Red Hawks Alumnus John Deutsch Inducted Into College Baseball Hall of Fame

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Published October 18, 2020
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The Montclarion
The 1987 national champions from Montclair State. Deutsch is in the middle, behind the number one finger being held up by his teammate. Photo courtesy of Michael Scala

Over the summer, one of Montclair State University’s baseball greats was recognized, as John Deutsch was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the first Montclair State athlete to be inducted in school history.

“That is the Mount Rushmore, that is the Everest of the baseball world for college baseball,” Red Hawks baseball head coach David Lorber said. “He rightfully deserves it.”

Lorber also introduced Deutsch at the induction ceremony.

Deutsch played at Montclair State from 1986-1989, and his honors included a Division III National Championship in 1987. His accolades are endless, including being a three-time All-American and being named to the All-New Jersey Athletic Conference First Team two times.

An old newspaper clipping after Montclair won the 1987 NCAA Division 3 championship.

An old newspaper clipping shows Montclair State winning the 1987 NCAA Division III championship in dramatic fashion.
Photo courtesy of John Deutsch

When he arrived in 1986, Deutsch made an immediate impact helping the team, which was then called the Indians and not the Red Hawks. He helped the team capture their third consecutive NCAA Mid-Atlantic championship. This was earned along with regional player of the year.

Deutsch was at home when he heard the news of his induction, so he was able to share the moment with his family right away.

“I was at home, obviously during COVID, and I was very excited to hear that I was elected in,” Deutsch said. “I was with my brother at the time so I told him, then right after, I told my daughter of the news.”

John Deutsch accepting his Hall of Fame honor over the summer. Photo courtesy of John Deutsch

John Deutsch accepting his Hall of Fame honor over the summer.
Photo courtesy of John Deutsch

Deutsch is in the Montclair State athletics hall of fame, after being inducted in 1999. Twenty-one years later, he was finally cemented into college baseball history with this new honor.

“I was 18 [and] 19 years old when I played and I’m 54 now, so it was nice to hear about something I did in the past,” Deutsch said.

John Deutsch in his college days.

John Deutsch in his college days.
Photo courtesy of Mike Scala

His abilities on the field got him drafted in the fifth round of the MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he played ball for five years. He also played for the Chicago Cubs during his professional career. Now, you can find him as the vice principal of North Hunterdon High School in New Jersey. This came after a short period of being the athletic director there.

“All those experiences and my time at Montclair [State], earning my degree, all that stuff helped me after baseball to get a great job,” Deutsch said.

He consistently batted over .300 as a Red Hawk, hitting over .400 in his final two seasons. His bat did the talking for him as he belted 29 home runs combined during his junior and senior years.

“He [Deutsch] told me about his first batting practice where he hit these balls to the old business school which was a pretty good shot,” Lorber said. “His coach at the time said something like ‘oh it looks like you can hit too.’ Well, fast forward a short time and he turns out to be a constant power hitter in the middle of that championship lineup.”

John Deutsch in his playing days when Montclair's mascot was the Indians.

John Deutsch in his playing days when Montclair State’s mascot was the Indians.
Photo courtesy of John Deutsch

In his college days, Deutsch struck out just 54 times and collected a total of 58 home runs. When he left, he was leading the program in so many categories such as slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs and walks.

“I wouldn’t have done it though without my great coaches and players throughout the years,” Deutsch said. “We had a great team, we had great camaraderie and of course my family, they have been with me every step of the way. So I am going to accept it on behalf of all of them.”

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