BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WTVA/SEC) - The SEC Baseball Legends Presented by AT&T, featuring former standouts from Southeastern Conference member institutions, will once again be honored at the 2018 SEC Baseball Tournament May 22-27 at the Hoover Met in Hoover, Ala.
The 2018 class features Ole Miss’ David Dellucci, Mississippi State’s Ron Polk, Tennessee’s Alan Cockrell and Texas A&M’s Mark Ross.
This marks the seventh consecutive year that the SEC has recognized a class of baseball legends. Last year’s honorees were Ben McDonald, LSU; Don Kessinger, Ole Miss; Dave Silvestri, Missouri and Earl Bass, South Carolina.
The 2016 class featured Norm DeBriyn, Arkansas; Gabe Gross, Auburn; Cris Carpenter, Georgia and Scott Downs, Kentucky, while the 2015 class featured Andy Phillips, Alabama; David Eckstein, Florida; Mark Johnson, Texas A&M and Larry Schmittou, Vanderbilt, and the 2014 class featured Phil Garner, Tennessee; Jake Gibbs, Ole Miss; Jay Powell, Mississippi State and Bobby Richardson, South Carolina.
The 2013 class honored Hal Baird, Auburn; Terry Shumpert, Kentucky; Skip Bertman, LSU; and Gene McArtor, Missouri, and the inaugural class in 2012 included: Dr. Jeffrey Laubenthal, Alabama; Kevin McReynolds, Arkansas; Brad Wilkerson, Florida and Rev. Reggie Andrews, Georgia.
Each legend will be recognized individually throughout the two quarterfinal matchups on Friday and will have on-field recognition and an awards presentation by Commissioner Sankey on Saturday, May 26 during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Fans will have an opportunity for autographs and photos with the honorees at the AT&T Legends Pavilion immediately following. Several legends will also participate in the annual SEC Youth Clinic on Friday morning.
2018 SEC Baseball Legends
David Dellucci, Ole Miss
David Dellucci played four seasons at Ole Miss, earning two All-SEC selections and even an All-American nod. En route to his Ole Miss Athlete of the Year Award in 1995, Dellucci etched his name on the top of ten school records, earned the SEC batting title with a .410 batting average in 62 games played, before ultimately being selected an All-American the same year. He would finish his career at Ole Miss with a .326 batting average, 247 hits, 36 home runs, and 181 runs. Dellucci was elected into the Ole Miss “M Club” Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010 and was named as one of the 50 greatest athletes in Ole Miss history. He was drafted in the 10th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles, and would go on to make his MLB debut just two years later in 1997. His 13-year major league career would span seven teams with a .256 career batting average, 101 home runs, and almost 400 RBI. Dellucci’s professional career was almost short-lived, after suffering a wrist injury initially deemed career-ending midway through his 1999 season that saw him approaching a .400 batting average on the season. He would overcome the injury and return to play almost ten more years, playing professional ball until 2009. Dellucci is also heavily involved in much charity work, including Easter Seals, Special Olympics, Children with AIDS, and Make a Wish. Dellucci is a current baseball analyst for SEC Network.
Ron Polk, Mississippi State
The winningest coach in the history of the Southeastern Conference, Ron Polk spent 29 seasons leading the Mississippi State baseball program (1976-1997, 2002-2008). Polk currently ranks ninth all-time in NCAA Division I career head coach victories. Polk concluded his 35-year career as a head coach with a record of 1,373-700-2 (.662). In his career, which also included stints at Georgia Southern (1972-75) and Georgia (2000-01), Polk led his teams to a total of eight College World Series appearances, five SEC Championships and 23 Regional appearances. He is one of only three coaches in college baseball history to take three different programs to the College World Series. In July 2009, Ron Polk was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1995. In 1988, he was presented with the Lefty Gomez Award, the highest award given by the ABCA. At Mississippi State, Polk recruited and coached some of the game’s all-time greats including MLB standouts Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen and Jonathan Papelbon. A three-time National Coach of the Year, Polk returned to coaching Georgia in 2000 where he spent two years before making the move back to Mississippi State for his final seasons. Perhaps Polk’s most talented Mississippi State squad ever was the 1985 version. That club finished the year 50-15 and was SEC Champion before going on to appear in the College World Series. In his 35-years as a head baseball coach, Polk produced 35 All-American and more than 75 All-SEC performers.
Alan Cockrell, Tennessee
Alan Cockrell played center field for Tennessee in 1983 and 1984, earning first-team All-America honors by The Sporting News in 1984 after batting .329 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI that season while also leading the team with a .467 on-base percentage. Cockrell also spent time as a quarterback on the UT football team and still ranks 11th on Tennessee’s all-time passing yards list with 3,823 career yards. Following his career at Tennessee, Cockrell was selected with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 1984 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants. Cockrell ended up having a 13-year professional career as a player, reaching the major leagues with Colorado in his final professional season in 1996. After his playing career ended, Cockrell got into coaching and has served as the hitting coach for three major league franchises for a total of eight seasons. Cockrell’s first major league coaching experience came in 2002 with the Colorado Rockies. After working in Colorado’s development system for the next few years, Cockrell returned to MLB in 2006 for his second stint as the Rockies’ hitting coach and helped lead the team to the World Series in 2007. Colorado led the National League in batting, on-base percentage and total hits that year. Cockrell went on to serve as the hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2009 and 2010 and most recently was the hitting coach for the New York Yankees from 2015 to 2017.
Mark Ross, Texas A&M
Mark Ross is one of the top pitchers to ever put on the Texas A&M Maroon & White. He owns the Aggies’ career records for wins (34), innings pitched (397.0) and complete games (26). His 232 strikeouts and 2.54 ERA both rank 12th on A&M’s all-time lists. Ross earned all-conference recognition in 1977 and ’79. In 1977, he helped the Aggies win the SWC title with an 11-3 record, 2.41 ERA, eight complete games and three shutouts. Texas A&M won a second consecutive league crown in 1978 as Ross went 11-4 with a 2.63 ERA and seven complete games. As a senior, he was 10-5 with a 2.22 ERA and nine complete games in 15 starts. Following the 1979 campaign, Ross was drafted in the seventh round by the Houston Astros. He enjoyed a six-year Major League career, including three seasons with the Astros. Following his playing career, he worked as a pitching coach in the Atlanta Braves organization, including stops in Danville, Macon and Jamestown. In 2018 he joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as an area scout after serving in scouting roles with the Astros from 2002-17. A four-year letterwinner at A&M, Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in finance. He earned the Aggies’ Wally Moon Award for most improved player in 1977 and Marion Pugh Most Valuable Player Award in 1979.