Southeastern announces 1950s All-Decade Baseball Team

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HAMMOND, La. – Containing seven members of the Southeastern Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame, head coach Matt Riser revealed Wednesday the baseball program’s All-Decade Team for the 1950s.

“We talk about taking pride in the university and pride in the program,” Riser said. “In order to do that, you have to know what has been laid before you. This is a great way to honor those guys that have come through. It’s a nice project that allows for some people who have been involved with this program for a number of years, decades even, to have an influence and re-emerge as part of the foundation of who we are, showing what it truly means to be a Lion for life.”

The team includes pitchers Charles McCrory, C.J. Payne, and George Thomas, catcher Robert Catton, infielders Sheldon Fernandez, Jerry Kurtz, Don Lewis and Ray Porta, outfielders Tommy Bell, Billy Chimento and Buddy Ruddick, and utility player Frank Misuraca.

Bell, Fernandez and Misuraca were all unanimous selections.

Also included on the team are a host of honorable mentions that played for Southeastern during the previous decades, including Arlen Blackwell, Jim Carlin, Carl Dick, Bill Lukawecki, Norman McCord and Billy Ray Parnell.

Coaches during the period were Ned McGehee (1947-49), Luther Marler (1950) and the legendary Pat Kenelly (1951-1964). All three coaches are members of the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame, as are Blackwell, Fernandez, Misuraca and Porta.

Kenelly was named the Gulf State Conference Coach of the Year three times during the decade, winning the honor in 1953, 1954 and 1955 after guiding the Lions to back-to-back-to-back conference titles. The future Southeastern head football coach and athletic director added one more diamond title before the end of the decade, claiming a share of the 1957 championship.

Players were placed on the ballot based on postseason awards, single-season and career records earned, and overall career achievements. The team was selected by a voting base consisting of former Southeastern baseball letterwinners, coaches and administrators.

All former Southeastern baseball lettermen are eligible to cast a ballot for each of the seven squads making up the All-Decade Teams. Ballots will be conducted by email. An executive committee consisting of current and former coaches, players and SIDs will oversee the creation of the final team structure.

Lettermen interested in participating are asked to contact Associate Sports Information Director Damon Sunde (damon.sunde@southeastern.edu) or baseball alum Tom Dawsey (tdawsey@southeastern.edu) in the Lion Athletics Association office to be added to the email list.

PLAYER BIOS
Charles McCrory (1954-57) – Pitcher
Helped lead Southeastern to back-to-back Gulf States Conference titles in 1954, 1955 as well as another in 1957 … led the team in innings pitched (86.0) and strikeouts (70) while tying for the team lead in wins (4) in 1956, finishing one inning shy of tying team record for IP … led the staff in ERA (2.69), innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (76) in 1957, earning All-Conference honors … compiled an 11-10 record and 3.58 ERA in 211.0 innings pitched … struck out 170 batters for an average of 7.25 K/9 … finished career ranked second (1957) and third (1956) in single-season strikeouts … finished career as the all-time leader in innings pitched (211.0) and strikeouts (170) while ranking second in career wins (11) … now ranks 19th in strikeouts, 27th in innings pitched and 52nd in wins.

C.J. Payne (1958-59, 1961, 1963) – Pitcher
Tied for the team lead in wins (4) in 1959 … set then-program record in ERA (1.34) and tied wins (7) record in 1961, earning All-Conference honors … also led the 1961 squad with 76.1 innings pitched … finished career ranked second in career wins (17) while ranking fourth in both innings pitched (206.0) and strikeouts (116) … currently ranks 17th in wins, 29th in innings pitched and 43rd in strikeouts.

George Thomas (1956-59) – Pitcher
Led the team in ERA (3.78) in 1956 and tied with Charles McCrory for most wins (4) … helped lead Southeastern to a Gulf States Conference championship in 1957 … once again led the team in ERA (1.93) and wins (5) in 1958, earning All-Conference honors … finished career with single-season record 1.93 ERA in 1958 … finished career as the program’s all-time leader in wins (14) while ranking second in both innings pitched (166.2) and strikeouts (99) … currently ranks 31st in wins, 42nd in innings pitched and 60th in strikeouts.

Bobby Catton (1957) – Catcher
Earned All-Conference honors in 1957, helping lead Southeastern to a Gulf States Conference championship … hit .326 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs … led the team in batting average and tied with Sheldon Fernandez for the team lead in homers … only struck out 11 times in 95 at bats … signed a professional baseball contract with the New York Giants organization in 1957.

Sheldon Fernandez (1957-60) – Infielder
Unanimous All-Decade selection … helped lead Southeastern to a Gulf States Conference championship as a freshman … led the team in home runs three-consecutive seasons with seven in 1957, five in 1958 and six in 1959 … also led the team multiple times in hits (42 in 1959, 39 in 1960), runs scored (38 in 1959, 27 in 1960) and RBIs (22 in 1957, 26 in 1959) … earned All-Conference honors in 1959 after hitting .360 with six homers and 26 RBI … also tied the program single-season record with 42 hits in 1959 and set then-program record with 38 runs scored and 31 walks … finished career as the program’s all-time leader in batting average (.325), hits (138), home runs (22) and RBIs (83) … currently ranks 26th in batting average, 42nd in hits, 15th in homers and 43rd in RBIs … inducted into the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame (1959) before the end of his collegiate career … named Southeastern’s Alumnus of the Year by the university in 1998.

