Oct. 11, 2000
Bowling Green, Ky. - The major league baseball season is winding down as only four teams remain, battling it out in the annual League Championship Series to determine the participants for the 2000 World Series.
Perhaps more so than ever before, the "Final Four" of professional baseball possesses a distinct Western Kentucky University flair.
Three of the four teams still in the hunt for berths in the World Series -- the New York Mets, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals -- feature Western connections.
Two former Hilltoppers -- trainer Fred Hina and professional scout Larry Doughty -- are on the Mets staff. Hina, who came to the Hill from Owensboro, lettered as a student trainer at WKU from 1983 through '87. And, Doughty (Class of '64), a baseball letterman as a Topper and later a successful high school baseball coach before heading into the ranks of pro baseball, is a Bowling Green native. He is also a former general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and, before taking the scouting position with the Mets, was vice president for player personnel for the Kansas City Royals.
Chris Turner, a former Hilltopper All-American on the diamond and a product of Warren Central High School, is the backup catcher for the Yankees. A three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, Turner was the Player-of-the-Year in the SBC as a senior in 1991.
And, another former Western standout, Marty Mason, is the bullpen coach for the Cardinals. In his two years (1979-80) with the Toppers, the Muhlenberg County native threw a school-record 14 complete games. His senior club (1980) set a school standard for victories, posting a 47-13-1 mark and narrowly missed earning a berth in the College World Series.
While we're on the subject, two other Western graduates are regulars on the major league baseball scene -- umpires Dan Morrison and John Shulock. Morrison (Class of '72), a Glasgow native who is a 1966 alumnus of Western's College High in Bowling Green, has been a MLB umpire since 1983. Shulock (Class of '73) came to the Hill from Louisville and has been a part of major league baseball since 1979. Western is one of only two colleges with two graduates on the major league baseball umpires' roster (the other is Eastern Michigan).