2013, an historic year in MSU baseball history
by Andy Collier
Jun 27, 2013 | 730 views | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Even though their quest for a NCAA Division I National Championship in baseball come to a disappointing end with an 8-0 loss to the UCLA Bruins in the final game of the College World Series in Omaha Tuesday.

The Mississippi State University Bulldogs have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the team and everyone else in the state of Mississippi should hold their heads up high over what the Bulldogs accomplished.

The trip to the National Title Series was the first for a Mississippi school on the Division I college level in baseball. Looking at MSU baseball, a program that has made the World Series nine times, the accomplishment this year’s team made says a lot about the group of guys as the Bulldogs have had several great players come through the program over the years.

This year’s Mississippi State team went farther in the CWS than the highly touted 1985 team that went 50-15 and finished third in the CWS. Off that 1985 team, the Bulldogs had four players that went on to have stellar Major League careers — Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen and Jeff Brantley.

Palmerio (.288 avg., 569 HR, 1,835 RBIs, 3,020 hits, 4-time All-Star, 1986-2005 MLB career) and Clark (.303 avg., 284 HR, 1,205 RBIs, 2,176 hits, 6-time All-Star, 1986-2000 MLB career) combined for 853 home runs, 3,040 RBIs and 5,196 hits in the Major League careers, while relief pitchers Thigpen (31-36, 3.43 ERA, 201 saves, 1986-94 MLB career) and Brantley (43-46, 3.39 ERA, 172 saves, 1988-2001 MLB career) combined for 373 saves in their Major League careers. Brantley led the National League in saves in 1996 with 44 and earned the Rolaids Relief Man Award, while Thigpen set a then Major League record in saves with 57 in 1990 while winning the Rolaids Relief Man Award. Thigpen’s record stood for 18 years until 2008 Francisco Rodriguez recorded 62 saves for the Los Angeles Angels.

When you think about a team having that kind of talent and not advancing to the championship series of the CWS, it puts into perspective how tough it is to even be in the championship series let alone win it.

The talent on this year’s team was top notch as several players through the year made the Bulldogs highly successful.

As for the future of many players on this year’s MSU team, it looks very bright as right fielder Hunter Renfroe (San Diego, 1st round), shortstop Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh, 6th round), pitcher Kendall Graveman (Toronto, 8th round), pitcher Chad Girodo (Toronto, 9th round), pitcher Evan Mitchell (Cincinnati, 13th round), infielder and pitcher Daryl Norris (Detroit, 22nd round) and pitcher Luis Pollorena (Texas, 23rd round) were all selected in the MLB Draft. The seven players drafted this year was one shy of the school record of eight, which was set back in 2003.

When looking at the overall talent, as well as the great job that head coach John Cohen and his staff did, it’s no wonder why the Bulldogs were in the hunt for a championship, finishing the year with a final record of 51-20.

Andy Collier is the sports editor at The Bolivar Commercial. He can be reached at (662)-843-4241 or by e-mail at andy.collier@bolivarcommercial.com