On July 24, 2002, Wally Pontiff died in his sleep while at his parents' home in Metairie. The news shocked the LSU community, as Pontiff was not just a terrific player, he was the heart of the LSU baseball team. It seems unfair that a man's life should be cut short while he was seemingly in his prime, but that is the way of the world at times.
Instead of trying to sum up Pontiff myself, I'll leave it to his teammates:
It seems silly to talk about his stats, but I would like to point out that Pontiff was a great player and a team captain. He started 51 games as a freshmen in 2000, and you may remember that the 2000 team was pretty good. He was the MVP of the 2000 SEC tourney. Pontiff built on his success and was 1st team all-SEC in 2001 and second team in 2002. What was truly remarkable about his career was his consistency. His batting average by season went 347 - 347 - 339.
LSU promptly retired his #31, so I will do the same for our tour through the LSU Athletes of the Decade. Wally Pontiff will forever be #31.