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Ten Greatest Players in USC Baseball History

With an NCAA leading 12 College World Series Championships, no baseball program is more storied than USC's.

These are the ten greatest baseball players in USC history, ranked in order. While this ranking does take into account player achievements after college, it focuses mainly on their time at USC and the success of their team. Be sure to vote at the bottom of the page who your favorite USC baseball player is.

10. Randy Johnson (1984) Pitcher

Starting off the list is a player only on this list because of his future accomplishments. In his only year at USC, “The Big Unit” went 5-3 with a 3.35 ERA and 6.0 walks per 9 innings. He led the NCAA in walks with 52. Johnson did, however, give up zero home runs and would get drafted by the Montreal Expos in the second round, 36th overall. In the majors, he would be a five-time Cy Young award winner, lead the league in strikeouts nine times and win a World Series co-MVP. He is also third in career hit batsmen at 188.

9. Tom Seaver (1965) Pitcher

Seaver went 10-2 with a 2.47 ERA in his only year at USC after being recruited from Fresno City College by legendary USC coach Rod Dedeaux. He made up for his lack of pitch speed with great control. After being drafted by the Dodgers, Seaver demanded a $70,000 signing bonus, which the Dodgers refused. Seaver would then sign with the New York Mets the following year after a complicated bidding war between the Mets, Cleveland Indians, and Philadelphia Phillies. Seaver would have an incredible 20-year career in which he won the Cy Young three times. He won 311 games while compiling a career ERA of 2.86 with 3,640 strikeouts. He helped the 1969 “Miracle Mets” win the World Series.

8. Seth Davidson (1998-2001) Shortstop

Davidson would help USC win the College World Series in his first year, posting a .333/.393/.490 slash line with 17 steals and would reach the college world series three times. He batted over .300 every year, stealing 72 bases and collecting 312 hits along with 84 walks and 86 strikeouts. He would be drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the tenth round, 314th overall and would eventually retire in 2005, and although he never reached “The Show,” Davidson still may be the greatest USC SS ever.

7. Eric Munson (1997-1999) Third base/Catcher

Munson, along with Davidson, led USC to the College World Series championship in 1998. He hit 44 home runs during his three years. In the year USC won it all, Munson had his best year at the plate, batting .392/.493/.760 with 16 home runs and 15 doubles. He would get drafted third overall by the Detroit Tigers, and although Munson struggled to hit for average in his nine-year stint in the majors, he hit 49 home runs in 361 games.

6. Steve Kemp (1974-1975) Outfielder

Kemp would help USC win the college world series in 1974, batting .351 with a .446 OBP but lacking power. In 1975, he put together an absolutely ridiculous season, batting .435 with a .528 OBP while hitting 13 home runs. He would be drafted by the Detroit Tigers first overall and have a strong start to his career, hitting 80 home runs in his first four years and making the All-Star team. In his next seven-years Kemp managed just 50 home runs with five different clubs.

5. Geoff Jenkins (1993-1995) Outfielder

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In his three years at USC, Jenkins hit 45 home runs and led the Trojans to a College World Series runner-up finish in 1995. In his final year, Jenkins batted .399/.498/.748 with 23 home runs. He would get drafted ninth overall by the Milwaukee Brewers and have a good 11-year career, hitting 221 home runs with a .275 average and making the All-Star team once. In 2000, he batted .303 with a .360 OBP while hitting 34 home runs.

4. Mark Prior (2000-2001) Pitcher

After spending his freshman year at Vanderbilt, Prior transferred to USC and had an average sophomore year with his new team. But as a junior, Prior went 15-1 with a 1.70 ERA in 138 innings, striking out 202 with just 18 walks. He helped USC reach the College World Series both years. Prior was drafted second overall in the 2001 draft by the Chicago Cubs, and had a strange and short career in the majors with the Cubs. In 2003, he finished third in the Cy Young voting after going 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA, striking out 245. But in the postseason, he was pitching during the infamous Steve Bartman incident. His career slowly came to an end due to injuries. The last straw was a 117 MPH line drive off the bat of Brad Hawpe in 2005. Hawpe had also hit a three-run home run off Prior in the 2000 College World Series to knock USC out of contention.

3. Mark McGwire (1982-1984) First Base/Pitcher

In his three years at USC, McGwire totaled 51 home runs. In his final year, he batted .387/.490/.871. McGwire finished his career with more walks (85) than strikeouts (66) and in his third year had just one more strikeout (33) than home runs (32). Surprisingly, in 1982 he was a pitcher and did not hit, going 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA while struggling with control. USC failed to reach the College World Series in all three years while he was there, the only reason he isn’t number one on this list. It’s crazy to think that a college team with Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire would fail to even reach the College World Series. McGwire was drafted tenth overall by the Oakland Athletics. He would break the long-standing single season home run record held by Roger Maris by hitting 70 home runs in 1998. He hit 583 home runs in his career and helped the A’s win the World Series in 1989.

2. Fred Lynn (1971-1972) Outfielder

In his two years in college, USC won the national title in both years. In 1971, Lynn put together a .345/.435/.637 slash line with 7 home runs. In 1972, he improved with a .326/.462/.695 slash line to go with 14 home runs, while walking 47 times to just 27 strikeouts. He would be drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round, 43rd overall. Lynn would have a surreal rookie year with the Red Sox, batting .331 with a .401 OBP, hitting 21 home runs with 105 RBIs and 103 runs scored. Lynn would win Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, and American League MVP that year. He would finish his career as a nine-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover.

1. Rich Dauer (1973-1974) Second base and third base

In his two years at USC, Dauer helped the Trojans win the College World Series in both 1973 and 1974. Dauer had a good first year in which he batted .361/.449/.574 with 11 home runs, but his second year might be the greatest in USC history. In the final year of a stretch in which USC won five consecutive college world series, Dauer batted .387/.445/.649, with 15 home runs. While those number might seem merely good, Dauer also had 24 doubles, two triples, and a ridiculous 92 RBIs in 70 games to go along with 75 runs. It was a good year for Troy, as the football team would also win the national title. Dauer would get drafted by the Baltimore Orioles 24th overall and would have a quiet ten-year career, all with the Orioles as an infield utility man although he was part of the 1983 Orioles championship team.

Poll

Who'‘s your favorite USC baseball player ever?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Randy Johnson
    (12 votes)
  • 21%
    Mark McGwire
    (17 votes)
  • 32%
    Fred Lynn
    (26 votes)
  • 18%
    Tom Seaver
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    Rich Dauer
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Mark Prior
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Other
    (6 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now