LUBPA inducts five in inaugural Hall of Fame Class

First class inducted into the Lamar Baseball Hall of Fame

BEAUMONT, Texas (Lamar Athletics) – It’s going to be a very special weekend for the Lamar University Baseball Players Association. Saturday, along with honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Cardinal Baseball team, the organization will induct its inaugural LUBPA Hall of Fame class that features some of the biggest names in Lamar history.

Its inaugural class features Kevin Millar, Bruce Aven, Rick Nelsoney, David Bernsen and Harold Kincaid. The group will be recognized at the LUBPA’s annual banquet Saturday following the Cardinals bout with Stephen F. Austin. The banquet starts at 7 p.m. at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Beaumont.  

Millar is LU’s longest tenured Major Leaguer and was a two-year letterman for the Cardinals from 1992-93. He helped Big Red to the 1993 Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships. That unit advanced to the NCAA Central Regional at Texas A&M.

He finished his career at LU with a .316 batting average in 399 at-bats. His totals sit at 126 hits, 104 RBIs, 31 doubles, 18 home runs and a .539 slugging mark. He went on to boast a 12-year career in Major League Baseball with four teams, including the Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox – where he won a World Series title.

He wrapped up his MLB career with a .274 batting average, 170 home runs, 699 RBIs and 1,284 base knocks. Today he hosts his own show with Chris Rose on the MLB Network, Intentional Talk.

Aven is one of the Cardinals’ most decorated hitters, and still ranks among the career best in seven categories in the LU record book. He is third all-time in at-bats and runs scored, fourth in hits, fifth in triples and stolen bases, sixth in RBI and seventh in total bases.

He was the Sun Belt’s RBI champion and led LU in average, runs, hits, home runs, RBI and total bases in 1993. He finished his career with a .304 batting average, 135 RBIs, 159 runs, 240 base hits and 21 home runs.

Aven was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 draft and played five seasons in Major League Baseball with four teams. During the 1999 season in Florida, with Millar as a teammate, he recorded a .289 batting average in 137 games with 110 hits and 70 RBI.

Nesloney was the 1977 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, and still sits second all-time for innings in a season at LU (119). He went on to toss 10 complete games – also second place – for a 12-6 record. On April 22, 1977, Nesloney tossed LU’s fourth no-hitter in a 5-0 win over UT-Arlington.

The two-year letterman totaled more than 212 innings as a Cardinal with 174 strikeouts - and just 72 walks. He led LU in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched for both of his seasons; tossed the most complete game and held the best ERA in 1977. His 2.83 career ERA still ranks sixth in the LU record books.

David Bernsen is known as much for his accolades off the field as the ones on the diamond. Three times he led the Cardinals in wins and strikeouts on the hill, and his 2.01 career ERA still ranks as the second-lowest mark in school history, following Julio Alonso’s two-year mark of 1.65. Twice in his four-year stay at Lamar the flamethrower recorded a sub-2.00 ERA with at least 59 innings of work.

He was Big Red’s leader in complete games in 1971 (6) and 1972 (5), ERA in 1970 (1.78) and 1972 (1.89) and innings in 1969 (48.1) and 1972 (54.2). He six career shutouts ranks most all-time, including four that he had in 1971.

Symbolic of the traditional student-athlete, Bernsen mixed athletics with academics and campus leadership. He posted strong grades earning a law degree and served as the student body president. Now Bernsen is a trial attorney and founder of the Bernsen Law Firm and was the first Southeast Texan and Lamar graduate to serve on the TXDOT and Texas Senate.

In 20 career games pitched, Kincaid worked up 119.2 innings of work with 95 career strikeouts and a 3.61 earned run average. In 1967, he and Jim Gilligan led the Cardinals with six complete games apiece, a mark that stood until 1971.

He was Big Red’s leader in innings pitched (59.1) - by more than 10 frames - in 1968 and also led the way in strikeouts (48). The 10-game winner’s legacy is now honored today with the Harold Kincaid Award, annually given to Lamar’s best pitcher. That award has been given to big leaguers such as Tony Mack, Eric Cammack and Clay Hensley.

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INDUCTEE BIOS

KEVIN MILLAR:
Lamar University’s longest-tenured Major Leaguer, Kevin Millar was a two-year letterwinner for the Cardinals from 1992-93, and helped them to the 1993 Sun Belt Championship and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in College Station.

The 1992 Al Vincent Award winner and All-Sun Belt Conference honoree led the Cardinals in hits (56), home runs (13), runs batted in (50) and total bases (110) that season. He was the Sun Belt’s runs champion and his 13 long balls ranks fifth at LU for homers in a single season.

He finished his career at LU with a .316 batting average in 399 at-bats. His final totals sit at 126 hits, 104 RBIs, 31 doubles, 18 home runs and a .539 slugging percentage.

Following a tremendous minor league career that culminated in being named as the Class AA Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player in 1997, he made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins in 1998. He played five seasons and in 500 games with the Marlins, and finished his time there with a .296 batting average, 59 home runs – including 20 in 2001 alone – and 251 RBIs.

In 2003, he was acquired by the Boston Red Sox and enjoyed arguably his best season in the big leagues. He hit for a .276 batting average and put up career bests of 25 home runs and 96 RBIs. The following season, he helped the Red Sox to their first World Series Championship in 86 years.

He is one of two Cardinals to be a part of a World Series championship team, joining Clay Hensley in 2012.

