Broncho’s Legend Trots to UCO Hall of Fame
(Cara Johnson/ The Vista).
The Hall of Fame class of 2017 will feature one of the best baseball players to come through UCO, John Rodgers, a four year letterman for UCO. Rodgers will become just the sixth baseball player to be inducted.
“It’s an incredible, unexpected honor,” Rodgers said. “To be the first of my era inducted is amazing.”
Rodgers was the Bronchos’ third baseman from 2000-2003, and is the only player in program history to be named All-Conference all four years. In his tenure, Rodgers led UCO to over 150 wins and three of its eight National Tournament appearances.
“I was fortunate to have been there for four years,” Rodgers said. An uncommon feat for college baseball in this region.
Rodgers’ career began with being named Lone Star Conference Freshman of The Year.
His name can be found next to the career at bats, hits, doubles, runs scored, and runs batted in records. Consisting of 175 RBI and 227 hits during his four seasons. “I had a lot of good guys there around me,” Rodgers said modestly.
The Bronchos won the Lone Star Conference- North Division on three occasions while Rodgers played.
In his final season in a Bronchos uniform, Rodgers posted a monstrous .448 batting average and led the team with 61 RBI. Rodgers also posted a 1.32 OPS, which is the total sum of on-base and slugging percentages.
“My senior year was my best year of performance,” Rodgers stated. “I had a down year my junior season.”
These numbers earned Rodgers a selection to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-American Team and another appearance in the National Tournament.
To Rodgers, the excitement of performing nationally is the best memories. “Loading up with the teammates and hitting the road was great.”
Looking back, Rodgers said he enjoyed his time at UCO and has high hopes for the program. “There’s been a lot of changes since I left,” he said.
But with the new anonymous donation given to the program Rodgers believes will be a tremendous help. “This team should be a national presense every year,” Rodgers mentioned. With the new facilities coming soon to the Bronchos.
A heavy expectation, but one Rodgers knows is possible, “Coach Martin has them on the right track,” he added.
When Rodgers becomes inducted this fall, he said it will only be the start of his era. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see my teammates joining me in the next few years.”
Rodgers is accompanied by a fellow ballplayer, though slightly before his time, George Hauser. Hauser played for Central State from 1983-’85.
Wrestler Mark Dodgen, volleyballer Alma Brahimaj, track and field coach Paul Parent, and the 1982 National Championship Football Team will also be honored in the fall.