A while back — maybe a long while back — a former TCU Baseball star slid into our DMs with an idea for a fun exercise: what would the all-time TCU Baseball lineup look like if made up entirely of non-baseball TCU Athletes?
For... reasons... I never got around to it, but now is a perfect time to distract ourselves with some innocuous hot takery, so why not?
I stuck mostly to recent history for this exercise, but would love some of you that have been around a while to chime in with some of the legends. And if you have another nomination of think I am dead wrong, be sure to let me know in the comments!
Starting Pitcher: Andy Dalton (QB 2006-2010)
The pitcher who first suggested this exercise said that the Red Rifle had to get the nod as the starting pitcher, and it’s hard to disagree.
Dalton gives me Greg Maddux vibes; he’s not going to blow you away with pure power or speed but he can locate, paint the black, and lull you into a false sense of security before sending you back to bench wondering what in the heck just happened. Dalton was always at his best when he needed to be, rose to the moment, and wasn’t afraid of bigger name competition.
He has the countenance you want out of the guy setting the tone for the game, and would be a great leader on the mound. He’s got a little experience, too — looking like a filthy little 12-6 curve LOL.
Relief Pitcher: Vladimir Brodziansky (Center 2015-2018)
Middle relievers are a unique bunch. They have to be ready to come in at any point of the game in any situation, and keep the opponent off the scoreboard. Managers love throwing in a guy that throws off hitters, and who better to do so than 6’11” Vlad?
The Horned Frogs have had a lot of luck with ridiculously tall pitchers (Brian Howard, anyone?) and Vlad fits that mold perfectly. We also know he’s got a fast ball in the arsenal, as the center was a great outlet passer out of the post.
Closer: Max Duggan (QB 2019-2020)
Closer is 60% ability and 40% attitude, and there isn’t a player in recent TCU history that has the “it” factor more than Mad Max. The fiery redhead is as competitive as any Horned Frog we have seen in Funky Town, and he certainly has the nasty streak needed to dominate in late game situations. He also has a great ability to forget the past and focus on the next play, another critically important skill set at the position.
1st Base: Ty Summers (LB 2014-2018)
I still love a good “90’s” first baseman, the kind of guy who has a big old hunk of chew in his lip and a pack of cigs rolled in his sleeve (but for the record, I do not support either of those habits). TCU has some big ‘ol lugs man the bag down the right field line through the years — Kevin Cron, Luken Baker, and Jake Guenther to name a few. Who fits that mold perfectly? How about former Frog and current Packer Ty Summers?
Summers was the unquestioned leader for TCU Football’s defense across his playing days, firing up the team and the fans with big play after big play. He was never the most athletic guy on the field but he was often amongst the toughest — and few could match his acumen or football IQ — a must in GP’s labor intensive 4-2-5 scheme. You can’t tell me that he wouldn’t be able to absolutely blast some dingers, and the former high school QB probably has a pretty good arm should he need to shut down a sac bunt, too.
2nd Base: Cam Norrie (Tennis 2014-2017)
Second base is all about quick twitch muscle and quicker decision making. That sounds a lot like tennis, right? The ball gets on you quickly in the midfield, something tennis players are certainly used to. And few tennis players have been better than Cam Norrie at TCU, who has steadily risen up the professional ranks since leaving the purple courts.
Norrie is an exceptional athlete who played the net well and had great range across the courts. He is smooth when it comes to changing directions and has incredible vision. I might have given him the nod at shortstop, but it’s hard to gauge a guy’s arm when it’s always attached to a racket.
3rd Base: Kenny Hill (QB 2016-2017)
This one almost feels like cheating, as Hill was a draftable third base project for much of his high school career and even flirted with Major League Baseball during an offseason while with TCU Football. The son of Ken Hill, a long time professional pitcher, the younger Hill starred for Southlake Carroll on the diamond before committing full time to football his senior year.
Hill had some pop in his bat, could hit to all fields, and was a really good defensive third baseman, full of the quick twitch muscle needed to react in the hot corner. He also had a pretty good arm, something that he showcased for Horned Frogs’ football on a regular occasion.
Short Stop: Kyan Anderson (PG 2011-2015)
Shortstop is often the captain on the field and the defensive leader of the team, and while Kyan was known far more for his offense than his D, he certainly was the unquestioned leader of TCU hoops during his time there.
One of the most prolific scorers in modern TCU Basketball history, Anderson carried some really bad teams and led some really improbably upsets for Trent Johnson’s team. He wasn’t the biggest guy on the court, but pound for pound he was often the toughest, not afraid to drive in amongst the trees and take contact at the rim. He also had incredible range and was never afraid of the big moment, making him the perfect guy to play one of the sport’s toughest positions.
Catcher: Kenrich Williams (F 2014-2018)
The list of catchers at TCU in the Jim Schlossnagle era might have the single most impressive depth of talent of any on the field. Kurtis Byrne and Zach Humphrey, Evan Skoug, Kyle Bacak, Josh Elander, Bryan Holaday, and more, there is a long line of guys who have stood in behind the plate professionally once leaving TCU. It’s a position that requires toughness, fearlessness, and a little bit THICC-ness... doesn’t that sound a lot like KLenny Hustle? Sure, a 6’9” catcher isn’t the norm, but how many baseball players do you know that would be willing to fly down the line to home plate with Williams waiting for them?
Catcher is often played by the guy who is willing to get a little dirty, that seeks out contact, and that has a big old chip on his shoulder. Nobody embodies those qualities quite like Kenny Hustle when it comes to the recent history of TCU Athletics.
Solid bat, good on base guy, decent athleticism, and a great team player? What would you say to Desmond Bane in right field for the Frogs?
You know Des would absolutely hit for contact and be a menace on the basepaths, while also showing good speed and quickness in right field defensively. Bane would be good for a big hit in a key spot at least once a week and make highlight plays on fly balls regularly I am sure.
Plus, who doesn’t want more BANE in Fort Worth?
Center Field: KaVontae Turpin (WR/PR 2015-2017)
Thinking of some of the most athletic guys on the field, the first name that comes to mind is KaVontae Turpin. A fan favorite and one of the most versatile and dynamic players on the field no matter who he was lining up against, Turp had speed to burn and could change directions on a dime.
Absolutely fearless, Turpin wouldn’t have any issues tracking down balls deep into centerfield and would regularly make tough catches at the wall I am sure.
TCU’s left field position has been known for guys with massive arms — how many times did we see Josh Watson throw a guy out at the plate that everyone in the stadium was sure was going to score easily?
In that vein, we go with a guy who could track screamers down the line, make sliding catches on bloopers, and rob home runs over the wall — Jalen Reagor. I am going to guess the guy with good hands and track speed can sling it a bit too, and we all know that he has hops. Reag has the speed to cover a lot of ground in a hurry, and the guy with the nickname “Slide” can certainly go down to get it, too. Plus, he would be a beast on the basepaths (no chance he’s not good at the plate, either). An outfield of Bane, Turp, and Reag would be SOMETHING, that’s for sure.
Proposed Batting Order:
1 - KaVontae Turpin
2 - Jalen Reagor
3 - Kenny Hill
4 - Ty Summers
5 - Kenrich Williams
6 - Andy Dalton
7 - Max Duggan
8 - Cam Norrie
9 - Kyan Anderson
What do you think of this lineup? Who would you replace — and with whom? Let us know in the comments!