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Grambling mourns loss of former baseball star Tommie Agee

January 26, 2001

GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling State is mourning the loss of one its athletic greats after former baseball standout Tommie Agee passed away last Monday at the age of 58.

Funeral services for Agee will be held Saturday, January 27 at 11 a.m. at the Nazaree Full Gospel Church at 1695 No. Beltline Hwy. in Mobile, Ala. Interment will follow at Pinecrest Cemetery in Mobile. Visitation will be held at the church from 9-11 a.m. today.

The 1966 American League Rookie of the Year for the Chicago White Sox collapsed and died Monday while leaving a midtown Manhattan, New York, office building.

GSU baseball coach Wilbert Ellis was a young assistant fresh out of college himself when Agee played for the Tigers in 1962 as a freshman and soon showed the world he was destined for greatness.

"It's a great loss because Tommie was a great player and an even better person," Ellis said. "He was truly something special. He led us to a championship in his first year before the pros called him up. He could have played college football too. He was a tremendous athelte."

Agee led Grambling at the plate in that standout freshman season of 1962 with a .389 batting average, 38 RBIs and 38 runs. Later that summer, Agee signed a bonus contract with the Cleveland Indians, reportedly worth $60,000.

He played professionally from 1962-73, moving on to the White Sox in a multiple player trade in 1965 that involved Tommy John among others. He played in the 1966 and '67 All-Star games and finished his big-league career with a .255 batting average, 130 home runs and 433 RBIs.

Agee's brightest moment came in 1969, when he played in the World Series for the New York Mets, who he joined via trade in 1967. Agee helped lead the Mets to the 1969 World Championship in a four-game series win over the Baltimore Orioles. Agee is still remembered for an oustanding catch he made in game two of that series.

"He could hit the ball farther than anyone I've seen," Ellis said. "One day he was playing here and he hit a ball so far that I thought the scouts from the Indians were going to faint. That one hit convinced them.

"Tommie was one of the ones who really helped put Grambling baseball on the map, and for that he'll never be forgotten. We just honored him a few years ago at the Bayou Classic. He's truly one of Grambing's greats."

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