Over the past three weeks, HottyToddy.com has released their picks for the greatest Ole Miss Baseball players of all time. Broken down into three categories (infield, outfield and pitchers and catchers), we made our choices and asked you to follow along. Now the fans have spoken and here are your choices for the greatest Rebels of all time!
So what do we have to say about the fans choices?
Steven: Jake Gibbs was a no brainer at 3B. A great infielder and an even better hitter, Gibbs cemented his Ole Miss legacy with an outstanding career. With a career .384 average, Gibbs lead the Rebels to their first SEC Championship in 1959. Fans can disagree on other aspects of this list, but Gibbs isn’t one of them. Kessinger at SS was as sure-handed as they come, and his talents were on full display at Ole Miss before he became a 2x gold glove winner in the major leagues. While I chose Alex Yarbrough for my 2B, I can see why fans decided to put the four-year Rebel in this list, as his name is a constant in the record books, residing in the top 10 of numerous categories. At first base, I went with Sikes Orvis since I knew Stephen Head would be my closer, but you can’t argue with including Head as one of the best hitters and fielders in Rebel history.
Adam: One of the greatest infielders from this selection out of this group with Stephen Head, Brad Henderson, Jake Gibbs and Don Kessinger. All four of these guys played a vital role in Rebel uniforms. This all-star team would make it difficult for opponents to get a ball out of the infield.
Nick: The Greatest of All Time Ole Miss infield has one glaring upset. Brad Henderson crept onto the list beating out Alex Yarbrough, who three out of the four HottyToddy writers picked. I being the sole writer choosing Henderson celebrate in his victory as his numbers at Ole Miss support him being on the list. Also on the list, you see two original studs in Gibbs and Kessinger, who may be the biggest two names that have come from Ole Miss Baseball. Stephen Head does deserve to be on the list here but first base may not be the place. However, give your respect where it is due as Head goes down as the greatest first baseman of all time.
Cole: Wow. The greatest of all time, voted on by you, and the infield looks pretty stacked. At third base, there is the great Jake Gibbs. At shortstop, there is a household name in Don Kessinger. At second base, we have Brad Henderson. Finally, first base features, in my opinion, the greatest Rebel to ever step foot on the diamond: Stephen Head. The big upset for this voting is Brad Henderson edging out Rebel great Alex Yarbrough. Three of the four writers in this series picked Yarbs, including myself. Although I do think that Yarbrough deserved to be on this list, there is one thing that cannot be argued: no team would want to face off against this infield.
Steven: David Dellucci was a consensus among our writer and how could anyone disagree? The fans agree that Dellucci’s All-American performance in 1995 and his induction into the Ole Miss Hall of Fame earned him a spot in the greatest outfield of all time. Seth Smith racked up the hits and the accolades as a Rebel becoming the SEC Freshman of the year in 2003 finishing with a .402 average. Smith played every spot in the outfield during his career, and his versatility was one of his many strengths. For the #3 spot in the outfield, I went with two-time All-American Paul Husband, but he didn’t make the fans’ cut. While I may disagree with the choice, J.B Woodman certainly earned his spot on this list. There’s nothing better than watching a play at the plate, and Woodman threw out 7 runners at home during his senior year.
Adam: Speed and power is what comes to mind when one thinks of an outfielder. Over the years, there have been some very good ones to dawn an Ole Miss uni. No matter where a ball was hit, all three guys in this group would give it a run down for an out. At the plate, if Ole Miss fans were in search of a home run David Delloucci, Seth Smith and J.B. Woodman could deliver a bomb at any time during the at-bat.
Nick: The Greatest of All Time outfield is consistent across the board. Dellucci is hands down the greatest outfielder to play for Ole Miss and was deemed that when every HottyToddy.com writer included him. Seth Smith is deserving to be on this list, even though he beat out some All-Americans such as Paul Husband. J.B. Woodman, who I selected as my All Time Center Fielder, I think may have shocked other HottyToddy.com writers, but Ole Miss fans know the recent impact that Woodman had on our program.
Cole: When I first saw the results to this voting, I was a little shocked that Bousfield did not make the list. All he did was lead us to an appearance in Omaha, after all. However, when I actually read the three guys who made the list, it was hard to argue. Dellucci was picked by all four of our writers, so he was a no-brainer. The other two spots were up for grabs, and Smith and Woodman were able to lock them down.
Pitchers & Catcher
Steven: There were a lot of contenders for the best SP of all time, and Lance Lynn came out on top. I picked Jamey Price for what he was able to do in just two seasons at Ole Miss, but Lynn is an excellent choice for his ability to strikeout opposing batters. Lynn struck out 332 batters; good for second all time. In relief there was no one better than Scott Bittle, and I’m happy to see that the fans agree. Bittle allowed just 49 runs in 158.1 career innings, proving that he was the right man to get the Rebels out of a jam. You need three more outs to get a win, and you need a closer. The choice of Stephen Head in this spot was obvious. The career save leader with 26, Head was automatic as closer and the fans have spoken. The fans and I agree at the catcher position.
Stuart Turner played just one year with Ole Miss but made his mark in the Rebel record books.Turner won the Johnny Bench Award in 2013. Turner can add best Ole Miss catcher to his list of accolades, which includes All-SEC, All-American, and gold glove honors.
Adam: The field general on a baseball diamond is the catcher, and Stuart Turner is definitely the best one to step onto the diamond of Swayze. Even though Turner was only here for a year, he showed his talent as a catcher with every throw that put a runner out and having a pop in his bat. The pitchers in this list, Lance Lynn, Scott Bittle and Stephen Head, made batters look silly at the plate with the number of strikeouts each were able to bring in. Lynn even became a starting pitcher for the Saint Louis Cardinals and has won two world series championships.
Head is a closer that most teams would not have expected after being on first the whole game. Coach Mike Bianco made the call to have Head toe the rubber and get the Rebels a win, either when they were in a jam or just needed three outs from him.
Nick: Pitchers and Catchers has the Greatest snub on this list! Drew Pomeranz did not make it on the Greatest of All Time list. Do not get me wrong, Lynn was dominate here at Ole Miss, but Pomeranz, in my opinion, was the better pitcher. For the reliever you had Scott Bittle who was chosen by three of our writers and has the career to back up that selection.
Here comes my objection. Again, Stephen Head is on here twice, and I do not think he should be. Closer is the position I think best suits him, but he beat out guys like Wyatt Short and Justin Huisman, who both had great careers at Ole Miss. Stuart Turner was the runaway and clear option for catcher.
Cole: Okay, I am going to point out the elephant in the room: Drew Pomeranz was left off of this list. Pomeranz was arguably the greatest pitcher to ever pitch at Ole Miss, regardless of the type of pitcher. Don’t get me wrong, Lance Lynn was a great starting pitcher for the Rebels; I just think Pomeranz was more dominant during his time at Ole Miss. Scott Bittle, my childhood hero, and Stephen Head were spot on, so I will not throw any arguments toward that. At catcher, Stuart Turner was a first team All-American, and even though he only played one year, I will agree with that voting. When it comes down to it, I would not want to have to hit against any of these pitchers, and I would definitely not want to try to steal on Stuart Turner.
At catcher, Stuart Turner was a first team All-American, and even though he only played one year, I will agree with that voting. When it comes down to it, I would not want to have to hit against any of these pitchers, and I would definitely not want to try to steal on Stuart Turner.
By Steven Gagliano, Adam Brown, Nick Bushart, Cole Crenshaw