Hall of Fame passes on Hawaii great Tatsuno
Former University of Hawaii pitcher Derek Tatsuno fell short of induction into the new College Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday.
"Was I supposed to get in?" the 1979 All-American asked yesterday. "It's the Hall of Fame, there were many more deserving names on the list than mine."
Tatsuno played for UH from 1977 to 1979, winning 40 games and losing only six while sporting a 2.04 earned-run average with 541 strikeouts in 402 1/3 innings. He was the NCAA's first 20-game winner in 1979, when he struck out a record 234 batters.
He was named one of three NCAA Division I Players of the Century in 1998 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper along with Oklahoma State's Pete Incaviglia and Phil Stephenson of Wichita State.
All three missed out on induction yesterday, but will be eligible for future ballots.
"That's a travesty," Tatsuno's former teammate and current major league scout Eric Tokunaga said. "Not only was he one of the best college pitchers ever, he could have been an All-American outfielder."
Dave Winfield (Minnesota), Will Clark (Mississippi State), Bob Horner (Arizona State), Brooks Kieschnick (Texas) and Robin Ventura (Oklahoma State) made the cut.
The late Rod Dedeaux, who helped Southern California win 11 College World Series titles -- including an unprecedented five straight from 1970 to 1974 -- headlined the list of coaches included in the hall's first class.
Also elected were LSU's Skip Bertman, Miami's Ron Fraser, Texas' Cliff Gustafson and Arizona State's Bobby Winkles.
"In talking to the guys elected, several of them were emotional about it," said John Askins, chairman and CEO of the College Baseball Foundation, which established the hall. "Many of them said this would probably be the highest honor they would achieve in their careers."
The honorees were the top 10 vote-getters from a list of 34 nominees, selected by an 80-member committee consisting of current and retired head coaches, former players, NCAA commissioners, sports information directors and media. Voting was based solely on players' and coaches' college achievements.
"This is really very special because it's the first class," Askins said. "I think this is very important for the sport of college baseball, and important for their respective universities."
The inaugural class will be honored during a two-day celebration in Lubbock, Texas -- the site of the new hall. The hall of fame museum will be part of a new baseball stadium complex, which will be built on the campus of Texas Tech and is scheduled to open before the 2008 season.