(From left) GCHS athletic director John Moad, Jeff Johnson and Chris Kabbes show their SIUE Athletic Hall of Fame plaques during the ceremony Sept. 19 at SIUE’s Morris University Center. They helped the 1991 SIUE baseball team win a school-record 43 games and qualify for the College World Series.
John Moad’s junior season with the SIUE baseball team 24 years ago was a successful one.
Moad helped the Cougars turn in one of their best seasons in school history in 1991. SIUE won a school-record 43 games, placed fifth in the NCAA Division II College World Series in Montgomery, Ala., and set single-season records in on-base percentage (.430), runs scored (499), doubles (146), walks (287), stolen bases (131), innings pitched (561.2) and no-hitters (three).
“It was a great experience,” said Moad, who is in his second year as athletic director at Granite City High School. “I loved every minute of it playing at SIUE and playing for (Gary) Bo Collins, a great guy and a great baseball coach. I learned a lot from him. Obviously, he knew how to handle our team because he got the most out of us. We were 43-15 and it was a blast. I wished I could go back and do those years again because it was a great time.”
On Sept. 19, Moad and the rest of the 1991 SIUE baseball team received a big honor. They were inducted into the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame.
Moad said current SIUE coach Tony Stoecklin told him the news that the 1991 baseball team was going to be inducted into SIUE’s Hall of Fame. Stoecklin also was a member of the ’91 squad.
“It was quite an honor,” Moad said. “SIUE is doing some good things up there.”
SIUE’s Athletics Hall of Fame was formed in 2005. Since then, more than 100 athletes and 24 teams — including the 1991 baseball team — were inducted to the SIUE Hall of Fame.
The 1991 baseball team also included three other GCHS graduates — Darin Hendrickson and brothers Tim and Jamie Hogan. Hendrickson is the current baseball coach at Saint Louis University.
The SIUE Hall of Fame ceremony was at the Meridian Ballroom at Morris University Center. Moad said he was thrilled to be reunited with his old SIUE teammates.
“A lot of our buddies we played with were coming back in town for it, so it was a nice evening,” Moad said. “I got to see some faces I haven’t seen in a while. It was good to reminisce and talk about the good times when we were young and in shape and we played the game a little bit. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had playing baseball and playing on that team because of the success that we had and the friendships I made off of that team. A couple of those guys I consider some of my best friends today. I always tell everybody one of my neatest experiences on that team was we went to the College World Series.”
Moad, Hendrickson and the Hogan brothers helped the Cougars win a combined total of 81 games between 1991 and 1992.
“Granite City put their stamp on that program a little bit in those two years,” Moad said.
Collins, who won 1,028 games at SIUE head coach, also was one of eight individuals inducted into the SIUE Hall of Fame. The 1975 men’s soccer team, which competed in the NCAA Division I national championship game for the first time, also was inducted.
Moad turned in a solid season at the plate and on the mound in 1991. He was the Cougars’ second-leading hitter with a .406 batting average with seven home runs and 54 runs batted in. Moad was 4-0 with a 4.28 earned run average.
Moad credits his father for a successful junior season.
“I wouldn’t have been the player I was without my father,” said Moad, who played first base. “My father could watch me hit and knew exactly what I was doing wrong. He never missed a game. Even (when I was) in college, he worked for the government, so he had a lot of time off. He traveled around with us.”
Moad said Bob Stegemeier, Ralph Burnett, Gus Lignoul, Joe Silkwood and Jim Greenwald also were helpful.
Silkwood was Moad’s head coach when he was played two years at Lewis and Clark Community College. Silkwood joined Moad at SIUE in 1991 as the school’s assistant coach.
Greenwald, superintendent of the Granite City School District, was Moad’s personal hitting coach. Stegemeier was Moad’s high school coach and Burnett and Lignoul were his summer coaches.
The Cougars qualified for the College World Series by beating St. Cloud State 18-2 in the North Central Region championship game. SIUE outscored its opponents 38-12 in the regional tournament at SIUE.
“Sitting in that dugout between innings knowing that you’re going to Montgomery for the College World Series, it was just awesome,” Moad said.
Moad was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“In the first game (against St. Joseph’s), we were down 6-3 and I hit a three-run homer to tie it,” Moad said. “In my next time up, I hit a three-run homer to win the game 9-6. So I hit two home runs in that game. It was one of those weekends where everything clicked. I didn’t make many outs that weekend. I hit a lot of balls hard.”
At the College World Series, SIUE beat California-Riverside 5-2 in its first game before losing its next two.
“In our first game against California-Riverside, we had four Granite City High School graduates in the starting lineup,” said Moad, who graduated from GCHS in 1988.
The Cougars didn’t return to the College World Series in Moad’s senior year. They finished 36-18 and were eliminated in regionals.
Moad said he enjoyed his experience playing at SIUE.
“I wouldn’t trade in those two years at SIUE that I had playing baseball for anything,” he said.