Hawaii pitching legend Derek Tatsuno was the last inductee to speak yesterday at the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Lubbock, Texas. CLICK FOR LARGE
Tatsuno enters collegiate hall
The Hawaii pitcher, first to win 20 games in a season, is now officially an all-timer
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Lubbock, Texas, was like many other American towns yesterday. It hosted a Fourth of July parade. But Lubbock's was unique: The freshly minted inductees to the College Baseball Hall of Fame were the main attraction, including Derek Tatsuno, former University of Hawaii great.
Each honoree was in a Mustang convertible, at the front of the parade.
"The parade was a mile long and it was estimated that at least 60,000 people watched it," Tatsuno said.
The left-hander from Aiea knows large crowds well. Every time he pitched for UH, it was to a full house. And he rarely disappointed, winning 40 games and losing six in his three seasons at Manoa.
Tatsuno said he had never played against any of his fellow inductees (Jim Abbott, Pete Incaviglia, Fred Lynn, Phil Stephenson and John Olerud), but he enjoyed three days of fellowship with them.
"I had a great time listening to their stories and talking with these guys," Tatsuno said.
The festivities climaxed with yesterday's induction ceremony. In addition to the players, coaches Chuck "Bobo" Brayton, Bibb Falk, Jerry Kindall and Dick Siebert were enshrined. Also, the first veteran class was inducted, including Jack Barry, Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewson and Joe Sewell.
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LUBBOCK, Texas » Derek Tatsuno was the picture of cool during the 1970s, when he was college baseball's dominant pitcher. But the former Hawaii great said he was a little nervous while waiting to make his acceptance speech at the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony yesterday.
"They said we needed to make 8- to 10-minute speeches," Tatsuno said in a phone interview yesterday. "I'm thinking 'No way, I'm kind of an impromptu guy.' "
They went alphabetically and he was last, adding to his discomfort.
But when it finally was his turn, Tatsuno produced, as he did nearly every time he took the mound for the Rainbows in a three-year career that included 40 wins and just six losses.
"Once I got started, it came kind of natural," Tatsuno said of his speech. "I kind of focused on the only reason I'm here is because we didn't get picked for a regional bid in 1978, and we played that (84-game) schedule the next year. If not for that, I wouldn't have won 20 games, and I wouldn't be here."
Tatsuno, an Aiea High School and UH graduate, is widely considered one of college baseball's all-time greats. He was named one of three Players of the Century by Collegiate Baseball newspaper in 1998. Tatsuno still holds NCAA records for most victories (20, tied in 1986 by Mike Loynd of Florida State) and strikeouts (234) in one year. He was inducted with the Hall's second class yesterday.
"I'm having a great time," Tatsuno said near the end of three days of celebration.
Eleven inductees and four veterans committee members joined the inaugural 2006 class.
In addition to Tatsuno, this year's player inductees are Jim Abbott of Michigan, Pete Incaviglia of Oklahoma State, Fred Lynn of USC, John Olerud of Washington State and Phil Stephenson of Wichita State. Incaviglia did not make it to the festivities because of a family emergency, Tatsuno said.
The coaching inductees are Chuck "Bobo" Brayton of Washington State, Bibb Falk of Texas, Jim Brock of Arizona State, Jerry Kindall of Arizona and Dick Siebert of Minnesota.
The first veteran class included Jack Barry of Holy Cross, Lou Gehrig of Columbia, Christy Mathewson of Bucknell and Joe Sewell of Alabama.
Tatsuno said the only other inductee he knew was Kindall, who recruited him briefly.
"We had talked about me going (to Arizona) out of high school, but he suggested I go to a junior college first," Tatsuno said.
The inductees were given plaques, rings, silver belt buckles with rubies, and paintings depicting them in their playing and coaching days. They also received plenty of hospitality, Tatsuno said.
"The city of Lubbock is unbelievable," he said. "Talk about the aloha spirit. The people here are so friendly and appreciative. It's like being at home."
Tatsuno was the only player inductee who did not eventually compete in the major leagues. Abbott went straight to the California Angels from college.
"My baseball life has been one of taking the next step and learning how to do things more efficiently with my left hand and arm," said Abbott, who was born without a right hand.
Olerud spoke of suffering a brain hemorrhage while at Washington State and being fortunate not to have had major health effects.
"It was truly a close call medically and a miracle," he said. "I was very fortunate also to have had a dad who was a doctor and could treat those sports injuries and a coach like Bobo Brayton teaching me in college.
The 11 were selected from a list of 50 nominees by a 90-member committee.
Hall of Famer Derek Tatsuno of Hawaii compiled some of the most impressive statistics in college baseball history.
Notes: Tatsuno owns UH career marks in strikeouts (541), complete games (34), shutouts (10), winning percentage (.870) and innings pitched (402 1/3) and is second in ERA (2.04, min. 150 IP) and seventh in starts (49). ... He won 20 consecutive games (1978-79). ... Tatsuno led the NCAA in strikeouts all three of his seasons. His 20 wins (tied in 1986 by Mike Loynd of Florida State) and 234 strikeouts in 1979 stand as NCAA single-season records.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.