Jerry Kurtz (1954-57) – Infielder
Earned All-Conference honors in 1956 and 1957 … hit .269 with a team-leading 18 RBIs in 1956 and .281 with three homers and seven RBIs in 1957 … began career by hitting .308 as a freshman and .346 as a sophomore … helped lead Southeastern to back-to-back Gulf States Conference titles in 1954 and 1955, and a co-championship in 1957 … finished career with a .289 batting average.

Ray Porta (1954-55) – Infielder
A multi-sport star at Southeastern … contact hitter struck out just 11 times in 202 career at bats … helped lead Southeastern to back-to-back Gulf States Conference titles in 1954 and 1955 … tied for the team lead with 29 base hits in 1954, producing a .276 batting average … hit .268 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 1955, earning All-Conference honors … two-time All-Conference quarterback in football, helping lead the Southeastern gridiron squad to back-to-back Gulf States Conference championships that also included an undefeated season (9-0) in 1954 … inducted into the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 1954.

Don Lewis (1954-55) – Infielder
Helped lead Southeastern to back-to-back Gulf States Conference titles in 1954 and 1955 … led the team in batting average (.341) and tied for the team lead in base hits (29) as a freshman … led the team in batting average (.333) once again as a sophomore … in addition, he also led the squad in hits (37), home runs (7) and RBIs (27) in 1955, earning him All-Conference honors … signed a professional baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1955.

Tommy Bell (1954-55, 1957-58) – Outfielder
Unanimous All-Decade selection … helped lead Southeastern to back-to-back Gulf States Conference titles in 1954 and 1955 as well as another in 1957 … earned All-Conference honors in 1955 … led the team in homers (3) in 1954 and runs scored (29) in both 1957 and 1958 … hit .271 with 14 career home runs … finished career as the program’s career leader in home runs, currently ranking 45th on the career list … compiled a 36-25-3 (.586) record as Southeastern head coach (1965-66), leading the team to back-to-back Gulf States Conference championships.

Buddy Ruddick (1958-59) – Outfielder
Set a then-program record with a .371 batting average in 1958 … finished career with a .311 batting average, at the time the highest in program history … currently ranks 44th in career batting average.

Billy Chimento (1953-56) – Outfielder
Helped lead Southeastern to back-to-back Gulf States Conference titles in 1954 and 1955, earning All-Conference honors both seasons … hit .247 with a pair of home runs in 1954 and .306 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 1955 … finished with a .269 career batting average.

Frank Misuraca (1958-61) – Utility Player
Unanimous All-Decade selection … led the team in batting average (.348), runs scored (36) and base hits (40) as a senior, joining Billy Ladner in being named the first All-American in program history in 1961 … earned All-Conference honors in 1959 and 1961 … led the team in hits (39) and RBIs (21) as a freshman, producing the only home run of his career … finished his career with a .312 batting average, ranking second at the time behind Sheldon Fernandez … surpassed Fernandez to become the program’s all-time leader in hits (145), holding the record until 1976 … inducted into the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 1976.

– – – – –

Arlen Blackwell (1949-50)
A multi-sport star at Southeastern … led the team with a .306 batting average in 1949 … earned All-Division honors in baseball in 1950 … lettered in football in 1948, 1949, 1954 and 1955 … member of the track and field team in 1948 and 1955 … elected to the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983.

Jim Carlin (1937-38)
A multi-sport star at Southeastern … AP Little All-American at halfback for the football Lions in 1936 and earned the American Progress Trophy for most valuable player in 1937 … signed a professional baseball contract with the New York Giants organization in 1938 … made his Major League debut July 26, 1941 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies … appeared in 16 games for the Phillies before entering the U.S. Navy during WWII … blasted a two-run homer against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 2, 1941 … was 3-for-21 (.143) at the plate during his MLB career … stationed at Norfolk Naval Training Station in 1942 and 1943 … blasted a three-run homer in support of Bob Feller during an Army-Navy charity game at the Polo Grounds on June 15, 1942 … elected to the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 1949.

Carl Dick (1947)
Signed a professional baseball contract with the Washington Senators organization in 1947.

Bill Lukawecki (1947-50)
Pitcher … tossed a no-hitter in 1949, defeating Louisiana Tech, 3-2 … played professional baseball for the Hammond and Thibodaux teams in the Evangeline League during the 1950 and 1951 seasons.

Norman McCord (1948)
First baseman … signed a professional baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1948 … played for teams in Tallahassee (Georgia-Florida League), Leesburg (Florida State League) and Baton Rouge (Evangeline League).

Billy Ray Parnell (1947-48)
Outfielder … signed a professional baseball contract with the New York Yankees organization in 1948.

TICKET INFORMATION
Southeastern is implementing mobile ticketing as the primary method for securing tickets during the 2020-21 school year. Tickets will be available via email in a PDF format for fans to download on their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded to Apple Wallet.

CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics enforces a clear bag policy for all ticketed events. The policy mirrors safety precautions required for entrance to professional and collegiate sporting venues throughout the country. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/Clear.

DIAMOND CLUB / S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the baseball program are encouraged to join the Diamond Club. Lion baseball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Diamond Club and S Club (baseball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern baseball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Lions Baseball, follow @LionUpBaseball or @MattRiser17 on Twitter, @LionUpBaseball on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

1950s ALL-DECADE TEAM
P – Charles McCrory
P – C.J. Payne
P – George Thomas
C – Robert Catton
IF – Sheldon Fernandez
IF – Jerry Kurtz
IF – Don Lewis
IF – Ray Porta
OF – Tommy Bell
OF – Billy Chimento
OF – Buddy Ruddick
UT – Frank Misuraca

HM – Arlen Blackwell, Jim Carlin, Carl Dick, Bill Lukawecki, Norman McCord, Billy Ray Parnell

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