One of the greatest teams in Alabama baseball lore will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season.
The 1983 Crimson Tide baseball team captured the SEC Championship and won the NCAA South Regional on its way to the school’s best finish at the College World Series.
The 1983 CWS team will be honored during the Alabama-Youngstown State series March 7-9, 2008 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The team will hold an autograph party at the Joe prior to the game on March 8. In addition, the team will be recognixed on the field before the game and members of the team will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
After the game, the team will have a reception in the A-Club Suite at Bryant-Denny Stadium to cap the weekend’s festivities.
The season began with a bang as the Tide won 15 of its first 17 games en route to a 46-11 final record and runner up spot to Texas at the College World Series.
Of course, the Tide’s success story started with All-American and Golden Spikes recipient David Magadan, who led the nation with a school and SEC record .525 batting average. He also slapped a UA and then-SEC record 31 doubles and added a record 95 RBI.
Alabama lost its first two SEC games at eventual SEC Western Division champion Mississippi State, but went three weeks without another loss.
Late in March, Alabama gained national spotlight with a No. 24 ranking by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
But not until the students began studying for final exams did the Crimson Tide hit full stride.
On April 30, the Tide dropped the first game of doubleheader at Ole Miss, but rebounded to win the next game, 5-4, to begin a string of 15 consecutive wins that stretched all the way to Omaha.
“We felt like the Ole Miss series turned the season around for us,” former Alabama head coach Barry Shollenbeger said. “From that point in the season, we knew he had a good team.”
The Tide finished second in the SEC Western Division with a 14-7 league record, but charged through the SEC Tournament at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss., with wins over Florida (15-2), Tennessee (8-6) and Mississippi State (10-9) to win the school’s first SEC title since 1968.
Magadan went 10-for-11 (.909) in the three games to earn Most Valuable Player honors. He had five hits, including a pair of doubles and home runs, in the first-round rout of the Gators.
Third baseman Bret Elbin, catcher Frank Velleggia and pitcher Tim Meacham were also named to the All-SEC Tournament Team.
Next up was the NCAA South Regional at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla., where
Alabama, Florida State, Miami and South Alabama comprised one of the toughest four-team regional fields in the nation.
Dean Hayes six-hitter was good enough to stop the Hurricanes, 6-2, in the opener. The Tide then beat FSU, 7-5, to advance to the championship game.
Miami then beart Floirda State to earn a rematch with the Crimson Tide in the finals.
The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 6-1 lead, but held off a furious UM rally for an 11-9 win a the school’s first trip to Omaha since 1950.
Afterwards, Miami head coach Ron Fraser climbed on the jubuliant Alabama bus to again offer his congratulations and some encouraging words.
“Coach Fraser told us we had the team that could win in Omaha,” Shollenberger recalled. “That meant a lot to us. We knew we had a special team, a good team, then to hear that from him made it even more special.”
Designated hitter Ted McClendon was named the South Regional Most Valuable Player.
Alabama was off to Omaha where it would play in one of the most star-studded fields in CWS lore.
The field conisted of four-time national champion Arizona State (Barry Bonds, Oddibe McDowell and Don Wakamatsu), Michigan (Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo and Scott Kamienicki), Texas (Roger Clemens, Calvin Scharaldi and Billy Bates) and Maine (Billy Swift).
Alabama took down the Arizona State in the opener as Craig Shipley’s RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning plated the winning run in the 6-5 win. Magadan was 4-for-4 in the win.
The Crimson Tide had another nail-biter in its second CWS game, beating Michigan, 6-5. The Tide built a 6-0 lead on three straight singles by Magadan, Rob Skates and Velleggia in a three-run fourth inning.
Michigan answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame and tallied single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but could get no closer and Bama relief ace Troy Brauchle notched his 12th save to advance the Tide in the winner’s bracket.
Magadan went 4-for-4 in the win over Michigan to set the CWS record with eight straight hits in the series.
The Tide met Texas in its third game at the CWS and suffered its first loss since April 30 with a 6-4 setback in 10 innings.
Magadan’s solo home run in the eighth forced extra innings, but Texas plated two runs in the top of the 10th to snap the Tide’s then-school-record 15-game winning streak.
Calvin Scharaldi earned the win in relief for the Longhorns.
Alabama fell into the loser’s bracket, where a rematch with Arizona State awaited.
Behind the pitching of Alan Dunn and Tim Meacham and the hitting of Frank Velleggia the Sun Devils were no match for the Tide this time around.
Dunn and Meacham combined on the one-hit shutout in the Tide’s 6-0 win. Lew Kent, the former head coach at Radford University, pinch-hit for freshman Barry Bonds and broke up the no-hitter with a seventh-inning single.
Velleggia’s sixth-inning grand slam highlighted a five-run inning for the Tide offense.
Following the win, Alabama was back on the field in less than 24 hours for another meeting with Texas.
Alabama took a 2-0 lead through five innings with single runs in the third and fifth innings. Bret Elbin’s sacrfice fly scored Shipley with the first run and Dee Smithey homered in the fifth for the two-run lead.
Texas tied the game in the top of the sixth inning and took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on consecutive hits by Mike Brumley (single), Kirk Killingsworth (triple) and Jose Tolentino (single).
Magadan doubled and scored on Allan Stallings’ RBI single in the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-3, but the Tide could get no closer.
Magadan batted .550 (11-for-20) in the College World Series and was named to the All-Tournament Team along with Meacham.