Thursday, September 20, 2012

SxSE: Alabama Rolling Tide Baseball 1892-2012

Since 2000 Alabama has been an NCAA Regional program currently.  They can be expected to make the Regionals most years, but haven't proved themselves able to consistently move beyond.  Alabama's average season record in the past 10 years has been 35-26.

Alabama has been playing intercollegiate baseball since 1892.  They had 30 head coaches in the first 53 years they played, with not a great deal of success, except for a streak of Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships during the teens.

Tilden Campbell then coached for 25 years, from 1935–1942 and again 1947–1963. His record of 355-168-4 contributed greatly to Alabama's position as all-time wins leader in the SEC.

Former MSU and major league star Joe Sewell was the head coach from 1964-1969, with moderate success, taking the team to the district playoffs one year.

Hayden Riley coached from 1970-1979, with some decent results but not good enough for the post-season.

Barry Shollenberger coached from 1980-1994 and took the team to the College World Series in 1983.  Two other trips to Regionals were the only other bright spots in a generally mediocre tenure.

Jim Wells coached from 1995-2009, during what wold be the golden age of Alabama baseball.  Wells led them to several SEC Championships, several trips to the NCAA Regionals, and three College World Series appearances.

Mitch Gaspard has been the head coach since 2010

Since 1995, under Jim Wells and Mitch Gaspard (2010-current), Alabama has averaged 41 wins per season

Alabama has won the regular season SEC championship 14 times, in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1947, 1950, 1955, 1968, 1983, 1996 and 2006

Alabama has won the SEC Tournament 7 times, in 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003

Bama is tied with LSU with 14 SEC Championships, but only two of those ('96, '06) are within the past 20 years. From 1934 to 1942 they dominated the conference, winning 7 of 9 championships. From 1930 through 1955 Alabama won 11 SEC Championships.

Alabama has been in the NCAA Tournament 21 times, in 1947,1950, 1955, 1968, 1983, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011

Alabama has been to the College World Series 5 times, in 1950, 1983, 1996, 1997 and 1999. They have never won the championship.

♦ This article tells a lot about the current state of Alabama Baseball: Alabama’s Wells picks perfect time to retire (
Wells’ departure from Alabama isn’t a surprise. When he decided to temporarily retire two summers ago, he pointed to personal preference as his reason. Beyond the surface, though, there was much more to the story.

You see, Alabama athletics department officials for years had promised Wells massive facility upgrades and renovations. But years later, it’s Mississippi, LSU, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Tennessee which have made massive facility upgrades. Heck, even rival Auburn now has a vastly superior facility to the Crimson Tide. Alabama, meanwhile, has done very little.

Notable Alabama ballplayers
Alabama Baseball in 2012

In 2012 the Tide compiled a 21-34 record and failed to make the post-season.

Alabama, Auburn baseball endure droughts during SEC golden age (5/22/12)
This season, Alabama's announced average attendance of 3,458 was its lowest since 1997 and down 80 percent since peaking in 2000.
. . .
Gaspard said Alabama is in discussions to possibly replace 64-year-old Sewell-Thomas Stadium. University administrators have met with architects and visited newer ballparks at LSU, South Carolina and Arkansas this year, Gaspard said.

"I believe it will happen here sooner rather than later," he said. "I don't have a timetable on it. The biggest thing for us is putting a good product on the field."

Wells said Alabama officials told him for years they would build a new ballpark but it would take time.

"It's in the planning to do it, and I don't doubt they will," Wells said. "But others have already done that. I know in my last year (2009) kids would go, 'Now where's your indoor hitting facility?' It doesn't mean that's better. But that's the world we live in right now. People build $35 million facilities and that sways kids."

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