LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame will induct Detroit Tigers slugger Willie Horton and longtime Eastern Michigan University head baseball coach Ron Oestrike in an in-game ceremony during the Lansing Lugnuts/Dayton Dragons game on Saturday, August 17th, at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The mission of the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame is to:
• Honor the state’s baseball heroes of yesterday
• Celebrate the national pastime today
• Inspire the baseball fans and ballplayers of tomorrow
The inductees were determined by a vote of a special Hall of Fame committee that included News Ten's Tim Staudt.
The Class of 2019
Willie Horton won championships in Detroit at three different levels. In 1959, the 16-year-old Horton hit a home run estimated at 450 feet at Briggs Stadium, lifting Northwestern H.S. to the Detroit Public High School title. A year later, playing alongside Bill Freehan, he led Detroit Lundquist to the national sandlot championship. After signing with the Detroit Tigers out of high school, he helped the Tigers to the 1968 World Series title, throwing out Lou Brock at the plate in Game 5 and batting .304 as the Tigers defeated the Cardinals in seven games. Horton played 1,515 of his 2,028 MLB games in Detroit, was named to four A.L. All-Star teams and collected 1,993 career hits and 325 home runs.
Ron Oestrike lettered in baseball and football at Eastern Michigan University, graduating in 1954. Hired as Eagles head baseball coach 11 years later, he won 657 games and four MAC championships from 1965-1987, made five NCAA Regional appearances and two appearances in the College World Series and captured the 1970 NAIA national championship. During his 23 seasons, Oestrike coached 22 All-MAC First Team players and six All-Americans and was named the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year and the MAC Coach of the Year four times apiece. His finest season came in 1976 when the Eagles finished as national runner-up and he was honored as NCAA National Coach of the Year by The Sporting News.