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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Marlar: These are the 10 best Diamond Dawgs of all time

Courtesy Photo | MSU Athletics

One half of the famous “Thunder and Lightning” duo, Rafael Palmeiro.

In the vast and glorious history of Mississippi State University baseball, some amazing players have come and gone, but if you put all those players together, what would you wind up with? Who would you start? Most of these questions could only be answered in a game of “MLB: The Show”, but we can always dream. With that being said, here’s my list. 

Center Field

I mean, come on. He has to make the list. When somebody was told about MSU baseball before 2021, they were told about Jake Mangum. The veteran outfielder staked his claim to fame not only by ascending the SEC hits board, but by proving to be one of the best locker room and team leaders in the country. 

The argument for several others is certainly there, but when it comes down to it, nobody wrapped everything in maroon and white quite like Jake. 

Left Field

This was the toughest decision for me when making this list, but after some intense internal debate, I had to settle for Brent Rooker. Hunter Renfroe could easily slide in this spot, as he was about as good of a defensive player as anybody could ask for, but what Rooker did in his 2017 campaign was nothing short of astounding. 

Rooker was the first player in program history to win SEC player of the year. His 23 home runs and 30 doubles coupled with a .387 average is what got him those honors, and it also got that group of Bulldogs to a super regional. 

Right Field

Here you go, Bulldog fans. The first blast from the past of my list— Rafael Palmeiro. Palmeiro played plenty of DH, but he also slid into the field in order to crack the lineup from time to time, and that was plenty enough reason for me.

Renfroe and Rooker might have been just a hair better defensively in their college days, but my goodness, not many could send one for a ride quite like Palmeiro. 

As one part of the “Thunder and Lightning” duo, Palmeiro was a finalist for the Golden Spikes award in 1984, and after looking at the numbers, understandably so. Not only did the Cuban-American slugger bat a staggering .415, but he also sent 29 balls over the fence. Hard not to put him on the list, eh?


At the moment, it’s hard to go with anyone other than Adam Frazier. Despite playing second base for the Pirates at this point, the former Bulldog played most of his reps at short during his tenure in the maroon and white. Frazier set the SEC tournament ablaze in 2012, earning MVP honors. He’s enjoyed a successful MLB career after being drafted, but oh, to see him suit up one more time. 

Third Base

Travis Chapman was nothing short of an offensive machine during his time at MSU, but he doesn’t get the nod for my starting spot. Instead, I’m going to do a little bit of bold prediction. 

My man on the hot corner is Kamren James. Obviously, James has yet to fill out his days in Starkville, and that’s alright. However, I think James has the potential to be a top 10 MLB draft pick, simply due to his pound-for-pound talent. The returning Bulldog is looking for a big year in 2022, and his eyes are yet again on the prize. 

Second Base

Before Mangum was MSU’s king at the plate, there was Jeffrey Rea. Rea played for MSU from 2004-2007, and was the school’s all-time hits leader for a solid chunk of time. As a back-to-back All-SEC player himself, the middle infield of Rea and Frazier would be something of awe to witness. 


MSU has been blessed with some great players behind the plate, but as with Kamren James, I’ve decided to open Pandora’s box and attempt to look into the future instead of the past. 

Lucedale, Mississippi must put something in the water, because that’s the only way Logan Tanner should have the sixth sense that he does when picking off baserunners. Not only does he have an absolute hose, but the guy can absolutely rake, as evidenced by his postseason performance during the national championship campaign. Tanner, much like James, has the potential to be one of the next all-time greats to come out of Starkville, and I think he’s got just what it takes to cash in.

First Base

You didn’t think I could forget, did you? Enter Will “The Thrill” Clark, the other half of Thunder and Lightning. I imagine pitchers had plenty of nightmares thinking of how to deal with Palmeiro and Clark in the same lineup, but nonetheless, that was the reality. 

Clark is one of the all-time greats not only in MSU history, but in the entire history of college baseball. His .391 career average is still mind-boggling, and his 1985 Golden Spikes campaign only adds fuel to the fire. 

“The Thrill” hit for .425 on the year with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs. Plainly put: Don’t pitch to this guy if you can help it, ever. 


As lengthy as the list of former Bulldog outfielders is, this one might just be longer, with both steadily growing. 

Chris Straton’s 2012 campaign puts him in the conversation. Brandon Woodruff’s career post-MSU has been nothing short of marvelous. Jeff Brantley won, and won a lot, but he had potentially the best offense that MSU has ever seen behind him. DuBose would more than likely be my Saturday guy, and Landon Sims’ performance on the big stage was nothing short of marvelous. For my list, though , I’ve got to go with the one that always seemed to get it done, no matter what the offense was doing.

My choice of Will Bednar might not sit well with the entire fanbase, and that’s a-ok. If anything, it’s a testament to just how many greats have stepped on the mound for MSU, with plenty more to come. 

Designated Hitter

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave him off this one. Hunter Renfroe gets the nod for my DH slot. Renfroe gave MSU fans some absolute ‘wow’ moments in his MSU career on both sides of the ball, and is enjoying what is turning out to be an incredibly solid career in the pros, as many predicted. He could easily swap this spot with Rooker or Palmeiro, just as long as those three are in the lineup somehow. 

There you have it, folks. Feel free to send us your own top-10 list and thoughts at [email protected], and as we begin our 10-day countdown to opening day, don’t forget to check out The Reflector for the latest baseball content from those closest to it the students. 

About the Contributor
Tanner Marlar
Tanner Marlar, Former Managing Editor
Tanner Marlar served as the Managing Editor from 2022 to 2023. He also served as the Sports Editor from 2021 to 2022.
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Marlar: These are the 10 best Diamond Dawgs of all time