He stayed with the Sox for three seasons and played a minimum of 134 games in each. Millar finished his tenure with a .282 batting average across 1,501 at-bats, and had 52 homers and 190 RBI. He went on to play with the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays before he retired in 2009 after 12 total years. He wrapped up his career with a .274 average, 170 home runs, 699 RBIs and 1,284 base hits – 870 more than any other Cardinal in the majors.

After his playing career, Millar when into broadcasting as an analyst for the MLB Network and New England Sports Network, and has since started his own shows on the MLB Network, Intentional Talk, hosted with Chris Rose.


BRUCE AVEN:
One of Lamar University’s most decorated hitters, Bruce Aven still ranks among the career best in seven categories of the LU record book. He is third all-time in at-bats and runs scored, fourth in hits, fifth in triples and stolen bases, sixth in RBIs and seventh in total bases. The four-year letterwinner was voted All-Sun Belt Conference and was LU’s Al Vincent Award winner, annually given to the team’s best hitter, in 1993.

He was the Sun Belt’s RBI champion and led Lamar in average (.380), runs (53), hits (87), home runs (13), RBI (67), and total bases (150) that season. His .380 average in 1993 ranks ninth in a season at Lamar, as well as his 87 hits. Aven is a three-time RBI champion with the Cardinals (1991, 93, 94).

He helped Lamar University to the 1993 Sun Belt Championship and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in College Station. He finished his career at Lamar with a .304 batting average, 135 RBIs, 159 runs, 240 base hits and 21 home runs.

Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 30th round of the 1997 draft, Aven played five season in Major League Baseball with four teams. His most notable season was with the Florida Marlins and teammate Kevin Millar in 1999. That season, Aven had a .289 batting average in 137 games. He recorded 110 base hits with 57 runs scored, 70 driven in and 12 home runs.

He finished his five-year career – spent with the Indians, Marlin, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers - in the bigs with a .273 average, 20 home runs and 103 runs batted in.

After his playing days concluded, he went into coaching at the high school level. In 2008, he led American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) to a National Championship, and keeps is Patriots ranked nationally year in, and year out.


RICK NESLONEY:
The 1977 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, Rick Nesloney was a major part of the foundation laid for Lamar University baseball winning tradition by helping them to a pair of Southland Conference titles and the first two NCAA Regional appearances in its history.

His rubber arm in 1977 worked for 119 innings, which sits second all-time at Lamar for innings in a season, four behind David C. Smith’s 123. That season he went on to toss 10 complete games – also second place – and 12-6 record. He fired in 109 strikeouts, third for punch outs in a season, with just 31 walks. His 12 wins in a season are tied for the most in a single season for the Cardinals.

On April 22, 1977, Nesloney fired Lamar’s fourth no-hitter in school history with a seven inning win over UT-Arlington.

The two-year letterman, from 1976-77, totaled more than 212 innings as a Cardinal with 174 strikeouts - and just 72 walks. He led LU in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched for both of his seasons; tossed the most complete game and held the best ERA in 1977. His 2.83 career ERA still ranks sixth in the LU record books.

The 1976 Harold Kincaid Award winner was a 23rd round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox in 1977. He was voted to the Southland Conference 1970s All-Decade Team.


DAVID BERNSEN:
Three times David Bernsen led the Cardinals in wins and strikeouts on the hill, and his 2.01 career ERA still ranks as the second-lowest mark in school history, following Julio Alonso’s two-year mark of 1.65. Twice in his four-year stay at Lamar the flamethrower recorded a sub-2.00 ERA with at least 59 innings of work.

His 1971 season had him crowned as the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, Lamar’s first in a list of now 10 winners. That year he went 6-3 with a 1.89 ERA, tied for eighth-lowest ever at LU, and led the Cardinals to their first Southland Conference championship.

The four-year letterman (1969-72) was Big Red’s leader in complete games in 1971 (6) and 1972 (5), ERA in 1970 (1.78) and 1972 (1.89) and innings in 1969 (48.1) and 1972 (54.2). He six career shutouts ranks most all-time, including four that he had in 1971.

He was picked as a one of the best players in 70s when the Southland Conference added him to the 1970s All-Decade Team. He appeared in 44 games with 35 starts, and worked up to 17 career wins. He struck out 165 career batters, with 50 in the 1970 campaign.

Symbolic of the traditional student-athlete, Bernsen mixed athletics with academics and campus leadership. He posted strong grades earning a law degree and served as the student body president all while showing his outstanding right arm on the field.

Today, Bernsen is a trial attorney and founder of the Bernsen Law Firm and was the first Southeast Texan and Lamar graduate to serve on the TXDOT and Texas Senate.


HAROLD KINCAID:
Harold Kincaid was a two-year letterman (1967-68) and joined longtime Lamar University head coach Jim Gilligan as one of the first great pitchers to hail from Big Red.

In 20 career games pitched, Kincaid worked up 119.2 innings of work with 95 career strikeouts and a 3.61 earned run average. In 1967, he and Gilligan led the Cardinals with six complete games apiece, a mark that stood until 1971.

He was Big Red’s leader in innings pitched (59.1), by more than 10 frames, in 1968 and also led the way in strikeouts (95). The 10-game winner’s legacy is now honored today with the Harold Kincaid Award, annually given to Lamar’s best pitcher. That award has been given to big leaguers such as Tony Mack, Eric Cammack and Clay Hensley.

Kincaid ended his career with LU with a 10-4 career record in 18 starts with 10 complete games.
 

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