28 Mar

rebel yells

Ole Miss fans love history and they love Archie, and the current Rebels team has triggered chatter about both. The Rebels are 6-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1969, which, as the folks on the SEC Now show dutifully pointed out today, is back when Archie Manning was their shortstop. Manning was not the star of the ’69 team, which was the last of coach Tom Swayze’s four league champions, and neither was future big leaguer Steve Dillard, also an infielder on that club. The team’s two All-SEC picks were Whitey Adams and Ed McLarty. John Shaw, who held UM’s career stolen base record for many years, was on that team, along with pitching stalwarts Fred Selser and Ken Kauerz. The ’69 Rebels won the SEC title by beating Florida in a playoff series, won a regional (called a district championship in those days) and went to the College World Series, where they ousted in their third game by Texas. It’s much, much too soon to suggest the current Rebels are bound for such glory, but they do have the ingredients of a great club. Led by SEC Triple Crown contender Tim Elko, the big first baseman who is batting .341 with nine homers and 34 RBIs, UM (20-4) is batting .282 as a team and scoring 7.5 runs a game. Pro prospects Gunnar Hoglund (3-0, 2.63 ERA) and Doug Nikhazy (2-1, 3.10) have lived up to their billing. Yes, the SEC schedule is a gauntlet: There are nationally ranked teams lurking practically every weekend. But the Rebels have woken up some inspiring echoes.

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