Former Park View standout gets hall of fame call
The 1983 baseball team at James Madison University, including former Park View HS standout Jeff Kidd, was recently inducted into the JMU athletic hall of fame.
The JMU team led by hall of fame coach Brad Babcock was the first team from the state of Virginia to advance to the College World Series in 1983 in Omaha, Neb., after winning the Eastern Regional title with wins over Delaware, the Citadel, William & Mary and South Carolina.
JMU went 37-13 overall in the 1983 season. At the CWS, the Dukes participated in a field that included future Major Leaguers Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Barry Larkin, Pete Incaviglia, Dave Magadan and Chris Sabo.
The Dukes faced two of the nation’s top three teams, falling 12-0 to eventual champion Texas and 3-1 to Stanford. JMU remained as the lone team from the state to advance to the College World Series until the University of Virginia did it in 2009.
Kidd, who recorded JMU’s first hit in the World Series against Texas, is a 1978 graduate of Park View and was a multi-sport standout and captain of the baseball team while also playing football and track where he advanced to the state tournament as a pole vaulter.
The state track meet his senior year was held at JMU, and that was the day he decided Harrisonburg is where he wanted to attend college.
He played golf his freshman year at JMU as a walk-on before landing a tryout with Coach Babcock and earning a spot on the baseball team.
Kidd focused entirely on baseball after his freshman year and completed his playing career as a first-year graduate student, where he set a career record for hits (233), recorded a .332 career batting average and was among career statistical leaders among several offensive categories.
Kidd had 702 at-bats (second), 53 stolen bases (second), 196 games played (third), 172 runs (third), 42 doubles (fourth), 115 base on balls (fourth), 54 extra base hits (ninth), and eight triples (tenth).
Kidd helped the Dukes to three Eastern Regional appearances in 1980, 1981 and 1983 when they captured the regional title at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
From 1980-1983, JMU compiled a record of 150-59-2 record and had a .717 winning percentage. The four-year span represents the most successful span of JMU baseball in its outstanding history.
Kidd amassed the most productive regional tournament career statistics in JMU history with 43 at-bats, 16 hits and 10 runs scored.
Kidd, who was named the team’s defensive MVP in 1983, said it is truly an honor to be inducted into the hall along with his teammates.
“It is truly an honor for me to go into the JMU athletic hall of fame with such a great bunch of guys,” he said. “Probably not the most talented team to ever play at JMU… but still today, the most successful.”
Kidd said that UVA’s run several years ago to get to the College World Series started him reminiscing, and he worked with former Coach Babcock to begin the bidding process to get the team inducted.
In 2014, JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne announced it was time to add teams in the JMU hall of fame.
The 1994 field hockey team which captured a national championship became the first team inducted and the 1983 baseball team was the second.
Kidd, a co-captain of the 1983 CWS team and an Eastern Region All-Tournament team selection, was selected to accept the honor on behalf of his teammates at the induction ceremony.
“It was very emotional for me,” said Kidd. “Coach Babcock, who has recent back surgery, and one other player, could not be there. All of our other players and our trainer attended the ceremony.”
A number of Kidd’s family members including his mother Becky, wife Wendy, his two sons Justin and Jarrod, brothers Mark and Chris, as well as sister-in-law Sandi and nephew Trevor were in attendance.
“I know my Dad, who could not attend, wanted to be there,” said Kidd.
Jeff keeps up with JMU on a regular basis and is still a loyal supporter of the Dukes, especially with sons Justin (a junior) and Jarrod (a freshman) attending the JMU Honors College. Both are also members of the Marching Royal Dukes.
Jeff, a retired colonel in the Air Force, is married to the former Wendy Gale Waldrep of Boydton and is the son of Clifton and Becky Kidd of La Crosse.