Baseball Program Picks its All-Time Greats
LONG BEACH, CA-- Long Beach State Baseball with help from a month-long internet poll chose the 30 greatest individuals associated with the 49er Baseball program from 1954 to 2006. National Player of the Year Jered Weaver was the top vote getter, followed by Major League veteran and former American League MVP Jason Giambi, Oakland A's shortstop Bobby Crosby, career batting average champion Don Barbara and the school's first All-American, Rob Townley. Over 100 players were nominated with the top-30 to be displayed on banners around Blair Field.
HERE IS A LIST THE ALL-TIME GREATS (alphabetical)
Kyle Abbott, Starting Pitcher, 1989
One of the originals during the team's run at Omaha in 1989, Abbott was the Dirtbags first staff ace, going 15-3 with a 2.73 ERA and becoming the first All-American at The Beach (second overall) in a decade. Abbott was the ninth overall selection of the Angels, reaching the Majors in 1991.
Abe Alvarez, Starting Pitcher, 2001-03
The all-time winningest lefthander in school-history (23-5), dominated the conference for two seasons (2.56 career ERA), earning back-to-back Big West Pitcher of the Year nods and creating maybe the best 1-2 punch in the NCAA in 2003, when Alvarez and Weaver combined to go 25-6 becoming the first set of teammates to earn co-conference pitcher of the year honors. The second round pick reached the Majors in 2004 and was one of many players to earn a World Series share for the Red Sox that season.
Don Barbara, First Baseman, 1989-90
An original Dirtbag on the CWS team in 1989, the 1990 Division-I hitter of the Year batted a record .474 in 1990 and finished his two-year career as the program's leading hitter of all-time at .426. He was also the program's first conference player of the year, earning the honor in 1990. His 102 hits were a school-record before the former assistant led three players past the record as part of the College World Series team in 1998.
Bobby Crosby, Shortstop, 1999-2001
The start of the Dirtbags recent success with shortstops, the former first round pick of the A's batted .324 in his career with 21 home runs and 92 RBIs. He was named Big West Player of the Year in 2001 and was the starting shortstop for Team USA. The American League Rookie of the Year in 2004, he has spent the last three full years in the Majors.
Dan Danielson, Starting Pitcher, 1978-79
A two-year letterman in the late 1970's, Danielson's best year came in 1979 when he led the team with a 10-4 record, 3.61 ERA and 71 strikeouts. The program set a then school-record for victories (40) and ranked as high as No. 30 nationally that season.
Mike "Pepe" Gallo, Starting Pitcher, 1997-99
A Long Beach native through and through, from Millikan High to Long Beach City College to the Dirtbags, Gallo emerged as the staff ace during the 1998 College World Series run. He went on to be named the Big West Pitcher of the Year in 1999 and went 16-6 with a 3.61 ERA over three seasons. He reached the Majors in 2003 as a reliever for the Astros.
Jason Giambi, Third Baseman, 1990-92
As a player at Long Beach State, the third baseman batted .397 in his career with 141 runs, 208 hits and 125 RBIs playing on the 1991 College World Series team. He is one of just a half dozen 49ers to be named all-conference three times. He went on to be named the American League MVP and has spent the last 12 seasons in the Majors as LBSU was the only four-year school to offer him a scholarship.
Chris Gill, Infielder, 1987-89
One of the few holdovers from the 1988 squad, he was the lone starter to return in 1989. He went from 45 losses in 1988 to a record 50 wins a year later under Dave Snow. Playing in a then-record 211 games he also set the school-record for hits (215). He earned first team accolades during his final year in 1989.
Gabe Gonzalez, Closer, 1992-95
The most dominating closer in Dirtbag history, Gonzalez set the single-season (20) and career record (46) for saves. His 121 relief appearances is un-matched, while is 2.42 career ERA is matched by just two pitchers in the 1970's. The two-time All-American had a cup of coffee with the Marlins in 1998.
Jeff Liefer, Third Baseman, 1993-95
One of the top hitters in the mid-1990's, the seven-year Major Leaguer hit .332 as a Dirtbag over 182 games with a record 230 hits, and 30 home runs. He also set the school-record for doubles (52), RBIs (160) and total bases (378) and finished second in runs scored (151).
