Diamond Dog Reunion This Weekend

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Collectively they played on teams that registered more than 1,500 of Mississippi State's 2,063 all-time baseball wins. They captured 12 Southeastern Conference regular season or SEC tournament titles and advanced to NCAA postseason play 25 times, reaching the pinnacle of college baseball, the NCAA College World Series, seven times.

This weekend nearly 170 players, managers and coaches representing 49 seasons of Mississippi State baseball converge on Starkville and the MSU campus for the tenth Mississippi State Baseball Alumni Weekend.

The reunion weekend activities opens with a pair of Saturday events for the returning players - an alumni golf tournament at the MSU Golf Course and an evening banquet in the ballroom of MSU's Colvard Student Union.

The spotlight shifts appropriately to Dudy Noble Field Sunday for the highlight of the weekend, the 1:30 p.m. (CST) alumni baseball game. This year's scheduled nine-inning affair pits the former Diamond Dogs of the 1984 to 1996 era against the other returning players from 1939 to 1983 and 1997 to 2002.

The returnees features a virtual who's who of Mississippi State baseball, including three current, seven former Major Leaguers and 14 standouts who earned All-American status during their careers at MSU. Nat "Buck" Showalter, recently named skipper of the Texas Rangers, and two other current Rangers, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and pitcher Jay Powell will be reunited this weekend with former big leaguers Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Dave "Boo" Ferriss, Jack Lazorko, Jon Shave, Bobby Thigpen and Pete Young.

There is no charge for admission to the 1:30 p.m. (CST) alumni game. The Dudy Noble Field gates open and batting practice begins at 11:30 a.m., and a brief autograph session is set for 1:10 a.m.

ALL IN THE FAMILY - The 2002 Mississippi State Baseball Alumni weekend is literally a family affair for several former Diamond Dogs. First baseman Larry Buckley (1973-75) and pitcher Allen Buckley (2001-2002) create a first father-son combo in the history of the alumni game. Pitcher Frank Henry (1982-83) is the uncle of an Alumni Maroon Team teammate, second baseman Chad Henry (2001-02). Three brother combos are being reunited on the field this weekend --- first baseman Will Clark (1983-85) and outfielder Scott Clark (1996-99), first baseman John Mitchell (1984-87) and infielder Scott Mitchell (1986-1990), and catcher Barry Winford (1985-89) and outfielder Ron Winford (1985-89), along with one cousin connection - outfielder Rusty Thoms (1994-98) and second baseman Lake Thoms (1998-99).

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