100 YEARS OF FLORIDA BASEBALL
Top baseball players in Gator history: 50-11
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:42 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 50-11:
50. Alan Horne: Horne only pitched for a year at Florida after transferring from Ole Miss, but he was the ace of a Gator team that went to the CWS finals. Finished 10-2 that season, one of the top winning percentages in a season for a Gator.
49. Tony Stevens: Stevens had the hat trick of making All-SEC, All-SEC Tournament and All-Regional in 1979 when he knocked in 74 runs, the seventh best single-season total.
48. Ben Harrison: One of the top sluggers in Florida history, Harrison ranks in the top eight all-time in runs, home runs, RBIs and total bases.
47. Dave Majeski: Majeski ranks in the top 10 all-time in UF history in games, starts, hits and stolen bases. ... All-SEC in 1992.
46. Dale Willis: Willis was All-SEC in 1956 and was a strikeout artist during his career. In his senior season, he averaged 11.9 strikeouts a game and is a member of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame.
45. Jerry Bilyk: The catcher is one of the few players in Florida history to be named All-SEC in consecutive years. He did it in 1955 and '56.
44. Steve Lombardozzi: Another player who had a hat trick, Lombo did it in 1981 when he was All-SEC, all-regional and All-SEC Tournament.
43. Jason Dill: The unassuming Dill burst on the scene as a freshman in 1998 with a freshman-record 16 homers. Two years later, he hit .406 for the season and finished his career with 32 homers.
42. Pete Teixeira: Back in the days when pitchers finished what they started, Teixeira was one of the best. His five solo shutouts and 17 complete games rank as the best at UF.
41. Nolan Fontana: Fontana had a knack for getting big hits and hitting unexpected homers for the UF teams that went to three straight CWS. But he was in the lineup for his glove. The shortstop was three times voted to the All-SEC defensive team.
40. Ryan Shealy: Shealy was one of the best sluggers to play at Florida. His 39 career homers rank sixth and he is second for a single season in hits, homers and RBIs.
39. Pat Osborn: Osborn hit .414 in 2002, which is the second-best average in Gator history. He was All-SEC that year, and his 104 hits are tied for the single-season record at UF.
38. Allen Trammell: Trammell is well-known for his football exploits and friendship with Steve Spurrier, but he also has the best single season batting average after hitting .425 in 1965.
37. Adam Davis: His 90 hits in 2005 are the second best recorded by a Florida second baseman. He scored 187 runs in his career and is fifth all-time in double plays turned.
36. Tim Olson: Olson had a special 2000 season once he was moved from shortstop to center field. He was All-SEC, the MVP of the Waco Regional and hit .394 with 75 RBIs.
35. Russ Kibler: He was All-SEC in 1984 and is third all-time with his 15 complete games that season. Also had 111 strikeouts in '84.
34. Brian Jeroloman: There was nobody better at throwing out baserunners than the strong-armed Jeroloman. He also had a knack for coming up with huge hits for Pat McMahon's 2005 CWS finalists.
33. Burt Touchberry: Not only was he an All-SEC pitcher in 1957, Touchberry still holds the record for lowest ERA in a season at 0.81. His career ERA was 2.33.
32. Jeff Corsaletti: The heart and soul of Florida's 2005 SEC champs and CWS finalists, Corsaletti flirted with .400 that season when he finished with 100 hits. Fifth all-time in hits and also had 159 career RBIs.
31. Jim Watkins: Florida's first first-round draft pick, Watkins ranks second in steals for a season, and had 65 over the 1978 and '79 seasons. Also hit .362 for his career.
30. David Bowden: Doubled as a Florida quarterback but was a much better baseball player. Bowden was named all-SEC twice.
29. Kevin Polcovich: In the conversation when it comes to talking about the best Gator shortstops. Polcovich was named to the 1991 CWS all-tournament team.
28. Hudson Randall: His 52 starts are the third most at Florida and he has the second most wins in UF history with 28. Helped Florida reach the CWS three straight years.
