Let’s take a look at Georgia baseball’s all-time starting nine in this edition of the NCAA.com series of the best possible starting lineups for some of college baseball’s most successful programs.
Here is how we picked the team: We dug deep in the record books, only considering the players’ college career and accolades. Their achievements in professional baseball did not come into play. There was also consideration given to their positional fits and how well they fit into a batting order we made based on historical stats that could provide a combination of high batting averages, speed, and power.
Georgia is a team back on the rise, finding itself in the top 10 for much of the 2019 season. The 1990 College World Series national champions obviously have plenty of history, so let’s dig deep into the record books and see who stands out as the best of the bunch.
Billy Henderson, outfield (1947-50)
Henderson is a no-brainer in the leadoff spot, putting up the career stats that show he’s the perfect catalyst for this lineup. The “Macon Meteor” is the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in stolen bases with 91, his 29 in 1950 leading all of the SEC. He hit two inside-the-park home runs in the 1949 season, and put up a .410 batting average in 1948, finishing his career with a .375 average — fifth-best in Georgia history. He is the epitome of a leadoff man.
Jeff Treadway, second base (1982-83)
Treadway only played two seasons in Athens, but he made them both count. Treadway could flat out hit, leading Georgia with a .392 average in 1983 and his .381 career batting average is still fourth all-time in Bulldogs history. He averaged 69 hits, 44 runs, eight home runs, and 43 RBI in his two seasons.
Doug Radziewicz, first base (1988-91)
This could easily have gone to Josh Morris, the all-time Bulldog home runs leader or Rich Poythress after his 2009 All-American season, but Radziewicz has a few things in his favor. For one, he was part of the Bulldogs lone national championship. Secondly, where he lacked in power (he still produced 21 home runs), he made up for in contact and run production, tied for the most hits in program history (282) and owner of the most runs scored (207) in Georgia history.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) April 17, 2019
Gordon Beckham, shortstop (2006-08)
While we’d love to have Jeff Keppinger in this lineup, primarily based on his NCAA tournament heroics (23-for-46 with nine home runs in 10 career games) there’s no way Beckham is not the cleanup hitter on this team. Beckham won the 2008 SEC player of the year award after leading the nation with 29 home runs. His 53 round trips are most in program history, as are his 491 total bases, while he’s fourth in RBI (182) and second in runs scored (201).
Roger Miller, catcher (1986-89)
Not only was Miller strong with the stick, but he was also a feared presence behind the plate, throwing out more than 40% of attempted base stealers in his career. Miller had serious pop as well with 45 home runs, seven of which were grand slams. He’s the all-time Bulldog leader in RBI (226) and is tied with Radziewicz for the most hits. You’ll find his name all over Bulldog history books and he is perfect for the heart of the order.
Buck Belue, outfield (1979-82)
Maybe Belue’s place in Georgia history isn’t so much on the diamond as it is on the gridiron where he was the quarterback for the 1980 national champion Bulldog football team.
But he was no slouch with the bat. Belue’s .356 average is still in the top 10 and his .447 1982 season is still third-best in the Bulldogs record books. He added 30 home runs, 114 runs scored and 27 stolen bases to his resume, earning him a spot in this all-time lineup
Ryan Peisel, third base (2006-2008)
This was a two horse (or should we say Dawg?) race. David Lanning was certainly deserving, his .382 average still amongst the best in UGA history, but Peisel put up bigger numbers across the board. His 261 hits are seventh all-time, as are his 169 runs. He added 18 home runs and 130 RBI during his tenure, all while playing solid defense at the hot corner setting the school record with 51 putouts in the 2008 season.
Joey Side, outfield (2004-06)
Side was a big factor on two College World Series teams, earning Most Outstanding Player in the 2006 Athens Regional in the NCAA tournament. His 2006 season was one of UGA’s all-time best, finishing second with 111 hits and 188 total bases (both were No. 1 before Beckham’s monster 2008) and his nine triples are second to none. While normally a leadoff guy, his spot in the bottom would give fictional pitchers fits trying to get around him and Henderson.
Derek Lilliquist, starting pitcher (1985-87)
With choosing just one pitcher such a difficult task, we like to present options for a rotation before presenting our Friday night ace. Dave Fleming, who won the second most games in program history with a Georgia-best 25 complete games, would be the Saturday starter. Jim Redfearn is as old-school as it gets, playing the 1907 and 1908 seasons with Georgia, but he went 18-0-1 in his career, with 13 shutouts and a 21-strikeout performance against Alabama. We’ll keep Mike Rebhan on board as well, it’s simply too hard to ignore his 1990 Most Outstanding Player award from the College World Series. It’s even tough to choose between closers, but we’re taking two-time All-American Cris Carpenter barely over Joshua Fields.
But Friday night belongs to Lilliquist. He was a beast on the mound and at the plate. Lilliquist finished his career with 31 wins and 387 strikeouts, both still best in Georgia history while posting a 3.30 ERA. He also hit .318 with 35 home runs and 135 RBI, with the home runs still a top 10 mark in Bulldogs history.
Steve Webber, head coach (1981-1996)
Not much thinking to do on this one. Webber. He’s the program’s all-time leader in wins with a nice round 500. The 1987 SEC coach of the year led the Bulldogs to two College World Series including their only national championship in 1990.