|Jody Ramsey, a former Bronc baseball player, will be honored in a commemorative ceremony April 28 on the UTPA campus.|
UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, Director of Athletics Scott Street, UTPA Hall of Fame Coach Al Ogletree, current Bronc Baseball Coach Willie Gawlik, along with the Ramsey family will be in attendance. During the ceremony, a bronze plaque will be unveiled, which will dedicate the area as the “Jody Ramsey Courtyard.” In addition, the family will be presented with a framed jersey of Ramsey’s number six and a plaque to commemorate the event.
"Jody Ramsey is very much a part of UTPA history and the athletics program. More than 30 years later, his legacy as a true student-athlete lives on and baseball players aspire to emulate this outstanding young man. This courtyard will serve as a reminder to all students, faculty and staff of what once was and a tribute to what could have been,” Cárdenas said.
Ramsey, who worked as a laborer on the construction of the new stadium, spent many hours on the site of the ballpark and in an unfortunate turn of events was killed Feb. 24, 1973 while working there in an electrical accident before the stadium had reached completion.
Ogletree said that the death of Ramsey, who was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Ramsey of Freeport, Texas, was one of the most upsetting and devastating moments in his career.
“Jody was an outstanding ballplayer and an even better person. He lived his life to the utmost and even today his memory serves as an inspiration to all baseball players that go through the UTPA program,” Ogletree said.
Ramsey was the Broncs leading hitter and co-captain for the 1972 season, and that year, he led the team in eight statistical categories, including hitting (.346), games played (56), at-bats (185), runs scored (47), hits (64), triples (4), stolen bases (17) and walks. He also earned All-District VI honors in the NCAA Division I rankings.
After his death, the students petitioned to the then-Pan American University Board of Regents to name the ballpark in Ramsey’s memory. The recommendation was accepted unanimously, and in 1974, the Broncs would take the field to play their first season in the Jody Ramsey Memorial Stadium. The park was dedicated in his honor at ceremonies in 1974 conducted by Bobby Bragan, president of the Texas League and Dr. Ralph Schilling, president of Pan American University.
Also in honor of Ramsey, Ogletree established a memorial award that is given to a senior baseball player each season. Ogletree considers it the top award given to any baseball player at UTPA. The memorial award goes to the athlete who best exemplifies the standards set by Ramsey, in which they must show superior athletic ability, character, leadership and dedication to excellence on and off the field.
The UTPA baseball program played in the Jody Ramsey Memorial Stadium from 1974-2000.
To cap off the day’s events will be a Bronc baseball doubleheader against Dallas Baptist at noon and 4 p.m. at Edinburg Baseball Stadium. Ramsey’s brother, Kenneth, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in honor of his sibling and the family at the noon game.
For more information on the commemorative ceremony, contact the UTPA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at 956/381-2221.
Note: UTPA Director of Athletic Media Relations and Sports Information Joe Monaco contributed to this report.