Posted by Been2LongDevil on June 10, 21 at 19:22:11:
In Reply to: Re: Casey would be great but... posted by Sun Devil P.A.T. on June 09, 21 at 22:20:16:
Yes, baseball was super competitive back then and NAU would benefit from a pool of kids that couldn't get recruited by ASU, UofA, Grand Canyon etc, which by itself was dominating the NAIA at that time.
The NAIA player of year was a guy named Rick Stromer. I played with Rick at Mohave High School and then again at Glendale CC my freshman year.
I think Rick hit like .385 that year at Canyon, 38 bombs, 118 hits, and drove in over 130 runs??. It was a monster year for him. Scary part about how talented Rick was at the plate, he was actually a better pitcher. :0
Rick was drafted by the A's and I think he made it as far as Huntsville in AA.
NAU had some great players as well with our SS Jeff Maltese and 3b Jim Coppolla being ranked nationally, as the toughest two outs in the nation. Both were great hitters.
NAU was listed as D1-AA at that time but we played ASU, UofA, Wichita State, USC, UCLA, USD, and San Diego State. All great D1 programs.
I'll never forget going up there as a junior, full ride, playing in the fresh air, only to have the decision made just prior to the beginning of our season, that they would end the program. Super weird to have the Head coach of New Mexico State, Chapman, LaVerne colleges etc out in the outfield during batting practice recruiting you to come play in their programs. They were allowed to talk to players once the decision was made to end the program.
As far as the NAU Board's decision, their primary reason was strictly financial, due to the program only playing 9 home games out of 70 and the cost of travel.
But in order for them to maintain the Title IX
balance of Mens/ Womens sports, they ended up installing Men's Hockey to replace baseball. Hockey ended up costing the University 3-times as much and they soon cancelled that sport for another.
I have great memories of my lone season at NAU and I wish they still had baseball because it afforded kids (like me) the opportunity to play collegiate baseball outside of having to be a blue-chip prospect.
I really appreciate your insight and posts SD P.A.T. It's refreshing to know there are still players around that remember just how great baseball used to be in this state.
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