Former Pirate Billy Best To Be Inducted Into Cape Cod League Hall of Fame
June 11, 2012
WEST YARMOUTH, Mass. - Former East Carolina baseball standout and assistant coach Billy Best is one of eight men who will be inducted as the 13th class into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame the league announced Sunday evening. The induction ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Mass.
Best, who was a four-year letterwinner for the Pirates from 1977-80, played just one summer in the Cape for Falmouth where he batted .398 with a league record 32-game hitting streak for the Commodores in 1979. He hit safely in a CCBL record 39 of 41 games, belted four home runs, recorded 13 doubles with 25 RBI, scored 40 runs and was named to the All-League Team and voted to the 1970s CCBL All-Decade Team.
The Leland, N.C. native was a career .297 hitter and set several school records during his four-year stint. Among his marks were most triples in a season (six) and career (10), most stolen bases in a career (54) and fewest strikeouts in a season (one) and career (20). The later record is among those remaining. Best struck out only one time in 121 at-bats during his senior year in 1980 after having fanned only twice in 170 at-bats the previous year.
Following his collegiate career, Best was selected in the 27th round by the Kansas City Royals (pick 672) where he played five seasons (1980-84) in the minors, reaching as high as Class AA with the Memphis Chicks in the Southern League.
After his playing days were over, he returned to East Carolina as an assistant coach (1985-89) when Baird, who coached Best, moved on to Auburn University, and Gary Overton moved up to head coach. In five years on the Pirates staff, Best helped guide East Carolina to pair of regular season (1985 East Coast Athletic Conference, 1986 Colonial Athletic Association) titles and two CAA Tournament crowns (1987, 1989).
In 1989 he left ECU to become an assistant coach at Auburn under Baird before accepting the head position at Elon in 1993. During his three years with the Phoenix, Best posted an 82-54 record and mentored nine South Atlantic All-Conference selections. He would later manage the Harwich Mariners to a 23-21 record during the 1998 Cape Cod season before becoming an area scout for the Atlanta Braves.
Class of 2012 CCBL Hall of Fame Inductees (alphabetically)