Five Jewels in the Crown: 1970

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USC baseball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of winning five consecutive national championships from 1970-74 under Rod Dedeaux by recognizing the Trojans' dynasty before Saturday's game against Cal (2 p.m. first pitch).

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The "Five Jewels in the Crown" were seen as an impossibility when the streak started as experts predicted parity in college baseball due to the major league draft, increased competition and the inconsistent nature of the sport.  Instead, USC, which had already won five national championships, only asserted its dominance further completing what John Wooden once called maybe "the most remarkable achievement in sports history."   

This week, we'll profile a different jewel in the crown each day. Here is the story of the 1970 team:

The 1970 USC Trojans were a veteran team led by pitchers Jim Barr and Brent Strom, and the prodigious hitting of Dave Kingman. 

By losing their College World Series opener to Ohio, which had future Hall of Fame 3B Mike Schmidt, the Trojans needed to win out.  After beating Delaware and Dartmouth, they survived Texas in a come-from-behind 8-7 victory in 14 innings, which depleted the USC pitching staff.  Three teams now remained with 3-1 records - USC, Texas, and pitching-rich Florida State. 

Before a still packed house of fans, three white envelopes were placed on the field with one envelope containing the precious "Bye", while the other two said "Play".  The legendary Rod Dedeaux had never in the past been able to draw the "Bye" card.  Assistant coach Justin Dedeaux was aware of this and persuaded his father to let him pick the envelope.  Justin asked to pick first and held his envelope unopened, while Texas and Florida State followed him in the draw.  Both their envelopes said "Play".  The Trojans would advance to the final.

With that vital day of rest, USC played Florida State and won the national championship in a 2-1, 15-inning thriller.  Ace right-hander Jim Barr was the hero pitching eight innings of scoreless relief, as he had done previously in the win over Texas, and Frank Alfano singled home the winning run.

1970 Team.jpg

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Any chance you can put names to these faces? The only guy I recognize is Coach. Thanks!

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