Mark Marquess was born March 24th 1947 in Stockton, California. He grew up in California and would eventually attend and play baseball for Stanford University between 1965-1969. He played minor league baseball for 3 years before returning to Stanford as an assistant coach in 1972 and would eventually take over as head coach in 1977 and has been at Stanford ever since. As Marquess celebrates his 69th birthday on Thursday, he will have spent 49 of those years at Stanford University in some capacity.
During his head coaching career, he has led Stanford to two national championships, 14 CWS appearances, ONE season of under .500 baseball, and barring a conference crown in 2016, President Barack Obama would be the first President to not have a Stanford conference title under their term(s) since Jimmy Carter. Now we do not know when Marquess will retire but it could be sooner than later and this 2016 squad might have the talent and history to not only get Stanford to the College World Series for the first time since 2008 but compete for a national championship.
Stanford was forced to sit on a 12-9 lead in the ninth inning on Monday against UC Davis as Mother Nature decided she wanted a rain delay. Stanford went into the game with a 10-5 record but returned a key pitcher that had been on campus since 2012 in John Hochstatter. The depth of Stanford's rotation this season is tremendous and with Hochstatter returning, Stanford has pitched 13 different pitchers this season and that doesn't even include Stanford ace Cal Quantrill. If Quantrill can return healthy regardless of date, Stanford will have one of the best pitchers in the country back, a veteran lefty in Hochstatter, up-and-coming freshman Tristan Beck, bullpen specialist Colton HEATER Hock, and a good core group surrounding them as well.
Stanford is 4-2 in games decided by 2 or less and has 3 shutouts already in the season. This staff can pitch and in most games, especially in college baseball, if you only need a few runs from your offense, you're going to be just fine.
The offense isn't built like it was 15-20 years ago with home run hitters up and down the lineup. This team is about contact, advancing runners, and trying to squeeze a run in every few innings and yet is averaging 4 runs a game. That is going to need to stay on par or get better when league starts as the Pac-12 conference has great pitching game in and game out. Another issue is that half of the team is hitting below the Mendoza line (.200) and only two hitters are above .300 right now. Even with average hitting, this team reminds me of the 2010 San Francisco Giants where they can do just enough to pull off some games that they have no business being in and their pitching will make a suicide squeeze to win a game look magical.
Speaking of magic, sports in general is all about superstitions and baseball players might be more superstitious than any other athlete. Each season is different and yet there are things that happen because a player might have believed his socks were "lucky" or a team won a championship because their best pitcher had the initials ACE. Now it might be crazy to think that Stanford can win a national championship now with almost 40 games to play but I can tell you why Stanford is going to at least make the postseason and from that point on, anything can happen.
It is the year 2016. Stanford baseball hasn't missed the postseason in years ending with 6 or 1 since before Marquess was the head coach. Now I am not coming off as Nostradamus but Stanford baseball history says they will make the postseason this year. Stanford has a tough schedule ahead of them but they should be able to compete for a conference crown. So as conference play begins this week for Stanford, the question is can Marquess put it all together for one last run at a conference crown, a CWS appearance, and a national championship? I think if anyone could do it, it's Mark Marquess.