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Don Kessinger Named SEC Baseball Legend

Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Don Kessinger, a two-sport All-American at Ole Miss before becoming a six-time All-Star in Major League Baseball, will be honored at the 2017 SEC Tournament as an SEC Baseball Legend May 23-28 at the Hoover Met in Hoover, Alabama. Kessinger is the second Rebel to earn the distinction of SEC Baseball Legend, joining 2014 honoree Jake Gibbs.

Alongside Kessinger, the 2017 class features LSU’s Ben McDonald, Missouri’s Dave Silvestri and South Carolina’s Earl Bass. This marks the sixth consecutive year that the SEC has recognized a class of baseball legends. Four legends are recognized each year.
“The Southeastern Conference has a rich tradition in the sport of baseball,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Through our legends program, we are pleased to honor the individuals who have helped establish a foundation for the current and future success of our programs and the opportunities available to our student-athletes today.”
Kessinger excelled in both basketball and baseball for the Rebels from 1962-64, earning All-SEC and All-America honors in both sports. In basketball, he averaged 22.2 points per game to rank fourth in Ole Miss history as well as 11th with 1,553 career points. On the diamond, Kessinger’s feats were equally impressive. His .400 career batting average still remains No. 1 in the Ole Miss record book, an effort which is also sixth on the SEC career chart. Kessinger’s best year at the plate came in 1964 when he led the SEC by hitting .436, a performance which remains as the best single season effort in Rebel baseball history. His nine career triples and 44 career steals place him 10th on each Ole Miss all-time list.
Following a successful collegiate career, Kessinger moved on to Major League Baseball where he put together an impressive 16-year career. He started with the Chicago Cubs in 1964 and played at Wrigley Field until 1975. During that time as the Cubs’ starting shortstop, Kessinger played in six All-Star Games, earned two Gold Glove Awards and set a then-Major League record for consecutive errorless games at shortstop with 54 in 1969. In his last season in MLB, 1979, Kessinger served as a player-manager for the White Sox.
A member of the Chicago Cubs, Ole Miss Sports, Mississippi, Arkansas, Chicago and National High School Halls of Fame, Kessinger kept close to baseball following his MLB career. In 1991, he returned to his alma mater to become coach of the Ole Miss baseball team, taking over for the legendary Gibbs. Kessinger won 185 games over six seasons and even had the opportunity to coach his sons, Keith and Kevin.
Each legend will be recognized individually throughout the two quarterfinal matchups on Friday and will have on-field recognition and an awards presentation by Commissioner Sankey on Saturday, May 27 during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Fans will have an opportunity for autographs and photos with the honorees at the AT&T Legends Pavilion immediately following. Several legends will also participate in the annual SEC Youth Clinic on Friday morning.
For the latest news and updates involving Ole Miss Baseball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB, on Facebook at Ole Miss Baseball and on Instagram at olemissbsb.

Courtesy of Ole Miss sports

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