The year 1994 can be remembered for a lot of things: The O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase, the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan fiasco, Kurt Cobain’s death, one of the greatest years in the recent history of cinema (Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, etc.), the Major League Baseball strike. Honestly, it was a memorable year.
But the 25th anniversary of one event seems to have escaped widespread notice (understandably) and even local notice (shamefully). In 1994, the University of Oklahoma Sooners won the College World Series and, thus, a national championship in college baseball.
“College baseball?!,” you’re probably thinking to yourself. “Who cares about college baseball?! The video above is you two idiots talking about college baseball from 1994?!”
Well, not to go all Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino” and tell you to get off our lawns, but in 1994, being spoiled by the riches of local sports success was most CERTAINLY not a problem. All other OU sports were at a seeming nadir: OU football was lurching into the final season of the Gary Gibbs era, OU basketball was fading hard in the twilight of Billy Tubbs’ career, OU softball was such a nonentity its games were played at a municipal park right alongside beer-league teams, OU women’s basketball hadn’t been to an NCAA Tournament in nine years, and when someone mentioned “Thunder,” everyone looked at the sky.
Against this backdrop, the 1994 OU baseball team took the field. In fact, the diamond version of the Sooners themselves weren’t immune to the Jimmy Carter-esque crisis of confidence blighting the OU athletics landscape. They had missed the NCAA tournament in 1993 and headed into 1994 unranked in any major poll.
What eventually unraveled over the next five months was one of the more unlikely championship runs in any sport. It was also one of the most welcomed. In a landscape of OU fans parched for any type of success, the 1994 Sooners were regularly met with capacity crowds at their home stadium and saw more than 10,000 spectators pile into the old 89ers Stadium at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds for the Big Eight Tournament to take on old rival Oklahoma State for the Big Eight title.
The Sooners weren’t successful in ringing the bell against the Cowboys that particular day, but they refused to lose again for the rest of the season and found much bigger success just a couple of weeks later when they became the 1994 College World Series champions. It was a success that remains embedded into the psyche of many OU fans from that particular time period, and it’s one we remembered in this videocast above. Enjoy!
(Editor’s note: Much thanks to Bryce Holland for his editing work to make this project possible.)