Tuesday, March 08, 2005


As the Crimson readies to play the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette in its season opener this Friday, I thought it might be worth taking a look at the link between that goofy state of Louisiana and the Harvard Crimson baseball team.

JOSH SAN SALVADOR. When the Class of ’02 thinks about Louisiana, we think Sanzo. Josh San Salvador talks funny, like some Louisianans, but he’s also got the qualities of a southern gentleman, the kind of qualities nice Louisiana women are looking for in a guy. Think I’m joking? Click here

Anyways, Coach Walsh once called Sanzo “a tough kid from Louisiana.” (Brian did an awesome profile of Josh). One of the ’02 class’s favorite games was a critical comeback win against Brown our senior year. In that game, we were down 9-2, but we ended up coming back and winning, with Sanzo blasting a walk-off 3 run shot to win it. Sanzo’s high school principal John Serio was quoted as saying he wished Sanzo had stayed in-state to play. The New Orleans Times-Picayune interviewed Serio, who said: "The point of Josh San Salvador is, you need a kid like that. Go get that kid." We’re glad he decided to come up north.

JASON KECK. When the class of ’99 thinks about Louisiana, one of the things it remembers is Jason Keck. Keck’s also a Louisianan, but he can talk relatively normal. A graduate of Newman High (that’s somewhere in a rice patty I believe), Keck said upon graduating high school that his top honor was “Being accepted to Harvard. It's the top academic honor that I could receive. The fact that I'll be able to play baseball makes it even better.” [Times Picayune, 5/28/95]

Keck had a number of momentous games in his distinguished Harvard career. He was the backstop and the backbone of a very successful Harvard team that went out to an NCAA Regional and upset the 16th ranked Tulane Green Wave in 1998. He was also a vital part of the Crimson’s ’97 squad that shocked the college baseball world when it beat top-seeded UCLA in the NCAA Regional. In the 7-2 victory over UCLA, Keck had a two-run single. Frank Hogan, the “crafty left-handa” (as Coach Walsh would certainly call him), turned in an amazing performance in the victory, but gave quite a bit of credit to Keck. Hogan: “I was hitting my spots and changing speeds. That was easy with Jason back there calling the pitches." Upon graduation, Keck received the 1998 Marty McDonough/White Allard Sportsmanship Award, an award given annually to a New England-area player or coach by the College Baseball Umpires Association.

MR. KECK. No mention of Jason Keck should go without also mentioning Mr. Bill Keck, a top candidate for all-time greatest Harvard fan (along with Mr. San Salvardor, among many others). Mr. Keck was always a presence no matter where we traveled, whether it was Homestead, FL, O’Donnell Field, or back home in Louisiana. It was a family affair in 1998 when the Kecks turned out to see Jason play in his home state. The Times Picayune reported, “Keck's father, Bill, took Jason's grandparents to Harvard's practice Wednesday to see their grandson's first workout at Alex Box. It was the first time Jason's grandparents got to see him play ball for Harvard, Bill said.”

THE 1998 REGIONAL. I don’t have enough space to go on and talk about the 1998 team’s memorable NCAA regional showing in Alex Box Stadium down in LSU. Suffice it to say, it turned a lot of heads and continued to show people around the college game that Harvard could play. I’ll just leave it with what one LSU official who stopped by to offer his congratulations to the ’98 team said, "Ya'll got 'bout the scrappiest little team I ever seen." Louisianans talk funny.

Let me know if there are other Louisiana connections out there that I missed.


Anonymous said...

While the Class of '98 certainly thinks "Keck" when we think "Louisianans who have gone to Harvard," the Kecker was a member of the Class of 1999-- the most successful class in the school's history ('98 is somewhat weighed down by the 10-25 fiasco in 1995).

Faiz said...

Thanks for the comment. It's been corrected.

Jason Keck said...

I think we need to show The General how to enter blog comments so we can continue to be entertained by his "Louisiana Talk" and priceless comments.