February 4, 2011 8:25:00 AM
OXFORD -- Baseball legends Jake Gibbs and Don Kessinger will return to the field at Oxford-University Stadium on Saturday to manage the Rebels and alumni in the program''s inaugural alumni game.
Gibbs will manage the current Rebel squad, while Kessinger will manage the returning professional players in the contest slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
An All-America selection for the Rebels, Gibbs played baseball at Ole Miss from 1959-61. He helped Ole Miss claim a pair of Southeastern Conference titles, including the program''s first in 1959. The New York Yankees signed him in 1961, and he went on to a 10-year career with the organization.
Following the 1971 season, Gibbs returned to Oxford to take over the Ole Miss program. He coached the Rebels to SEC Championships in 1972 and 1977 and an SEC Tournament Title (1977). Gibbs also guided the Rebels to an appearance in the 1972 College World Series. He retired following the 1990 season with 485 wins, the most of any coach in Ole Miss history.
"This is a great event and a great opportunity to get our former baseball people together from different eras," Gibbs said. "It will be good to get back out on the field. I think the last time I was out on that field was when they retired my jersey. Iím looking forward to it."
Kessinger also earned All-America honors as a Rebel, earning three letters for the Red and Blue from 1962-64. He signed with the Chicago Cubs after his career in Oxford, playing for the Chicago team until 1975 before going on to stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox.
He returned to Oxford to take over head coaching duties for the Rebels in the 1991 season -- taking over for the retired Gibbs. He led Ole Miss to four 30-win seasons and a berth in the 1995 NCAA Regional. The Rebels finished one game shy of the College World Series that season under the leadership of Kessinger.
"I''m excited to be a part of the alumni weekend," Kessinger said. "I''m happy to do anything I can that would be good for this program. It''s exciting to be around the guys on the field and in the dugout. I''m sure Jake (Gibbs) feels the same way."
Tickets for the game can be purchased at the gate for $5. Students will be admitted free with their student ID.