The people who knew him best knew him simply as "Moose".
And for 30 years, he led the Scarlet Knights on the diamond. Last Saturday at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fred Hill was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. With an overall record of 1,089-749-9, and 941-658-7 at Rutgers, he was one of the most successful as well as longest serving coaches for the Knights.
Fred Hill and current Scarlet HC Joe Litterio - photo: scarletknights.com
Building a baseball powerhouse is not an easy thing to do in the northeast, but Hill was able to cobble together a highly successful program that won eight straight Atlantic 10 regular season titles starting in 1986 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times in that stretch. In 19 years in the Big East, he became the second winningest coach in conference history. Rutgers won both the regular season and tournament titles in 1998 as Hill was named Coach of the Year. That started a stretch of five NCAA berths in six years.
Prior to his stint at RU, Hill coached Montclair State to a 148-91-2 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances and a berth to the 1983 Div. III World Series.
In his induction speech, Fred commented that baseball wasn't even his first goal. "I am really overwhelmed by being named to the Hall of Fame. I never thought I’d be a baseball coach, but a football coach. It just didn’t work out that way and things ended up working out very, very well for me." As the head football coach at Montclair, Fred went 55-13-4 in seven years, winning five NJAC titles. Not a bad "second job".
During his career at Rutgers, Hill and his staff were able to recruit and develop talent good enough for the pro ranks. Again, from his speech: "We have sent 72 to professional baseball and have three of our boys in the major leagues right now. Todd Frazier – who I’m sure you probably saw on TV – is the third baseman for Cincinnati, David DeJesus is an outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays and Eric Young – who spent 15 years in the major leagues – is now a coach for the Colorado Rockies." Frazier has been a "Loyal Son" returning to Rutgers frequently.
Hill was one of the stand out and stand up guys in coaching. Emphasizing fundamentals and building character, he was a true leader and a friend of the sport. Well done, Moose!