Jake Mangum's career at Mississippi State went a little different than most. He didn't just have a great career as a Bulldog, he had an extraordinary one. And he wasn't just a player on the roster, he became the "mayor" of Starkville.
Mangum finished his career at Mississippi State ranked No. 4 all-time in NCAA history with 383 hits, and broke the SEC hit record passing LSU’s Eddie Furniss (352; 1995-98). He also owns Mississippi State’s all-time hits record, surpassing Jeffrey Rea (335; 2004-07) with his third hit of the series opener at Tennessee in 2019. Mangum was drafted in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2019 MLB draft by the New York Mets. It is safe to say he was and still is a hitting machine, but he was more than just that to fans of Mississippi State.
"I've said it a billion times and will say it a billion times more," Mangum told NCAA.com. "It was the best four years of my life."
TOP MOMENTS: Robin Ventura breaks down his 58-game hitting streak
His biggest moments at Dudy Noble Field will never be forgotten. But here are a few things about Mangum's career that you might not know.
The day Mangum broke the SEC hit record was the same day his best friend was picked in the NFL Draft
The biggest thing on Mangum's mind when he broke the SEC hit record was just how happy he was to get it over with. It had become a consuming factor in his life, with many in Starkville coming up to remind him just how many more hits he had until he broke the record.
But, what many might not know is that his best friend, Garnder Minshew, was taken in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars on that same day. Minshew and Mangum grew up together in Rankin County, Mississippi. It will always be a special day for Mangum.
"I am almost upset it was on the same day," Mangum said. "Being the same day was tough. Gardner got drafted on the same day and pretty much the same time I got the hit, like it was back to back. But it was special."
He got his nickname the "Mayor" from a former teammate. It stuck
Jacob Robson was the centerfielder for Mississippi State during Mangum's freshman year. He was impressed that Mangum seemed to know just about everyone in Starkville. Mangum grew up in Mississippi and wasn't far from home at college. He already knew many people and met more as one of the biggest names in a town that loves baseball.
"You know everybody, you're like the mayor," Robson said.
And it stuck.
Mangum's dad is a huge reason for how far he has gone in baseball
If you were ever at a Mississippi State baseball game during Mangum's four years, you could find his dad in the crowd right behind center field. Scan the crowd some more and you might find the rest of his family, too. Jake is from a long lineage of athletes, and football players to be more specific. His father, John Mangum, played football for the Crimson Tide in the late 1980s and still holds the school record for passes broken up in a season (24) and a career (48). He played nine years in the NFL for the Chicago Bears. His brother and Jake's uncle, Kris, was on Alabama's 1992 national championship team and then spent 10 years as a member of the Carolina Panthers.
Jake quit football in the ninth grade. His father let him pursue the sport he wanted, he chose baseball, and they got to work on it together. The rest is Mississippi State baseball history.