Tom Borland will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in June.
Before that, Borland’s No. 11 will be retired by OSU, with a ceremony scheduled before the Cowboys’ game against West Virginia on May 16 – fittingly Tom Borland Night – at Reynolds Stadium.
Borland starred as a left-handed pitcher for Oklahoma A&M in the mid-1950s. He helped lead the Aggies to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1954 and 1955 and was named the CWS Most Valuable Player in ’55.
The second baseball All-American in program history, the McAlester native was inducted into OSU’s Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. During three seasons in Stillwater, Borland went 19-2 with a 2.63 earned run average. His 16 complete games are tired for sixth on the school’s all-time list and his 258 strikeouts are tied for eighth.
Borland, who passed away in March at the age of 80, will have his number unveiled on the right field wall at Reynolds Stadium, joining Robin Ventura’s 21, Pete Incaviglia’s 29 and Gary Ward’s 20 as retired numbers. His family will throw out the first pitch and the first 1,000 in attendance will receive a commemorative Tom Borland baseball card.
“We’re excited to honor Tom Borland and his great career and contributions to this program and the game of baseball,” Cowboys coach Josh Holliday said in a release. “His place in the College Baseball Hall of Fame is something we’re very proud of, and we’re also very proud of his family and his longstanding relationship with the Stillwater community.
“We hope everybody that knew Tom and his family will come out to recognize his number on the fence, with our three other great hall of fame members and celebrate his life and enjoy some Cowboy baseball the way he would have liked.”
Borland signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1955 and pitched in 27 big-league games over two seasons in 1960-61.
The move to add Borland’s number to the retired list at OSU is a natural, with his upcoming induction into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. And it keeps with Holliday’s push to embrace and recognize the history of his program.
So here’s a question: Who along with the four already honored deserves to have his number retired at OSU.
There have been a lot of All-Americans and greats to play for the Cowboys. Who else deserves this ultimate honor?