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Thread: Top 15 MSU Baseball Seasons of All Modern Time (Post Dudy Noble Stadium 1967)

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    Senior Member Todd4State's Avatar
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    Top 15 MSU Baseball Seasons of All Modern Time (Post Dudy Noble Stadium 1967)

    1. 2021. Any debate here? Won a National Title Some of the most memorable games in history will forever and always be the Vanderbilt Championship series where we blew them out twice, Tanner Leggett's walk-off pinch hit vs Texas, Tanner Allen's home run against Virginia, and Bednar's performances against Texas and Vanderbilt along with Kellum Clark's home runs, Logan Tanner's home runs, and I haven't even gotten to Landon Sims yet. Won a Super Regional against Notre Dame with Logan Tanner stepping up again, a Regional win, a memorable series win over Ole Miss during the season, Brayland Skinner flying through the air against Kentucky, a sweep over Alabama, a series win on the road over LSU, and a preseason tournament with wins over Texas and Texas Tech. This team will go down as one of the best ever and has several potential future MLB Dawgs on it as well as some all-time great Dawgs on it no matter what they do in the pros. This year was so good a combined no-hitter over Kent State barely makes the top 10 moments for these guys. But yeah- that happened too. Hard to not be excited about the future of the program based on the start of the Lemonis era. Some players on this team like Jackson Fristoe and Kam James are still carving out their place in MSU history as I type this.

    2. 1985 Yes, they did not go as far as some future MSU teams, but to this day they may be the most legendary team in MSU history if not college baseball history. They're more well known than the team that actually won the National Title. Unless I somehow missed the 1985 Miami baseball 30 for 30 on ESPN. While this team didn't win it all, it laid the foundation for not only future MSU teams but future SEC teams as well as the SEC had not had a member win it all until Georgia in 1990. Thunder and Lightning have statues in front of Dudy Noble and rightfully so. This team won the Mayor's Trophy, the SEC Tournament and by default the SEC based on how the SEC awarded that in those days. They won their regional over Barry Larkin and a good Michigan team with Bobby Thigpen having some very clutch moments in the postseason at the plate and also on the mound and Jeff Brantley set MSU records for wins on the mound. Gene Morgan threw a no-hitter against Hawaii-Hilo and had a great year along with other strong performances from table setters like Dan Van Cleve who set stolen base records and Gator Theisen. Because of their overall historical impact, I put them at number 2 over 2013.

    3. 2013 This team went further than any other MSU team until 2021 of course and that set the tone for the future of MSU baseball despite a inexplicable 2015 season. And who knows if they win the first National Championship with a healthy Brandon Woodruff? As it was they won the Governor's Cup and had a strong season with a memorable Mother's Day comeback over Ole Miss, a sweep over Texas A&M, and the now infamous Mason Katz incident that caused Paul Manieri to act like a little...well you know. Anyway, Chad Girodo clicked at the right time and was very strong in the postseason helping MSU beat Central Arkansas in a winner take all game in the regional. Then MSU rode strong performances from Jonathan Holder, Ross Mitchell, Brett Pirtle, Adam Frazier, and Hunter Renfroe against John Grisham's Virginia Cavaliers in the Super Regional to Omaha. Kendall Graveman was outstanding against Oregon State in Omaha and after Michael Conforto scared every MSU fan in game one, Trey Porter came up big against Indiana and then Hunter Renfroe blasted MSU to the finals against Oregon State. The Finals were a big damper on the season but nonetheless MSU made it further than ever and took a big step for the program.

