Friday, July 1, 2016
Life on the field: Longtime JSU coach Bob Braddy to be inducted into National College Baseball Hall Of Fame
Tickets for the 2016 induction are available on the Hall of Fame's website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Growing up in Florence, Mississippi, Bob Braddy looked forward to Saturdays.
R.T. Braddy Sr., being a church deacon, wouldn’t let his children play ball on Sundays and, in a family with eight boys and six girls, work and chores consumed weekdays.
That left Saturday afternoons for baseball.
The neighborhood kids would clean up cow manure from the pasture, cut up a car tire for the pitching rubber and fashion bases by filling cloth grain sacks with dirt. The catcher had a mask, but no chest protector, no shin guards, no other equipment, so a “pigtail” would set up shop 30 or 40 feet behind him.
“He would get the ball and get it back to the catcher,” Bob Braddy said. “That was like a designated player. It was a second catcher.”
Retrieving pitches wasn’t the only group effort.
“The park was surrounded by trees,” Braddy said. “If someone hit a fly ball into the woods, you would see guys scatter like ants into the woods, trying to find the ball.”
From such humble beginnings, Braddy made a life from the game. Coaching Jackson State from 1973-2000, Braddy went 824-546, setting the coaching victories record for the Southwestern Athletic Conference, winning 12 SWAC titles and taking three teams to the NCAA tournament.