Bobby Richardson to be honored as SEC baseball legend

From the University of South CarolinaMay 15, 2014 

Bobby Richardson

FILE PHOTO

Former South Carolina head coach Bobby Richardson will be honored by the Southeastern Conference as a member of the 2014 class of SEC Baseball Legends Presented by AT&T at the 2014 SEC Baseball Tournament May 20-25 at the Hoover Met in Hoover, Ala.

“The SEC Baseball Legends Presented by AT&T allows us to honor the deep tradition and history of baseball in our league and show why the SEC is the nation’s premier baseball conference,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “We are grateful to our friends at AT&T for helping to continue to make this program possible.”

The 2014 class features Richardson, Phil Garner, Tennessee; Jake Gibbs, Ole Miss; Jay Powell, Mississippi State. Four legends are recognized each year, with representatives from Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Florida set to be honored in 2015.

The 2013 class featured Hal Baird, Auburn; Terry Shumpert, Kentucky; Skip Bertman, LSU; and Gene McArtor, Missouri. The inaugural class in 2012 included: Dr. Jeffrey Laubenthal, Alabama; Kevin McReynolds, Arkansas; Brad Wilkerson, Florida and Rev. Reggie Andrews, Georgia.

“AT&T is excited to be part of the SEC Baseball Legends program. Our presenting sponsorship further solidifies our relationship with and commitment to the Southeastern Conference” said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “We couldn’t be happier to support the conference in honoring these legendary coaches and former student-athletes for their successes on and off the playing field.”

Each legend will be recognized individually throughout the two quarterfinal matchups on Friday and will have on-field recognition and an awards presentation by Commissioner Slive on Saturday, May 24, during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Fans will have an opportunity for autographs and photos with the honorees at the AT&T Legends Pavilion immediately following. The Legends will also participate in the annual SEC Youth Clinic on Friday morning.

BOBBY RICHARDSON- South Carolina; Coach: 1970-1976

Often considered the father of South Carolina baseball, Richardson established the Gamecock program as a national power in the 1970s. During his tenure from 1970-76, he led South Carolina to three NCAA Tournament appearances including a 1975 appearance in the College World Series. Prior to his coaching career, he was an eight-time all-star for the New York Yankees and was named the 1960 World Series MVP. Richardson was hired by South Carolina athletics director Paul Dietzel in 1970 with a mandate to put the baseball program on the map. He was the Gamecocks’ first full-time baseball coach; previously the program had been headed by part-timers, usually an assistant football coach or physical education professor, and had been a .500 program at best for the last 67 years. Richardson started slowly, having never coached or managed a team before. His first record of 14-20 would be South Carolina’s last losing record over the next 30 years. During the next two seasons, he expanded the Gamecocks’ schedule and led the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1974. That set the stage for the ’75 season in which South Carolina posted a 51-6-1 record and made the College World Series for the first time ever. The Gamecocks advanced all the way to the national championship game against Texas (a 5-1 Longhorns’ victory). Richardson left South Carolina in 1976, finishing his tenure with a 221-92-1 record and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He then ran for United States Congress, losing to the incumbent by a narrow margin. His professional career was spent as a second baseman for the New York Yankees from 1955-66. He was known as a superb defensive infielder and a clutch hitter. In the 1960 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Richardson hit .367 and drove in 12 runs and was named Most Valuable Player — he remains to this day the only World Series MVP who played for the losing team. His best overall season was 1962, when he hit .302 with eight home runs.

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