    4. 2018 They went 2-2 in Omaha the same as the 1985 team and they had more future first round picks than the 85 team. Ethan Small, Justin Foscue, and Jordan Westburg- not to mention future SEC hits leader Jake Mangum and also future MSU leader Tanner Allen. Yes- this team was loaded. Unfortunately it was also in major flux because of Andy Canizzaro's immaturity but interim coach Gary Henderson did a great job of pulling this team together somehow. They showed their potential winning the Shriner's Classic but what turned things around was a Luke Alexander series winning walk-off against Ole Miss. Then this team followed up with sweeps over Arkansas and Florida and perhaps the most memorable MSU win in the Governor's Cup ever with another Luke Alexander walk-off. The most memorable walk-off of this year of course belongs to Elijah MacNamee over Florida State where MSU was down to their last inning and close to being eliminated. Instead MSU wins, and then comes back and takes down Oklahoma twice to go on to play Vanderbilt. MacNamee then goes on to walk-off Vanderbilt again which is then followed up by a crazy back and forth game three which MSU won to go to Omaha. Luke Alexander then walks off Washington where Ethan Small won a pitcher's duel and MSU destroys North Carolina but then falls to Oregon State twice to end a pretty remarkable and memorable year.

    5. 1979 I ranked them here because they went 17-2 in the SEC, won the SEC Championship and the SEC Tournament and won a regional. How many MSU teams can say that? This was really Ron Polk's first great team in his first tenure at MSU. They weren't stocked with MLB players but they were led by Mike Kelly, Ken Kurtz, Bob Kocol and Rick Dixon among others. The most significant thing about this MSU team and this factored into their ranking was they were the first ever MSU team to win a game in Omaha when they beat eventual National Champ Cal State Fullerton. Dixon had a memorable home run in the SEC Tournament held in Starkville against Florida to help MSU win the SEC as well. Some other interesting things about this team is they beat the Jackson Mets and they also were the first team that Polk took to Hawaii who was a powerhouse at that time where they won a couple of games which probably helped them later on in Omaha.

    6. 1990 This team made amends somewhat for a very disappointing 1989 team that probably should have gone to Omaha. With a team filled with legendary Bulldogs like Bobby Reed, Jon Harden, Tommy Raffo, Burke Masters, John Cohen, and Jody Hurst they were able to win the Mayor's Trophy and then were Co-Champs of the SEC Tournament as the championship game in progress with LSU was rained out. Of course the most memorable part of their season was when they played their regional and Burke Masters hit his iconic grand slam against Florida State. After that, Jon Shave had the game winning hit against Florida State in a winner take all game to finally send MSU to Omaha. Once in Omaha MSU did not fare all that well but they did blow out Ron Polk's former team the Georgia Southern Eagles. Interestingly enough there were a couple of future MSU coaches that participated in Omaha this year in John Cohen and Chris Lemonis.

    7. 2019 These next two are basically even. I went with this team over 1997 because they had a more memorable win in Omaha over Auburn. Omaha > than SR/Regional final. Anyway this was Lemonis's first year as well as the official opening of the Dudy Noble Field that we all know and love. They set a MSU record with their fourth consecutive win over Ole Miss in the Governor's Cup, Tanner Allen had a memorable walk-off against USM to open the year to win the series and then Jake Mangum set the SEC record for hits in a season against Georgia. They also won the Frisco Classic and as a college baseball fan I appreciate the series sweep of former powerhouse Maine. In Regional play exercised some demons by beating Miami and then beat Stanford in a Super Regional that ended like a movie with Jake Mangum and Elijah MacNamee and Cole Gordon going out on top. Ethan Small was brilliant all year long and JT Ginn was as advertised when healthy. Marshall Gilbert had the key walk-off hit against Auburn in a crazy come from behind win but then the season ended on a disappointing note with loses to Vanderbilt and Louisville.

    8. 1997 Better known as Ron Polk's first final season this team sent him out on top. First Polk won his 1000th game against Delta State and then they won the Mayor's Trophy with Adam Piatt hitting a home run that I'm pretty sure ended up in someone's pool in Eastover. Jeremy Jackson struck out 15 LSU hitters in a 4-1 win. But by far the most memorable part of the season was the Regional in Starkville. After Eric DuBose who set a school record for K's this season dominated Ohio State MSU then got in the loser's bracket after losing to Chris Magruder and Washington. MSU responded by blowing out Tennessee Tech and Georgia Tech to face Washington again. Matt Ginter shut down Washington to force the winner take all game which Eric DuBose won with a complete game thanks in part to Brooks Bryan stealing a home run off of someone's grill in the Left Field Lounge. Honestly, that may be the best catch in the outfield of all time in MSU history. This team then beat UCLA in game two of Omaha but that was as far as they could go as DuBose lost a heart breaker to Alabama.

