The son of a national champion, Douglas Hodo III is now chasing his own title at Texas
Like many sons, Douglas Hodo III has grown up hearing stories about his father's athletic achievements.
He's been told so many stories that the 20-year-old can't remember them all. And there are some of the old man's tales that Hodo admittedly doesn't believe.
There is one, though, that Hodo wouldn't mind getting to tell himself one day. Hodo's father played baseball at Texas when the Longhorns won a national championship in 1983. On Sunday night, Hodo will be in right field when Texas opens its 37th trip to the College World Series with a game against Mississippi State.
"It's just something that you can never take back from that (1983) team, and it's such a special moment for them," Hodo said. "Just hearing about it makes me want to do the same thing. I have no doubt our team can do the same thing."
Thirty-eight years ago, Doug Hodo hit .345 while splitting reps as the Longhorns' designated hitter. He didn't play in UT's championship-clinching win over Alabama, but he did bat in the heart of the lineup in other CWS games.
Hodo and the Longhorns returned to Omaha in 1984 and 1985. In 2005, he journeyed back to Rosenblatt Stadium as a fan to watch Texas win a national title. Accompanying him that summer was his 4-year-old son.
After that experience, the youngest Hodo was hooked.
"The energy was just insane," recalled Hodo, who would go on to attend many games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Going to Texas was never a requirement for the Hodo children. Doug Hodo joked that his two daughters and two sons knew they'd get help paying for any college — as long as it wasn't Texas A&M. When Douglas was going through the recruiting process, his father advised him to listen to overtures from Baylor, Arkansas and, yes, even the Aggies.
However, David Pierce and his coaching staff offered Hodo a scholarship not long after they were hired in the summer of 2016. Hodo had just finished his freshman year at Boerne High School. It didn't take long for him to make his decision.
"Growing up, going to the College World Series in 2005, hearing the stories from my dad, coming on my visit there, it was no question," Hodo said. "I want to be here. I want to be a Longhorn. I want to go to Omaha. I want to win Omaha. It was basically a no-brainer for me."
Hodo's first season at Texas was cut short by the pandemic, but he did appear in 16 of the Longhorns' 17 games. He started this season as a reserve, but an injury to Austin Todd created more playing time, and he has taken advantage of it.
He's hitting .288 with five home runs and 43 RBIs. His 49 runs rank third on the team. In the NCAA Tournament, Pierce has put Hodo sixth in the lineup in all five of the team's games.
"Offensively, he has a lot of confidence," Pierce said. "When you watch Douglas, he doesn't get flustered. He is constantly in that even-keel mentality, but he's always concentrated. I think he's learned a lot."
At any given home game for Texas, you'll find a handful of young fans who dream of one day suiting up for the Longhorns. Hodo is living out that dream. Back in March, he hit a walk-off double to beat rival Oklahoma. In the super regional, he made a highlight-reel catch in foul territory.
Watching Hodo help Texas beat South Florida was his father, who was joined at Disch-Falk by several of his old teammates. After the Longhorns secured their 37th CWS trip, Douglas shared a long embrace with the man who played in trip Nos. 21, 22 and 23.
"It's been such a special time and a huge blessing," Doug Hodo said.
Until he recently found a copy of a 1984 Texas-Cal State Fullerton showdown on YouTube, Douglas had never seen his father in action. "I think I'm a better player," he analyzed.
As for how Texas' 1983 team stacks up against the 2021 version?
Even though the Longhorns currently boast a nation-leading 2.89 team ERA, Doug Hodo pointed out that the 1983 pitching staff included future major leaguers Roger Clemens, Calvin Schiraldi and Mike Capel. He conceded that the 1983 and 2021 teams have comparable defenses and that this year's team might have better power and speed.
"I've been around the program a long time. It gives me a great sense of pride and I'm very happy to see the program back at this level," Doug Hodo said. "What a blessing to enjoy it when I did it. But what a greater blessing to be able to watch my son have the opportunity to go to Omaha with the rest of the boys."