Pro-Alumni game connects members of baseball tradition

Sam Campanaro

The meager crowd of 727 people that Monday’s Minnesota Pro-Alumni baseball game drew didn’t emphasize the significance the event could have for the Gopher team.

The Pro-Alumni Team beat the current Gophers 5-4, running its series advantage to 7-4-1.

Events like the Pro-Alumni game are becoming more important to the Gopher baseball team now that the University’s budget is getting tighter. These special events also help to publicize Minnesota’s proud baseball tradition.

Coach John Anderson has spearheaded fundraising efforts for the baseball program all of his 22 years at Minnesota. Whether he has wanted to provide more scholarships for his players, to make improvements to Siebert Field or to build a new stadium, Anderson has looked to baseball supporters and alumni rather than the University to keep the program going.

“Anything we can do for our program, connect (the alumni) to our program, endow scholarships, is helpful,” Anderson said.

It’s the alumni who belong to the Dug Out booster club, endow scholarships and illustrate the success Gopher baseball has enjoyed.

The alumni know the University program played a major role in the development of their careers and want to help build on the same tradition.

“It’s a way to acknowledge what the University has done for us,” former Minnesota Twin Paul Molitor said.

Alumni that showed up for the event included Aron Amundson (former Minnesota Twin), Jim Brower (former Montreal Expo), Denny Neagle (former Colorado Rockie), and Terry Steinbach (retired Minnesota Twin).

The game was preceded by the presentation of the 2002 Big Ten regular season championship rings to the Gophers.

Shortstop Scott Welch hit a three-run double in the first inning. Jack Hannahan had a two-run double in the sixth for the alumni.

After missing out on the NCAA tournament in 2002, the Gophers have focused on getting back in the mix. The Gophers also expect to compete for the Big Ten title once again this season.

“We’ve got some good staff and good position players and hopefully come May we’ll be playing in the tournament,” Welch said.

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