One of the things I love about doing previews for all 297 Division One teams in this great country of ours is discovering so many cool names among the numerous players I’m researching.
Being an old school college football fan, I still remember such 70s greats as I.M. Hipp, Major Ogilvie, Johnny “Lam” Jones, Harlan Huckleby, Bubba Bean and Elvis Peacock (Trivia Q: Name the position and teams for each). So every pre-season, I like to scour the rosters of all these college baseball teams and pick out the best names I can find. Though granted, college football has much more colorful names than baseball, I must admit.
So without further ado, here are the best of the best I could find during my months in The Cave doing what I do each winter. Here is the college baseball version of theâ€¦
THE 2012 ALL NAME TEAM
1B- Goose Kallunki, Utah Valley
The great Goose is one of five .300+ hitters in the Wolverine lineup which should dominate the Great West once again. Kallunki has hit .300+ in all three of his previous seasons in Orem.
2B- Etienne Farquharson, North Carolina Central
A senior from the Bahamas, Farquharson hit . 308 and .282 in his last two seasons with the Eagles after transferring from Pensacola J.C. New coach Jim Koerner will be relying on Etienne to help ease into MEAC play for the first season.
3B- Dustin Torchio, Pacific
The Tiger torcher led the Big West in hitting at .369 last season and is one of seven returning regulars in the order, giving hope for a much-better team batting average (.277 last year) and to lead coach Ed Sprague’s charges to win-total that is better than last year’s 17-win season.
SS- Kris Kwak, North Dakota
With instincts beyond reproach, Kwak is a crack-shot infielder after hitting .339 last season and should help solidify the Fighting Sioux infield and batting order. Kwak hopes to lead UND to its first winning mark since 2005.
C- John Crummy, Miami Univ.
Only played in five games last season, but with Adam Weisenburger graduating, the backstop job is his for the taking. Crummy or not, the Redskins have a lot of able-bodied performers coming back who could help improve that 35-win season of 2011.
OF- Will Piwnica-Worms, Duke
The most awkward name for any stadium P.A. to announce in college baseball. WPW hit .317 and .313 in the two years before the bats change. Piwnica-Worms hit just .264 last season, but is aiming for more in 2012â€¦ just like the Blue Devils.
OF- Zach Zott, Michigan
If Zach transfers to UC Irvine, he’ll give “Zot” a double meaning. Now worries, because the former Butler football commit is all Wolverine. The imposing 6’3″ outfielder should make a huge impact in his first season in Ann Arbor.
OF- Seth Batty, UC Davis
The “Battman” has been a part-time starter each of the last two years (he was .292 with 12SBs in 2010 but dipped to .205 last season). If he’s 100% he’ll team with OFs David Popkins and Brett Morgan to form a swift meadow for the rebuilding Aggies.
DH- Lacy Jackson, Texas Southern
Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing soft and frilly about this backstop. A 5’10, 205-block hit .272 for the Tigers and is a four-year starter. He will have another great name coming in to aid the cause in OF Ford Jerry. Yes, Ford is the first name.
P- Blaze Tart, UNC Wilmington
As a former 33rd-round draft pick, Tart was anything but sweet to opponents, gaining a 2-0 record with five saves last season before being shut down in mid-stream due to an injury. The Seahawks return nine of their top 10 pitchers, but Blaze could be the big key to getting UNCW back in at-large consideration.
P- Chase Traffica, Louisiana
Okay, so you don’t want to give his name to your new puppy, but the Cajuns like having him on the mound. In two years, Traffica has made 22 appearances, going 4-3 and holding opposing hitters to a .263 average. With only one returning weekend starter, Traffica could be chasing a Saturday or Sunday spot.
P- Zack Tax, Columbia
After posting numbers like this: 2-0, 3.63, .221OBA, tax was far more taxing on his opponents than anyone else in his frosh season. He’ll pair with another All Name Team candidate, Harrison Slutsky, to form a solid middle-relief corps for the Lions.
P- Duke Von Schamann, Texas Tech.
The son of former Sooner kicking legend Uwe Von Schamann, Duke was just as cool and smooth as his old man, going 5-0, 3.92 in his freshman year and even became the Sunday starter by the end of the season.
In case you want to see one of the great kicks in college football history, here’s Uwe’s winning boot vs. Ohio State in 1977:
(Note a couple things from the vid. 1- That’s Elvis Peacock (#4) blocking on the left end. 2- Von Schamann famously extolled the Buckeye crowd when they started the “Block That Kick” chant. 3- Woody Hayes angrily slaps away a fan wanting a handshake at the end (shocking, I know). And 4- That’s the play-by-play voice of Keith Jackson, the best announcer in college football history)
Coach- Spanky McFarland, James Madison
The longtime Dukes head coach has led his team to the NCAA tournament in two of the last four seasons and is favored to win the Colonial once again this year.
Coach- Waskyla Cullivan, Prairie View
Cullivan is making his presence felt in the SWAC, being one of only three teams to finish with a winning record last season (25-21) and will have a senior-dominated team on the field this season.
Big Names to Live Up To:
- RHP Hank Williams Jr., Southeast Missouri State
- RHP Michael Jordan, California
- RHP Glenn Frye, North Carolina Central
- OF James Taylor, Norfolk State
- OF Turner Gill, Portland
- RHP, Leif Sorenson, UMass
- RHP, Bo Stitch, Central Arkansas