New A's skipper was collegiate Ohtani

Kotsay dazzled as all-around superstar for Cal State Fullerton

December 20th, 2021

Mark Kotsay did enough with his bat to put together a perfectly respectable big league career.

After all, not just anyone can club 127 homers while carving out a 17-year stay in the Majors (including four seasons with Oakland). Kotsay, the new A's manager (per a source), even received some down-ballot AL MVP votes in 2004.

But all of that pales in comparison to what the collegiate legend did -- with both his bat and his left arm -- during his college days at Cal State Fullerton.

Kotsay was an all-around superstar for the Titans, serving not only as the school's everyday left fielder for three years, but doing so while also pitching in relief.

His talents were on full display in the decisive game of the 1995 College World Series, when he crushed two homers, drove in five runs and recorded the final five outs to secure the title for Cal State Fullerton.

But Kotsay was far from a one-game wonder.

That legendary performance capped a sophomore season in which he racked up a .422/.492/.776 slash line (1.268 OPS) with 21 homers, 90 RBIs and 15 stolen bases, all while posting a 0.31 ERA and 11 saves. Kotsay was rewarded with the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur player in the country, and he was also named the Most Outstanding Player for the 1995 College World Series. He made the All-Tournament Team for the second time in as many seasons.

All Kotsay did for an encore as a junior was hit .402 with a 1.284 OPS while hitting 20 homers, swiping 20 bases and driving in 91 runs. Though Cal State Fullerton fell short of a return trip to the College World Series, Kotsay instead celebrated another incredible season by being selected ninth overall by the Marlins in the 1996 MLB Draft.

Kotsay was immortalized in the Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 -- and he remains prominently featured in the College World Series record book. His .517 average (15-for-29) is tied for the best in CWS history, while his 1.103 slugging percentage is more than 200 points clear of the next-highest qualified mark (Marshall McDougall, .881). Kotsay is also the only player with multiple grand slams in College World Series play.