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The History of Tulane Baseball

1998 Tulane Baseball Media Guide

an update of years 1998 - 2002 will be appended to the end of the story

historicalteam.jpg (132370 bytes)

click to enlarge

  After 100 years and more than 1,200 victories, Tulane baseball begins its second century of competition.   From vacant lots and intramural competition to night games and sleeveless uniforms, Green Wave baseball teams have competed.  

  On May 12, 1893, a team of Tulanians went to Baton Rouge to play what was the first scheduled intercollegiate baseball game in the history of Tulane. 

  Tulane lost 10-8, but the reason for the defeat, according to the Tulane team, seems to be a bit strange in view of the athletic rivalry which has developed between Tulane and Louisianan State. 

  The Tulane teams was, it declared, greatly weakened by LSU's hospitality.   There was a dance on the night before the game which lasted until 3 a.m. Someone, it appears, slipped some libations into the punch bowl. 

  In 1899, Tulane became a member of what was called the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association formed by 19 colleges and universities.  

  In 1916, however, Tulane had problems with finances and a lack of interest from the student body, so a number of games were cancelled and the Green Wave only played five games, including four with the tigers. 

With the problems of 1916, Tulane officials decided that it would be in the best interest of the university to not have a team in 1917. 

After a two-year hiatus, several students pleaded with university officials to have a baseball team in 1919.  That season, Tulane finished with a 6-3 record, but baseball fell by the wayside again and was absent until 1923. 

In September of 1922, a meeting of the Tulane Athletic Council took place, discussing the future of Tulane baseball.  A suggestions by Dr. A. B. Dinwiddie to hire Bruce Hays to coach the Green Wave for a salary of $300 was unanimously approved by the council. 

After a poor 2-8-2 season in 1923, Claude Simmons Sr. Took over as head coach in 1924.  After a very successful opening season, finishing with a 9-4 record, Simmons' teams struggled, and in his final season, Tulane was winless, finishing 0-9.  Minutes from the old Tulane Athletic Council show that the support from the student body and alumni was obsolete. 

Again, in the early 1930s, baseball at Tulane could only be seen being played on the campus in unorganized pickup games.  However, students petitioned to bring baseball back and to have baseball properly funded so that it would be successful in the future. 

The petition was the turning point for the future of Tulane baseball as the Athletic Council honored the students request and baseball was returned 1937.

In 1938, Claude "Monk" Simons Jr. became Tulane's head coach.  Simons was hired to attempt to gain the interest of the student body and to rejuvenate baseball at Tulane. 

Simons coached from 1938-41 and 1943-49 and compiled a 105-69 record, including seven winning seasons, and was considered the coach to get Tulane baseball headed in the right direction. 

One of Simons' best years was in 1945 when the Green Wave finished 21-5 and was led by Bobby Brown.   Brown, who was the American League President from 1984 to 1994, earned nicknames such as the "Tulane Tornado" and Beltin Bobby."  He hit for a .444 average in 1945. 

Brown went on to play for the New York Yankees and in four World Series.  He retired from baseball in 1954 with a .279 lifetime average. 

Another one of Simons' products was outfielder Ben Abadie.  Abadie hit for over a .300 career average at Tulane and led the Green Wave to a 17-3 record in 1948 and a 14-8 in 1949. 

Abadie coached the Green Wave from 1955-57 and again from 1964-66, when he retired from the position due to a back injury.  He retired with a 70-62-1 record and turned over the reins as head coach to one of his former players, Milt Retif.

Retif coached for eight seasons becoming Tulane's winningest coach in baseball history with a 123-73 record.  After a 8-12 inaugural season and going 10-10 in his second season, Retif had six straight winning seasons, 15-3 in '69, 15-7 in '70, 16-10 in '71, 23-6 in '72, 15-13 in '73 and 21-12 in his final season. 

In the summer of 1974, Tulane announced that Joe Brockhoff, one of the most successful coaches in high school baseball, would become the Green Wave's next head coach.   In his first season, the Green Wave finished with a 24-11 record, the most wins in a single season by a Tulane team. 

1979 was a year that Tulane baseball made history.  On May 13, against Florida State, Kenny Francingues pitched a complete game to defeat the Seminoles 5-2, to win its first Metro Conference Championship.   The win was also the firt Metor Championship for the school in any sport. 

Tulane's win automatically qualified them for the NCAA tournament, the first time that the Green Wave appeared in postseason competition.   The Green Wave, however, lost its first tow games to Murray State and Mississippi State. 

It took just five years for Brockhoff to become Tulane's winningest coach.  On March 29, 1979, the Green Wave defeated Stetson 12-2 giving Brockhoff his 124th win at Tulane. 

From 1982-87, the Green Wave won no fewer than 38 games, hit the 40-win plateau five out of six years and compiled a record of 259-104. 

During that period, Coach Brockhoff's crew made three trips to the NCAA Regionals ('83, '86 and '87), and in 1986, Tulane was one game away from advancing to the College World Series as the Green Wave lost to LSU 7-6 in the championship game of the South I Regional in Baton Rouge. 

in 1992, Tulane was back in the limelight.  The Green Wave finished with a 39-24 record and a bid back to the NCAA Regional.   After a 33-22 finish in regular season play, and a 9-9 record in Metro Conference play, Tulane was seeded fourth in the Metro Tournament.  For the first time, the Green Wave played host to the tournament, and it paid off. 

On May 16, 10 years after its last title, the Green Wave won the Metro Conference Tournament title, winning five straight games to gain the automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals. 

Rick Jones took over the reins in 1994 and became the first Green Wave head coach to lead Tulane to the NCAA Regionals in his inaugural year.   The Wave finished 41-24 in Jones' first season after finishing second in the Metro Tournament and winning one of three games in the NCAA South Regional at Baton Rouge.

