In recognition of his impact on Major League Baseball, Oxnard College graduate Terry Pendleton has been recognized as a California Community College Distinguished Alumni by the Community College League of California (CCLC), a statewide organization that advocates for California community colleges at the state and federal levels.
A native of Oxnard’s La Colonia neighborhood, Pendleton was the first in his family to attend college. He famously helped lead Oxnard College’s maiden baseball team to a California state championship berth in 1979. He went on to play Major League Baseball for 15 years, which included six World Series appearances and a National League MVP award. After his playing career, Pendleton became a base, hitting and bench coach, guiding future stars like Freddie Freeman and this year’s 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as a California Community College Distinguished Alumni,” said Pendleton. “I’m proud of my career with Major League Baseball and will always be grateful to Oxnard College for setting me on that trajectory. Every coach and instructor I had there made me feel like I truly belonged—I made the right decision by enrolling at Oxnard College.”
After earning his associate degree from Oxnard College in 1980, Pendleton transferred to Fresno State University on an athletic scholarship. At FSU, he set a school record of 98 hits and was recognized as an All-American player.
The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Pendleton in 1982, and he quickly earned a spot as the team’s third baseman. He later moved to the Atlanta Braves, where he overcame various injuries and a slump to become the National League MVP in 1991. Throughout his MVP season, Pendleton often wore an Oxnard College Condors shirt under his Braves jersey to serve as a reminder of where he came from.
Pendleton’s career highlights include three Gold Gloves (’87, ’89, ’92), MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award (’91), Silver Bat Award (’91), 140 career home runs and an appearance in MLB’s All-Star game (’92). His World Series appearances span from the 1980s to 2021.
Over the years, Pendleton has supported Oxnard College’s baseball program by donating time, money, equipment and even memorabilia. He was inducted into the California Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2016; the award is permanently displayed on the Condors’ outfield wall.
“We’re proud of Terry Pendleton’s trailblazing career and the legacy he’s left on our campus,” said Luis Sanchez, president of Oxnard College. “From his leadership on Oxnard College’s inaugural baseball team to his decades-long career in Major League Baseball culminating in this year’s Atlanta Braves World Series championship, Terry has exhibited admirable resilience and class. Many proud Oxnard College Condors will continue to be inspired by the extraordinary example he has set.”
“So many youth dream of playing Major League Baseball. Terry not only achieved the pinnacle of the sport as an athlete and coach, but also he is a role model for giving back to help others,” said Ventura County Community College District Board Chair Joshua Chancer.
CCLC’s annual award celebrates excellence in California community college alumni, drawing attention to how their collegiate experiences helped lead them to prominent educational and professional milestones. Since 1964, the annual award has been given to dozens of luminaries, including members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, Hollywood actors, business executives, authors and other distinguished leaders from myriad industries.