Former baseball All-American and 1980 Percy Family Illinois State Athletics Hall of Fame honoree Dave Bergman ’78 died in February at the age of 61.

Bergman rewrote the record books at Illinois State, solidifying his place among the best athletes in the University’s history. In three seasons with the Redbirds, Bergman hit .366 with 63 RBIs.

Bergman amassed a .400 batting average in 1973, which ranked No. 28 in the nation that season. Following his sophomore year, he led the prestigious Cape Cod League in hitting with a .342 summer batting average. As a junior in 1974, he was named an All-American outfielder by The Sporting News after hitting .351 and leading the team in home runs, runs scored, hits and stolen bases.

Drafted by the New York Yankees following his junior season, Bergman won Minor League Player of the Year awards from the National Association of Baseball Writers in both the New York Penn League and the Eastern League in his first two professional seasons.

He amassed a lifetime batting average of .258 in 17 big-league seasons with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants. Bergman was best known for his nine-year career playing for the Detroit Tigers from 1984-1992.

During the 1984 season, he hit .273 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs as a key member of the Tigers’ championship team that took the World Series for the first time since 1968. His most notable moment that season was a game-winning home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 4 at Tiger Stadium. Bergman fouled off seven pitches. On a full count, he hit the 13th pitch of the at-bat into the upper deck for a walk-off, three-run home run on national television.

He was one of only three players in ISU baseball history to have his number retired. The others were former coach Duffy Bass and Lee “Buzz” Capra. He is survived by his wife, Cathy, and their three children.