Evan Longoria, Infielder, 2005-06
The highest-ever draft pick for the program (third in 2006), Longoria, was one of two Golden Spikes Award finalists. The All-American in 2006 produced the team's triple crown, leading the team in average (.364) home runs (9) and RBIs (39). He hit .336 in two seasons at LBSU developing from an undrafted prep player to a first round selection.
Chuck Lopez, Outfielder, 1997-2000
A true Dirtbag, Lopez became the school's all-time hit leader during his senior season and was a part of program's top hitting program in 1998. As part of that 1998 squad, Lopez set the single-eason record with 113 hits and also scored 77 runs. He earned first team All-Big West honors as a senior in 2000.
Randy Moffitt, Pitcher, 1968-69
One of the early 49er greats, who pitched during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. He was part of the 1969 conference champion 49ers as well. The brother of Billie Jean King, he spent 12 seasons in the Majors as a closer. He was amongst league leaders in saves from 1973 to 1976 while pitching for the Giants.
Jeremy Reed, Outfielder/First Baseman, 2000-02
A college roommate of fellow honoree, Bobby Crosby, he batted .326 over a three-year career to begin the next century, scoring 135 runs and driving in 110 runs. He finished second all-time in steals (54). He also led Team USA in batting during the 2002 season. His quick accent through the minors after being drafted second by the White Sox resulted in him being named the 2003 Minor League Player of the Year. He has spent the last three years in the Majors as the starting centerfielder for the Mariners.
Rob Townley, Outfielder, 1978-79
The 49ers first All-American in 1979, Townley was the first player with 100 hits in a season. Townley led the 49ers in hitting in 1979, at .422, the 20th-best mark in the nation, setting offensive records for home runs (14) and RBIs (70) in the process. His 28-game hit streak is also a school-record. He was a ninth round selection of the Royals. He finished his career with a record .404 career average and was second all-time wiht 17 home runs.
Steve Trachsel, Starting Pitcher, 1991
One of the longest tenured former Dirtbags in the Majors, the 14-year veteran spent just one season at The Beach, going 11-6 with a 2.78 ERA for the 1991 Omaha-bound Dirtbags. Trachsel and Steve Whitaker provided an impressive 1-2 punch going a combined 22-9 during the team's run.
Troy Tulowitzki, Shortstop, 2003-05
A first round pick in 2005, Tulowitzki spent just a year and a half in the minors before being promoted from Double-A in 2006. Over 155 career games he batted .310 with 20 home runs and 117 RBIs, while fielding at a .960 clip. A three-time All-Big West selection, he was named an All-American duirng the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He joined Crosby and Chris Gomez as starters on Team USA and as future Major League shortstops.
Terrmel Sledge, Outfielder, 1998-99
Part of the greatest hitting team in school-history, Sledge, Paul Day and Chuck Lopez slugged the Dirtbags into the 1998 College World Series. An accomplished hitter himself who came to LBSU after CS Northridge dropped its program, he batted .392 that year with 112 hits and a team-best 99 runs. The future Major Leaguer batted .369 over two seasons with 100 RBIs, 22 home runs and 171 runs.
Jason Vargas, Designated Hitter/Pitcher, 2004
One of just a handful of solid two-way players for the Dirtbags, he spent just one year at The Beach, teamming with Jered Weaver and Cesar Ramos to go a combined 27-5 during the Super Regional run in 2004. He also led the team in hitting batting .354. He spent just a year and a half in the minors before getting called up from Double-A in 2005.
Jered Weaver, Starting Pitcher, 2002-04
The 2004 national player of the year re-wrote the 49er record books, establishing records for wins (37-9), strikeotus (431) and innings (370.0), while also ranking fifth in career ERA (2.43). His most dominating year came in 2004 when he went 15-1 and posted a 1.62 ERA and the sixth-most strikeouts in NCAA history (213) becoming the 49ers first Golden Spikes Award winner and a consensus national player of the year. The two-time first team All-American was the 12th overall selection on the Angels in 2004.