Great Moments in Trojan History
- Baseball Program honored as Program of the Century.
USC created a baseball dynasty that dominated every other college program. The Trojan Baseball Program achievements received national acclaim by being selected as the Greatest College Baseball Program of the 20th Century Based on a special panel of Baseball America, a poll of Div One coaches and a poll of the public. USC Baseball is the only USC sports program to achieve the honor.
In 1999 Baseball American created a Century Panel of baseball experts augmented with 60 Division 1 college coaches. Collectively, they selected the 10 greatest players, the 5 greatest coaches and the 5 greatest baseball programs. With deserved recognition our coach Rod Dedeaux was selected the greatest coach of the century. Receiving less attention was our Trojan baseball program which was selected as the greatest baseball program of the 20th century.
In validating their selections, Baseball America asked their readers to also vote. In the reader’s vote they agreed fully with Baseball America on USC being the greatest program of the century
- Rod Dedeaux Stadium Opening Day No Hitter
On March 30, 1974 Russ McQueen threw a no-hitter in the first game ever played at Dedeaux Field. USC beat Cal Berkeley 7-0 which would be the first of only two shut outs by the Trojans all season. The Trojans went on to win the national championship that year.
- Collage World Series All time Greatest Comeback
The semifinal game of the 1973 college world series, featuring the Trojans and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, is recalled as the most amazing game in CWS history. It was sheer drama. The Trojans went to bat in the bottom of ninth inning trailing Minnesota, 7-0. Needless to say, the situation looked hopeless. But the Trojans used eight singles, a passed ball, a sacrifice fly and a stolen base to score eight runs, the decisive one coming with two out. The 1973 team went on to win the national championship. The 1974 Trojans also won the championship becoming the 5th jewel in the historic run of 5 CWS crowns in a row.
Minnesota faced a USC team that featured future major leaguers Dennis Littlejohn, Pete Redfern, Rich Dauer, Fred Lynn, and Roy Smalley along with NFL defensive back Marvin Cobb. Dave Winfield was the starting pitcher for Minnesota. In his first game vs. Oklahoma, he struck out 14 in shutting out the Sooners, 1-0. In the semi final vs. defending champion USC, Winfield had struck out 15 through 8 innings, allowing only an infield single as Minnesota built a 7-0 lead. USC’s Rich Dauer said “In my whole career, even facing the big boys in the majors, I have never seen anything like that,” When Dave let go of the ball, it was three feet in front of your face and it seemed like it was going 110 miles an hour.”
In the 9th inning, USC opened with a base hit but the next batter grounded into what appeared to be a double play. TV replays indicated the batter was out at first base, but the umpire called him safe and Minnesota coach Dick Siebert was thrown out of the game arguing the call. Two more singles and a key error by the 1st Baseman led to 3 runs and Winfield was relieved and went to left field. Two relievers allowed 5 more runs and USC won the game 8-7. “I have played in a lot of memorable big games during my career,” Winfield said. “World Series games, league championship games, all-star games, all kinds. But I will never forget that game against USC. Never.”
- Formation of TBAA Trojan Baseball Alumni Association
The Baseball Alumni Association was formed in 2008 after the realization that a “glue” was needed to keep former players connected and involved. Previously the magnetism of Coach Rod Dedeaux was all that was necessary to keep everyone together. Bylaws were written and an organization was created and today the TBAA Association continues to grow and represents a major support group and an asset to Trojan Baseball. With TBAA, the great Trojan Baseball Legacy will be perpetuated.
Today there are only two organized Athletic Alumni organizations, the football organization TFAC formed in the ’50s and our Association. TBAA is entirely a volunteer association, no paid staff, and each of its director’s donating his time.
- Support the current baseball program through fund raisers and ball park attendance
- Assure that the heritage is passed on to current players.
- Provide TBAA members with communications on current baseball program.
- Provide events and activities for members to keep connected.
- Preserve and promote Trojan baseball legacy and traditions.
- USC vs. Yankees Baseball Game
In 1951 the USC Trojan Baseball team became the first college team ever to host the World Champions, the New York Yankees. The Trojans lost the game but those that were there hardly remember the score. Fans watched in awe as Yankee legends Phil Rizzuto, Joe Di Maggio and Billy Martin came to bat.
Fans that were there still talk about a young 19 year old rookie by the name of Mickey Mantle. He hit two towering home runs. The second of those home runs traveled 656 feet and is recorded as the second longest home run Mantle’s career.
- Trojans Far East Trip Puts USC on the Map
In 1955 twenty Trojans took off from Travis Air Force base for the Far East where they would play 28 games in Japan, South Korea and in Hawaii. In sweltering heat and humidity they played 28 games in a 35 day trip with a winning record of 25 – 3. So popular were they that crowds of 50 and 60 thousand filed in to see the games. The trip was so successful from a public relations basis that USC, Trojan Baseball and Coach Rod Dedeaux are still revered to this day in the Far East.
- The 1948 Trojan triple play in the college World Series
In the second-ever College World Series, USC battled Yale in a best-of-three for the title in 1948. With a spectacular game ending triple play in the ninth USC won the first game, 3-1.
For Yale, first baseman and future President George Bush Sr. had a double in four at-bats in the final game.
Also noteworthy was the USC batboy that would become famous by the name of George “Sparky” Anderson, the Hall of Fame manager who won three World Series with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers.
- The five consecutive College World Championships
USC baseball won the College World Series National Championship in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, & 1974. The 5 “Jewels of the Crown” is the affectionate term used for this amazing achievement. The odds of this accomplishment in anywhere in baseball ever occurring again is so minute that odd makers have said this record will never be broken.
- The combination of the 12 Baseball National Championships
Twelve National Championships is an achievement that earned USC the recognition of being the most successful program in college baseball and put the Trojans in a class by themselves. No other college is anywhere near this record. The next closest team record equals only half the number of baseball championships wins as USC. National Championships 1948, ’58. ’61, ’63, ’68, ’70, ’71, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’78, ’98
- Destiny Denied…
Unable to play in the College World Series the 1959 Trojan team achieved the highest and most rare post season honor ever bestowed on a College Baseball team. The final season poll by the nation’s coaches placed the Trojans “Number One” on the very top of the heap with the College World Series Champion (OklahomaState) rated second. Awarding a non-participating team ahead of the winner of the college World Series had never happened before or since in the history of college baseball.
Rod Dedeaux’s powerful 1959 championship team was banned from defending the Trojans ’58 College World Series Championship. Due to football program infractions, the NCAA placed sanctions on USC which included denying all Trojan sports teams from participating in post season play.
Team Captain Ken Guffey Miller commented, “Naturally our team was grateful for the honor but we were also very disappointed. We were robbed of the opportunity of returning to Omaha and playing to win the College World Series. One consolation was that Rod always recognized the ’59 team as National Champions and on more than one occasion publicly stated that his ’59 team was the best team he ever coached.”
In USC record books and past media guides, no mention, acknowledgment or recognition is made of this achievement. Trojan media guides merely state that the 1959 team was ineligible for post season play.