No. 36 becomes the third jersey retired by LSU baseball
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
No LSU baseball player will ever wear No. 36 again.
Eddy Furniss took his long-deserved place among the immortals of LSU baseball on Friday night.
The All-American slugger’s iconic No. 36 took its proper place in retirement alongside his coach, Skip Bertman’s No. 15 on the first base façade, and facing pitcher Ben McDonald’s No. 19.
“Tonight we honor a man who is a perfect role model for all of our LSU athletes,” Athletics director Joe Alleva said before ordering Furniss’ plaque unveiled.
Joined by 35 family members — including wife Crystal and their three children: Will, Ella and Owen — Furniss watched as the tarp atop his prestigious digits disappeared during a ceremony prior to LSU’s series-opener with Mississippi State. Alleva also presented him with a ceremonial plaque of his own.
“It’s overwhelming,” an emotional Furniss told the crowd at the new Box, who ushered him onto the field with a standing ovation and chats of Ed-dy, Ed-dy. “I still can’t believe Coach Bertman saw something in me to give me a chance to play here at LSU.”
Furniss finished his four-year run as one of the most prolific sluggers in college baseball history, and arguably the most dangerous bat in the history of the Southeastern Conference. He remains the league’s all-time leader in hits (352), home runs (80), RBI (308), doubles (87) and total bases (689).
Those marks have stood for 18 long seasons and a few different eras of the sport. Still, the big first baseman remains a humble star and deflected credit to the table-setters who hit in front of him and those who batted after him for ensuring he’d get something to hit.
“My awards without my team championships wouldn’t mean as much to me,” Furniss said. “When you see a number retired, I hope it takes you back to the teams and the times around those numbers.”
More background information from that release:
Furniss, who is now a physician in his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas, is the 10th LSU athlete or coach to have his jersey retired, joining Bertman and McDonald; men’s basketball players Bob Pettit, Pete Maravich, Rudy Macklin and Shaquille O’Neal; football players Billy Cannon and Tommy Casanova; and women’s basketball player Seimone Augustus.
A three-time Academic All-American as a zoology major, Furniss helped lead LSU to NCAA championships in 1996 and 1997, and he received the 1998 Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball’s most outstanding player. He hit .403 in ’98 with 27 doubles, three triples, 28 homers, 85 runs and 76 RBI, earning First-Team All-America and All-SEC honors.
He earned All-America recognition in each of his final three seasons and was voted the 1996 SEC Player of the Year. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1998 Major League Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and played five seasons in the minor leagues before retiring to concentrate on a career in medicine.