27. Matt den Dekker: Perhaps the best center fielder in Florida history, he was named to the All-SEC defensive team a record three times. Also fourth all-time in runs scored and in the top 10 in career home runs.
26. Greg Catalanotte: Catalanotte was one of the best right fielders in Florida history. In addition to his strong right arm, his .620 slugging percentage was the sixth best at UF and his 23 doubles in 1998 are the second highest total.
25. Bob Bonanno: All-time leader in career strikeouts with 392. His 28 wins are tied for the second most in Gator history. Opponents hit only .201 against him.
24. Darren O'Day: It's not easy to be a 20-20 guy in college baseball, but O'Day did it. He won 23 games and saved another 20 for Florida. He finished his career third in appearances.
23. Josh Adams: Adams finished his career with the second most assists and most double plays in Gator history. He was All-SEC in 2008 and '09 and finished his career with 287 hits, the third best total in UF history.
22. Mario Linares: A member of the CWS all-tournament team in 1991, Linares made All-SEC as a designated hitter in 1988 and as a catcher in 1991. His 60 doubles are the third-best total in Florida history.
21. Austin Maddox: Whether he was at the plate or on the mound, Maddox was an intimidating force. He was the SEC freshman of the year in 2010 and his 17 saves rank fifth all-time.
20. Rodney Brewer: Brewer was infamous for a dropped fly ball in a regional against Miami, but the two-sport athlete was a powerful designated hitter who twice had 21 doubles in a season (1986 and '87).
19. Mike Stanley: Stanley was a three-time All-SEC player in 1982, '84 and '85. His .350 career average ranks ninth all-time for Florida and he also ranks ninth in career hits.
18. Mark Kiger: Kiger was one of the best hitters for Andy Lopez's teams in the early 2000s. He hit .403 in 2002 and ranks in the top 10 in almost every offensive category. He also ranks sixth all-time in double plays turned.
17. Roger Holt: Holt was a strong defensive shortstop who was Florida's only All-SEC selection in 1977. His 10 triples in '77 are the fourth best at UF and his 32 stolen bases that year are 10th. He is eighth all-time in assists.
16. Josh Fogg: As a freshman, Fogg struggled mightily, but he rebounded to be one of the best closers in Florida history. Fogg was All-SEC in 1998 and his 22 career saves rank second all-time at UF. Fogg had 236 strikeouts in his three-year career.
15. Brian Johnson: Florida's run to three straight CWS was aided greatly by this two-way player. Johnson was a starting pitcher in the weekend rotation and a hitting machine at first base. He was named All-SEC in 2011 and '12 and was named the winner of the John Olerud Award for best two-way player in 2012 when he was 8-5 and hit .307.
14. Scott Ruskin: Ruskin was Brad Wilkerson before Brad Wilkerson. He was All-SEC as an outfielder in 1984 and as a pitcher in '85. He hit .406 in 1984 and his career average of .367 is the third best in UF history.
13. Doug Corbett: Ask anyone who watched Gator baseball during the early 1970s, and they will have a Doug Corbett story. Like the time he hit a homer that landed where the O'Dome stands now or the time he pitched both ends of a doubleheader. Corbett was All-SEC in 1974, had a 1.97 ERA in '73 and 2.45 for his career.
12. Perry McGriff: McGriff was one of the best two-sport athletes to play at Florida, doubling as a wide receiver in football and an outfielder in baseball. He was twice named All-SEC in 1958 and '59 and was a first-team All-American in '58 (second team in '59.) He is a member of the UF athletic Hall of Fame.
11. Jeff Gidcumb: Gidcumb was an innings-eater who pitched Florida to its first College World Series appearance in 1988. Gidcumb won 16 games that season (25 for his career) and was the most valuable player of the East regional. His 151 innings pitched in '88 are the most for a UF player.
Check Gatorsports.com on Friday to see which former Gators made it into the top 10.