LAFAYETTE — The man called Louisiana Lightning will finally get his due.
Louisiana-Lafayette announced Thursday that Ron Guidry, former pitcher for the Ragin’ Cajuns and New York Yankees, will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
The induction will occur during halftime of the team’s homecoming football game against UL-Monroe on Saturday, Oct. 31.
It was made possible by the university changing the eligibility criteria for entrance into the Hall of Fame. Previously, if a player did not graduate, he or she would not have been eligible to enter the Hall of Fame. The rule was changed to allow entrance to players who left early to pursue a professional career.
The Ragin’ Cajuns Lettermen Club board of directors oversees the nomination and selection of players, coaches and administrators for the honor.
“Ron Guidry epitomizes the integrity and character of the University,” said Ken Meyers, president of the Ragin’ Cajuns Lettermen, in a statement.
In two seasons with then-USL, Guidry compiled a 12-5 record with 137 career strikeouts and was drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 1971 draft. Guidry’s No. 3 Cajuns uniform was retired in the mid-1990s.
But Guidry is more known for his exploits in the major leagues with the Yankees. In 14 seasons as a big-league pitcher, all with the Yankees, Guidry compiled a 170-91 record.
His best season came in 1978, when he won the AL Cy Young award by going 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 248 strikeouts.
It was one of the best seasons ever put together in the live ball era. Guidry’s single-season 9.6 WAR (Wins Above Replacement player) in 1978 has only been topped eight times since by starting pitchers. The list of players who’ve topped it: Dwight Gooden, Roger Clements, Pedro Martinez, Zack Greinke and Bret Saberhagen.
Guidry finished his professional career as a four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove award winner. He compiled three 20-win seasons and his 1.74 ERA in 1978 was not bettered until Martinez turned in a 1.74 ERA in 2000.
Guidry’s No. 49 Yankees uniform was retired in 2003. Though he’s one of 20 Yankees to have his uniform retired, he’s one of only four pitchers to receive the distinguished honor, joined by Whitey Ford, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
Guidry will ride in the homecoming parade starting at 10 a.m. Oct. 31. Afterward, he will sign autographs at 2 p.m. at the Alumni tent near Gate A at Cajun Field.