Georgia pitcher Mike Rebhan gets a hug from his wife, Patricia, after he was named MVP of the 1990 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Photo: Marlene Karas/AJC
Photo: Marlene Karas/AJC

Michael Rebhan, star of Georgia’s 1990 College World Series team, dies

Former Georgia baseball player Michael Rebhan, star of the 1990 College World Series, died Wednesday after a short battle with cancer. He was 51.

Rebhan, a right-hander, twice beat Stanford star pitcher Mike Mussina when the Bulldogs won their only national championship in baseball. He went 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the CWS and earned Most Outstanding Player honors. UGA had a moment of silence in recognition of Rebhan before Wednesday evening’s game against Kennesaw State at Foley Field.

Though he was drafted in the 32nd round by the Boston Red Sox, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Rebhan never played professional baseball. He settled in Vero Beach where he worked as a senior software engineer and remained a huge Bulldogs’ fan.

“ ‘Reebs’ was a big Georgia guy. Georgia, Georgia, Georgia,” said Brian Jester, a home-run hitting designated hitter on the 1990 team. “He loved his Bulldogs. He was down there in Florida surrounded by all those Gators and ’Noles and he let them know it.”

Rebhan was the ace pitcher of the Georgia pitching staff as a senior, recording a 13-1 record and 3.01 ERA. He was joined on the staff by lefthanders Dave Fleming and Stan Payne.

Rebhan spoke about the 1990 team when he returned to Athens in 2008 to watch the Bulldogs play in an NCAA Regional.

“Looking back, that team had great leadership,” Rebhan said. “We had a number of players from the 1987 College World Series team, and we added some key freshman. We had such high expectations, but we got off to a disappointing 2-3 start. Shortly after that, we had a 14 game winning streak. During the streak, we proved that we belonged and could win. Throughout the season, we had dramatic come-from-behind wins. Much like this team, we had several guys step up in the clutch. It wasn’t always the same guy, and that’s part of what helped us become such a tight knit team.”

Rebhan was born in Rockville, Md., but played high school ball in Florida. He transferred to Georgia from Lake City (Fla.) Community College.

Rebhan leaves behind a wife, Patricia, three grown children — Michael Jr., Marah and Marcus — and five grandchildren.

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