The College Baseball Hall of Fame inducted seven new members Sunday in a celebration of college baseball past and present. College Baseball's Night of Champions in Lubbock, Texas saw these men added to the Hall of Fame: Arizona outfielder Terry Francona, Southern catcher Danny Goodwin, Duke shortstop Dick Groat, Grambling
The College Baseball Hall of Fame inducted seven new members Sunday in a celebration of college baseball past and present. College Baseball's Night of Champions in Lubbock, Texas saw these men added to the Hall of Fame: Arizona outfielder Terry Francona, Southern catcher Danny Goodwin, Duke shortstop Dick Groat, Grambling State coach Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, Arizona State outfielder Oddibe McDowell, Cal State Fullerton first baseman Tim Wallach, and Clemson coach Bill Wilhelm.
Many of them used the night as a chance to look back at how lucky they were to have such experiences, and some honorees thanked a number of people they felt impacted by.
"I don't know if I deserve it," said Groat, "But I'm just thrilled to death to be inducted to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Baseball was so great to me."
"You start thinking about little league," said Goodwin, "And all the people that initially didn't know you from the man on the moon."
"I played the game, I enjoyed the game," said McDowell, "and all of the awards and whatnot that come along with playing the game is something I didn't think about. I was blessed with the talent. To have all of the awards, for me it recognizes all the people I've played with, played against, and all the coaches giving me the opportunity to play."
McDowell spoke of the relationships that are developed in college and how important he feels those experiences are. Francona's former coach, Jerry Kindall represented him there and he shared warm memories of their friendship.
"Terry Francona is one of the most genuine persons I have ever met, "Kindall said. "I was privileged and very grateful to have him on my team. He's done far more for me than I've done for him."
Those in attendance got the opportunity to hear stories from and about these college baseball legends. Much of the night was spent reminiscing days past, and favorite memories of the game were discussed.
"When I got the call to let me know that I was going to be an inductee tonight," said Goodwin, "It's almost like your life flashes in front of you. We just played baseball. It takes teamwork and for the most part that's how we accomplished a lot of things. By having a solid unit."
McDowell talked about a game he played against Stanford in which he hit three homeruns, and Groat told stories of the three games his team had to play in one day. Considering the memories and the honor, inductees were overwhelmed to be involved.
"I know there are other people out there that could very well have been standing here tonight," said Goodwin.
"It's been a special two or three days," said Groat, "And we've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it."