COLUMBIA, S.C. (WTOC) - Hilton Head Island native Dan Driessen is one of seven that will be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame this May.
The Hall announced the 2020 class Tuesday, calling it “one of the best-ever groups in the 60-year history of the organization.” He’ll be inducted with former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, South Carolina quarterback Todd Ellis, Limestone coach Gaylord Perry, South Carolina pitcher Ed Lynch, South Carolina State basketball star Roberta Williams, and Columbia defensive end Peter Boulware.
Driessen played for five teams in his 15 year Major League career, but was best known for his time with the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine." He won back to back World Series championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976, making history as the National League’s first ever designated hitter in the 1976 series sweep of the Yankees.
In that 1976 World Series, Driessen hit .357 with two doubles and a home run. His best season was 1977, when Driessen batted .300 with 17 home runs and 91 RBI. He also stole 31 bases that season.
He led all National League first basemen in fielding percentage three times and led the NL in walks in 1980.
Driessen played for San Francisco, Montreal, Houston, and St. Louis during his final four seasons. In 1987 with the Cardinals, his final season, Driessen played in his third World Series. St. Louis lost in seven games to the Minnesota Twins.
In his 15 year career, Driessen hit for a .267 average, hit 153 home runs, and drove in 763 RBI. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2012.
Driessen didn’t play high school baseball in the Low Country, because neither school he attended had teams at the time. He went to Michael C. Riley High through his junior year, then to Hardeeville High as a senior. But Driessen still found a way to shine on the diamond, making a name for himself as a catcher with the Hardeeville Boll Weevils.
Driessen and the rest of the 2020 South Carolina Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a banquet May 11 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.