College World Series: The 10 Greatest CWS Legends Omaha Has Ever Seen
Rosenblatt Stadium's last season hosting the College World Series has already seen a performance for the ages.
South Carolina's Blake Cooper went eight innings, giving up three hits and striking out 10 batters (tying a CWS record), as the Gamecocks moved one win away from taking home their first crown.
Cooper's performance will go down in Omaha's history with the best that have ever played there.
Some of them have gone on to lucrative pro careers. Others never quite made it.
Either way, these guys will always be able to point back to their collegiate days that culminated in a trip to the CWS.
There are countless players who deserve to make this list, but here are 10 of the best college baseball legends to carry their team to Omaha.
Honorable Mention—Tommy Medonca, Fresno State 2008
Medonca makes the list for helping carry Fresno State to perhaps the most improbable CWS championship ever. The Bulldogs were a No. 4 seed in their region and lost 31 games on the season.
Medonca helped carry them to history.
In Omaha, he set the CWS record with four home runs, including a three-run shot in Fresno State's 19-10 comeback win in game two of the championship round over Georgia.
10. Huston Street, Texas 2002-04
Street was one of the most dominant relievers to appear in the CWS.
In 2002, he set the CWS record with four saves, winning MVP honors while leading Texas to the national title. He finished the season with a 4-1 record and 0.96 ERA.
Street would help carry the Longhorns to Omaha the next two seasons, but could not bring home a second championship.
9. Jason Windsor, Cal State Fullerton 2004
Windsor dominated in Fullerton's run to the 2004 title.
He pitched two complete games in three starts, allowing just 11 hits in 21 innings with 29 strikeouts.
In the championship, he shut down the Longhorns to the tune of five hits and 10 strikeouts in a complete-game win.
Windsor went 13-4 with a 1.72 ERA that season.
8. Mark Kotsay, Cal State Fullerton 1995
Another Fullerton alum to make the list, Mark Kotsay is known for his play in the outfield in the Majors.
In college, Kotsay was a two-way threat. Not only did he dominate in the outfield, but he also moonlighted as a closer for Fullerton.
In leading his team to the national championship in 1995, Kotsay came in to record the final five outs of the CWS. He also hit two home runs and five RBI in the 11-5 win over USC.
7. Dustin Ackley, North Carolina 2007-09
Ackley was one of the best hitters in recent CWS history.
He never won a national title, but he helped carry the Tar Heels to three straight Omaha appearances.
Ackley hit over .400 in each of his three seasons in Chapel Hill.
He hit .402 with 10 homers and 74 RBI as a freshman. As a sophomore, he went .417 with 21 doubles, seven homers and 51 RBI. As a junior, he went .417 with 18 doubles, 21 homers, and 73 RBI.
6. Pat Burrell, Miami 1996
Burrell won the CWS MVP in 1996, losing to LSU in the title game on Warren Morris' walk-off home run.
But he will go down as one of college baseball's greatest hitters.
Burrell ranks in the NCAA all-time top 10 in batting average (.442) and slugging percentage (.888).
He went on to have a solid pro career and finally won that elusive ring with the Phillies in 2008.
5. J.D. Drew, Florida State 1995-96
The Seminoles are a CWS constant, having made 20 appearances, but they have not taken home a title.
Drew was one of the greatest Seminoles to ever take the field in Omaha.
He became the first collegiate player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases.
He hit .455 in 1997 while becoming one of only three players to have 100 hits, runs, and RBI in a season.
Drew broke 17 school and conference records in his time at Florida State.
4. Barry Bonds, Arizona State 1983-84
Bonds is known for his home run record and steroid usage, but before all of the controversy, he was a CWS legend.
He was unable to win the title in his two appearances in Omaha, a theme that would carry over to his pro days, but he was still dominant.
In the 1984 CWS, Bonds tied the record with a hit in eight straight at-bats.
3. Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State 1987
Ventura makes this list as not only one of the best players the CWS has ever seen, but also for providing one of its greatest feats.
In the 1987 CWS, Ventura extended his record hitting streak to 58 games, a streak that still stands today.
Ventura's streak was broken the next game against Jack McDowell of Stanford. The Cowboys would win the game 6-2.
But McDowell and the Cardinals would beat Ventura's Oklahoma State squad in the title game 9-5, despite Ventura's 4-for-5 showing.
2. Dave Winfield, Minnesota 1973
Winfield gets bonus points for winning MVP honors for a team that didn't even make the championship round.
You may remember Winfield as one of the best hitters in the Majors, but he won this award as a pitcher.
Winfield struck out 14 batters in a six-hit shutout against Oklahoma in the 1973 opener.
He then shut down three-time defending champion USC for eight innings, striking out 15 batters. He moved to left field with a 7-4 lead, but USC came back to win.
Winfield later said that he played a lot of memorable games in his career, but he would never forget that one.
1. Steve Arlin, Ohio State 1965-66
One of the best pitchers the CWS has ever seen, Arlin brought the Buckeyes their only national title in 1966 and took home MVP honors.
In his 1965 appearance, Arlin made three starts in four days. He pitched 15 innings of shutout baseball against Washington State, striking out a CWS-record 20 batters.
In the championship season, Arlin pitched five of his team's six games and defeated top-ranked USC twice.
He didn't last long in the pros, and I'm sure all that extra work in college didn't help. But it did help him go down as one of the greatest CWS legends.