The University of Virginia today announced the inaugural class of the Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame, and one of the names revealed is no surprise to Nationals fans.
Ryan Zimmerman was one of the first three enshrinees announced, with the Cavaliers having some of their current players deliver the identity of the players, three at a time, on Twitter this morning and afternoon.
Zimmerman played at Virginia from 2003 to 2005, and was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a shortstop. He still ranks in the top five of the school's all-time lists for both batting average and hits.
The Nationals, of course, made Zimmerman the team's first draft pick in 2005, taking him with the fourth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft after he posted a .393 average, .581 slugging percentage, 136 total bases, 92 hits, 59 RBIs and 51 runs as a senior.
Zimmerman wasn't the only new member of the Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame with a connection to the Nats. Mike Cubbage, a special assistant to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, and current Nats closer Sean Doolittle were also named to the inaugural class.
Cubbage, a Charlottesville native, played both football and baseball for the Cavaliers, went unsigned as a sixth-round selection of the Washington Senators in 1968, then inked a deal after the Senators chose him in the second round of the secondary phase of the June 1971 draft. He was twice an All-ACC selection. Cubbage played eight years in the majors for the Rangers, Twins and Mets, and managed the Mets on an interim basis in 1991. He coached for 14 seasons with the Mets, Astros and Red Sox from 1990 to 2003. He spent nine seasons as a special assignment scout with the Rays before joining the Nationals three seasons ago.
Doolittle was a two-way player for the Wahoos, playing first base and pitching. He was a three-time All-ACC selection and the 2006 ACC Player of the Year. His 167 RBIs are second all-time at the school, and Doolittle ranks among Virginia's top 10 pitchers in ERA and strikeouts.
The inaugural Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the 16th annual Step Up to the Plate event at the school on Jan. 27. Tickets are available here.