With both St. John’s basketball teams struggling on the wrong half of the Big East standings, there does not appear to be much to look forward to for Red Storm fans. But, there are some rumblings from at least one team that should fare much better in the conference.
St. John’s baseball, with a record of 118-60 over the past three seasons, honored one of its legends with the renaming of its field. Formerly known as the uninspiring Ballpark at St. John’s, the field will now be called Jack Kaiser Stadium.
Perhaps not as recognizable a name as Carnesecca in Carnesecca Arena, it’s still great to see St. John’s recognizing the achievements of its own.
So who is the guy anyway?
Few students will remember his days on the field, dating back to the late 1940s when he played baseball, basketball, and soccer as a Johnnie. He led the baseball squad to a 21-6 record and a College World Series berth in 1949.
Returning in 1956 as a coach, Kaiser also left his mark there as he wound up staying until 1973. During that time, he compiled a record of 366-134-2 and added another three College World Series appearances to his r√©sum√© in 1960, 1966, and 1968. He never had a losing season.
Following his coaching career, he served as a department-wide Director of Athletics for 23 years until 1995.
Nearly 60 years as part of the St. John’s athletic community-seems like enough service time to get something named after him.
“This is well deserved and a long time coming for a legendary baseball coach,” current St. John’s baseball coach Ed Blankmeyer told RedStormSports.com.
Kaiser is a member of the Hall of Fame of both the American Baseball Coaches Association and the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and a co-founder of the Big East conference.
“Coach Kaiser has dedicated his life to St. John’s University athletics,” current Director of Athletics Chris Monasch told RedStormSports.com. “As a student-athlete, coach and athletic director there is no person who has contributed more to the storied history of our athletics program, especially the baseball program, than Coach Kaiser. The dedication of our baseball field to Jack is a most deserved honor.”
In this age of corporate sponsorships, marketing usually trumps tradition. Major league baseball has set the precedent, having nearly half of its stadiums named after big companies.
More are on the way, even in New York, as the Mets’ new stadium is to be called Citifield after the Citigroup.
At St. John’s now, though, we are fortunate to have a name we can be proud of.
And all signs are pointing to being able to make Kaiser proud in return. In a pre-season coach’s poll, St. John’s was chosen as the No. 1 team in the Big East, receiving seven of 11 top votes.
There were also three individual awards for St. John’s players. Sophomore starting pitcher Scott Barnes, senior outfielder Chris Joachim, and senior designated hitter Anthony Smith were all named to the pre-season All-Big East team.
Baseball opens up in mid-February and has its home-opener at Jack Kaiser Stadium on March 14. Even if things don’t look too bright for St. John’s fans right now, baseball season is just around the corner.