Wesleyan Inducts 6 Alumni to 2018 Baseball Wall of Fame

Wesleyan’s Baseball Wall of Fame boasts five years of inductees, along with historical players pre-1931. The idea for the wall originated with Todd Mogren ’83 and Tom Miceli ’81 in 2014, says Coach Mark Woodworth ’94. ”It was a perfect concept to celebrate the long history of success of the players in the program,” says Woodworth. ”In turn, we immediately started inducting classes and holding a yearly dinner/induction ceremony with alumni, players, and parents. It was a running joke every year that we would eventually figure out a physical ‘Wall of Fame,’ while in actuality, we could never quite figure out where and how to do it.” With its need to be portable, the project presented a creative challenge, noted Woodworth, “but this year, Harvey Ricard from Connecticut Stage Supply agreed to custom-build a wooden faux-brick backstop that would be portable and satisfy the unorthodox curves and unique demands.” The backstop is stored safely all summer, fall, and winter, but every spring, the Wesleyan Baseball Wall of Fame will be visible every day at Andrus Field. (Photo courtesy Mark Woodworth)

On May 4, Wesleyan Baseball Coach Mark Woodworth ’94 inducted six new members into the Wesleyan Baseball Wall of Fame. Also inducted was a historical class of eight alums who graduated between 1866 and 1931 who were instrumental in the early years of the program. This year, a new brick backstop was built not only for the field, but to serve as an actual “Wall” for the Wall of Fame.

“In this fifth year of the Wall of Fame, it is exciting to have a place to recognize and celebrate the 41 current members, as well as future inductees,” says Woodworth. “The Wall and backstop are the product of a long-term vision and instrumental support from baseball alumni, Wesleyan Athletic Director Mike [’83] and Karen Whalen, and the Wesleyan administration.”

This year’s class of inductees include:

William Bixby ’56
Bill was the definitive ace on the mound for three years for the Cardinals, leading them to two Little Three titles. He particularly stood out against Amherst and Williams, beating them a combined seven times. As a sophomore, he had a 0.87 ERA with a 6–3 record in 93 innings with seven complete games. He won numerous clutch games, including a 2–1 win over UConn, a two-hitter vs. Amherst as a sophomore, and a 2–1 win over Williams his senior year, where he also had the game-winning hit in the ninth inning.

Steve Humphrey ’63
Steve was a great two-sport athlete at Wesleyan, starring in both football and baseball for the Cardinals. As a pitcher, he appeared in 19 games, and had a career 3.02 ERA. He had a fantastic senior season on the mound, as he was 10th in the nation in all divisions with a 1.69 ERA over 41 innings. He helped lead a dominant Cardinal team in 1963 that had an 11-3 record and won the Little Three title. Steve won the MacNaughten Award for excellence in baseball as a senior.

Brad Vanacore ’77
Brad had an oustanding four-year career as a baseball and football player for Wesleyan. In football, he was the starting quarterback for three seasons, and helped the Cardinals beat Amherst and Trinity in both his junior and senior years. In baseball, he had a .348 career batting average, including hitting .418 his junior year. He also had a 3.33 career ERA in 43 innings pitched. A versatile athlete who was primarily a catcher, he started games at shortstop, catcher, pitcher, and outfield. He earned the save in the 1974 ECAC semifinal as a freshman and was in the outfield when they beat Amherst in the championship game. A native of East Haven, Conn., his mother, Carolyn, is in the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1977, Brad won the MacNaughten Award for excellence in baseball.

Jim Maynard ’88
Jim is on the short list of the best all-time hitters in Wesleyan history. A four-year starting centerfielder, he had a career .355 batting average, and when he graduated, he was Wesleyan’s career leader in hits. He concluded his career with 154 hits, 54 extra-base hits, and 27 doubles. Jim hit .394 as a junior, before hitting .403 with seven home runs and 43 RBI as a senior. For his outstanding season, he was named first-team All-New England. He helped the Cardinals to two Little Three titles, and was winner of the MacNaughten Award for excellence in baseball. Jim also was a standout wide receiver for the Wesleyan football team.

John Hurley ’91
John was a workhorse and dominant pitcher for Wesleyan, throwing more than 280 innings over his career, appearing in 52 games, and throwing 20 complete games. He struck out 157 batters and recorded 23 wins, second-best all-time in Wesleyan history. He threw the Cardinals on his back as a senior as he pitched Wesleyan to two upset wins over a dominant Amherst team to retake the Little Three mantle. John pitched in the Cape Cod League and was the winner of the MacNaughten Award as a senior.

Dave Vanech ’03
Dave is one of the great two-way players to play baseball for Wesleyan. A four-year starting left-handed pitcher, he also started 88 games at first base and hit fourth in the lineup. He threw 165 innings, and threw seven complete games. He had numerous big wins, including against Amherst and Williams, and helped lead the Cardinals to the Little Three title in 2002. As a senior, he was dominant in every way, going 3–1 with a 3.44 ERA, while also hitting .384. For his career, he had a .344 batting average. Dave also served as an assistant coach for Wesleyan after graduating.

And the Historical Class, inducted May 4, 2018:

Stephen Henry Olin, Class of 1866
Cofounder of the first team in 1865

Charles L. Bonnell, Class of 1868
Cofounder in 1865 and first captain

Edwin O. Smith, Class of 1893
Played pro ball, and UConn baseball and football coach

Walter MacNaughten, Class of 1900
Team’s baseball award named after him

Ike Terrell, Class of 1902
Third baseman who invented the squeeze play

C. Everett Bacon, Class of 1913
Also in College Football Hall of Fame

Les Lanning, Class of 1916
Major Leaguer with the Philadelphia A’s

John Wells, Class of 1931
Rhodes Scholar