Sports

The tradition of the Dirtbags lives on

Since 1954, the Long Beach State Dirtbags have produced an abundance of Major League Baseball stars thanks to their consistent high-caliber recruiting. 

Under former head coach Dave Snow, the team took on the name the Dirtbags  in 1989 due to its success against higher profile programs. 

With a West Coast-style hybrid offense focusing on OPS, accompanied by a strong pitching and defense, the Dirtbags’ name was here to stay. 

In the ‘60s, the Dirtbags produced big leaguers like Dick Nen, Rod Gaspar, Randy Moffitt, George Throop, Gary Beare, Jim Smith, Kyle Abbott and Darrell Sherman

Illustration by Madalyn Amato

The Dirtbags have had a winning mentality since they first won the Big West conference championship in 1964, and have gone on to appear in the College World Series four times. In the program’s history, the team has made an appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament 22 times, most recently in 2017. 

“[I’m] excited and honored to lead the charge,” head coach Eric Valenzuela. “There’s definitely an expectation of great things such as making it back to the College World Series one day.”

Valenzuela said he has no hesitations with being  the head coach of the Dirtbags and was honored to get the call and come work in “such a great program.”  

Working alongside coach Valenzuela is associate head coach, Bryan Peters. Valenzuela and Peters both joined the Dirtbags in June of last year after coming from Saint Mary’s, where Peters  was the offensive coach underValenzuela. 

“Our offense is what we would like to call a hybrid style of offense,” Peters said. “It’s not West Coast baseball and it’s not East Coast baseball, it’s kind of a hybrid between the two. We want to breed this kind of confidence and this look and this aura, and this brand of that we’re going to we’re going to bang the ball a little bit.”

Illustration by Madalyn Amato

Some recent MLB transfers that have played for the Dirtbags are Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels, Jarren Duran of the Boston Red Sox and Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets. 

Longoria was drafted in 2006 by the Rays as the third overall pick in the draft. During his time as a Dirtbag, Longoria  played as a third baseman receiving All-Conference Honors. Longoria would go on to share the Big West Conference player of the year award with Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Duran in his time at the Beach was selected as the second All Big-West team and finished with a career 2.94 average. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox. 

In the last eight to 10 years, more MLB players have been drafted from Long Beach State than any other university. 

This year, RHP Adam Seminaris was drafted in the 5th round of the 2020 MLB draft.

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