Feb. 6, 2007
Moraga, CA - Saint Mary's College Hall of Fame pitcher Jeff Peterson passed away this past Sunday. Peterson played for the Gaels while attending the College from 1981-1984. In 1984 Peterson graduated with a degree in Business administration. Peterson is the all-time strikeout king at Saint Mary's recording 350 in his three year tenure on the hill.
Jeff Peterson was born in Lafayette and attended Campolindo High School his senior year after three years at Del Valle High School. He was recruited by more than 35 other schools before deciding to attend Saint Mary's.
While at Saint Mary's, Peterson was the epitome of a student-athlete. The Business Administration major maintained a 3.5 GPA while setting several strikeout records. Peterson owns the career record with 350 Ks as well as the top two single season records with 139 in 1982 and 121 in 1981. Peterson currently ranks fourth in the WCC annals in strikeouts. Perhaps the most impressive part of Peterson's records was that he only pitched for three years. In his fourth year he sustained an injury that forced him to play First Base and DH. In 1984, after his pitching career, Peterson led the team with 11 home runs.
In 1982 he was named Sporting News All-American as well as NCBA Pitcher of the Year. He was a three time All-NCBA selection. His seven shutouts were second most in SMC program history. He currently holds 10 records in the Gael annals.
Peterson was drafted several times throughout his career. Out of high school he opted not to go pro because he firmly believed in the value of a college education. Even after being drafted as early as the seventh round by the Montreal Expos in 1982 and the eighth round by the Oakland Athletics in 1983, Peterson opted to continue his schooling.
"Peterson was perhaps one of the best baseball talents to come out of the Bay Area" friend and former teammate Eric Ladrech said. "He was intimidating on the mound; giant. He was a 6'8 lefty, and he could bring it."
"He loved baseball, but valued a college education" Ladrech went onto say. "There were several times he could have gone pro, but chose to continue his education at Saint Mary's."
After his career at Saint Mary's the Business Administration major took his skills to the business world. Peterson worked for PacBell for 20 years.
Peterson was named to the Saint Mary's Hall of Fame in 2000 alongside teammate Matt Castello. "He was a tremendous person to know" says Castello. "This comes as a shock to those that knew him. We didn't think anything could have hurt Jeff."
Recently, Peterson was named by the West Coast Conference to the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Team.
Services for Jeff Peterson will be held on Friday, February 9 at 1:00 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill. The address of the church is 199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill, CA