Javier Morales took first place in the 2010 Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. For a different look at University of Arizona sports, check out Javier’s unique Web site: WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
Hank Rowe is honored to be Frank Sancet’s grandson primarily because his grandfather was a respected man of the family, not because he was a legend as a baseball coach at Arizona.
Rowe, nearing 50, never considered the magnitude of what Sancet meant to Arizona and the sport of college baseball when he was a Wildcat batboy in the early 1970s.
“Helping on the field, picking up bats and balls, was just the tip of the iceberg,” Rowe told me Friday night from Lubbock, Texas, where he will attend the induction of his grandfather into the College Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
“My grandfather never brought his work home with him. When a game wasn’t going on, you wouldn’t know he was a coach. He was a great family man.”
Sancet, a former Arizona baseball player who coached the Wildcats from 1950-1972, is one of seven men who will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. The list includes Lou Brock (who starred at Southern University before his Hall of Fame major-league career) and Nomar Garciaparra (formerly of Georgia Tech before his big-league career).
Rowe told me that one of the event’s coordinators mentioned that Arizona coach Andy Lopez, who led the Wildcats to the College World Series title Monday night, will attend the ceremonies. Rowe was told that Lopez will partake in the “Night of Champions” portion of the event.
Awards scheduled to be presented during the Night of Champions include the Brooks Wallace Award (honoring the nation’s most outstanding shortstop); the John Olerud Award (recognizing the nation’s top two-way player); the National Pitcher of the Year; the Stopper of the Year; the Johnny Bench Award (recognizing the top catcher) and the 26th annual Dick Howser Trophy (college baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy).
UA junior shortstop Alex Mejia, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, is a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award.
When asked how Sancet would have reacted to being selected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame, Rowe said his grandfather would be genuinely appreciative but he would deflect the praise.
“My grandfather would be very gracious, but also very humbled,” said Rowe, who teaches social studies at Coronado Middle School in Tucson. “He would have relished the opportunity to be with his players and to credit them for putting him in that position.”
The most important element of the event to the Rowe and Sancet family at the induction ceremony – 13 members will be present – will be the opportunity to relive the success of their father, grandfather and great grandfather amongst each other.
Rowe, will sit beside two of his children – Geoffrey and Peggy – when the legendary Arizona coach’s name is announced. The family attended a barbecue organized by the College Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday night.