After months of bumbling, UC Berkeley administrators axed intercollegiate baseball. Budget and compliance with federal gender equity requirements were the reasons stated.
Despite heroic efforts by many of the Cal's Baseball Alumni to find enough money, most of it from their own pockets, it just wasn't enough to keep it alive, one of the finest traditions in Cal sports.
I was on the freshman squad in 1957, when the varsity won the College World Series, so I take this personally -- and so should you.
The classroom and the lab aren't the only places to get and education. Sports promotes health and well-being, builds character and fosters life-long friendships for fans and athletes alike. I know, it did it for me.
Cal's baseball program was born in 1892, Orval Overall was the first of the 53 Bears to make it to the Big Show. He was followed by the likes of the former Giant Jeff Kent, a five-time All Star, four-time Silver Slugger and the National League's Most Valuable player in 2000. Sam Chapmen, Jackie Jensen, Earl Robinson, Andy Messersmith and Darren Lewis are others.
Cal's legendary coach from 1930-1954 Clint Evans is credited with the idea of a College World Series. It was at the first College World Series, in 1947, that a Cal team swept the Yale University Squad, including first baseman George H.W. Bush.
Cal's conference, the Pac 10, has won far more College World Series than any other conference. Cal's success on the field has lagged lately thanks to the low budgets and fewer scholarships, but its tradition has never faded.
What happens to an athletic program often signals a university's overall health, the soundness of its administration as well as the color of its bottom line. If Cal has to cut baseball maybe it's time to take a long, hard look at every aspect of the University's operation.