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Baseball smacks of success

Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington spoke to the media.
Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington spoke to the media. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Not as well known as its football and basketball counterparts, baseball at UMass might just be the most successful of the school’s three major men’s sports. And one of the biggest recipients of UMass baseball is none other than the Boston Red Sox.

Despite never playing for the Minutemen baseball team, three UMass graduates currently serve prominent roles in Major League Baseball as general managers, including Ben Cherington (right) with the Red Sox. The others are Chris Antonetti of the Cleveland Indians and Neal Huntington of the Pittsburgh Pirates. All three earned a master’s degree in sport management from UMass.

On the field, the Minutemen have won more than a dozen conference championships and been to the NCAA Tournament 11 times. Twice they’ve reached the mecca of Omaha, playing in the College World Series in 1954 and 1969.

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One thing the Minutemen have enjoyed is stability. Since 1948, UMass baseball has only had three head coaches: Earl Lorden (1948-66), Dick Bergquist (1967-87), and Mike Stone, who is entering his 25th season in 2013. Those coaches have sent nearly two dozen players to the majors, including some of the biggest names in UMass baseball history: Pittsfield native Jeff Reardon, who saved 367 games in his 16-year career, including 88 for the Red Sox from 1990-92; Gary DiSarcina from Malden, who was an All-Star in 1995 and is back now to manage the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2013; and Mike Flanagan, the 1979 AL Cy Young Award winner who won the World Series in 1983 with the Orioles.

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