Cavalier Corner

February 2018

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cavalier sports 6 CAVALIER CORNER behind the scenes UVA Baseball Hall Of Fame V irginia baseball's annual Step Up to the Plate event has always been highlighted by former players and special guests. Base- ball greats like Tommy Lasorda, Terry Fran- cona, John Farrell, Tim Kurkjian and Dave Winfield have all been a part of this wonder- ful celebration of UVA baseball. In 2018, with the Cavaliers preparing to introduce UVA donors and fans to the $18.76 million expansion and renovation of Davenport Field, which includes the Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame, it seemed appropriate to use the event to induct the inaugural Hall of Fame Class. "We just felt that the time was lined up perfectly to roll this thing out," head coach Brian O'Connor said. "It's something we have wanted to start for quite some time and have been deliberating over it for a couple of years to determine the best way to do it. "Ultimately, we figured with the new stadium expansion and the additional con- course that we will have there, it felt right. When our new director of athletics Carla Williams was hired, she put her stamp of approval on it and we're off and running." One of the most gratifying aspects of the Hall of Fame and the expansion project for O'Connor was the tremendous support of former players. "We spend a lot of time engaging our former student-athletes to give back to the program and we raised over two million dollars specifically from former players for this stadium project," he said. In order to be considered for induc- tion into the Hall of Fame, former players needed to be five years removed from the exhaustion of their college eligibility. Candidates for induction were selected based on accolades earned as a player or coach while at Virginia, distinguishing ca- reers in amateur or professional base- ball and/or significant c o n t r i bu t i o n s t h r o u g h work or service made to the university. "We've been playing baseball for over a hundred years and so we should have a Hall of Fame," O'Connor said. "We should have the ability to recognize the for- mer players and coaches that have made significant contributions to this program over the years." A committee was established to evalu- ate the concept and put things into motion. In addition to O'Connor, the committee included former Virginia baseball sports information director Andy Fledderjohann, current SID Scott Fitzgerald, VAF repre- sentative Lo Davis, Jeff White from Virgi-, senior associate director of athletics Jane Miller and assistant AD for baseball administration Justin Armistead. "Everyone on the committee worked tire- lessly to bring this to fruition," O'Connor said. "Justin and Jane Miller re- ally spent the time determining what the nomination process and criteria should be to ultimately bring can- didates to a voting process and then to induct someone." T h e i n a u g u r a l c l a s s includes Brian Buchanan (1992-94), Mike Cubbage (1969-71), Sean Doolittle (2005-07), Seth Greisinger (1994-96), Danny Hultzen (2009-11), Joe Koshansky (2001-04), Javier Lopez (1996-98), Bill Narleski (1984-87), Mark Reynolds (2002-04), Eppa Rixey (1912-14), Jacob Thompson (2006-08), coach Jim West (1962-80), Tyler Wilson (2008-11), coach Dennis Womack (1981-2003) and Ryan Zimmerman (2003-05). — Greg Waters A total of 13 players and two coaches were part of the inaugural class for the UVA Baseball Hall of Fame. PHOTO COURTESY UVA

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