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01/19/2006 9:57 PM ET
Dodgers to celebrate Rod Dedeaux Night on April 5
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The Dodgers will salute the memory of Rod Dedeaux, the legendary University of Southern California baseball coach and a member of the 1935 Brooklyn Dodgers, during ceremonies prior to the Dodgers' regularly scheduled 7:10 p.m. game on April 5 against the Atlanta Braves.

"Rod Dedeaux Night" will feature members from Dedeaux's family, along with other special guests from the collegiate, professional and international baseball communities. The Dodgers also will contribute $5,000 to the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, which promotes amateur sports in Los Angeles.

Dedeaux, who passed away on Jan. 5 at age 91, served as the head coach for Team USA during the first Olympic baseball tournament at Dodger Stadium during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

"Rod Dedeaux was a legend," said Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda. "Never in my life have I seen a man like Rod. He was loved by everybody, and did everything in his power to make others happy. There will never be another Rod Dedeaux. He was the greatest college baseball coach ever. He was my mentor, my idol and my friend. Now I can see him in heaven saying to the Lord, 'Hi Tiger.' "

During his 45-year tenure at USC, Dedeaux's teams won 11 national titles and 28 conference championships. Dedeaux compiled a lifetime 1,332-571-11 record, a .699 winning percentage. He was named Coach of the Year six times by the Collegiate Baseball Coaches Association and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1970. He was named "Coach of the Century" by Collegiate Baseball magazine.

Dedeaux's teams produced nearly 60 Major Leaguers during his career, including Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire. The 1979 All-Star Game featured four former Trojans -- Fred Lynn, Dave Kingman, Roy Smalley and Steve Kemp. Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson served as batboy for Dedeaux's 1948 team, which won the national championship.

A Hollywood High School and USC graduate, Dedeaux appeared in two games at shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers in September 1935 and went 1-for-4 at the plate before a back injury curtailed his playing career several years later.

Dedeaux received his bachelor's degree in business from USC in 1935. He founded a trucking firm, Dart International, in 1938 to transport canned goods and produce throughout Southern California and the company eventually expanded into a million-dollar business specializing in worldwide distribution.

When Dedeaux became USC's head baseball coach in 1942, the College World Series' inauguration was still five years away. He coached the U.S. amateur baseball team that played in Tokyo in conjunction with the 1964 Olympics. Dedeaux founded and served as general manager of the USA-Japan Collegiate World Series for many years and was honored in 1996 by the Japanese government with the Fourth Order Of Merit-Cordon of the Rising Sun.

Dedeaux also served as a technical director and consultant for many baseball movies, including "Field of Dreams" and "A League of Their Own."

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