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Former Tulane Player/Coach Bernard Abadie Passes Away

NEW ORLEANS – Former Tulane baseball standout, head coach and Hall of Famer Bernard “Ben” Abadie died at his home on Friday, Aug. 19. He was 89-years old.

Friends and family are invited to attend Abadie’s memorial funeral mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Metairie, La., on Saturday, Aug. 27, at 11 a.m. Visitation will begin at the church at 10 a.m. and interment will take place at Metairie Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

A Crescent City native, Abadie’s time on the diamond at Tulane began as a bat boy. A four-sport athlete at nearby Fortier High School, he was widely recruited by the likes of Texas, Stanford and Southern Cal, but decided to stay home and suit up for his hometown Green Wave and legendary coach Claude Simons, Jr.

In three years at Tulane (1947-49), Abadie helped the Green Wave post a combined 49-15 record and led the 1948 Green Wave to the Southeastern Conference title with an 18-4 overall mark and a 7-1 record in league action.

At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Abadie was signed by the Boston Braves in 1949 and played professionally with the Waycross Bears, Thibodaux Giants and Miami Beach Flamingos from 1949-51. As a pro, Abadie hit a cumulative .324 (340-for-1049) with a .484 slugging percentage courtesy of 53 doubles, 11 triples and 31 home runs. In addition, Abadie spent a winter in the Venezuala League where he played for baseball great Rogers Hornsby. That season, he hit .361 and was the last living baseball player to be coached by the Hall of Famer.

After his professional baseball career ended, Abadie became back to Tulane as the Director of Intramural Sports and varsity baseball coach. He also the director of the Favrot Field House, instructor in the physical education department and director of football concessions at Tulane Stadium.

Abadie was the first head coach of the Green Wave baseball team at the varsity level and posted a combined 26 wins from 1955-57. After stepping away from diamond duties following the 1957 season, Abadie returned the dugout in 1964 and coached for another three seasons.
Along the way, he compiled a career record of 70-62-1 and set a then-Tulane record with 15 consecutive wins during the 1966 season. He posted four seasons of .500-or-better, including an 11-9 mark in 1957, a 15-10 record in 1965 and a 17-7 showing in 1966.

Abadie received the Tulane University Intramural Sports Emeritus Award, was inducted in the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 and was enshrined in the New Orleans Diamond Club Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

One of his longest-lasting establishments at Tulane, however, came via his “Field of Dreams” program, which was established in 1961 when a group of his former players approached Abadie and asked for additional coaching after their collegiate careers ended.

Initially, the team played three nights a week and competed in the Commercial Athletic League. The program has since slowed down a bit as the participants have aged, but they met each Saturday morning for a quick stretch and some light jogging before getting down to baseball drills.

Abadie completed his degree from Tulane in 1950, married to the late Norma Dowell and the couple had two children: Julia Ann Abadie Nuzum and Dr. Ben Richard Abadie. He is survived by his children, former wife, Janet Russell Abadie, and sister-in-law, Margie Russel Rader.

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