Winning Shocker pitcher reflects on '89 title team's meeting with George H.W. Bush

WICHITA, Kan. The final strikeout thrown in Greg Brummett's college career clinched a first-ever national championship for Wichita State University in the 1989 College World Series, secured a CWS Most Valuable Player award for the senior pitcher and put the Shockers in a once-in-a-lifetime position.


After beating Texas for the CWS title in June 1989, Brummett and the Shockers traveled to the nation's capital to meet President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.

Brummett remembers Shocker baseball architect Gene Stephenson pulling the team together for a meeting where they learned their national championship came with an opportunity to meet the leader of the free world.

"We didn't know anything about it, and then all of a sudden we were going to the White House," Brummett says.

The meeting with George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush happened in the Rose Garden.

"So it was outside and it was hot," Brummett remembers. "And there were a lot of cameras, a lot of reporters.

The then soon-to-be professional pitcher was struck by how tall the president was. Bush stood 6'2. Brummett also remembers discovering that Bush was left handed.

He got to shake the president's hand and present a Shocker baseball jersey to him. The team's logo was on the front. The name "Bush" and the No. 1 were on the back.

There's a reason for Bush's Shocker jersey being No. 1, Brummett says.

"President Bush played in the first College World Series with Yale, believe it or not, he says.

That 1947 Yale team emerged from the Eastern Playoff to face California in that best-of-three first College World Series played in Michigan. Forty two years later, the Shockers won it all in Omaha, Neb.

Brummett says he initially "freaked out" ahead of the team's meeting with the president.

"Being a 21-year-old kid, I was nervous. I was excited," he says. "All I know is I was sweating a whole lot that day. It was so hot in that rose garden with all the lights and it was in June in the middle of the summer."

Brummett says he had to buy a suit to look presentable for the visit.

"Obviously, I was overjoyed and excited and nervous all at the same time," he says.

While cognizant of the importance of making a solid impression, Brummett says players were able to relax. He remembers Shocker catcher Eric Wedge playing a game of catch with the president.

"It was great. If anybody knows the Bushes, they're a huge baseball family," Brummett says.

The nation's 43rd president, George W. Bush is a former owner of the Texas Rangers.

Looking back on the White House visit in June 1989, Brummett says a big takeaway was how genuine the president came across to the Wichita State players.

"Not only did he invite us to the White House, but it was from his heart and her really cared," Brummett says.

He says the trip happened fast, but it was an honor he'll never forget.

"Just remembering you had a piece of history that you can really tell your kids," Brummett says. "And my kids are like, 'man, you got to meet and shake the president's hand.' At that moment, life is larger than you, or anything else."