Naquin saw emergence of LSU program

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 13, 2000

Greg Naquin of Vidalia, La., can check out a Major League Baseball game on television and chances are there will be a familiar face.

That’s not too unusual, however, when you consider Naquin played on three LSU baseball teams that advanced to three College World Series.

&uot;There are not too many times I watch a game and not see somebody I played with or against,&uot; said Naquin, who played with the likes of Ben McDonald, Russell Springer, Paul Byrd, Albert Belle, Mark Guthrie, and against the likes of Frank Thomas, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders.

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Naquin played baseball and football at Thibodaux High, playing several positions in baseball.

He attended Delgado Junior College for a semester before joining LSU in 1985.

&uot;I didn’t really follow LSU baseball, I just knew I wanted to go to LSU,&uot; Naquin said. &uot;We would have crowds of about 500 when&160;I first started playing.&uot;

In 1987, Naquin played second base and catcher for the Tigers. The following year he was moved to the bullpen, appearing in five games and finishing with a 2.25 earned run average.

&uot;I always had a strong arm,&uot; Naquin said. &uot;But when you are behind Ben McDonald, Dan Kite and Russell Springer, it’s kind of tough to get in the lineup.&uot;

Naquin remembers his first stint on the mound.

&uot;I was nervous,&uot; he said. &uot;I went from pitching in front of 50 people to about 3,000,&uot; he said. &uot;And the mound felt three times as high.&uot;

Naquin was part of the first LSU team to advance to the World Series in 1986 after going undefeated in the NCAA South I Regional in Baton Rouge, La., and finishing seventh at the World Series.

&uot;My second year there I could tell something was happening,&uot; Naquin said. &uot;I got to LSU in Coach (Skip) Bertman’s second year. He knew his stuff. I learned a lot about mechanics in pitching and hitting. He had a great concept of how to pitch to everybody. And he knew what the other coach was thinking before he thought it.&uot;

After getting beat out in the 1988 regionals, LSU advanced to the CWS in 1989, beating Texas A&M on its home field.

The Tigers finished fourth in Omaha, Neb.

&uot;That was one of the greatest feeling I ever had when we got that final out,&uot; Naquin said of LSU winning the regional.

LSU won its first College World Series in 1991.

&uot;I was happy for them because I knew some of the guys and I knew the feeling they must have experienced up there,&uot; Naquin said.

Naquin moved to Vidalia in 1994 to become manager of Commercial Securities. He is currently employed at Concordia Bank where he is training to be a loan officer.

Naquin and his wife Edy have a 3-year-old daughter named Megan.

Naquin admits he wonders at times how things would have gone if would have transferred to another school for more playing time, but certainly has no regrets.

&uot;I could have gone to Nicholls State and had a chance to play a lot and start,&uot; Naquin said. &uot;I might have had a good career, but I knew LSU was going to the World Series and I would rather be in that atmosphere than play every day and watch the World Series on TV.&uot;