A multi-sport athlete while at Valparaiso, Tom Orton was a three-year starter in both baseball and basketball for the Crusaders, and, on Saturday, February 19 he will be inducted into the Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame.
On the diamond, Orton was a three-time All-Indiana Collegiate Conference catcher for the Brown and Gold, and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player both as a sophomore and as a senior.
He still holds the school’s batting average records, hitting .393 for his career at Valpo while also posting a .457 single season mark in 1958, leading the Crusaders to the NCAA Tournament. A team captain, Orton guided the Crusaders to ICC titles in 1959 and 1960.
Orton also won a bronze medal with the United States in the 1959 Pan-American Baseball Games and went on to play in the Detroit Tigers minor league system.
On the hardwood, Orton averaged in double figures for his career with the Crusaders, including a best 12.2 points per contest as a junior.
Upon graduation from Valpo, Orton went on to coach basketball at various levels for 20 years. His 1983 Concordia University Texas team went 30-7 and won the Little College National Championship. He is currently still a geography professor at Concordia University Texas.
The Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held on Saturday, February 19 at 1 p.m. at the St. Teresa of Avila Student Center. Please note, this is a time and location change for the banquet. The inductees will also be recognized at halftime men’s basketball game on the same day.