mainieri said. "This is the epitome of recognition for a baseball coach in America, and I'm really thrilled about it and humbled about it. When you see all the outstanding coaches throughout the years that have made so many beautiful contributions to baseball, I'm very honored by it all, and at the same token I'm very proud of the people that are associated with these accolades."
Fernandez, a pitcher for Miami-Dade North's rival, Miami-Dade South, was named first-team All-NJCAA his sophomore year, went 12-2 with a 1.19 ERA and led the nation in strikeouts with 154 in 121 innings.
Before transferring to Miami-Dade South, Fernandez began his college career at Miami, where he was named National Freshman of the Year and first team All-American by Baseball America. He eventually went on to MLB and pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Florida Marlins.
From 1894 to 1897, Matthews, known as an agile defender, was a shortstop and team captain for Tuskegee Institute before continuing his college career at Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard.
"[This award] means a lot because we are an institution that the first sport the institution had was baseball," Tuskegee baseball coach Montressa Kirby said. "They went through some tough times, but we've had the opportunity to get the program back on track."
Gene Stephenson joins his brother, Phil Stephenson, and three other former players in the Hall of Fame. Stephenson had 1,837 wins during his time with the Shockers, a .731 winning percentage, led the program to 28 regionals and seven College World Series appearances, and captured the 1989 national title.
"It was a long hard ride for all of us," Stephenson said. "We worked very hard. I think that was in 1989, and it was a special year obviously for all us, and we had a number of great teams over the years. I think the most important thing to remember is when we came to Wichita we had nothing to start with. We had a belief."
Sullivan coached the Bears to the program's first and second College World Series appearances in 1977 and 1978, and maintains his .519 batting average in 1954 that tops the Baylor record books and was the highest single-season average in SWC history.
"Dad was part of Baylor for close to 30 years playing right out of high school four years and coaching," Sullivan's daughter, Tina Proffitt, said. "That's kind of all we knew growing up. Almost every conversation you had with dad, it would get back to Baylor."
Those also honored during the Night of Champions include North Carolina State's Trea Turner as the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year; LSU's Aaron Nola as Pitcher of the Year; Kentucky's A.J. Reed as the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year; Kennesaw State's Max Pentecost as the Johnny Bench Award winner; Texas Tech's coach Tim Tadlock as the Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year; and Henry "Hank" Rountree as the National Collegiate Umpire Award winner.