The Port Arthur News
Jim Gilligan has certainly his fair share of accolades after guiding Lamar to more than 1,200 wins in his 36 seasons as the school’s head baseball coach, but the former Cardinal pitcher earned a bit of recognition for his playing days on Wednesday as he, along with five other Cards, claimed a spot on the Southland Conference 1960s All-Decade team.
Gilligan, who pitched for the Cards in 1967 and 1968, was joined by teammates Jack Mercer, Ronnie Potts and Ike Wynn. Joe Augienello and Paul Knobloch from the 1969 team also earned spots on the squad.
The southpaw announced his presence on campus quickly in 1967, leading the team five different categories as the unquestioned ace of the LU pitching staff. In 71 innings of action, Gilligan compiled five victories with a 2.54 earned run average and 60 strikeouts to earn a spot on the All-SLC squad. He also tossed six complete games.
Battery-mate Potts joined Gilligan on the 1967 All-SLC team, knocking in 10 runs at the plate and putting up a .986 fielding percentage behind it.
Both Mercer and Wynn earned SLC honors in 1968. Mercer, a shortstop, belted three home runs in his two seasons, and Wynn, who made his name in the outfield, doubled seven times with 14 RBI and 13 scores in 1968.
As a team, the Cards improved from a 14-13 team in 1967 to a then-program record 19-8 mark in 1968, which stood as the best winning percentage in school history for nearly a decade.
Augienello, a catcher, and Knobloch, an outfielder, each earned All-SLC honors in 1969, with the latter posting team-best marks in hits, runs and steals.
Former conference member Arkansas State led all schools with eight selections to the squad. Three other schools were represented as well as both Abilene Christian and Trinity placed seven players on the team. One athlete from UT Arlington also garnered a spot.
Trinity’s Houston Wheeler was named the Coach of the Decade after leading the Tigers to four titles from 1964-1969.