Former Auburn baseball coach and SEC Legend Hal Baird was announced as a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Tuesday morning.
Baird is one of eight members of the class of 2021, which also includes Bill Anderson (Occidental College), Roger Cador (Southern University), Sammy Dunn (Vestavia Hills High School), Wayne Graham (Rice University), George Horton (Cal State Fullerton/University of Oregon), Tony Robichaux (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and Don Sneddon (Santa Ana College).
“I’m honored and humbled to be included among the accomplished and successful coaches in the history of our sport,” Baird said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to all of the fine players and assistant coaches who really did the heavy lifting along the way.”
In 16 years at the helm of the Auburn baseball program (1985-2000), Baird posted a 634-328 (.659) career record, retiring as the winningest coach in program history and the fourth winningest coach in the history of the Southeastern Conference.
During his tenure on The Plains, Baird guided the Tigers to a pair of College World Series appearances (1994, ’97) and nine NCAA Tournament berths, including seven in his final eight seasons in charge. Under his guidance, Auburn won three NCAA regional championships (1994, ’97, ’99), two SEC Tournament titles (1989, ’98) and two SEC West crowns (1987, ‘95). His Auburn teams won 30 or more games in each of his 16 seasons, including a pair of 50-win seasons in 1995 and 1997, and were ranked in the top 25 in the final polls on 10 occasions.
Baird mentored 13 All-Americans during his career in the orange and blue, and 51 of his players went on to hear their name called in the MLB Draft.
Prior to his time at Auburn, Baird served as the head coach at East Carolina University from 1980-84 and led the program to a 145-66-1 (.686) record. The Pirates won a pair of ECAC South championships (1982, ’84) and made three NCAA Tournament appearances under his leadership.
A 1971 graduate of ECU, Baird was a two-year letterwinner for the Pirates before embarking on a six-year professional career with the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians. Baird returned to ECU as an assistant coach in 1977 before being named the head coach three years later.
The 2021 ABCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the 77th annual ABCA Convention on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. Tickets to attend the Hall of Fame Banquet will go on sale September 1.
Induction to the ABCA Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the organization. The ABCA was founded in 1945 and the Hall of Fame began in 1966.
Baird has previously been inducted into the East Carolina University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also honored as a SEC Legend in 2013.