College baseball fans are the best in the world! They are the diehard fans that attend every game, follow their favorite teams all over the country, and scream their lungs out at every home run hit. They are the people that support their favorite sports teams with their money, and believe that their teams can beat any other team. If there were a college baseball world series that counted all 6 teams in this tournament, it would easily be listed as the best of all time.
This year’s College World Series is in mid-June, and the reigning champion is Florida State. In Omaha, the teams that have gone to battle are from all over the country, including Florida State, the University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, and University of Miami. But there is one team that stands above all the rest. A team that has been consistently ranked in the top 10 since it was started in 1947.
It’s been almost two years since Vanderbilt came to TD Ameritrade Park to celebrate his 73rd birthday. College World Series victory since the road to Omaha was closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that CWS 2021 is in full swing, we want to ask you a question that has been on our minds all summer, as we sit at home without playing. Which of the 73 teams that won the championship is the overall winner? Who should get the honor of being the greatest College World Series champion of all time?
We’ve picked the eight best teams in the league, and now we want you to vote for the best team of all time.
Results of the first round :
2019 Vanderbilt final. 1973 USC – 10,033 votes to 8,234
2001 Miami won 1977 Arizona State – 10,889 votes to 6,160
1983 Texas def. 1997 LSU – 10,876 votes to 10,155
1995 Cal State Fullerton won. 1987 Stanford – 12,666 votes to 3,688.
Results of the second round :
1995 Cal State Fullerton def. 2019 Vandy – 1,730 votes to 978
1983 Texas won 2001 Miami – 2,223 votes to 866
Result of the last round :
1983 Texas defeated 1995 Cal State Fullerton by a score of 1,245 to 713.
Greatest World Series champion of all time
1983 Texas Longhorns
In the rearview mirror, it’s easy to assume that this 66-14 team was largely created by future seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens. But Rocket was just one part of a four-man MLB rotation, including the team’s ace and future Red Sox teammate (and ’86 World Series closer) Kelvin Shiraldi. Little League second baseman Billy Bates is still a legend with the Longhorns, which is no small feat in a program that has won six CWS titles, finished second six times and made 36 CWS appearances. The Hornets never lost at Rosenblatt in 1983 and were 5-0 despite the most talented field in the CWS. In the title game, Texas defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys team of Pete Incaviglia, Barry Larkin and Chris Szabo of Michigan State, and Dave Magadan and Craig Shipley of Alabama (they never played Arizona State or Barry Bonds). During their title run, the Horns also received a Texas reward in the form of eight players selected in the MLB draft.
1995 Cal State Fullerton Titans
You probably remember the Titans of Fullerton and Omaha, a solid team that quickly achieved a 57-9 record. The No. 1 team in the country won the Big West tournament, but had to go to the regional final in Baton Rouge, where they beat LSU 4-0 on their home field. They won the 1995 CWS with another perfect 4-0 record, won over Stanford (with Kyle Peterson), Tennessee (Todd Helton) and USC (Jeff Jenkins) and scored 11 points in each of the last three games. Mark Kotsay delivered what many still consider the best offensive performance in CWS history, hitting .563 with a slugging percentage of 1.250. He has had a season where he was voted Big West Player of the Year, Golden Spikes Award winner and CWS Most Outstanding Player. Catchers (and Olympians) Brian Lloyd and Jeremy Giambi along with Kotsay formed the greatest show on earth, and pitcher Ted Silva recorded 18 wins and 1 loss, all under Augie Garrido, the greatest coach in the history of football.
2019 Vanderbilt Commodores
No, we don’t have as much historical perspective to evaluate this team as the other candidates, but while we can agree that it may be too early to judge the most recent CWS champion as the best in history, we can also agree that the 2019 Vandy Boys deserve to be in the conversation. They won the SEC title in a 12-team conference with eight seeded teams and 10 NCAA Tournament participants, but only lost seven SEC games all season. They won the SEC Tournament, won their region and after losing to Duke in the Super Regional, they responded with Kumar Roker’s 19 no-hitter – only the eighth no-hitter in NCAA Tournament history – to win the third game and secure the victory. Rocker was 5-0 in the postseason when the Commodores stayed in Omaha, beating No. 4 Louisville (twice) and No. 3 Mississippi State and came back from a 1-0 loss against Michigan to win the championship series. Slugger J.J. Bledey was the fourth pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, shortstop Austin Martin was the fifth pick in the 2020 draft, and Rocker is expected to join them at 11th. July to join as a single-digit choice. A bias? Maybe. But what’s good is good, whether these clips are in HD or on 8mm film.
