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Class of 2000


Front: Michael Yeager, James Van Deventer, Matthew Kurkjian, Alfredo Pere Jr., Reilly Shaughnessy, Michael Henry, Francis (Peter) Jones, Bruce Cudmore, Joseph Janela. Back: Head Coach Robert Talbot, Timothy McCormick, Eric Becraft, Harold Blumenkrantz, Robert Berard, James Bilodeau, Robert Carney, Joseph Mayer, Mark Travaglini, Assistant Coach Robert Hickey. Not pictured: Sal Ambrosino, Vince Kelley, Ron Lord, Mike Maher, Brent Steele.
1977 baseball season

The men’s baseball team of 1977 has had a few nicknames. The players used endearments for each other like The Beast, Shaggy and Beeker. The media dubbed the team the “Cardiac Cards” for their heart-pounding ability to escape the jaws of defeat in the late innings.

But the 1977 Cards didn’t just have the quirky style and bonds of friendship that spawn funny monikers. They also had talent — lots of it — and a remarkable camaraderie lasting 23 years, since they became the first and only baseball team in Catholic University’s history to make it to the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Tournament. The Cardinals opened the six-team regional tourney with a 4-3 victory over Seton Hall but were eliminated with losses to Temple, 10-3, and St. John’s, 8-3.

The team generated a great deal of press in the process, as The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications chronicled its rise from obscurity.

“Everyone loves the underdog,” said Matthew B. Kurkjian, B.A. 1978 — otherwise known as Pup on the field. “This team was the ultimate Cinderella story.”

Last November, the Cardiac Cards were recognized once again, when they were inducted into the CUA Hall of Fame at Homecoming 2000.

“It was our day in the sun,” said CUA Athletic Director Robert J. Talbot, B.A. 1960, who co-coached the 1977 team with Robert Hickey, B.A. 1974, M.A. 1978. “I always thought we had the talent to play Division I and we proved we did.”

Several of the players had played with and against each other in high school and summer league teams. Mr. Talbot, who recruited the team back when CUA offered athletic scholarships, thought having a shared history might make the young men play well together at CUA.

They did: when they weren’t practicing, they were eating together at the Rat or driving to Florida for spring break.

“We enjoyed each other and pulled together and we won,” said team co-captain Timothy J. McCormick, B.A. 1977, who went by Timmy Mac on the field. “It was a group of individuals who really liked each other and I think that goes a long way.”

These young men had the team spirit baseball is famous for; but don’t discount their discipline and abilities, Mr. Talbot said.

“You always hear this term ‘chemistry’ in sports and I think there’s something to that,” Mr. Talbot said. “But the most important thing was that they had talent.”

Several team members still play ball together on a Washington, D.C., area softball league team coached by Mr. Kurkjian, who also keeps in touch with his teammates as a co-organizer of a CUA alumni golf tournament and baseball game at Homecoming each year.

All but a couple of members of the 1977 Cardinals baseball team were reunited last November during Homecoming Weekend.

“When you share what we have over the years, it’s a connection,” Mr. Kurkjian said later. “You stay in touch with people, you grow with them, you grow up with their kids. It’s very special to all of us.”