Former N.C. State baseball star Chris Cammack, who helped the Wolfpack reach the 1968 College World Series, died Friday in Wilmington of cancer. He was 67.
Cammack, a Fayetteville native, was named first-team All-ACC at third base in each of his four seasons with the Pack and was the ACC player of the year in 1969. In his freshman season, the Wolfpack won the ACC championship and advanced to its first College World Series appearance in Omaha, Neb.
Cammack’s roommate at N.C. State was pitcher Mike Caldwell, a southpaw who later pitched 14 years in the big leagues and was a 22-game winner in 1978.
“Chris was the best third baseman ever at N.C. State,” Caldwell said Saturday. “We were born 17 days apart (in 1949) and he was like a brother to me, a very special person.”
Cammack, whose .429 batting average in 1969 set the school record, was named to N.C. State’s baseball hall of fame in 2009 and was a member of its inaugural class along with Caldwell, the 1971 ACC player of the year. Caldwell, chosen to NCSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013, said Cammack also should be inducted into that hall.
Chris was the best third baseman ever at N.C. State. We were born 17 days apart (in 1949) and he was like a brother to me, a very special person.
N.C. State coach Elliott Avent, in a statement, said, “Chris Cammack was the best hitter in N.C. State history, but more importantly, one of the more liked and feared competitors, according to his teammates on the 1968 World Series team. He was dearly cherished and will be missed by every player that ever wore the red and white.”
Cammack was selected four different times in the Major League Baseball draft but did not play pro baseball, going into the insurance business after earning his degree.
“To me, there’s no doubt he could have played (in the major leagues) but he never signed,” Caldwell said.
At Fayetteville High, Cammack was a point guard on the 1966 state 4-A basketball champions and was a teammate of Vann Williford, later a Wolfpack basketball standout.
“He probably could have played basketball at the college level but baseball was his first love,” Caldwell said of Cammack.
Cammack was one of several Wolfpack players from the ‘68 team who traveled to Omaha in 2013 when the Pack, after a 45-year absence, played in its second College World Series.
“It was a battle for him,” Caldwell said of Cammack’s health issues. “I’m glad the suffering is over but he was not a quitter. He really fought it.”