MLB stars, former players honored by San Jacinto College

03.06.2014 | By Rob Vanya

A highlight from this past weekend's Tournament of Champions at San Jacinto College was the Legends Ceremony, during which former San Jacinto College players who went on to play professionally, as well as those who excelled as college players, were honored for their contributions to the San Jac baseball program. Shown at the ceremony, from left (front row): Ruth Keenan, San Jacinto College Foundation executive director; Head Baseball Coach Tom Arrington; Dan Mims, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees chairman; and San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer; (second row): Carey Nelson; Ali Gator (team mascot); Rocky Luetge (representing his son Lucas Luetge); David Rollins; Jesse Crain; Russell Revere; Ryan Jorgensen); Tommy Collier; Brandon Hicks; Andy Pettitte; Tanner Hines; Collin Lippert; Brandon Belt; Justin O'Bannon; Matt Albers; Daniel Stumpf; Robert Manuel; Matt Headly; Jarred Wells; Chris Kelley; assistant coaches Kory Koehler, DJ Wilson, and Jimmy Durham. The San Jacinto College 2014 baseball team is shown on the field behind the group. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department. MLB stars, former players honored by San Jacinto College Rob Vanya, February 10, 2014 San Jacinto College's season record stands at 5-3 after going 2-2 in the Tournament of Champions Feb. 7 through Feb. 9, played at John Ray Harrison Field on the North Campus. In the tournament, San Jacinto College played non-conference games against Eastern Oklahoma State College, Grayson College, and Howard College. A highlight of the tournament was the Legends Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7, during which former San Jacinto College baseball players were recognized for their contributions. Professionals and former professional players who attended included Andy Pettitte (New York Yankees-retired), Brandon Belt (San Francisco Giants), Matt Albers (Houston Astros), Jesse Crain (Houston Astros), Ryan Jorgensen (Florida Marlins-retired), Jared Wells (San Diego Padres), Robert Manuel (Cincinnati Reds-retired), Brandon Hicks (San Francisco Giants), and Lucas Luetge (Seattle Mariners, who was represented by his father Rocky Luetge). Pettitte, who grew up in Deer Park and returned to live in Deer Park after retirement, was glad to revisit the College that proved to be the launch site for his remarkable career in Major League Baseball. “It's good to see the guys that played here and it's great to be out here and try to support the organization as much as I can,” commented Pettitte, whose 19 post-season wins is the most of any pitcher in MLB history. San Jacinto College Head Baseball Coach Tom Arrington gave a warm welcome to the former student-athletes, who were presented gifts of appreciation from San Jacinto College. “The College's baseball program has a lengthy tradition of excellence,” commented Arrington, who is now in his 13th season at the helm of the program. “We are proud of all the players that have contributed to the success of San Jacinto College baseball. The Legends ceremony was special in that it allowed many former players to get together and reminisce about the good times they shared at San Jac.” San Jacinto College Board of Trustees Chairman, Mr. Dan Mims, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Board Vice Chairman Larry Wilson also attended, and connected with former baseball student-athletes. Mr. Wilson was also instrumental in arranging for members of the Harrison family – for whom the San Jacinto College baseball field is named after – to attend the ceremony. Arrington said he was able to reconnect with former players and relive memorable stories. “It was rewarding to hear that that their times at San Jac were some of the best in their lives and that it was a major reason for their successes,” he remarked. “Our goal as baseball coaches is to produce higher level professional athletes, and produce outstanding people in our society.” All San Jacinto College baseball home games are played at John Ray Harrison field, located at the North Campus. The games are free and open to the public.