by Megan Murray
Few college athletes leave behind legacies that transcend statistics or awards. Tait Hendrix was one of those athletes. Hendrix played for the Millsaps Majors baseball team from 2006-2009. He tragically passed away this past June in a motorcycle accident.
Hendrix was an outfielder and pitcher for the Majors. He was a four-time academic all-conference student-athlete as well as a two time all-conference player. In 2008, he made history as only the second baseball player in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Association to be selected to the all-tournament team as both a pitcher and player.
Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information
The Majors baseball team honored Hendrix Saturday with a special ceremony before its double-header against Centre College. Head Coach Jim Page, Hendrix’s coach during his four-year career, led the emotional ceremony. Page said, “I was honored Mr. Hendrix had asked me to speak at Tait’s funeral and the ceremony last weekend. And extremely humbled, I might add.”
In front of a sizable crowd of more than 500 people, Hendrix’s jersey number (14), which has been hanging on the left field wall all season, was officially retired. His family also received a memorial plaque in his honor. Finally, Hendrix’s nephew threw the inaugural first pitch.
Coach Page said, “[It is] hard to describe my emotions. There was a part of me that felt I couldn’t be good enough to give Tait and the Hendrix family what they deserved. I have been more than blessed my entire career with great players and great families.” He added, “Tait had this special something. So do his parents and brother. Tait was highly intelligent, motivated, athletic, good-looking. He had every reason to be cocky. His heart was just too big… kept him humble. That’s why everyone loved him.”
The Majors successfully honored Hendrix during the games, too. During pre-game warmups, all the players and coaches wore #14 jerseys in honor of Hendrix. They swept the Colonels on the day, winning the first game 11-2 and the second game 2-0. Junior outfielder Isaac Glenn hit two home runs in the first game with five RBIs. In the second game, Keith Shumaker pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits.
Coach Page said, “During the game, I fought hard to keep not only my focus, but my demeanor. I didn’t want my guys to feel something different from me. Fortunately I have one of the best senior classes I’ve ever had. They could probably see that [it] was tough for me, and [they] picked up my slack. I’m still blessed to be surrounded by great people.”
Tait Hendrix was proudly honored on Saturday and his legacy will live on with a monument hung at Twenty Field.