Now that Golden Gate has come and gone, the University of Miami has one other pending issue that it must address before the beginning of this baseball season. It must disassociate itself with Alex Rodriguez and take his name off of the stadium that rests in Coral Gables and give proper credence to Ron Fraser, who turned Miami's baseball program into the perennial national power that it is today.
Fraser was 1,271-438 during his career at the University of Miami. His overall record is second to only former USC legend Rod Dedeaux.
Fraser was Miami's coach since 1963 and served until his health forced him into retirement in 1992. He won National titles with the Canes in 1982 and 1985. Fraser could have left the UM for more money from other schools or from Major League Baseball, but the Nutley, NJ native was pure Hurricane, through and through. Fraser passed away on January 20, 2013 in Weston.
The school has honored him with a memorial statue. That pales in comparison to what they could and should do to honor the man that many still refer to as the Dean of all UM coaches.
When the UM could not afford to pay Fraser a normal coaches salary, he worked for mere peanuts. When they could not afford new baseballs, he painted the old ones. When it came time in the 80's to raise money for the program, no one did it better than Fraser, who was dubbed "The Wizard of College Baseball."
In an interview with 60-minutes, former Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch admits that he knowingly injected Rodriguez with banned substances during his playing career. As a result of the findings, Rodriguez will be banned from baseball for the 2014 season. Locally, he needs to be shown by the University that they do not condone his cheating or his fraud and that his name is not deserving to be on the stadium.
Bosch admits that Rodriguez took testosterone, insulin growth factor and human growth hormone while under his watch. He would allegedly get the product from Bosch who would also sometimes administer the drugs himself as Rodriguez was squeamish when it came to needles.
The stadium is currently known as Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park. Prior to the $3.9 million donation it was simply known as Mark Light Stadium, or "The Light". UM alumnus Ed Berliner, a popular member of the media when Fraser was coaching, along with members of Fraser's family, has started a page on Facebook to have the facility renamed Ron Fraser Park at Mark Light Field.
It is not too far of a stretch to state that professional baseball came to Florida because of Ron Fraser. He showed that Miami can be a baseball town. His packed crowds at Mark Light showed that south Florida would support a baseball team if marketed properly and was competitive. Those were traits that Fraser always portrayed in his program.