In discussions of who the greatest Rebels of all time may be, the questions of old vs. young, consistency vs. clutch performances and so on will arise. With a decorated history to pull from, four HottyToddy.com writers have set out to determine the best player in Ole Miss history at each position.
Last week, we released our greatest outfield in Ole Miss history. Today we release our picks for the best starting pitcher, relievers, and catchers in Rebel history. As we go, we encourage you to follow along, debate and come up with your G.O.A.T lineup.
Steven: Jamey Price
Price pitched just two seasons for the Rebels but was prolific when he stepped on the mound for Ole Miss. After a 10-2 1994 season, Price’s game would only improve. Although he suffered six losses, he posted 11 wins, which is a single-season record. More impressive than the number of wins was how he won games. Price completed nine games during the 1995 season and became one of two Rebel pitchers to win 10 games and strikeout at least 100 batters. Price was named an All-American for his performance in the ’95 season.
Cole: Drew Pomeranz
Pomeranz was the most dominate starting pitcher I have seen on the mound for the Rebels. The big lefty could not only bring the heat, but also throw in a knuckle curve that would send batters back to the dugout baffled. In his final year with Ole Miss, he recorded a whopping 139 strikeouts, while holding a 2.24 ERA.
Adam: Lance Lynn
One of the best starting pitchers to ever toe the rubber in an Ole Miss uniform, without question, would have to be Lance Lynn. While on the mound of Swayze Field, Lynn earned All-SEC honors in both 2007 and 2008. Lynn played a key role in helping the Rebels to advance to three straight NCAA Regionals and two Super Regional runs. After the last time he stepped off of the mound, Lynn was second all-time in strikeouts with 332 in his career.
Nick: Mark Holliman
Mark Holliman is a name that some might not know, especially when compared to the likes of Lance Lynn of Drew Pomeranz. However, the pitcher from Germantown, Tennessee is in the Top 10 in almost every category of a pitcher for the Rebs. He is in the top 5 for strikeouts in a season and is on the leaderboard for wins and starts. He had a career 21 wins and 281 strikeouts, which puts him third all time.
Steven: Scott Bittle
Although he appeared as both a starter and a reliever, it was as a reliever that Little earned All-American and 2nd team All-SEC honors after the 2008 season. During his stellar season, Bittle earned seven wins in relief and picked up eight saves. He finished the year with a 1.78 ERA, proving that he could get the Rebels out of a tough spot, which is what you want to see from a member of the bullpen. In 70.2 IP in the 2008 season, the RHP allowed just 14 runs. By the time his Ole Miss career concluded, Bittle ranked among the Rebels’ best in appearances with 69 and in strikeouts with 257.
Cole: Scott Bittle
If it had not been for a shoulder injury, we could very well still be watching Bittle dominate, but this time, on the professional level. While he was at Ole Miss, it seemed every time the Rebels needed something big to happen, Scott Bittle was there. Not only did he have a pitch so devastating that it got its own name, but he was also beloved by fans. Growing up, I even had a cat named Bittle. How could you not love Scott Bittle?
Adam: Dallas Woolfolk
The player to take the mound for the Rebels in the middle innings would be current sophomore Dallas Woolfolk. He’s the pitcher to get the Rebels out of jams. As a freshman, Woolfolk ended with a 2.55 ERA. Now, this season’s opponents have hardly been able to catch up to the right-hander as he has collected six saves thus far on the season and is sporting a 1.06 ERA.
Nick: Scott Bittle
Scott Bittle is one of the greatest pitchers to ever come through the ranks at Ole Miss. He played three years for the Rebels and pitched in relief all three years. He was an All American his sophomore year having been selected by three different baseball outlets. He is in the top 5 all time for strikeouts in a season, with 130 during his sophomore season. He also led the nation in strikeouts per nine innings and led the SEC in strikeouts as a reliever. In his career, he pitched a 2.24 ERA and only allowed 38 earned runs in three years.
Steven: Stephen Head
As a recent Ole Miss grad, I was tempted to go with Wyatt Short in this spot since I saw him play, but the answer lies in the record books for this pick. Stephen Head was an everyman for Ole Miss from 2003-2005, and this list would be incomplete without his name on it. When you need three more outs to save the game, there’s not a better guy for the job than Head. He finished his career with 26 saves, the most in Ole Miss history, and with 13 saves in 2003, he owns the single season record. Head’s bat was also a valuable asset; he hit 37 home runs while at Ole Miss, good for 3rd all-time (tied with Burney Hutchinson). Head’s versatility and productivity earned him All-American honors in all three seasons he played with the Rebels, the first player to ever do so.
Cole: Stephen Head
While Head could have probably been the greatest of all time at almost any position, he was absolutely dominate as a closer for the Rebels. In his three years at Ole Miss, when Head came in to pitch, Rebel fans just sat back and relaxed. They knew it was over.
Adam: Stephen Head
When you turn the ball over to shut a game down, the arm that you would have to call on would be Stephen Head. This was a little difficult knowing that he was a dominate starter in only two seasons, but Head played a key role in closing the door on the opponents.
Nick: Justin Huisman
Justin is the second all time save leader in Ole Miss history, behind the great Stephen Head. Stephen Head is the GOAT player in Ole Miss Baseball history, but I think that Huisman gives Head a run for his money when it comes to closer. Huisman also has the 2nd and 3rd place spots on most saves in a season with 10 and 11, respectfully. Huisman also played third base for the Rebels throughout his career as a Reb.
Steven: Stuart Turner
Despite playing just one season with the Rebels, Turner wasted no time in cementing his legacy among the great players in Ole Miss history, winning the Johnny Bench award in 2013. On his way to becoming college baseball’s top catcher in his lone season with the Rebels, he hit .374 with 51 RBI and five HRs. Turner shined behind the plate as well throwing out 51 percent of runners, which led the SEC. Turner was an All-SEC first team selection, All-American and a Gold Glove recipient that year before being selected by the Twins.
Cole: Brett Basham
Although Basham’s stats were not quite as dazzling as Stuart Turner’s, Basham was a catalyst for the Rebels baseball team. Anytime their backs were against the wall, Basham never failed to make a defensive play to keep Ole Miss in the game. And if he was up to bat with a chance to tie it up or win the game, he seemingly never failed.
Adam: Stuart Turner
When one thinks of a batterymate for pitchers, a catcher must be tooled in several areas of his game. For the Rebels, that ball player is Stuart Turner, coming to Ole Miss from playing JUCO ball at LSU Eunice. His gifts helped him behind the plate and earned him All-SEC first team selection, All-American and Golden Glove recipient. Turner also delivered at the dish by hitting at a .374 clip with five home runs and driving home 51 RBIs.
Nick: Jake Gibbs
This is kind of a cop out for catcher, but Jake Gibbs has to be mentioned here. He has one of the most prolific MLB careers out of any Rebel to come through Ole Miss. While at Ole Miss, he played primarily third base; however, he did play some as a catcher, and he eventually played catcher in the pros. He is an All American for the Rebels and later returned to coach the Rebels.
By Cole Crenshaw, Steven Gagliano, Nick Bushart and Adam Brown.
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