    9. 1981 In many ways this team was a precursor to the 1985 team as it was Bruce Castoria and Mike Gillespie playing the part of Thunder and Lightning. Castoria had a year that was as good as any of Clark's or Palmeiro's as he set a school record for home runs with 29. Perhaps even more remarkable he had a 10 RBI game this season against UNLV while setting a school record for grand slams. Dave Klipstein and Brad Winkler set MSU records for stolen bases and Don Mundie and Steve D'Ercole were the forerunners to Brantley and Thigpen respectively. On the field, they won the Mayors Trophy and won their regional beating powerhouse Wichita State and then beat Cinderella East Tennessee State to make it to Omaha. While in Omaha they beat Michigan which equaled the best finish in school history at that time.

    10. 1998 Pat McMahon's team led by a lot of players from the 1997 Omaha team got hot at the right time and rode that and their experience to Omaha. This was Pat McMahon's first year and this team had a solid but unspectacular regular season highlighted by a Mayor's Trophy win. Then in the regional they had a massive comeback win over Rice where they were down 13-5 at one point to win 15-14 in the loser's bracket and then won a shootout against Texas A&M to help get them to Omaha. Once there, MSU won another shootout in Omaha over Florida but lost out to LSU and eventual champ USC. Brian Weise had one of the best seasons in MSU history hitting over .400.

    11. 1971 Paul Gregory finally got MSU to Omaha for the first time in 1971 and they did it while also winning the SEC which to me was a separator for this team. They won the SEC Championship Series over Vanderbilt and then beat Miami and Georgia Tech to make it to Omaha for the first time in school history. Mike Profitt and Phil Still were two of the stars in the postseason run for MSU. This team laid the foundation for future MSU teams in Omaha going forward and that should never be forgotten.

    12. 2007 While the Polk II era was filled with disappointment and frustration there were also some glimpses of the past and also the future and MSU getting to Omaha in 2007 is the best example of the high water mark for Polk II. As it was this team had some really talented players on it like Ed Easley and Mitch Moreland not to mention Aaron Weatherford, Jeffrey Rea, and Brandon Turner. They won MSU's first ever Governor's Cup but then Russ Sneed and Justin Pigott helped lead MSU over Florida State on the road in a regional. This led to MSU hosting it's first ever Super Regional against Clemson in 150 degree heat which MSU won definitely in large part because of the massive crowd that intimidated Clemson who incorrectly thought they should be hosting. Connor Powers had a big home run in the Super Regional and Nick Hardy did a sort Brook Bryan impression but not really. We won't talk about what happened to this team in Omaha. I'm just glad they got there.

    13. 1970 The last three teams came down to the finer details. All three won the SEC. However, this team beat Ole Miss to do it with Brantley Jones wearing an Archie Who pin on his hat when he took the mound and then intentionally walked the tying run so he could strike out Manning to win the title and despite tempting the baseball gods he DID IT! And for good measure he did this in Oxford followed up by giving Ole Miss the double bird salute while his MSU teammates carried him off on their shoulders in victory. I also took into consideration Gene Henderson no hitting Arkansas this season as well as MSU winning the SEC Championship Series against Tennessee as Jocko Potts scored in extra innings to seal the win. Dennis Hall also led the team in ERA and had a great year as well. This team lost to Florida State in the regionals by one run which was as close as MSU had gotten to Omaha at that point.

