College World Series History
Prior to entering the main stage of Major League Baseball, many of the game's elite youngsters are scattered across baseball diamonds and batting cages throughout the world. Some phenoms are drafted right out of their American Mid-West high schools, and spend a few years developing talent and wowing scouts in the minor leagues. Others are discovered on pitching mounds and in batters boxes in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Japan and South America.
But a choice class of blue-chip athletes has competed in front of adorning baseball fans in the U.S. each year during the NCAA College World Series. Before fans could watch sluggers like Ryan Braun and Lance Berkman slam homerun after home run in the big leagues, the talented hitters could be seen terrorizing opposing pitchers in college baseball's main event.
Fans who turned out to the Division I College World Series since the mid-1990's may have seen today's stars - Jason Varitek, Joba Chamberlain, Todd Helton, Jason Giambi and Jacoby Ellsbury - before they became household names.
The next crop of top college baseball talent will soon take the field to prove that they have what it takes to compete with the best of the best, and stake their claim on a piece of College World Series history.
Omaha Community Rallies Around College Baseball
The first College World Series was played in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1947, ending in a victory for the University of California, Berkley, over their cross-country rival, Yale University. Immediately, the event began to cement itself as an American institution. In 1949, when the tournament moved to Wichita, Kansas, former U.S. President George H. W. Bush was the captain of Yale's baseball team, which again was invited to the event.
Since 1950, the College World Series has been held in Omaha, Nebraska - a city where, contractually, it will be played for years to come. In its first appearance in Omaha, the tournament drew almost 18,000 fans, eager to watch the best college baseball has to offer compete for a title.
While the competition was not a financial success for the first decade of its existence, the Omaha community and business leaders held enough conviction and interest in the game of baseball to preserve the College World Series for future generations. Omaha's Mayor Johnny Rosenblatt, the namesake for the tournament's home field, Rosenblatt Stadium, was one of the ardent supporters who kept the play-offs coming year after year.
To keep the games strong nowadays, the nonprofit organization College World Series of Omaha has taken the lead in organizing the annual NCAA Division I Championship Baseball College World Series.
College World Series Through the Years
Like any cherished sports institution, the College World Series has ushered in its share of legends, rivalries and stories that will live on for years.
In 1973, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winnfield got his first taste of glory, winning the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament award, despite the fact that his school, Minnesota, failed to make the finals. While the outfielder amassed 465 homeruns and more than 3,000 hits in the big leagues, the athletic specimen won his College World Series honors as a pitcher.
Long before, current Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona led the Sox to two MLB World Series titles, he took his University of Arizona teammates on his back in 1980, to win the College World Series title and the Most Outstanding Player award.
Throughout the years, no team has more titles than Southern California's 12, but a whole field of teams is eager to one day surpass that mark - and it looks as though Omaha will be the home for that National Championship glory.