Frickie, Posada team up one more time
Calhoun baseball icons named to state community college athletic hall of fame
By Michael Wetzel
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Retired Calhoun Community College baseball coach Fred Frickie and one of his former prize students, Jorge Posada, will receive a base on balls into the Alabama Community College Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday.
Frickie, who lives in Southeast Decatur, coached Calhoun for 28 years before retiring in 1995. Frickie’s teams had a .618 winning percentage and his 669 victories ranks him in the top 25 of the nation’s two-year college coaches.
“After being retired for 10 years, it was a wonderful surprise for me to be selected,” said Frickie, 70, on Saturday night. “It is extra special that I am going into the hall of fame with Posada.”
Frickie said about 25 of his players moved on to play in the minor leagues and a few of them, including Posada and Gary Redus of Decatur, made the major league level.
Drafted by the Yankees out of high school in Puerto Rico, Posada played shortstop and third base at Calhoun in 1990 and 1991. In 1990, he was voted the team’s best hitter. The following year, he was named co-captain at Calhoun and selected to the all-conference team. Also, he left Calhoun with his associate’s degree.
After his first year with Calhoun, the Yankees drafted Posada again, but Frickie said he didn’t feel the money was right for him to leave school.
According to Frickie, after Posada’s second year at Calhoun, he signed a scholarship offer with The University of Alabama, but later signed with the Yankees, who upped their offer.
Posada has been starting catcher for the Yankees since 1999.
During his time with the Yankees, Posada has been on four World Series champion teams. In 2003, he clobbered 30 homers, tying Yankee legendary catcher Yogi Berra’s team record.
Frickie said he didn’t try the switch-hitting Posada at catcher, but liked his arm strength and hitting. “We had two other catchers who were adequate,” Frickie said.
“I had Jorge at short for a while, and then moved him to third. He did well there.
“I knew he was good. I am just amazed that he’s done what he’s done with the Yankees.”
Two other Calhoun players atop Frickie’s fondest memory list are centerfielder Jeff Dunlap, now director of Decatur Parks and Recreation, and second baseman/catcher Mike Burns, now head baseball coach at Decatur High.
“Mike went on to be an All-American at UNA and Jeff went to finish at Columbus College in Georgia.”
Frickie said he cherishes his time as baseball coach at Calhoun. “It was a wonderful job for 28 years. I wouldn’t trade my time there. When I look back, I am so proud of the caliber of ball players and young men I had. I am proud that so many went on to finish their college degrees and become teachers and coaches.”
Frickie said he now spends his time traveling with his wife, Martha, and working on his farm.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be at the Retirement Systems of Alabama Center for Commerce in Montgomery.
On Saturday, Calhoun will honor Frickie and Posada with an invitation-only luncheon. During the event, the school plans to retire Posada’s No. 6 he wore as a player at Calhoun.
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