Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma State Baseball

Robin Ventura apparently majored in being an idiot asshole at OSU
-Program founded: 1909
-Overall record: 2,354-1,184-4
-1 National Championship: (1959)
-19 College World Series appearances (most recent: 1999)
-39 NCAA Tournament appearances
-30 regular-season conference titles (zero Big 12)
-19 conference tournament titles (one Big 12)
-3 College Baseball Hall of Famers
-22 All-Americans

History with TCU:  Despite their relative proximity, the Cowboys and Horned Frogs had faced each other on the diamond just 16 times prior to 2004, when their respective current head coaches took over.  Since then, TCU has won 5 of 9 and the Frogs now hold an overall series advantage of 13-12.  OSU beat TCU as part of the Stillwater Regional in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, but the Frogs have taken 2 of 3 from the Cowboys in both this season and last.

Notable former OSU Baseball Players:

  • Robin Ventura.  See above.  Forget his National Player of the Year awards or his NCAA record 58-game hitting streak at OSU, his gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and his six golden gloves won in his 16-year MLB career.  The current White Sox manager will always be remembered for getting his ass handed to him when he charged Nolan Ryan on the mound in 1993.
  • Mike Henneman: An All-Star with the Tigers in 1989, Henneman earned 193 saves in a 10-year MLB career that also included stops with the Astros and Rangers.
  • Pete Incaviglia: Despite looking like Ron Jeremy, "Inky" holds the NCAA single-season and all-time home run records.  He went straight from OSU to the Rangers without ever setting foot on a minor league field, and in recent years has been linked to the use of amphetamines.  Imagine that, someone from Oklahoma who likes meth...
  • Mickey Tettleton: He hit 245 major league home runs between 1984 and 1997 employing one of the weirdest batting stances I've ever seen.  The last 59 of those came in the three years he spent as Pudge's back up and DH in Arlington from 1995 to 1997.
  • Jeremy Burnitz.  He played for a lot of different teams, and I couldn't tell you much about him from memory.  He apparently hit 315 career home runs and was an All-Star with the Brewers in 1999.

Recent History: Think TCU has been dominant in the Mountain West?  Oklahoma State won the last sixteen Big 8 Baseball Tournaments!  That string included 10 trips to Omaha, but the golden era of OSU baseball came to a screetching halt when the Big 12 was formed and longtime coach Gary Ward left.  They've continued to field winning and even some really top-notch teams, but have won only one conference tournament title and made just one trip to Omaha since then. They are generally a tournament team, but the history of the program and the still somewhat fresh memory of their magnificent run in the 80s and 90s means the bar is set pretty high.

Outlook for next year:  With the Cowboys not quite living up to expectations in recent years, the watchful eye of T. Boon Pickens had to have been on the coaching job that Frank Anderson would do with this year's team.  The 2012 Cowboys are led with a heavy concentration of seniors and draft-eligible juniors- which is usually a recipe for success.  They are 32-24 overall though, went 13-11 in Big 12 play and probably need to win this weekend's conference tournament to make the NCAA Field.  With so many potential departures, another powerhouse program (TCU) entering the conference and Texas Tech having already decided to make a head coaching change, you have to wonder whether or not Frank Anderson will be around in 2013.

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