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Ex-Wildcats coach enters Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, Texas – A 9-to-5 desk job was never in the works for ex-Arizona Wildcat baseball coach Jerry Kindall.

Kindall, who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, said he feels fortunate never to have had a “real job.”

“I’ve coached or played all my life,” said Kindall, 72, “and I have been surrounded by terrific people.”

The late Jim Brock, who led Arizona State to two College World Series titles and coached Barry Bonds in college, was also inducted. Other coaches honored were Chuck “Bobo” Brayton (Washington State), the late Bibb Falk (Texas) and the late Dick Siebert (Minnesota).

Players named to the hall’s second class include Jim Abbott (Michigan), Pete Incaviglia (Oklahoma State), Fred Lynn (Southern California), John Olerud (Washington State), Phil Stephenson (Wichita State) and Derek Tatsuno (Hawaii).

Kindall won one national championship as a player at Minnesota and added three more (1976, 1980 and 1986) during his 24 years as UA’s coach.

He won 861 games with the Wildcats and was three times named the national coach of the year.

Abbott led the Wolverines to two Big Ten titles before going directly to the major leagues. He played 10 seasons with the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers from 1989-99.

In 1993, he pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees against the Cleveland Indians. He retired for the 1997 season but soon returned for two more. His last one, with Milwaukee, required him to bat. He had two hits and drove in three runs.

Abbott also won an Olympic gold medal in 1988, when baseball was a demonstration sport.

Brayton was thankful he’s still around to be able to enjoy being inducted.

“I’m just very glad to be here at 81,” he said. “I called Tom Lasorda the other day and told him about my terrible leg problems, and he just laughed and asked how the tires would be on an 81-year-old car. They wear out on you.”

Brayton said one of his favorite expressions in baseball and in life remains, “Excellence shows, commitment counts and quality wins.”

“All of us in the Hall of Fame owe quite a bit to the game of baseball, its integrity and tradition,” he said.

Olerud spoke of suffering a brain hemorrhage while at Washington State and being fortunate not to have had major health effects.

“It was truly a close call medically and a miracle,” he said. “I was very fortunate also to have had a dad who was a doctor and could treat those sports injuries and a coach like Bobo Brayton teaching me in college.”

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