Sept. 24, 2002
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nine former Georgia Tech baseball standouts – including current Major League stars Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Brown of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jay Payton of the Colorado Rockies – were honored Tuesday, as the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its 50th anniversary team for baseball. The 50-member team was announced as a part of the conference’s golden anniversary celebration.
Tech ranks second among the nine ACC institutions with nine selections, trailing only Clemson’s 12 honorees, despite only competing in the league for the last 23 years.
The Yellow Jackets on the 50th anniversary baseball team are:
Kevin Brown, Pitcher (1984-1986)
Brown was a first-team all-America selection and second-team all-ACC pick in 1986 and was drafted seventh overall in that year’s Major League baseball draft by the Texas Rangers. Brown finished his Tech career with a 28-13 record and a 4.07 ERA and still ranks among the school’s top five players in both victories and innings pitched. Brown has enjoyed a standout professional career, becoming an All-Star selection in both the American and National Leagues. He led the American League in wins in 1992 and the National League in ERA in 1996, and helped the Florida Marlins win the World Series in 1997. He was elected to the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1991.
Nomar Garciaparra, Shortstop (1992-1994)
Garciaparra was a consensus first-team all-America in both 1993 and 1994, earning first-team all-ACC honors in both of those years as well. Garciaparra also excelled in the classroom, earning first-team academic all-America accolades in 1993 and 1994. He finished his Tech career batting .374 with 23 home runs and 66 stolen bases, and still ranks among Tech’s all-time top 10 in batting average, doubles (58), triples (14) and stolen bases. Garciaparra was a first round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1994, and he was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1998 before winning the American League batting title in 1999 and 2000.
Ty Griffin, Second Base (1986-1988)
Griffin was a first-team all-America pick in 1988 and earned first-team all-ACC honors in 1987 and 1988. He played on three Tech teams that won the ACC Championship, including 1988 when he was named MVP of the ACC Tournament. A finalist for the Golden Spikes Award given to the nation’s top amateur player in 1988, Griffin became the highest Tech player ever drafted when he was the fourth player selected in the 1988 Major League draft by the Chicago Cubs. Griffin still holds Georgia Tech and ACC career records with 127 stolen bases, and he finished his Tech career with a .332 batting average. He was elected to the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1994.
Riccardo Ingram, Outfield (1986-1987)
Ingram was a first-team all-America selection and was named the ACC Player of the Year in 1987. In addition, he won the ACC’s McKevlin Award as the top athlete in the conference in 1987. A first-team all-ACC selection in 1987 when he hit .426 with 17 home runs and 99 RBI in 65 games, Ingram hit .367 with 27 home runs in just two years at Georgia Tech. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1987 and played in the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1994) and Minnesota Twins (1995). Ingram was elected to the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jay Payton, Outfield (1992-1994)
A consensus first-team all-America selection in 1994, Payton earned first-team all-ACC honors in 1994 and second-team all-ACC accolades in 1993. He still holds Georgia Tech single season records in doubles (27), hits (129) and RBI (102), all set in 1994 when he won the ACC batting title with a .434 average and helped lead Tech to the College World Series. Payton, who finished his Tech career with a .366 average, 36 home runs and 193 RBI in three seasons, still stands as the ACC’s career leader in triples (22). A supplemental first-round draft pick by the New York Mets in 1994, Payton reached the Major Leagues in 1998. After four seasons with the Mets, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies in July.
Jim Poole, Pitcher (1986-1988)
One of the dominant relief pitchers of his era, Poole was a first-team All-ACC selection in 1987 and 1988. He currently holds the Tech career record with 22 saves, and still ranks among the ACC’s all-time top five in saves (22, 4th), appearances (120, 4th) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.59, 2nd). He pitched in 120 games in his Tech career, compiling a 10-5 record and a 3.26 ERA while recording 263 strikeouts in just 188 innings pitched. Selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth round of the 1988 draft, Poole spent 11 years in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers, Rangers, Orioles, Indians, Giants, Phillies, Tigers and Expos. He was elected to the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1996.
Brad Rigby, Pitcher (1992-1994)
Rigby earned first-team all-America honors as the ace of the pitching staff while leading the Yellow Jackets to the College World Series in 1994, posting a 14-4 record and a 3.46 ERA. He earned second-team all-America and second-team all-ACC honors in 1993. Rigby finished his three-year career with a 35-8 record and a 3.02 ERA while recording 397 strikeouts in 339.2 innings pitched. A second-round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in 1994, Rigby played four years in the big leagues with the Oakland A’s, Kansas City Royals and Montreal Expos. He still holds Georgia Tech single season records for victories (14), strikeouts (184) and innings pitched (143), and ranks among the ACC’s all-time top three in career victories and strikeouts.
Mark Teixeira, Third Base (1999-2001)
A consensus first-team all-America selection in 2000, Mark Teixeira won the Dick Howser Trophy and was named National Player of the Year in 2000. Teixeira earned ACC Player of the Year honors in 2000, was a first-team all-ACC pick in 1999 and 2000, and earned ACC and National Rookie of the Year honors in 1999. Also excelling in the classroom, Teixeira earned first-team Academic all-America honors in 2000. A first round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2001, Teixeira finished his career with the best batting average (.384) at Tech in the last 70 years.
Jason Varitek, Catcher (1991-1994)
Varitek was a consensus first-team all-America in 1992, 1993 and 1994 and won the Golden Spikes Award in 1994 as the nation’s top amateur player. The 1993 ACC Player of the Year, Varitek earned first-team all-ACC honors from 1992-94 and was a second-team all-ACC pick as a freshman in 1991. He ranks among ACC’s all-time top five in home runs (57), hits (351), runs scored (261), doubles (82) and RBI (251). A two-time first round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1993 and Seattle Mariners in 1994, Varitek reached the Major Leagues in 1997 with the Boston Red Sox.
Fiftieth Anniversary Teams will be selected in all of the conference’s sports by the league’s head coaches and a top 50 overall men’s and women’s list will be chosen by a Blue Ribbon Committee of media, coaches, administrators and veteran observers of the Conference.