|Organization:||Washington State University|
Charles "Bobo" Brayton, the recipient of the 1983 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award, was one of the winningest collegiate baseball coaches in NCAA history and one of the most innovative and imaginative leaders in the college game.
A three-sport letterman at Washington State and the Cougars' first baseball All-American (at shortstop in 1947), Brayton played on two championship baseball teams at WSU for his mentor and predecessor, ABCA Hall of Famer "Buck" Bailey.
After graduating from Washington State in 1950, Brayton entered coaching, accepting the head position at Yakima Valley Community College. During his 11 seasons there (1951-61), his teams won 251 games, 10 division titles, and nine state championships. In 1961, when Bailey announced his retirement after 32 years in the Cougar dugout, the torch was passed to Brayton.
Beginning in 1965, he coached the Cougars to an unprecedented 13 straight Northern Division pennants.
Brayton, who served as ABCA president in 1981 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1986-89, retired after the 1994 season as the winningest coach in WSU history and the fourth winningest NCAA Div. I baseball coach. His final record was 1,162-523-8 (.689).
Among Brayton's numerous awards and honors are inclusion as a member of the ABCA Hall of Fame, College Baseball Hall of Fame, State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, Inland Empire Sports Hall of Fame, WSU Athletic Hall of Fame and Yakima Valley Community College Athletic Hall of Fame.
WSU's baseball complex, Bailey-Brayton Field, was named after Brayton and his mentor Bailey. In 2003 his baseball uniform No. 14 was retired in ceremonies at Bailey-Brayton Field.
Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is sponsored by Wilson Sporting Goods.