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BRUCE GARDNER

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Baseball - 2003

In 1955, Fairfax High School's Bruce Gardner fashioned an 8-1 won-loss record and was named to the Western Baseball League All Star Team and L.A. All-City second team.

Gardner was voted the Western League's "Player of the Year" in 1956 (6-1) and selected to the All-City first team. He was also elected Fairfax's student body president.

At the University of Southern California, Bruce enjoyed a 40-5 won-loss/2.72 ERA USC pitching career from 1958-1960 under storied coach Rod Dedeaux. His 40 career victories still stand as a USC record, while his 367.1 innings pitched rank third all-time, and 281 USC career strikeouts rank fifth all-time. Bruce's 18 college victories and 182.2 innings pitched in 1960 are still Trojan single season marks.

In 1958, Gardner pitched USC to the NCAA U.S. College Baseball championship. He was named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team and NCAA District Eight All Star Team, and received All-America honors. He was also an All-CIBA Team selection. One year later, Gardner was picked for the NCAA All District Team.

Bruce pitched the Trojans to the 1960 CIBA championship, and was an All-Pacific Coast Conference selection from 1958 to 1960.

Following USC graduation, Bruce spent six months in the U.S. Army, where he injured his pitching arm when he fell from a truck. Nonetheless, he embarked on a minor league career, with stops at Edmonton, Regina, Hobbs, Reno, Montreal, Great Falls, Spokane and Salem. But the arm injury eventually ended his playing career.

Bruce spent time as a real estate agent and securities broker before becoming a physical education teach and junior varsity baseball coach at L.A.'s Dorsey High School, moonlighting as a nightclub singer and pianist.

So talented and apparently equally troubled he took his own life on a June day in 1971. His life story is told in "An American Tragedy", by Ira Berkow and Murray Olderman.

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