    14. 2016 Again this came down to the finer points and this team won the Governor's Cup and also won a game in Biloxi for the first time in MSU history. This team also went from worst to first in the SEC winning the title against Arkansas and beat USC in Los Angeles in a tournament and then began to turn things around with a sweep over then number ten Oregon and got a key win against Vanderbilt keyed by a Reid Humphreys home run. Dakota Hudson had a memorable outing against Ole Miss and Jake Mangum began his first year as Mayor of Starkville. Nate Lowe and Jack Kruger were key additions and Brent Rooker started to become the Triple Crown threat that he would be the next year. MSU also had a win over Cal State Fullerton in it's regional but the year ended on a disappointing note with a loss to National Runner Up Arizona in the SR.

    15. 1989 Finally, last but not least the team that won the SEC and set a school record for wins in a season with 54. They also beat the Jackson Mets. And then Burke Masters gave MSU fans a preview of 1990 as he took down another team in Florida- the Gators instead of the Seminoles with a home run to help MSU win the Super Bulldog Weekend where MSU allegedly had 14K in attendance to set a NCAA record. This team was filled with MSU legends like Bobby Reed, Jon Harden, Barry Winford, Raffo, Pete Young, Brad Hildreth, and etc.

    That's my 15 and I leave you with two other of my favorite MSU baseball moments of all time which would be:

    The 2005 SEC Tournament Championship. I have no idea to this day how we swept through that. But I'm glad we did and glad we beat Ole Miss for the title. Brett Cleveland summed up every MSU's fans feelings that day.

    The 1993 Winn Dixie Showdown at the Superdome. MSU swept LSU, Tulane, and New Orleans for a nice early season treat which helped them get to number one for a little while.

    Hail State! 2021 National Champs!

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    Senior Member BeardoMSU's Avatar
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    Dude. Great post, Todd. Thanks for typing it all out. A lot of fun to read.

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    Senior Member Coach34's Avatar
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    Imagine a college team playing against a minor league team during the baseball season today? Sounds crazy now. Bob Apodaca was with Jackson Mets for a shirt time in 1979 and pitched against State that night. He pitched in MLB from 73-77. Mets also had a guy at 2B named Wally Backman who was their guy at 2B during the 1986 World Series. Was really awesome watching State beat the Mets.
    Walk like the King or walk like you don't care who the King is

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    Senior Member Coach34's Avatar
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    Would have to move up 1989 a few spots. One of our best teams ever. Shame they choked
    Walk like the King or walk like you don't care who the King is

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    2017 ranks high for me. That was pure Nut Up baseball. The magical triple crown Rooker season, Cody Brown was Pure Bulldog, Mangum pitched! He had to. Cole Gordon was Rocky Balboa tough. JB had that Magical Game in Hattiesburg and we won the regional as a 2 seed in Hattiesburg

    These boys watched the season accomplishment of 2016 with almost no pitching. They even made a really good LSU team pucker in Baton Rouge to beat them in a Super Regional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach34 View Post
    Would have to move up 1989 a few spots. One of our best teams ever. Shame they choked
    Best offense ever and not even close. Sad day when we lost that regional

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    1984 was the best team we ever had with Bob Parker at ss and would?ve won it all but got beat by UNO at home in the regionals. Probably could?ve won two in a row in that stretch.
    Last edited by Schultzy; 07-24-2021 at 11:08 PM.

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    Senior Member Todd4State's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach34 View Post
    Imagine a college team playing against a minor league team during the baseball season today? Sounds crazy now. Bob Apodaca was with Jackson Mets for a shirt time in 1979 and pitched against State that night. He pitched in MLB from 73-77. Mets also had a guy at 2B named Wally Backman who was their guy at 2B during the 1986 World Series. Was really awesome watching State beat the Mets.
    Quote Originally Posted by Coach34 View Post
    Would have to move up 1989 a few spots. One of our best teams ever. Shame they choked
    That's interesting about the Jackson Mets. Apodaca became a pitching coach for awhile. The last three teams were pretty close. I actually considered putting the 2007 team down even though they made it to Omaha.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Federalist Engineer View Post
    2017 ranks high for me. That was pure Nut Up baseball. The magical triple crown Rooker season, Cody Brown was Pure Bulldog, Mangum pitched! He had to. Cole Gordon was Rocky Balboa tough. JB had that Magical Game in Hattiesburg and we won the regional as a 2 seed in Hattiesburg

