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Northwest Mississippi CC's Bill Selby Recognized at 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park
 April 23, 2012

By Kevin Maloney, SID

BOSTON – Northwest Mississippi Community College assistant baseball coach Bill Selby had a once-in-a-lifetime experience this past weekend. The best part about it, his 9-year-old son Eli got to soak it all in with him. | http://youtu.be/nU1p7PmYUgQ

Selby, and all living alumni of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox organization, were invited to the 100th anniversary celebration of the historic Fenway Park on Friday, April 20. Each former player was flown out to Boston on a free round-trip ticket and two-night hotel stay. 

In front of an announced crowd 36,770, Selby, in addition to more than 200 former players, coaches and managers were recognized in their return for Friday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees. When all the players assembled on the field, they were joined by current Red Sox, who donned white throwback uniforms for the occasion.

"Being surrounded by so much baseball history, large or small, it was completely overwhelming," Selby said. "It was a real honor to be on the field with so many heroes and legends in a venue that captures the essence of true baseball. The Red Sox ownership put together one of the classiest celebrations of the greatest parks of all time. To have my son there with me made it so special."

Prior to joining Northwest in 2006, Selby put the wraps on his 14-year professional baseball career that spanned from 1992-2005 and included stops with the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. He was drafted by the BoSox in the 13th Round (366th overall) of the 1992 MLB Draft, spending five seasons with the organization.

Selby played in 198 total MLB games, with a .223 career batting average. Mostly used off the bench, Selby hit a career-high six home runs in 2002 with the Indians. The most dramatic of those home runs came on July 14, when he hit a walk-off grand slam against 12-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion Mariano Rivera to defeat the Yankees, 10-7, in the bottom of the 9th inning. It was the first walk-off home run that Rivera had allowed in his career.

Always a jokester, Selby is also known for bestowing long-time Cleveland Indians DH/1B Travis Hafner with his nickname, "Pronk."

“Texas came to town in 2002 and I was with [former Indian] Lee Stevens on the bench saying, ‘This dude is unbelievable. He’s a real project.’ He was hitting the ball everywhere. We got him the next spring and we called him ‘Project’ all the time. One day I passed him, and said, ‘What’s up, you big donkey?’ He said, ‘Hey, I can’t be the Project and the Donkey.’ “So we started going with ‘Pronkey’. In Spanish, we made it ‘El Pronko.’ Then it got down to ‘The Pronk’ and finally just ‘Pronk.’ It fits him. He doesn’t look like Shrek or anything else. He just looks like a Pronk.”

Selby became the sixth player in Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A) club history to be inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame on August 25, 2007. In the Bisons’ modern era, Selby ranks first in hits (378), doubles (90), RBI (245) and runs (217). He’s second in games played (370) and third in home runs (60). Selby was the team’s MVP in 1999 (.295, 20 homers, 85 RBI) and played in the 2000 Triple-A All-Star Game in Rochester, New York.

Selby closed his career by being named to the Mexican League All-Star Team while playing for the Campeche Pirates, batting .318 with 25 home runs and 93 RBIs. Before joining the Pirates, he played minor league ball with the Memphis Redbirds and Iowa Cubs. Other career highlights include being named a Carolina League All-Star in 1994 and International League All-Star in 2000.

A 2008 inductee into the Northwest Sports Hall of Fame, Selby was the Rangers’ MVP in his only season in 1990, hitting a single-season school record .477 from the plate with 14 home runs, 13 doubles and 43 RBIs. He was named an All-State and All-Region 23 selection at season’s end.

Selby played his final two seasons for Southern Mississippi, where he was a teammate of current head coach Mark Carson. His name is still scattered in the Golden Eagles’ record books, owning single-season school records for home runs (23), doubles (31) and slugging percentage (.824) and ranking in the top 10 in numerous career categories despite playing just two years. He was inducted into the USM M-Club Hall of Fame in 2011.

In the middle of a tight north division playoff race, Northwest has six regular season games remaining starting today at Coahoma. The Rangers, 19-21 overall and 10-8 in the north, sit in fourth place but can capture the No. 2 seed and homefield advantage in the first round by closing the season 5-1. 

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