LUBBOCK, Texas -- Former Rice Owl great Lance Berkman has been selected for induction into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer, the College Baseball Foundation announced Wednesday from its headquarters in Lubbock, Texas.
Joining Berkman in the 2015 College Baseball Hall of Fame induction class are Frank Viola, a Cy Young Award winner, World Series MVP and three-time major league all-star who led St. John's to the 1980 College World Series; Joe Arnold, a two-time NJCAA All-American pitcher at Miami-Dade who also earned Most Valuable Player honors at the 1966 NJCAA World Series; Larry Hays, who is one of only eight coaches at any level of college baseball with 1,500 wins; Al Holland, a ten-year major league pitcher and collegiate star at North Carolina A&T; Bill Holowaty, the third-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history; Mike Kelly, who was the consensus national player of the year in 1990 and winner of the 1991 Golden Spikes Award; and Rick Reichardt, who won the first recognized collegiate national player of the year award in 1964. The induction ceremony is set for June 29, in Lubbock.
Before he became a six-time major league all-star and 2011 World Series champion, Berkman amassed 67 home runs, 272 RBI and a .385 batting average in his collegiate career at Rice (1995-97). He led the Owls to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995, and first College World Series appearance in 1997, when he was named the National Player of the Year and was unanimous All-America selection. That season he won the Western Athletic Conference triple crown with a .431 average, 41 homers and 134 RBI, as well as being the league leader in runs (109) and hits (110). The New Braunfels, Texas, native was a first-round MLB draft pick in 1997 (16th player selected overall) by the Houston Astros, who eventually led that franchise to its first World Series appearance in 2005.
"This class features players and coaches with some incredible superlatives," said Mike Gustafson, executive director of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. "There are some unique and outstanding accomplishments by the individuals in this class."
"Our voting committees consists of longtime college baseball media members, active and former coaches, retired umpires, past inductees, college baseball historians and in several cases they are also former players," Gustafson said. "I commend them on another outstanding job."
Berkman joins Owl head coach Wayne Graham in National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Coach Graham was inducted in the 2012 class.
"I can't imagine a more deserving player for this honor than Lance," coach Graham said. "He had one of the greatest years in the history of college baseball (in 1997) to help get us to Omaha. He is one of the prime players who elevated our program in so many ways. Congratulations to Lance, and all the new inductees."
Tickets for the 2015 induction will be available in May on the Hall of Fame's website at www.collegebaseballhall.org. For more information, contact Mike Gustafson, National College Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO, at email@example.com.