    These boys watched the season accomplishment of 2016 with almost no pitching. They even made a really good LSU team pucker in Baton Rouge to beat them in a Super Regional.
    2017 was a really good team that overcame a lot. They're top 20. With a healthy pitching staff they may have gotten into Omaha. After USM dropped Rooker's pop up I could see the meltdown coming. You just had a feeling. And I think USM knew it too. Sometimes as a fan you can just tell when it's about to hit the fan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schultzy View Post
    1984 was the best team we ever had with Bob Parker at ss and would?ve won it all but got beat by UNO at home in the regionals. Probably could?ve won two in a row in that stretch.
    1984 is somewhat similar to 1989 but I couldn't put them in over a team that won the SEC. Also a top 20 MSU team though. I have always wondered if that team would have gotten to Omaha how 1985 turns out? Parker was a very good player and could have given us another good bat.

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    Senior Member Todd4State's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homedawg View Post
    Best offense ever and not even close. Sad day when we lost that regional
    2016 was a good offense as well. Especially when Kruger and Lowe got acclimated. Mangum was a huge surprised at that time. No one expected him to hit .400.

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    Senior Member shoeless joe's Avatar
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    It wasn’t conforto that scared the shit out of us in game 1 of Omaha in 13. Was their first baseman…I think Davis was his name.

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    Senior Member shoeless joe's Avatar
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    Good post.

    Winning the title has definitely made some of the heartbreak of years past feel a little less painful. And I can’t argue too awful much with your list since you said “seasons” instead of teams. That 18 season was a blast in postseason and I really feel that set the stage of toughness and a will to win that was a huge part of winning it this year.

    I would have to move the 89 team up a bit, and the 07 team IMO was one of those times where the opposite of what always happens in other sports helped us in baseball. We had some miss state swag and mojo that helped that undermanned group put it together and make a run. I’ll always be glad Jeffery rea got to go to Omaha. I wish berkery could have gotten to make that trip. He’s one of the most underrated dawgs of all time for what he did unselfishly for the team and his overall talent level.

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    Senior Member basedog's Avatar
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    Hard to compare the very early 70 teams, wood bats, limited teams to the regionals plus Msu didn't host a regional, I think most or all were played on neutral field. Also a few Juco players were ruled ineligible to play in the regionals because of some stupid transfer rule. I think we played maybe 32 games while the west coast teams and texas were playing 60 or more.

    But no doubt the 89 team top to bottom in the lineup cold rake! They were by far the biggest disappointing team ever as far as a National rank team. Worse luck team was 85, Gene Morgan getting hit in the leg while cruising to a victory.

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    Senior Member maroonmania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach34 View Post
    Would have to move up 1989 a few spots. One of our best teams ever. Shame they choked
    Yep, guess you have to put all CWS seasons above it, but after that I would say 1989 has to come next. We were ranked #1 in the nation for the vast majority of that season and won the SEC regular season by a wide margin. I would equate our 1989 season to what Arkansas just experienced in 2021. A dominant regular season team that just didn't get the job done in the NCAA tournament regional rounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd4State View Post
    2016 was a good offense as well. Especially when Kruger and Lowe got acclimated. Mangum was a huge surprised at that time. No one expected him to hit .400.
    It was no doubt. But 89 team hit over 330 and had 2/3 good players sitting every day

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach34 View Post
    Would have to move up 1989 a few spots. One of our best teams ever. Shame they choked
    Great list but agree on the 89 team. How did they not make a deep run still a mystery.

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    When you look at the great list Todd gave, it almost makes you feel like we need to win a few more to erase more of the sting.

    But boy this years NC was just what the doctor ordered for MSU hearts.

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    1. 2021 obviously. 2. 1985. Done. The other 13 however you choose were great and could be debated in order but those 2 as it stands currently is non debatable

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