2001 Miami Hurricanes
No team has ever broken through Omaha like the Hurricanes: a team with 11 drafted players who played like pros all season, compiling a 53-12 record and ending the year with a 17-game winning streak. They played baseball like their football counterparts, who also won the national title that year. Jim Morris’ team went 9-0 in the NCAA postseason, winning their games by an average of 12-5 and scoring in double figures seven times. At Rosenblatt Stadium, the Hurricanes scored 40 points in four games, beginning with a 21-13 win over Tennessee and ending with an 11-1 destruction of Stanford in the CWS championship game.
1973 USC Trojans
I can already hear Troy residents squirming in their seats when they think back to the 1978 team that recruited 11 players, or the 1948 team that won the first of legendary head coach Rod Dedo’s 11 national titles. The team that won the ninth of these championships not only produced eight future big leaguers, including stars Roy Smalley and Fred Lynn, but it also achieved a 51-11 record, including winning perhaps the best College World Series game of all time. In the ’73 semifinal against Minnesota, CWS pitcher and MVP Dave Winfield struck out 15 Trojans in eight innings and his Gofers led 7-0. But USC won 8-7 in the ninth inning, beating Arizona State to win its third consecutive College World Series championship, which then extended to a record five consecutive titles.
I asked Fred Lynn via Twitter if he would have picked his team or the 1978 team as the best in USC history. He politely replied that he didn’t know how to answer that question and acknowledged that it had been great to pitch in 1978, but he also added: Our 73 team could have beat any team.
1977 Arizona State Sun Devils
The Sun Devils rank fourth in CWS appearances (22) and titles (five), but their best team was the 1977 team, which finished the season with a 57-12 record thanks to a starting lineup that included five future big leaguers and no fewer than seven players drafted that year alone, including MLB star Hubie Brooks and current Blue Jays bench coach Dave Hudgins. Their leader wasn’t drafted until the following year – second baseman and master hitter Bob Horner was named CWS Most Valuable Player in ’77 and made the All-CWS team in ’78 before being selected #1, missing his entire career and going straight to the infield of the Atlanta Braves. The Devils also won the CWS title despite outside forces that seemed to conspire against them. Hudgens was hit in the face by a warm-up pitch he didn’t see coming. Catcher Dave Eiler was unavailable in Omaha because he was shot by a robber at the Jack in the Box while celebrating the team’s regional victory in Tempe over Washington State.
There was nothing about that team that suggested it would be my best team, said head coach Jim Brock before his death in 1994, who coached ASU for 23 years and said the team that finished second in the CWS in 1976 was probably more talented. But the ’77 team was my most successful team.
1997 LSU Tiger
Picking LSU’s best team during the monstrous Skip Bertman era is no easy task. While other teams may have had more future MLB All-Stars in the dugout, there was no better team in the ropes than the 1997 squad, which won its second consecutive CWS title and the fourth of Bertman’s five titles. In 1996, LSU won the most famous title in the history of men’s baseball thanks to the heroics of Warren Morris and his homer over the fence at Rosenblatt Stadium to stun Miami. The 1997 squad rarely had their backs against the wall in the outfield. The Tigers finished the season at 57-13 and won the SEC title in a league that featured six top-20 teams. They set an NCAA record with 110 home runs and scored at least one run in each of 70 games. After losing to No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship game, LSU went 9-1 in the NCAA Tournament, including a 4-0 run in Omaha, culminating in a win over Alabama in the championship game. Shortstop Brandon Larson was voted the CWS’s Most Valuable Player after a season in which he hit 40 home runs and 110 RBI, and first baseman Eddie Furniss was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
1987 Stanford Cardinal
The protagonists of the 1987-88 College World Series were the stars that ushered in the gorilla ball era of college baseball, from the hitters of LSU, Texas and Oklahoma State to the speedy runners of Wichita State and Miami. But the champion at the end of those two seasons was Stanford, coached by Mark Marquez. In 1987, future Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell joined 13 future MLB players who played a 53-17 season. The team included two-time World Series champion Ed Sprague, Dave Esquer, the current Stanford coach, and Ruben Amaro Jr, a key player (and Goldberg’s series star). But even with all that experienced talent, the CWS title went to young Paul Carey, who won in round 10. In one inning of LSU’s semifinal victory, he hit a home run into opposite field and was 3-for-5 in the championship game against Oklahoma State, contributing to four of Stanford’s nine runs.
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