CORPUS CHRISTI -- He constructed not one, not two, but three college baseball programs from scratch.
He's the father of Moody Trojan Baseball, having served the nationally-renown high school program as head coach from 1974-78 and again for two seasons in 1989-90.
He earned NCAA All-American honors at Pan American University in 1968. He led the Carroll Tigers to their first district baseball championship and state tournament appearance as a high school standout (1962). He was also Carroll basketball captain and the city's Player of the Year.
He played Triple-A baseball for Veracruz and Mexico City in the Mexican League in 1968-69.
When Hector Salinas receives the 10th Lifetime Achievement Award at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet on January 29th at the Solomon P. Ortiz Center, he'll join an elite group of coaches, former players and legendary major league broadcaster Milo Hamilton, last year's honoree.
The event is presented by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and ClearChannel Media + Entertainment. Texas Rangers radio voice Matt Hicks serves as master of ceremonies and Nolan Ryan is featured speaker. Tickets are on sale at the Whataburger Field Box Office. To order by phone, call 361-561-HOOK (4665).
Salinas' Corpus Christi Independent School District coaching career began at Tom Browne Junior High School in 1968. His seventh grade football team was undefeated in three years. Salinas also rolled up two ninth-grade city basketball championships and a matching set of baseball titles.
From 1971, when he took the Miller High School baseball and basketball coaching jobs, to 2006, when he stepped down as head baseball coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Salinas made an indelible mark on amateur baseball in South Texas. He guided Moody to six UIL playoff appearances in seven springs. His first team captured the district championship and the 1975 squad advanced to the regional finals.
The 1978 Trojans made Moody's first state tournament appearance.
After compiling a 145-98-2 record with four playoff trips over seven campaigns (1979-85) as coach of Brownsville's Texas Southmost College Scorpions, Salinas started the program at Laredo Community College. He coached the Palominos for two years before returning to Moody.
Then, in 1993, he was called on to start the Division II program at Texas A&M-Kingsville - a program dormant since 1930. Salinas won 192 games during a six-season span (32-win average), guiding the Javelinas to Lone Star Conference titles in 1995 and 1998. His final club won 38 contests and made the school's first-ever NCAA tournament. Under Salinas, A&M-Kingsville never suffered a losing season. The 1995 LSC Coach of the Year trained 25 first-team all-conference players and two All-Americans (Juan Sanchez 1995; Steve Foley 1998). He had no athletic scholarships to offer the first four years.
His success in Kingsville caught the eye of then-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi athletic director Dan Viola, who tabbed Salinas the first Islanders coach in August 1998. Salinas compiled a 172-191 record from 2000-06 and was NCAA Independent Coach of the Year in his penultimate season (31-21). Salinas' 2003 Islanders won 33 contests. A 2003 opening-day victory at defending national champion Texas (5-0) and 2005 15-inning triumph vs. Oklahoma State (2-1) were landmark victories for the young program.
Later that year, St. Louis made Chuck Carter (27th round) and Trey Hearne (28th) the Islanders' first draft selections. Carter (.386/15/59) and Hearne (8-1/2.00) were ultimately joined by teammate Jaime Landin (.427/8/43), who signed a free-agent contract with the Cardinals. Landin and Hearne were NCAA Independent Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
Salinas is a member of the Moody High School Hall of Fame (2000), Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame (2009), Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelina Hall of Fame (2013) and Leo Najo Sports Hall of Fame (1980).
Salinas' coaching and promotion of the sport have gone well beyond the high school and college programs he has run. He organized the Connie Mack League in Brownsville and co-founded an annual high school all-star game between the Upper and Lower Rio Grande Valleys in Edinburg. He started the Showcase Games between players from Corpus Christi and Laredo for college and professional scouts. He coached LCC vs. Cuba in the Olympic Festival at Mexico City and staged the first Youth World Series Baseball Tournament in Laredo.
Today, he serves on the CCISD Board of Trustees. Hector and his wife of 45 years, Thelma, raised five children and are blessed with nine grandchildren.
He'll serve as honorary coach for the South squad at June's Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game at The Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
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South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet
Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
2005 Burt Hooton
2006 Brooks Kieschnick
2007 Rudy Jaramillo
2008 Ox Miller
2009 Bart Shirley
2010 Gene Kasprzyk
2011 Steve Castillo
2012 Steve Chapman
2013 Milo Hamilton
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.