By Ray Hamill — St. Bernard’s baseball has been setting the standard in the North Coast Section for decades and there’s one thing that many of those teams have in common — pitching coach Greg Shanahan.
The same man who, according to a recent story published about him, held Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, Willie Stargell, Johnny Bench, Willie McCovey and Hank Aaron all hitless during his MLB career.
On Saturday, he was influential once again as the Crusaders defeated Ferndale 9-0 on the way to claiming an NCS record 15th championship.
Head coach Matt Tomlin is the latest to guide the Crusaders to an NCS championship, but he’s quick to point out the role Shanahan continues to play in that success.
“I want to give a big shoutout to Greg Shanahan,” he said of the former Major Leaguer shortly after Saturday’s win. “We continue to win section titles, and every year we win with a (strong) pitching team.
“I want to give so much credit to Greg Shanahan and what he’s meant to these kids and the level of expertise he brings to the program.”
The Crusaders always have strong pitching, and usually plenty of it.
The one thing those players all have in common is the level of improvement each displayed while under the tutelage of Shanahan, who has been coaching at the school for more than 30 years.
And the players seem to relish working with him.
“He just develops pitchers,” Tomlin said. “He’s an older guy but he relates to the kids and knows how to talk to them, and they love him.”
Shanahan, who is a St. Bernard’s graduate, played for the Los Angeles Dodgers for two seasons in 1973 and 1974, and, according to a story published in the Humboldt Historian last year, he held Mays, Morgan, Stargell, Bench, McCovey and Aaron all hitless during his brief but impressive MLB career.