Cal Baseball Foundation

Fall 2014 Newsletter

Cal Baseball Foundation Golden Bear News & Notes

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October 2014 Volume 2, Issue 1 Baseball Foundation Golden Bear News & Notes F orty years ago, before a packed house at Evans Diamond, a thrilling 3-2 victory over Stanford marked the final game for 15 members of Cal's 1974 Baseball team. That this win denied Stanford that year's conference title and a post-season NCAA tournament berth made the victory all the more memorable for these Bears. The 1974 season began with big changes for this veteran group. Aluminum bats and the designated hitter became part of the college game. The retirement of Hall of Fame head coach George Wolfman brought Jackie Jensen, one of Cal's greatest athletes, back to Evans Diamond, along with former player and future Hall of Fame coach Bob Milano, who joined Jensen's staff as an assistant coach. The seniors of 1974 were, and have remained, a tight-knit group. Friendships initially formed at Evans Diamond were strengthened when playing overseas in Italy in 1971 and in Alaska during the summer of 1972. After graduation, many continued playing together, barn-storming in Canada in the summers from 1974-76. In the 1980s, several of these former Bears resurrected their careers with the 'Zona Bears of the Men's Senior Baseball League in Arizona. To this day, the '74 squad is the most- represented team at the annual Alumni Game. The achievements of this group of Bears, teammates and friends for more than 40 years, comprise one of the proudest chapters in the annals of Cal Baseball. As Bob Milano fondly recalls, "The 1974 season was a special and exciting year to coach because of the quality of individuals on that team. We had great camaraderie and dedicated leaders, a competitive group of young men who represented the University well and could play a little bit. I am thankful for all the memories and for them giving me the nickname '7'." Although four decades have passed since their final game at Evans Diamond, the passion and commitment of the 1974 Bears has only grown stronger. Whether it's the annual baseball Alumni Game, the First Pitch Dinner, or the annual Ralph Walker Cup Golf Tournament, the '74 team is there in force to represent, laugh, and share fond memories with their lifelong friends. Ken Alton (1B/3B) – Led the 1974 team with seven home runs. "My greatest memory and what Cal Baseball meant to me is rolled into one. It is all the guys who made up the team and the lasting relationships that formed because of the time I was on that team." Ken is semi-retired from his commercial roofing company. Steve Bartkowski (1B/C) – All-American in football and baseball and member of the Cal Hall of Fame. Steve was the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft and had a 12-year NFL career. He was the Bears' 1973 MVP and set that year's HR record (12, using wood bat). "Even though I had an NFL career, baseball has always been my favorite sport. Having the opportunity to play both sports at Cal was incredible! It would have broken my heart if baseball had been cut." Brad Brian (C) – 1973 team captain and 1974 team MVP. All-Pac-8 and Academic All-American in 1974. Brad holds the Cal record for most AB's in a game (9) and was a member of the USA All- Star team in the World Amateur Games. "Cal Baseball taught me how to work and be part of a team, which has helped me immeasurably in my career. My friendships at Cal were and continue to be very meaningful." Today, Brad is recognized as one of the top 25 commercial trial lawyers in the U.S. He is a Cal Baseball Foundation board member and played a major role in reinstating the Cal Baseball program in 2011. Neil Cummings (OF) – 1974 Co-Batting Champion (.383), and the George Wolfman Award winner. "I had great experiences with my teammates at Cal on the field and touring Italy. We remain best of friends to this day. We are family." Neil has his own law firm, focusing on business litigation and business formation and advising. He is the CEO and lead counsel for Carroll Shelby International, a founding contributor to the Cal Baseball Sponsor Banner program in 2014. Steve "Banjo" Derian (OF) – 1974 Co-Batting Champion (.383). All-Pac-8 honors in 1973 and 1974. An Academic All-American in 1974, Steve ranks 10th for the Bears in career batting average (.358) and led the team in infield hits, earning him the nickname "Banjo." "We have four generations of Cal grads in the Derian family. I have many memories and the most lasting has 40 YEARS STRONG: 1974 GOLDEN BEARS The Class of '74…Then and Now (Continued on page 2) ALUMNI ISSUE

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