100 YEARS OF FLORIDA BASEBALL
Top baseball players in Gator history: 100-51
Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.
The Sun's top 100 players in Gator baseball history were selected by Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley, who saw his first Florida baseball game when he was 9 years old.
Dooley made the selections but ran them by several journalists and former players for feedback before finalizing the list. Among them were WRUF's Larry Vettel, former players Jeff Cardozo and Nick Belmonte, FightinGators.com's Cody Jones and Florida baseball sports information director John Hines.
But don't blame them if you don't like the selections. This is still Dooley's list, for better or for worse.
Here are UF's top players, ranked 100-51:
100. Justin Tordi: May have been the best fielding shortstop to play at Florida. If he could have hit at all, he would have shot up this list.
99. Jim Courier: Won 21 games during his Florida career from 1967-69 and his 2.16 ERA is the fourth best in school history.
98. Harry Coe: One of the first Gators to be named to the All-SEC team, Coe made it as a pitcher in 1953.
97. Brandon McArthur: Makes the list because his is the best story for UF baseball, coming back from near death because of a brain injury to become an All-SEC player.
96. John Tamargo: Tamargo had two major leaguers on each side of him (David Eckstein and Mark Ellis), but the shortstop was the soul of the '96 team.
95. Wayne Rogers: Had an ERA of 0.91 in 1968 and threw four shutouts two years later. ... Finished career with second best ERA at UF with 1.67.
94. Chris Lombardozzi: In 1985, the second baseman belted 23 doubles, the second best total in UF history.
93. Kevin Chapman: Came into his own in his junior year (2010) when he recorded 11 saves and had an ERA of 1.65.
92. Brian Rose: His .357 batting average in 2003 was the second best for a UF catcher and he is second all-time in being hit by pitches.
91. Ross Baumgarten: The future MLB pitcher had a stellar 1977 season when he threw nine complete games and won them all.
90. Derek Nicholson: Nicholson was a hitting machine during his one season at Florida and delivered the base hit that would send UF to the 1998 CWS.
89. Nick Belmonte: His 42 stolen bases in 1976 are still the best in the history of Gator baseball and he was an All-South selection.
88. Danny Eggart: He was an All-SEC pitcher in 1963 when he won 10 games and his 24 wins as a Gator are the seventh best in the program's history.
87. Avery Barnes: Barnes knew how to find his way to third base and home, as he is third in UF history in triples with 12, and the 76 runs he scored in 2009 are seventh best all-time.
86. Rich Bombard: Bombard was the MVP of the 1982 SEC Tournament and was an all-SEC performer that season. ... He threw an amazing 11 complete games in '82.
85. Bruce Baker: Baker recorded the lowest ERA at UF since baseball went to aluminum bats with a 1.51 in 1975. ... Finished his career with a 17-6 record. ... Career ERA of 2.80 tied for sixth in UF history.
84. Paul Rigdon: Rigdon was a huge factor in Florida's run in 1996 when he recorded nine wins and 10 saves for the College World Series team.
83. Jim Yonker: All-SEC player hit .358 in 1981 which stands as the best batting average for a Florida second baseman. ... Also hit 11 homers in '81.
82. Tony Socarras: The catcher went bombs away in 2000 when he hit 19 homers, a total that is the sixth best ever at UF. ... Also had 64 RBIs that season.
81. Javier Ortiz: Ortiz was a powerful bat whose .392 average in 1982 was the 10th best in the history of the program for a single season.
80. Sammy Rick: One of the best defensive outfielders to play for the Gators, Rick was named All-SEC in 1974.
79. Ron Scott: Won 11 games in 1991 as Florida reached the CWS. ... His 17-4 career record is the best percentage in UF history for pitchers with a minimum of 20 decisions.
78. Brian Reimsnyder: The UF outfielder was eighth all-time in on-base percentage and was one of the heroes of Florida's SEC Tournament title run in 1988, earning MVP honors.
77. C.W. Price: A top outfielder during the Dave Fuller era, Price was named to the All-SEC first team in 1961.
76. Alex Panteliodis: “Pants” won 23 games in three seasons for Florida and went 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 when Florida went to the final. ... Career ERA of 3.81. ... Won 11 games as a sophomore in 2010.
75. Danny Wheeler: In 1994, he was a closer who had 13 saves, tied for the most in UF history. ... Switched to a starting role, Wheeler threw three complete-game shutouts the following season.
