Trip to Omaha turns personal for Hall of Fame CEO

Dr. Mike Gustafson
Dr. Mike Gustafson

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Dr. Mike Gustafson goes to Omaha each year, but this year, it's more personal than ever.

Gustafson is the CEO of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame right here in Lubbock.

"Now we get to do this with my Alma Mater and the place I played," he said, "so that part has been a blast."

Anyone sitting in the stands from 1986 to 1989 would have seen Gustafson playing second base in his Red Raider jersey. He was the co-captain and Berl Huffman Courage Award winner his last year on the field.

"It's not just me watching two really good baseball teams this year," he said. "I get to watch my team play, and so I'm excited to be a fan for once."

Since he is a former player, Gustafson understands a side of the team few fans will ever see.

"You're missing class, you're grinding through that stuff," he said. "When you have a tough game on the road, you go back to the hotel and sit around and feel bad about it and the whole deal."

Little did he know, more than 15 years later, it would be more than his legacy still out on the field.

"I've been going to games and taking my little boy to games," he said, "and now he is one of the bullpen catchers."

Brooks Gustafson is a 18-year-old sophomore biology major at Tech, and he helps the pitcher warm up every game.

"It has been fun just to get to hear him go through the road trips," he said, "and just sort of the same experiences anybody goes through. Even though he is not involved in the x's and o's part, but you also see the excitement."

That excitement has bridged the gap between generations.

"One of the other kids on the team is Alec Humphreys," he said. "His father and I played at Tech together and again, we're two guys getting emotional and excited because our kids getting to be a part of that thing."

Gustafson watches his son interact with the players and recalls the advice he gave him.

"I said hey, I'm going to put the cart before the horse, and if there's a dog pile at the end of the game," he said, "you get in the dog pile that I never got in as a player."

And Brooks took it when Tech defeated Charleston.

"This is just a fun time for our family," he said. "We're glad to be participating."

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