MLB stars, former players honored by San Jacinto College
02.12.2015 | By Rob Vanya
Former players, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees members, and College administrators enjoyed the San Jacinto College baseball Legends Ceremony. Pictured, from left: Jared Wells, Duane Walker, Lucas Luetge, Nick Stavinoha, San Jacinto College Baseball Head Coach Tom Arrington, Jesse Crain, Rusty Pendergrass, Kyle VanHook, Russell Stockton, Chris Rupp, Ruth Keenan, San Jacinto College Foundation executive director, Frank Nadolney, San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors member, Dan Mims, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees Chairman,, Larry Wilson, San Jacinto College Board of Trustees Vice Chairman, John Moon Jr., San Jacinto College Board of Trustees Secretary, San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Kelvin Ramos, Holden Helmink, Jake Cowan, and Donald Wright. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
San Jac Legends come out for Tournament of Champions
A highlight of last weekend’s Tournament of Champions, hosted by San Jacinto College, was the Legends Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 6. Former San Jacinto College players with professional experience, as well as San Jacinto College alumni star players, were recognized for their success and contributions.
San Jacinto College Head Baseball Coach Tom Arrington gave a warm welcome to the former student-athletes, who were presented gifts of appreciation from San Jacinto College at a pre-game gathering. “The College’s baseball program has a lengthy tradition of excellence,” commented Arrington, who is now in his 14th season at the helm of the program. “We are proud of all the players that have contributed to the success of San Jacinto College baseball. The Legends Ceremony is special in that it allows many former players to get together and reminisce about the good times they shared at San Jac.”
Chicago White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain, guest speaker at a pre-game mixer, said his experience at San Jacinto College (2000-2001) was a defining moment in his life. “It was the most important stepping stone in my career, because without San Jac I probably would not have made it to the big leagues,” commented Crain, who was the first student-athlete to be drafted by a pro team under Arrington’s tenure at San Jacinto College.
As a college freshman, Crain left the University of Texas because he was not getting enough playing time. “UT coaches recommended that I see about attending San Jacinto College,” he said. “It was the best thing that could have happened. I was able to get plenty of playing time, and I feel the competition level in San Jacinto College’s conference is as good as most Division 1 universities, so I was able to improve in every area of the game. I also received a well-rounded education at San Jacinto College.”
Alumni with Major League experience who were also recognized include Jared Wells (San Diego Padres), Duane Walker (Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals), Lucas Luetge (Seatle Mariners), Nick Stavinoha (Sugar Land Skeeters), Kelvin Ramos (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Holden Helmink (Arizona Diamondbacks). San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors member Frank Nadolney threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Relatives of the late John Ray Harrison, for whom the San Jacinto College baseball field is named after, were also recognized at the ceremony. Harrison served as San Jacinto College’s first baseball coach from 1961 to 1962.
San Jacinto College’s season record stands at 3-5 after going 2-2 in the Tournament of Champions played Feb. 6 through Feb. 8. In the tournament, San Jacinto College played non-conference games against New Mexico Junior College, Howard College, Pensacola State College, and Odessa College.
The first home conference game for San Jacinto College will be Friday, Feb. 20, a double header against Wharton County Junior College, with the first game starting at 1 p.m. All San Jacinto College home games are played at the John Ray Harrison Field on the San Jacinto College North Campus, 5800 Uvalde Road in Houston. Games are free and open to the public.
For more information about San Jacinto College athletics, visit sanjacsports.com.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.