Yesterday: Wake Forest baseball team won national championship in 1955

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 15, 2015

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the 1955 Wake Forest College baseball team which won the national championship at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. To this day, the Wake Forest team remains the only Atlantic Coast Conference baseball squad to win a national championship, and it included Bob Waggoner and Frank McRae, both of whom had played for Boyden High in Salisbury, and Billy Ray Barnes, a star athlete from Landis. All played integral roles in the championship game and season as a whole. Waggoner, who lives in Charlotte today, provided this copy of the team photo which is now in the State Archives of North Carolina and originally ran in the Raleigh News and Observer June 17, 1955. ‘It is the best photograph of the team,’ Waggoner said in a note. ‘It was taken near the time we left for Omaha (on June 8, 1955).’ The team is sitting on the front steps of Gore Gym at the old Wake Forest College north of Raleigh. On June 16, 1955, Wake Forest beat Western Michigan in the national title game, 7-6. Those on the front row, left to right, are Art Bonzagni, Billy Ray Barnes, Harold Moore, Tommy Cole, Linwood Holt, Bob Koontz and Coach Taylor Sanford; second row, Frank McRae, Luther McKeel, Lee Abbott, George Miller, Bob Waggoner, Jack Bryant and Jim Horn; third row, trainer Ernie McKenzie, John Stokoe, Buck Fichter, Ralph Adams, Bill Walsh, Lowell ‘Lefty’ Davis, Jack McGinley and Manager Ernie Moore. Lawrence Wofford of the N&O took this photograph. The 2015 College World Series is now being played in Omaha.