In 1996 the Green Wave won the first ever Conference USA Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament for the second time under coach Jones.   The 1997 team won the school's first ever regular season baseball championship, going 19-7 in Conference USA action to clinch the second championship trophy in 2 years. 

***1998**  additional information

The 1998 season was a turning point in Green Wave baseball history, winning 48 games.  The team was full of hitters, including Chad Sutter (1996 Freshman All American), Jason Sparks (1998 Collegiate Baseball All-American), Andy Cannizaro, Brian Hughes, Jake Burnham, and Keith Graffagnini.  Pitching was also plentiful, including 13 game winner Josh Bobbit (1998 Collegiate Baseball All-American).  Raul Echeverz and Craig Brown.  The team won both the Conference USA regular season Championship, and the Conference Tournament.   The 1998 Green Wave finished the season by winning 17 of its last 18 games before going to the South II Regional at Baton Rouge.   Unfortunately, the luck didn't hold out, and after defeating USL 11-5 in the first game, the Green Wave lost the next 2.  Final record for the season was 48-15.


Following the 48 win season of 1998, Tulane picked up right where they left off, and won another 48 games in 1999, finishing at 48-17.   Incoming freshmen Jake Gautreau (2000 and 2001 All American), and James Juries (1999 Freshman of the Year), added strength to the lineup of Chad Sutter, Jason Sparks, Andy Cannizaro,  Matt Groff, and Mickey McKee.  Pitching included Henry Bonilla and Brandon Belanger.   The Green Wave finished 2nd in the regular season, but then won the C-USA conference tournament, earning the Green Wave their 1st number 1 seed in the NCAA Regionals.  Unfortunately, the Green Wave did not win the bid to host the regional, so they were sent to Auburn.   

Once there, the Green Wave dropped their 1st game, 8-7, then stormed back to win the next 3.   The Green Wave was able to beat Auburn 7-5 in the first game of the championship game, but fell 13-9 in the final game. 

The post-season awards were plentiful for the Green Wave, as Chad Sutter, James Jurries, Henry Bonilla, Andy Cannizaro, and Brandon Belanger were all picked to various ALL - AMERICAN teams. 

James Jurries was picked the National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, and Collegiate Baseball Insider. 


The 2000 season kept the post season string alive, as Tulane finished with a record of 38-22-1, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.   A trio of pitchers and hitters were the mainstay of the team.  Gautreau, Jurries and Shirley accounted for 37 of the team's 53 home runs, and Berkowitz, Belanger, and Bonilla accounted for 25 of the 38 wins, and 12 of the 14 saves.   

The Green Wave defeated South Alabama, 4-3 in the Starkville Regional, but then lost 2 games to Notre Dame.  

The season did end on a high note for one player, as Jake Gautreau was named 2000 Conference USA player of the year.   Jake was named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association. 

Jared Berkowitz got into the post season awards, as he was named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball. 


Senior leadership.   While most people talk about leadership, few can understand what it can mean to a team.  The five seniors on the team - Matt Groff, Jay Heintz, Steve Shirley, Barth Melius, and Andy Cannizaro, are the only Tulane class to play in four consecutive NCAA Regionals.  They went to Baton Rouge in 1998, Auburn in 1999, Mississippi State in 2000, and played before the home crowd in 2001.  

Freshmen impact players.   Michael Aubrey, the 2001 Freshman of the Year (Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball), along with Anthony Giarratano (Freshman All Conference), and catchers Scott Madden (C-USA All Conference Tournament Team), Matt Mann, and Wyn Spencer, all made major contributions to the team.  Joey Charron, WIll Walter, Kris Kline, and Dirck Hoagland all contributed with quality innings throughout the season. 

The Green Wave stormed out of the gate, winning their first 8 contests.   The followed that by winning 18 of their first 21, and ending up the regular season by winning 22 of their last 24 games.   

In the post season, Tulane dropped their first C-USA Tournament game, and then won 5 straight out of the losers bracket, to win the C-USA Tournament Championship, defeating South Florida 21-4. 

For the first time in Tulane history, the Green Wave hosted a NCAA Regional, with Southern, Oklahoma State, and Ole Miss participating.  

Tulane started off the regional by defeating Southern by the score of 22-9.  Tulane's power continued in the second game, as they defeated Oklahoma State 13-10.   Tulane then faced Oklahoma State in the Championship, and defeated 9-8, on a two out, bases loaded, two run single by James Jurries.    Joey Charron picked up his third consecutive win by pitching 1.2 innings, and allowing only one run. 

Tulane was paired up with LSU in the Super Regional, and because of the potential audience, Zephyr field was chosen as the location. 

In the first game, Tulane loses a heart breaker, 4-3 in 13 innings.  Anthony Giarratano went 5-6, and Aubrey drove in a pair of runs. 

On Saturday, with a win, LSU would be on their way to the College World Series.  The Green Wave had other ideas.  Tulane jumped on the tigers, with a 4 run 1st, and Jon Kaplan started it all with a lead off home run.   Andy Cannizaro added a home run in the seventh, but LSU would come back with 4 runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Tulane held a 7-4 lead.   Tulane would end the game with 2 runs in the top of the ninth.  Nick Bourgeois went 6 innings for the win, and Joey Charron retired 7 of the 9 batters he faced to get the save. 


The day every pitcher dreams of - take command of a Championship game.  A game that would send your team to the College World Series.   Beau Richardson reached out and caught that dream by pitching a complete game.  Nine innings, scattering 7 hits, and striking out 8 batters.   Tulane won the game 7-1, as James Jurries drove in 2 runs, and Andy Cannizaro scored 2 runs.  With the win, Tulane qualified for the College World Series.  




More to come, as I have time to type it....




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