Reunion for 1983 Cougars Ranked No. 1
A reunion on April 19 for the 1983 BYU baseball team, which was ranked No. 1, will feature several players from the team which produced six major leaguers.
Wally Joyner (first base Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, California Angels, Kansas City Royals, 1986-2001), Cory Snyder (Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, 1986-1994 ) , Scott Nielsen (pitcher New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, 1986-89) , Rick Aguilera (pitcher Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, 1985-2000), Gary Cooper (third base, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, 1991) and Colby Ward (pitcher Cleveland Indians 1990) all played in the majors from that 1983 team which was top-ranked at the end of the regular season.
The 1983 team, which compiled a 54-11 overall record, will be honored during the game when BYU's current baseball team hosts New Mexico in a nine-inning affair at 1 p.m.
In addition to the former major leaguers, the 1983 team has produced a Dallas, Texas evening TV news anchor in Steve Eagar (KDFW-Fox), orthodontist Mike Willes in Carlsbad, Calif., dentist Mark Beavers in Kailua, Hawai`i, and an attorney for Albertson's in Nate Hyde, now living in Eagle, Idaho.
By virtue of upsetting San Diego State twice in the 1983 Western Athletic Conference Championships in Provo, BYU became the No. one-ranked team in the nation.
The 1983 WAC Championship game vs. San Diego State was delayed by at thunderstorm. BYU won the game, 10-7, but lost an earlier game 10-6 to the Aztecs before 4,664 fans, BYU's top home crowd to date.
Coming into those WAC Playoffs, SDSU was ranked No. 1 by Baseball America and No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball, while the Cougars were ranked No. 3 by Baseball America and No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball. In Collegiate Baseball's pre-season poll, SDSU was ranked No. 20, while BYU was ranked No. 27.
The top five NCAA seeds for the 1983 Regionals were: 1-BYU, 2-Florida State, 3-Michigan, 4-Stanford and 5-Texas, with Texas going on to win the national championship. BYU was eliminated in the NCAA Regionals at Tempe, Ariz., losing to Arizona State and Fresno State. The Cougars ended the season ranked No. 6 by Baseball America and No. 17 by Collegiate Baseball.
Against Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Regional in Tempe, there was a crowd of 7,347. Wally Joyner hit his 23rd homer, but a now famous freshman named Barry Bonds hit his seventh homer (it was one of three to that date by a Sun Devil over the Green Monster in center field). Oddibe McDowell picked up his 32nd stolen base. BYU had an 8-0 lead and lost. The Cougars lost the next day in temperatures exceeding 105 degrees against Fresno State as Scott Nielsen was defeated for the first time in 27 games.
Players who served missions from the 1983 team: Jim Bowden and Bart Day served in Australia, Hyde served in England, Scott Nielsen served in Argentina and Willes later served in France. Scott Nielsen and Willes were inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and 2000, respectively.
BYU had a 25-game win streak snapped by UNLV in 1983 and Snyder ended that season with a current 32-game hitting streak.
The 1983 Cougars were 9-1 in one-run games and 23-1 in the WAC, that lone one-run loss was at Wyoming, 4-3. Scott Nielsen threw a five-hit shutout against Utah in Provo in a 10-0 victory which broke the NCAA record on May 26 as he won his 24th game. He extended that record to 26 consecutive wins, a record that was tied last month by a pitcher from Wake Forest.
BYU Coach Gary Pullins got his 300th victory in a 17-6 victory over Utah in 1983.