home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Former Baseball: Guidry blazes new trail as UL Hall of Famer – Photos Included

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, October 31, 2015


TDA20151031ULULM 014

Ron Guidry, former UL and New York Yankees pitcher, waves to fans as he is inducted into the UL Athletic Hall of Fame during halftime of an NCAA football game at Cajun Field against the ULM Warhawks Saturday.(Photo: Paul Kieu, The Advertiser)


PHOTO GALLERY: Ron Guidry Hall of Fame Reception


When Ron Guidry pitched for then-USL in 1969 and 1970, no one had any idea how big a part of the future of Major League baseball this skinny little kid from Northside High would become.

In those days, he played for the USL Bulldogs on a field that no longer exists.

For that matter, baseball as a sport was a mere afterthought on the campus and in the athletic department.

His head baseball coach was actually an assistant football coach in future Comeaux High football coach Bobby Banna.

Fast-forward to now, the UL Ragin’ Cajuns baseball program is flourishing on the local and national scene.

Few appreciate what coach Tony Robichaux has done for the program more than Ron Guidry himself.

In fact, Guidry feels like the teams he played on got the ball rolling in making UL baseball worthy of attention.

Guidry certainly got the baseball world focusing on South Louisiana after his tremendous Major League career with the New York Yankees.

On Saturday at Cajun Field, Guidry was officially recognized for his role as a college pitcher by being inducted into the UL Athletics Hall of Fame during halftime homecoming ceremonies.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by your college for being one of the best,” Guidry said.

For someone who has won the Cy Young Award – with that spectacular 25-3 campaign in 1978 – and already had his No. 49 jersey retired and hanging in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium back in 2003, it’s still a special moment.

“When you think about all of the athletes who have competed in all of the sports here over the years,” Guidry said. “Not to many make it in. I’m elated that I’m in it now.”

During his 14-year career with the Yankees, Guidry was 180-91, played on two World Series champions, made four All-Star Games and won five Gold Gloves.

He still, though, remembers well his two seasons pitching for UL at an old field that was located “somewhere near Girard Park near the old McNaspy Stadium.”

As a sophomore in 1969, Guidry was 5-1 with a team-leading 1.57 ERA.

“Back then, you’re not thinking anything about getting into the Hall of Fame one day,” Guidry said. “The only thing on your mind is to do the best that you can do and try to help your team win.

“It was no different with the Yankees. You’re not thinking about honors that might come. You’re just focused on trying to do the best that you can do.”

In 1970, Weldon Mire led UL in ERA with a 1.14 and wins with nine. Guidry had a team-high 50 strikeouts in 57.1 innings in 1969 and 87 in 80 innings in 1970.

“I had a good year,” Guidry said. “It wasn’t like I set the nation on its ear.”

What Guidry feels like he and his teammates did during his time in the program was set the stage for the university’s success in the sport of baseball.

UL was 26-15 overall and 15-9 in conference play, which was good enough for second place in the Gulf States Conference. Two years later, though, the Cajuns were Southland Conference champions with a 33-8, 15-3 showing in the first of many elite seasons by the university’s baseball program.

“When we got there, baseball wasn’t a sport that people really talked about,” Guidry said. “I think we kind of brought baseball to the front page for the first time. We helped put it on the frontburner.

“I played with a lot of really good ball players during my two years here. Those were fun times.”

While Guidry was a third-round pick by the Yankees in the 1971 draft, UL teammate Charles Bordes was an 11th round pick in 1971. Major Swindler was a 34th-round selection by Washington in 1970.

Later, Alton Torregano was pick in the sixth round by the Dodgers.

Jay Stelly led the team in homers and RBIs in 1969. Rickey Broussard led the team in stolen bases in 1970. Paul Trahan led the club in doubles in 1969 and Mark Trosclair in 1970.

Guidry said he remembers pitching at a home field that was about 250 feet to straight-away centerfield, but got to about 400 in the power alleys and 325 down the lines.

“Just like anywhere, you had to pitch to your ball park,” Guidry laughed. “It was tough, if you threw it down the middle.”

Guidry said the pride in the program never left him. From his days as a player to when he was coached with the Yankees in 2006-07, the success of his old college program would be discussed among his players and coaching colleagues.

“Tony (Robichaux) and his staff have done an amazing job,” Guidry said.

As a player, Guidry hopes he helped put baseball on the map. Now as a newly-minted UL Hall of Famer without an actual degree, Guidry hopes his case will open the door for other deserving athletes to be included alongside him and other of the university’s all-time athletic greats.

“I hope this has opened the door for other athletes who got the opportunity to turn pro and made the best of it,” he said. “As an athlete, you have to take that opportunity when it’s your time.”