74. Cole Figueroa: Hit .344 in SEC games during the 2007-08 seasons, including a .550 average in SEC Tournament games. ... Was named first-team freshman All-American by Baseball America.
73. Joey Fernandez: An All-SEC selection in 1987 and his .704 slugging percentage is sixth best in UF history.
72. Casey Smith: A pure hitter, the transfer's .372 career batting average is the second best in Florida history. ... Key player in Florida's run to the CWS in 1998.
71. Scott Lusader: Hit .400 in 1985 and finished his two-year career at Florida with a .356 average. ... Was named All-SEC in 1985.
70. Chris Wiggs: In addition to being a stellar infielder, Wiggs' .351 career batting average ranks eighth all-time. ... All-SEC selection in 1995, Andy Lopez's first season.
69. Darren McClellan: Became the ace of Andy Lopez's first team at UF, winning 11 games in 1995. ... Finished fourth all-time in UF history with 296 strikeouts.
68. Chuck Hazzard: One of the keys to Florida's CWS appearance in 1996, Hazzard ended his career with 32 homers. The biggest of them won an extra-inning NCAA regional game against South Florida.
67. Brian LeClerc: Had bookend seasons (as a freshman and a senior) hitting over .300 for UF. ... Finished career with 27 homers despite a junior slump. ... Hit .366 in NCAA Tournament in 2005 as Florida reached finals.
66. David Ross: The catcher played only one season after transferring from Auburn, but what a season. ... Hit 19 homers, 21 doubles and scored 54 runs as the '98 Gators reached the CWS.
65. Johnny Wiggs: Left-handed pitcher won 11 games in 1988 and 12 more the following year. ... All-SEC performer ranks sixth all-time in innings pitched and holds UF single-season record for pickoffs with 23.
64. Tommy Boss: Boss ranks 10th in career innings pitched and always seemed to be at his best in the postseason. ... Twice he was named to all-NCAA regional teams and won three postseason games for UF's CWS finalists in 2005.
63. Justin Hoyman: Hoyman's 11-2 season in 2004 was one of the best for a Gator pitcher. ... He was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Award and was named SEC pitcher of the year.
62. Charles Anderson: Talk about getting people out, Anderson has the best career ERA in Florida history at 1.04. ... He has two of the top ERAs in UF history in 1963 and '64.
61. John Pricher: Florida's all-time saves leader with 25, Pricher had 11 saves in 1992. ... He ranks seventh on the UF list for career strikeouts.
60. Connor Falkenbach: The closer ate up relief innings like nobody else before him, making the most appearances ever for a Gator with 51 on Pat McMahon's national finalists in 2005.
59. Rudy Simpson: Simpson, who passed away in 2004, was Florida's first full-scholarship baseball player. ... He was an All-SEC pitcher in 1954 and was also the league's MVP. ... Flirted with SEC batting title in '54 as well.
58. Bobby Barnes: It may be a record for being named All-SEC and All-American in two seasons so far apart, but Barnes did it as a catcher when he was a freshman in 1953 and as an outfielder in '58 after missing two years to be in the service.
57. Brian Duva: Florida's all-time stolen base leader with 103, he also has the most triples in Florida history with 21. ... Played from 1991-94.
56. Steven Rodriguez: He was known as “Paco” and was one of the best relievers during Florida's recent run to the CWS finals. ... His 2.19 ERA is the best in UF history since aluminum bats were introduced.
55. John Fuller: The son of legendary Florida coach Dave Fuller, John was one of the best defensive catchers of his era and had pop in his bat. ... Named All-SEC in both 1973 and '74.
54. Dave Falcone: Second all-time in UF history in slugging percentage, Falcone hit 19 homers in 1981 and hit .352 for his career.
53. Bernie Parrish: Parrish played from 1956-58 and was Florida's first All-American in '58 when he hit .433 and led the team in home runs and RBIs. ... Passed up his senior year to turn pro, but ended up becoming an All-Pro defensive back for the Cleveland Browns.
52. Herbert Perry: Led the 1989 Gator team with a .370 batting average and helped Florida to its first two College World Series while doubling as a Gator quarterback and punter.
51. Richard Trapp: Known more for his exploits on the football field, Trapp was a slick-fielding shortstop who was All-SEC in 1967 and '68.
Check Gatorsports.com on Thursday to see which former Gators made it into the top 50-11.