John Beaton

John Beaton played baseball for Murray State from 1965-66 before continuing his career at the professional level.

MURRAY — Murray State Athletics is proud to introduce the class of 2020 of the MSU Hall of Fame.

Over the next two weeks, the 10 members of the 2020 class will be released in alphabetical order.

The 2020 class is one of the most comprehensive in the history of the hall with 10 inductees from seven sports. Combined, the class produced 31 OVC awards of all kinds, including 11 annual awards including coach, player, freshman, defensive or athlete of the year. The 2020 class marks the 38th class since the HOF started in 1965.

The first inductee is John Beaton, who played baseball at Murray State from 1965-66. 

During one of the most successful periods of MSU Baseball, Beaton was part of three Ohio Valley Conference championship teams as the Thoroughbreds won three OVC West Division titles and two OVC Championship Series. Beaton was a big part of the tremendous run of OVC championships in the decade of the 1960’s under legendary coach Johnny Reagan.

Beaton’s top season came in 1966 when he was honored as Co-OVC Player of the Year as he shared it with Dave Pratt of Tennessee Tech. Beaton, a right-hander from Paducah, was a workhorse compiling 64 innings on the mound with a league-high 12 appearances that produced five wins. His best performance was a 15-strikeout game in 1966, in a seven-inning contest.  In the spring of 1967 and 1968, Beaton served as an assistant coach at Murray State while awaiting return to his professional assignments.

After playing for the Thoroughbreds for two seasons, Beaton decided to give professional baseball a go after he was selected in the Major League Baseball Draft in the seventh round (137th overall) by the San Francisco Giants. He pitched in three seasons from 1967-69 in a total of 258 innings as a starter, in which he produced a record of 21-12 with an earned run average of 4.26. 

His first season in Medford, Oregon saw him win 11 games with an ERA of 1.69 in 177 innings. Beaton often had great command as he struck out 176 hitters and walked only 71. He played his rookie season with the Giants’ Low-A team in Medford, Oregon in 1967. His second season was in Fresno, California in 1968 and his final season was in High Point, North Carolina as a member of the Kansas City Royals farm system.

Beaton teamed with another MSU Hall of Famer, David Gourieux to give MSU a one-two punch from the pitching mound. This was on the heels of the period from 1959-1965 when MSU Hall of Famers Tommy Wells, Lynn Bridwell and George Dugan did the same.

John Beaton is the 19th baseball player/coach to be inducted and the first since Wes Cunningham in 2016.

Beaton later returned to MSU to earn his degree in 1969 and went on to graduate from the Tulane University Law School in 1972. He spent 12 years of his law career as a Circuit Judge in Kennett, Missouri.

“I have been thinking about the old days,” said Beaton, from his home in Poplar Bluff, Missori. “The first thing that came to mind was Coach Johnny Reagan and also the rush of gratefulness for all of the great people that made this happen. It got me thinking, there were so many people that supported me with encouragement that gave us the ability to play and many of those people are tied to Murray State. Murray State has been very good to my family. Six members of my immediate family are all Murray State graduates.”

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