Who are the four most important people in Virginia baseball history?
Who has had the greatest impact on the field?
It’s time to settle that debate for baseball.
Brian O’Connor - Head Coach - 2004-Present
It can be argued who the most important player in UVa history is, but who the most important person has been is without a doubt Coach O’Connor. After taking over in 2004 he has taken the program to blue-blood status in the sport by winning the 2015 National Championship, winning National Coach of the Year three times (‘06, ‘09, and ‘15), five time ACC Coach of the Year (‘04, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12, and ‘14), 14 NCAA appearances in 16 seasons including four trips to the College World Series and six Super Regional appearances.
Including the shortened 2020 season, he’s amassed a 714-292-2 overall record at UVa (.720), and a 290-180 ACC record (.617). He’s finished at least top two of the Coastal division nine times and won the ACC Tournament twice (2009 and 2011).
Without a doubt the most important person in program history, when all is said and done, if the field is not named after him, there will at least be a statue at Disharoon Park.
Dennis Womack - Head Coach - 1981-2003
Coach Womack doesn’t make Mt. Rushmore for his on the field legacy. In 23 seasons at UVa, he amassed a .495 winning percentage overall and just .374 in the ACC. He was named ACC Coach of the year in 1985 and lead his team to a major upset ACC Tournament Championship in 1996. In both 1985 and 1996, UVa would go on to make the NCAA Tournament as well.
No, Womack makes UVa’s Mt. Rushmore because of what he did towards the end of his tenure for the program. As many know, UVa baseball was on the edge of extinction in the late 90’s. Budget cuts were happening across the athletic department and baseball was on the chopping block. Instead of getting cut, Womack helped usher the program past that and was the head coach as Davenport Field opened in 2002.
Danny Hultzen - LHP/Utility - 2009-2001
Without a doubt the most decorated player to come through UVa baseball program. Hultzen helped elevate the program to the status it has today. The three time First Team All-ACC selection was the Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and 2011 to go along with his Freshman of the Year honor in 2009.
In 2011 he won the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award after going 12-3 with a 1.37 ERA while striking out 165 in 118 innings and limited opponents to just a .184 batting average. To go along with his exploits on the mound, he batted .309 with a .441 slugging percentage and struck out just 12 times in 136 at bats.
He’s the current UVa record holder for career wins (32) and his 12 win 2011 season is tied with Seth Greisinger (1996) for most in a season. His 11 wins from 2010 comes in third.
Sean Doolittle - LHP/1B - 2005-2007
Before Danny Hultzen arrived in Charlottesville, there was Sean Doolittle. A Freshman All-American in 2005 when he hit .313 with 11 home runs and a .522 slugging percentage, he would follow that up the next year by batting .324 with 49 runs scored and 57 RBI and being named just the second player to win the ACC Player of the Year. He would be named an All-American all three years of his UVa tenure and would make the First Team All-ACC in 2006 and 2007.
He would leave UVa as the career leader in RBI (167) and wins (22), which still hold up as 3rd and 4th most in UVa history. He would go on to be the fourth player in program history to be drafted in the first round of the MLB draft when he was drafted 41st overall by the Oakland Athletics. Since his time in Charlottesville, he has won the World Series with the Washington Nationals and been named a two-time MLB All-Star (‘14 and ‘18).
Ryan Zimmerman - 3b - 2003-2005
Though much of Zim’s name has been made at the MLB level with the Washington Nationals, he had himself quite a career before being the Nats’ first draft choice. An All-American in 2005, he was First Team All-ACC in 2004 and Second Team in 2005 while also playing for Team USA in 2004. He batted over .350 his sophomore (.361) and junior seasons (.393) as he also set UVa single season records in both campaigns for hits in a season.
Drafted with the No. 4 overall pick in 2005, which was the highest draft pick ever for a UVa player at the time, he rocketed through the minors and made his debut that September. He won a Gold Glove, the Silver Slugger award, and was the first Cavalier to play in an All-Star game in 2009.
Adam Haseley - OF/P - 2015-2017
A two-time All-American, Haseley will go down as one of the finest outfielders UVa has produced, but most UVa fans will remember what he did on the mound in Omaha that cemented his place in UVa lore. Though he only appeared in 11 games on the mound and started just 5 of those, Haseley held No. 1 Vanderbilt to just four hits and three walks over five innings in the National Championship series.
Haseley would go on to be a two time All-American on 2016 and ‘17 and was named First Team All-ACC in 2017 for the outfield. A career .310 hitter, he batted .390 with 14 HRs, 56 RBI, and a .659 slugging percentage his junior season. He was drafted 8th overall by the Philadelphia Phillies and made his debut in June of 2019 where he has batted .266 over 67 games.