Sam Suplizio
Sam Suplizio
Organization: National Junior College Athletic Association
Year: 2001 Inductee

Sam Suplizio was the University of New Mexico's first All-American right fielder and prospect of the New York Yankees. He served as a Minor League baseball coach and scout for several clubs, including the Yankees, Angels and Brewers. Suplizio also played for and managed the semipro Grand Junction Eagles for 17 years.

Suplizio was a main figure in the organization of the National Junior College Baseball Tournament that began in Grand Junction in 1959, and he served as its chairman for 32 years.

Suplizio also served as co-chairman of the Colorado Baseball Commission and was a tireless worker in bringing Major League Baseball to Denver and the Rocky Mountain region. With Major League Baseball considering expansion, Suplizio joined Larry Varnell in 1989 to lead the baseball commission. The group headed up an election campaign that would eventually approve the construction of Coors Field.

For his impact on the game of baseball, Suplizio received the prestigious ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award in 1994.

Suplizio was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the JUCO Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985, and the fields at Grand Junction and Mesa State College bear his name.