Tuesday, July 03, 2007

College Baseball HOF inducts three


The inaugural Veterans Class of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame was inducted this morning in a ceremony held in Lubbock, Texas. Jack Barry of Holy Cross, Lou Gehrig of Columbia, Christy Mathewson of Bucknell and Joe Sewell of Alabama comprised the class.

Barry, a player and later coach at Holy Cross, coached the Crusaders for 39 seasons, including a College World Series title in 1952. Representing Barry in the ceremony, which was conducted as part of the “Hall of Fame Showcase” at City Bank Texas, was his nephew, Mr. Tom Deedy. A video speech was played from Ron Perry, former Holy Cross athletic director and a player for Barry on the ’52 national champions, in which he spoke of Barry.

“Jack Barry stressed the fundamentals and he demanded that we be mentally alert at all times,” Perry said. “He did not hesitate to replace a player who was not attentive.”

Gehrig, who set several offensive records and also pitched for Columbia, was represented by Barry Neuberger, Associate Athletics Director for Sports Marketing at Columbia University. He detailed a home run hit by Gehrig on campus at Columbia that traveled through a distant classroom window.

“I’ve had this story detailed to me a number of times, and all accounts are consistent,” Neuberger said. “The ball traveled about 450 feet.”

Bucknell baseball coach Gene Depew accepted the induction plaque on behalf of Mathewson. One of the first college men to achieve prominence in professional sports, Mathewson was better known in college as a football star.

“Grantland Rice referred to him as the finest drop-kicker of his time,” Depew said. “He also played a horn in the band and sang in the glee club.”

Joe Sewell played at Alabama from 1918 to 1920, and later coached the Crimson Tide to the SEC title in 1968. His daughter, Mary Sue Sewell Parnell, and son, Dr. James Sewell, described a father who loved to tell stories about his baseball days.

“He loved baseball until his death,” said Dr. Sewell.

“He told us about being roommates with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, although he said he roomed with the Babe’s suitcase more often than the Babe himself,” Pernell laughed.

Hall of Fame festivities will continue on July 4 with the induction of the 2007 Class of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. The class of 11 includes John Olerud of Washington State, Jim Abbott of Michigan and Fred Lynn of USC.

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