Feb. 4, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just 10 days away!
In January and February, UTSports.com will count down the days remaining until the start of the Vols' 2014 campaign (Feb. 14) with looks back at the many players who donned jersey numbers 30-1.
The baseball season in Knoxville kicks off on the diamond on Feb. 14 when the Vols host the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at Lindsey Nelson Stadium at 4 p.m. With one of the youngest teams in the country in 2013, head coach Dave Serrano and company have the foundation in place on Rocky Top.
The 2014 slate is highlighted by 33 games in Knoxville, including early nonconference matchups against Purdue (Feb. 15-16) and UNLV (Feb. 21-23). The Vols open with a 13-game homestand, starting things off with three straight days of doubleheader action.
Practice continues this week on Rocky Top as the Diamond Vols are in action Tuesday through Sunday, with scrimmage sets for Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All outdoor practices at Lindsey Nelson Stadium are free and open to the public. For more information and to view this week's pitching schedule, visit UTSports.com.
One of the Vols' least worn numbers, just 16 players have worn the Orange and White No. 10, including the current owner of the jersey, sophomore shortstop and Knoxville native A.J. Simcox. Back in the early to mid-1970s, the jersey belonged to the great Rick Honeycutt, who is currently the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching coach.
#10 Rick Honeycutt
1973-76 | 1B/LHP | L/L | 6-1 | 185 lbs. | Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. (Lakeview HS)
Born in Chattanooga but growing up in north Georgia, Rick Honeycutt came to Tennessee as a freshman in 1973 and would leave as one of the program's greatest players of all-time. Honeycutt was not only a dominant pitcher, but he did more than hold his own with a bat in his hands as well. Over his career from 1973-76, Honeycutt compiled 21 wins, an impressive 2.97 ERA, 19 complete games and 185 strikeouts over 266.2 innings pitched. At the plate, Honeycutt hit .376 with 120 RBIs, 18 home runs, 155 total hits, 36 doubles and six triples.
Many of those marks land in the Vols' career record books. Honeycutt's 21 wins are tied for seventh and his 2.97 ERA stands alone at seventh in UT's career annals. His 19 complete games rank second, while his 35 games started and his 266.1 innings ranks eighth. Honeycutt's batting average (.376) stands fifth and his slugging percentage (.624) ranks 10th all-time.
The lefty played a role in two no-hitters as a senior in 1976. Honeycutt and teammate Jim Gaylor combined to throw a seven inning no-hitter against Slippery Rock on March 16, 1976, with the Vols winning 8-0. Honeycutt pitched the opening four scoreless innings and Gaylor came in for a three-inning save. Just three days later, Honeycutt blanked Georgia over seven innings for an individual no-hitter, one of just five in UT history. Only a leadoff walk to start the sixth inning kept him from a perfect game. He retired the first 15 batters he faced and struck out the side to close the game. At the plate, Honeycutt went 2-for-2 with a walk, scoring the game's lone run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
He earned First Team ABCA All-American honors in 1976 and was a two-time All-SEC performer over his four seasons.
Honeycutt was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 1976 MLB draft and made his MLB debut on August 24, 1977. That would be the start of an incredible 21-year major league career with six different teams. He was a two-time All-Star and pitched in three straight World Series (1988, 89 & 90), winning the title with the Oakland Athletics in 1989. During the 1996 and 1997 seasons, Honeycutt was the oldest active player in the National League. He retired at the age of 43 following the 1997 season.
The current pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Honeycutt got his coaching career started right here at Tennessee. He was a graduate assistant on the 1977 staff and was a full-time assistant coach in 1990. He was been with the Dodgers for eight seasons.
Honeycutt was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also named to the Tennessee Baseball All-Century Team in 2009.
NOTES ON HONEYCUTT
- Vols' MVP award is named after him
- Earned two Baseball Hall of Fame votes in 2003
- Led the American league with a 2.84 ERA in 1983
#10 A.J. Simcox
2013-14 | SS | 6-3 | 185 lbs. | R/R | Knoxville, Tenn. (Farragut HS)
Sophomore shortstop A.J. Simcox enters his second year with the Vols after appearing in 50 of 52 games last season, the most of any freshman. All 48 of his starts were at shortstop and he finished the season hitting .283 with four doubles and one triple. He was also second on the team with 26 RBIs, led the team with 144 assists and led the Vols with a .327 batting average during SEC play.
A 32nd round draftee by the Colorado Rockies out of powerhouse Farragut High School here in Knoxville, Simcox hit .460 with nine dingers, 13 doubles, four triples and 45 RBIs as a senior. He was picked as the 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel PrepXtra Player of the Year. As a junior, Simcox posted a 28-game hit streak and hit at a school-record .470 clip with two home runs and 32 RBIs. He was named to the 2012 Baseball America High School All-America Second Team and listed as the nation's top player in the state of Tennessee by Perfect Game.
NOTES ON SIMCOX
- Full name is Austin Jay Simcox
- Formerly a Tennessee batboy
- His father, Larry, was a UT assistant coach from 1991-2007
- Has one sibling, Erin, a Tennessee Baseball Diamond Girl