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Ramblins * Ramblins * Ramblins
Tech beesball sports long and glorious history
By Pat Edwards
Ramblin' Reck Club
Baseball is an original American institution. Whenever "The Game" comes into the media spotlight, people react to the issues as if they were discussing matters of national interest. Baseball, often called "America's Game," has always taken a place in the national psyche and weaved itself into the very fabric of our culture.
Baseball at Tech began in 1895, just three years after Tech's first football team was established. The Georgia Tech baseball team played fifteen games in its first five years of existence, including two meetings with the University of Georgia in 1898 and 1899. Unfortunately, Tech lost both games to its future nemesis, scoring only five total points to Georgia's forty three.
Georgia Tech got their first coach in 1900 when coach Todd came on board to lead the Jackets. Coach Todd, who accumulated 12-9 record over two years, led the Jackets to their first victory against Georgia in 1900 in a 7-0 shutout of the bulldogs. Tech's second victory over UGA came in 1901 in a 13-1 rout. These two impressive wins helped to regain some of the pride lost in those early defeats.
Over the next two years, Tech's baseball team went through two more coaches. Coach Sammy Strang compiled a 5-8 record in 1902 while Coach Irving led the Jackets to nine wins and nine losses in 1902-1903. These two coaches combined for a 3-4 record in contests with the University of Georgia.
In 1904, Tech received a gift from the Institute in the form of a legend in college athletics, Coach John Heisman.
John Heisman was reluctantly hired by President Lyman Hall, who was wary of spending the two thousand dollar annual salary the brilliant coach commanded.
Heisman, who gained tremendous fame in his years of coaching college football, was a brilliant tactician and leader in baseball as well.
In his first year with the Yellow Jackets, Heisman turned the Tech program around, compiling a 15-7 record in 1904, 13-4 in 1905 and 23-3 in 1906.
Tech also defeated Georgia eight times in those first three years, as well as shutouts against powerhouses like Auburn and Mercer.
Overall, Coach Heisman's record during his career at Tech, which spanned 1904 through 1917, was 163 wins and only 97 losses with 5 ties, in an era before extra innings.
Coach Heisman left Tech in 1917 when he and his wife divorced, moving to a new coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania. He was replaced by Coach Joe Bean who gave Tech her best record in 1920 with a .889 in a 16-2 year.
The Yellow Jackets would enjoy a long winning record under coach Kid Clay, who took over from Bean in 1921. He coached the Jackets to a 147-99-5 record over his years at Tech.
Tech played many of her early games at home at various locations around Atlanta, including Tech Park, Brisbane Park, Piedmont Park and even Grant Field, where Tech has traditionally played football.
The Tech team obtained their own permanent playing field in 1930.
The field was purchased under the administration of Coach William Alexander with funds taken by Tech's share of the gate receipts in Tech's 1929 Rose Bowl victory. It is still in use by the baseball team, while other parts of the field are used as a practice football field.
Baseball has been as important tradition for Georgia Tech as it has been for the rest of America. With over a hundred years of proud sportsmanship and successful play, Tech Beesball features in a prominent place in Tech History.
Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board
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