Either UCLA or Mississippi State will win the 2013 College Baseball World Series this week. They will play a best-of-three series to see which team has the most depth.
I started thinking about the CWS the other day…thinking about some 30 years ago when the UMaine Black Bear baseball team was in Omaha, Neb., playing with the big boys of the sport.
In fact, I was at Rosenblatt Stadium covering the Black Bears in 1983 – it was the third season of a tremendous four year run of UMaine teams playing at the CWS.
Think about that…four consecutive appearances in Omaha!
Everyone knows it is a different landscape now in college baseball and getting to Omaha is so tough to do. So that’s why I went back to 1983 to remember some fun facts….
— Maine’s record heading to the world series was 29-14.
— Maine and James Madison University made it to the CWS, both from the ECAC conference.
— The Bears won the ECAC New England division that included teams like BC and UConn. Plus teams like Providence, Vermont and New Hampshire that no longer have baseball programs.
— The other six teams: Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Texas.
— Texas won the CWS and pitcher Calvin Schiraldi was named MVP (yes, that Calvin Schiraldi). The Longhorns also had a pitcher named Roger Clemens.
— Maine lost to Michigan 6-5. Some guy named Barry Larkin led the Wolverines with two doubles. The Bears then lost to Arizona State 7-0. The Sun Devils had a freshman outfielder named Barry Bonds.
— Jeff Paul led the Black Bears in hitting that season with a .372 average.
— Former Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan was the all-CWS first baseman playing in his junior year for Alabama.
— Billy Swift finished the season with a 9-3 record and a 2.82 ERA. Swifty had 9 complete games.
— After the 1983 CWS, Swifty was drafted in the second round by Minnesota (he did not sign with the Twins) and outfielder Brad Colton was taken in the 20th round by Seattle.
— Stu Lacognata was the No. 2 guy, a 6-2 record.
— The Black Bears hosted a NCAA regional tournament: Temple, Harvard and NYIT. Maine went 4-0.
— The ’83 tea had a great mixture of in-state players (Swift, Lacognata, Ed Hackett, Kevin Bernier, Tommy Vanidestine, Jeff Paul, among others) and out-of-state players (Brad Colton, Rick Lashua, Billy McInnis, among others).
— John Winkin went from coaching at the CWS to coaching the US National team that summer. That team included a guy name Mark McGwire.
— From 1976 to 1986, Maine baseball played in 6 CWS.
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
— The metal bat came into college baseball in 1974. It was Jack Butterfield’s last season at UMaine, his team went 15-5.
— No matters who wins this Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks – it has been one helluva series.
— Quick – name one player the Celtics might draft? I have no idea. The Doc Rivers drama has me worn out.
— The NBA gets all the attention this week (live broadcast on Sportsradio 92.9TheTicket Thursday 7 p.m.) but the NHL holds its draft Saturday.
— The final qualifier for the Maine State Amateur Golf Championship is this week at PVCC. Next month, the state tourney at Augusta CC – does Mark Plummer have another one in him on his home course?