Former ECU head baseball coach Hal Baird elected to ABCA Hall of Fame

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 12:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2020 at 12:14 AM EDT
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (ECU) – East Carolina Hall of Fame head coach Hal Baird is one of eight individuals elected to the 2021 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, the organization announced Tuesday.

Baird, who had a 15-year association with ECU as a player, assistant coach and head coach, joins Bill Anderson (Occidental College, Calif.), Roger Cador (Southern University, La.), Sammy Dunn (Vestavia Hill High School, Ala.), Wayne Graham (Rice University, Texas), George Horton (Cal State Fullerton/University of Oregon), Tony Robichaux (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and Don Sneddon (Santa Ana College, Calif.) as the association’s newest members.

A 1971 graduate, Baird helped the Pirates to a Southern Conference title and a NCAA District 3 Playoff appearance in Gastonia, N.C. Over his two-year career, he posted a 12-11 record, appearing in 28 games (19 starts) where he sported a 2.02 ERA and registered 189 strikeouts in 155.2 innings. In the 1970 SoCon championship game against George Washington, Baird struck out a league and school record-best 20 batters. A year later, he fanned 105 batters during the 1971 season, ranking at the time as the second-most in program history and is currently tied for sixth in the single-season annals.

Following his college career, Baird played for the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals organizations where he earned All-Gulf Coast League, All-Florida Instructional League and All-Southern League honors. He went on to serve as an assistant coach at ECU from 1977-79 before being named the 11th head coach in program history (1979). Over the next five years, Baird led the Pirates to a pair of ECAC-South championships (1982, 1984) and three NCAA Tournament appearances (1980, 1982, 1984). Baird finished his coaching career at East Carolina with a record of 145-66-1 (.687).

In 1985, Baird took over at Auburn University, where he would go on to become the winningest coach in school history. Over 16 seasons, he led the Tigers to a 634-328 record, and his .659 winning percentage ranks first among Auburn coaches with more than one season at the helm. Baird’s teams won at least 30 games in every season he was the head coach, including a pair of 50-win seasons in 1995 and 1997. No other coach in Auburn history has won 50 games in a season.

During his tenure, Auburn advanced to College World Series in 1994 and 1997 and competed in nine NCAA Regionals, capturing Regional titles in 1994, 1997 and 1999.

The 2021 ABCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the 77th annual ABCA Convention on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. Tickets to attend the Hall of Fame Banquet will go on sale September 1.

Induction to the ABCA Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the organization. The ABCA was founded in 1945 and the Hall of Fame began in 1966.

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