Did you hear? TCU baseball opens the 2019 season in the desert on Friday afternoon, and the Horned Frogs are immediately being thrown into the ring of fire against one of the most successful programs in the history of college baseball.
If you thought TCU’s four consecutive trips to Omaha — five in a span of eight seasons — was impressive, go ahead and close your browser, because the article you are reading will shortly ruin all the fun and happy thoughts that have filled your mind.
The good news is that TCU enters season with a higher preseason ranking than Cal State Fullerton (No. 19 vs. No. 25) — the first of three storied opponents which the Horned Frogs will go head-to-head against in the MLB4 tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz. No. 1 Vanderbilt and 2015 College World Series champion Virginia are to follow — matchups that are hardly cakewalks.
But the resume the Titans have put together over the past four decades? Well, it should scare you a tad bit. You may even need to do a double-take or a triple-take before you finally come to terms that what you are looking at is not just a case of California dreamin’, but in fact a list of achievements that somehow even puts the New York Yankees’ list of endeavors to shame, in context.
So, are you ready? Fasten your seat belts tight, and let’s get on the way with these stats and fun facts that surely won’t cause you to question how what Cal State Fullerton has accomplished isn’t just some figment of your imagination.
Number of losing-seasons since turning D-1 in 1975: ZERO
We could also word this as 44-winning seasons in 44 tries, but we’re all about the shock-factor here. But to the point, yes, finishing below .500 is a foreign language to the Titans in the nearly 4.5 decades the team has spent as a Division-I program. They’ve avoided doing something that even Alabama football has accomplished seven times in that same span, in case you wanted your brain to hurt even more, but then again, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised when looking at CSUF’s postseason history over the years — something that we’ll dive deeper into later. Alas, no — your computer was not glitching when you searched endlessly for a losing-season recorded by the Titans, and had no luck.
And let’s be clear, the Titans haven’t just posted 44 consecutive winning seasons. They’ve done in it with plenty of margin on a regular basis, finishing .600 or better save three occasions. 2013 saw CSUF post a program-best .836 winning percentage (51-10), though that might pale in comparison to the 66-win season achieved under legendary head coach Augie Garrido way back in 1984 (Yes, that team did win the entire thing, if you were wondering). The closest the team has ever come to not finishing above .500? A 30-27 mark in 1989. Fun, fun, fun.
Consecutive years in the postseason: 27
You’re math isn’t off — that it’s been more than a quarter century (1991) that the Titans weren’t still playing baseball past the end of May. Winning does you favors like that. Talent among the likes of Justin Turner, Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, Mark Kotsay and Kurt Suzuki will get you places. Believe me, most fan-bases would be happy to see their college baseball team make the postseason 13 or 14 times in that long of a period, but failing to make the postseason doesn’t fly in North Orange County — not when there are fully grown adults who have never experienced a NCAA baseball tournament without the Titans being part of it.
Now, the fun part is using sports, pop culture and such to help you understand just how long ago 1991 truly was.
The last time Cal State Fullerton didn’t make the postseason, TCU football looked something like this:
The last time Cal State Fullerton didn’t make the postseason, car commercials looked something like this (Not to be taken the wrong way if you are the owner of a 1991 Toyota Corolla):
The last time Cal State Fullerton didn’t make the postseason, Michael Jackson was a few months away from releasing this hit (extra points for the Macaulay Culkin cameo):
The last time ... alright, alright enough of the wonderful world of the SWC, land-line telephones, VHS devices, grunge and more. We’ll leave you with this picture of a time when TCU’s campus also looked a tad different.
Number of College World Series Appearances: 18 (4 titles)
Jealous yet? If not, good for you on being a mature human being. This is again an area where most schools would be thankful to have just appeared half of those times, let alone win one national title, but then there’s the Titans practically becoming honorary residents of Omaha far more than any other team can claim — even moreso than TCU. The longest Cal State Fullerton has ever gone without making the trip to Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium (RIP)/TD Ameritrade Park is six years, a drought that lasted from 2009-2015.
Now, does going to Omaha and only winning it all less than 25 percent of the time sting? You’d have to ask a Titans fan who has been there through it all to find out. On the brighter side of things, TCU has done something that Cal State Fullerton has not accomplished as it pertains to the sport’s biggest stage: Make it to the College World Series four years in a row. So if you were a member of TCU baseball from 2014-2017, hey, nobody who ever suited up in a Titans uniform can say they never didn’t go to Omaha as player.
So now that we’re through with all of that fun, let’s recap:
Cal State Fullerton has never had a losing season in 44 years as a D-1 program.
Cal State Fullerton has only finished below .600 three times.
Cal State Fullerton has made the NCAA Tournament 93 percent of the time since attaining D-1 status.
The last time Cal State Fullerton missed the NCAA Tournament, the author of this article was still 3.5 years away from being born.
Cal State Fullerton has made the College World Series 41 percent of the time since attaining D-1 status.
Cal State Fullerton, unlike TCU, has never made it to Omaha 4 years in a row.
Don’t worry. I promise you there is still parity in college baseball. You might just have to work a little harder to believe that after reading this.
Now, let’s pay ball.