An @HOVG Addendum: The biggest baseball alum of NCAA Snubs

Over at Hall of Very Good, I looked at the best baseball alums of every team in the NCAA Tournament.

Consider this an addendum: the best baseball alums of various NCAA snubs!

Monmouth: The best Monmouth baseball alum is active now: Brad Brach. Three other Monmouth grads have made the show, however. They are Ed Halicki, Bob Hooper, and Tom Kelly.

St. Bonaventure: This is an easy one, as John McGraw played for (and coached) Bonaventure in the 1890s, even though he already had played a bit professionally (the idea of the strict separation of amateur and professional was not yet completely solidified). There’s also some evidence that Hugh Jennings was involved with Bonaventure, but it’s not listed at Baseball Reference. Danny McDevitt is the most recent MLB player who was a Bonnie.

St. Mary’s: Hall of Famers Harry Hooper and Hank O’Day are St. Mary’s grads, although I’d give the edge to Hooper. Honorable mentions: Von Hayes, Gus Triandos, Duffy Lewis, Tom Candiotti, Dutch Leonard, and Mark Teahen.

South Carolina: A baseball power in recent years, I’d say Brian Roberts (who had transferred there from UNC) is the best Gamecock alum, although you certainly can make arguments for Dave Hollins, Mookie Wilson and Bill Landrum. Current Gamecocks include Justin Smoak, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

San Diego State: Tony Gwynn. Done. (Other alums include: Stephen Strasburg, Graig Nettles, Mark Grace, Tony Clark, Harold Reynolds, and Dave Roberts.)

Valparaiso: Lloyd McClendon, apologies to guys like Al Pilcarik and Freddy Spurgeon.

So, there you have it. Make sure to go to Hall of Very Good to see the best alums of those who DID make the bracket.

 

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CONTINUUM CLASSIC: Why nobody pays attention to College Baseball, outside of the CWS

In honor of the College Baseball season starting tomorrow, here’s a post originally published on June 1, 2012:

In basketball, the NCAA tournament is in many ways a far bigger event than even the NBA Finals as the marquee event for the sport.

In football, the passions in some regions for college teams are larger than that of any NFL team. Okay, with the possible exception of Green Bay. Maybe.

Baseball, however, has it’s amateur competitions mostly forgotten. Yes, the draft is shown on MLB Network (at least the first round or two), and it isn’t too hard to find a college game on TV if you know where to look… but it is a afterthought unless it’s draft day (and even then, there usually are just as many high schoolers who are getting drafted) or the College World Series.

There are several reasons for this:

  • As I mentioned, lots of players are drafted out of high school, so the level of competition in NCAA isn’t quite what it is in football or basketball.
  • With the exception of the best of the best, it’ll be several years before you see a top college player in the big leagues, since they will go to the minors for seasoning. This ends any type of “hype” that can be built up around future pros, and why the MLB draft is so little followed beyond seamheads.
  • Aluminum bats. They may have been changed over the past decade or so to act more like baseball bats and not like trampolining home run machines, but there is still the PING! that, while tolerable when heard in Little League, seems to be grating when you see grown men swinging them around.
  • Lack of regional parity. If it seems like the BCS division of football is dominated by southern and western colleges, it’s even worse in baseball. After all, they can practice all year round, and don’t have to worry about the weather. A look at the winners of the College World Series over the years shows it. There hasn’t been a CWS winning team from above the old Mason-Dixon line (39 degrees and 43 minutes N) since Oregon State went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. Before then, though, there hadn’t been one since (The) Ohio State University won it in 1966. Heck, there hadn’t even been a northern team that came in second place since Eastern Michigan lost to Arizona in 1976.
  • Baseball, unlike basketball and football, became a professional sport fairly early on, meaning the long traditions found in college hoops and gridiron aren’t as common in baseball, since they didn’t have time to form before the rise of the pros. The only big tradition it has that is known nationally is the fact that the College World Series is in Omaha, and ALWAYS in Omaha.

So what can be done? Well, MLB is apparently discussing helping fund scholarships and a transition to wooden bats in NCAA, which could be helpful. However, I think College Baseball will remain what it is: fun to watch come the College World Series, but generally ignored outside of that.

For Super Bowl Weekend: “Famous For Something Else” Football Players

Here are the previous “Famous For Something Else” installments about players who dabbled in baseball but who are more famous for playing (or coaching) football:

Urban Meyer

Herman Wedemeyer (also an actor)

Ernie Nevers

Russell Wilson

Vic Janowicz

Jim Thorpe (also, perhaps most famously, an Olympian)

George Halas

Josh Booty

John Lynch

John Elway

Ricky Williams

 

There are, of course, still others who have played both baseball and football, and they will be covered in future “Famous For Something Else” installments!

 

 

Famous for Something Else Repost: Urban Meyer

Today, Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes will play in the Sugar Bowl in an attempt to reach the College Football Playoff Championship Game. So, here’s a repost of his famous for something else post.

Did you know that Urban Meyer, head coach of Ohio State’s football team and former coach of the Florida Gators, had a brief minor league career? It’s true! He played two seasons in the low minors in the Braves organization.

Here are his stats:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB HBP SH SF IBB
1982 17 -2.9 Braves GULF Rk ATL 20 61 53 6 9 0 2 0 5 1 2 6 9 .170 .267 .245 .512 13 1 1 0 0
1983 18 -2.0 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk ATL 24 77 57 13 11 2 0 1 6 1 1 16 15 .193 .365 .281 .646 16 0 3 1 0
1983 18 -2.4 Pulaski APPY Rk ATL 15 41 32 8 8 2 0 1 4 0 0 8 9 .250 .400 .406 .806 13 0 1 0 0
1983 18 -1.5 Braves GULF Rk ATL 9 36 25 5 3 0 0 0 2 1 1 8 6 .120 .324 .120 .444 3 0 2 1 0
2 Seasons 44 138 110 19 20 2 2 1 11 2 3 22 24 .182 .321 .264 .585 29 1 4 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.

Now, as you can see, he didn’t do very good, but, according to a recent episode of Real Sports, it was a defining moment for him. Frustrated by his struggles, he told his father he was going to quit and come home, enraging his father, who told him that he would have no losers in his family. This would fuel a long obsession with winning that would define his career for years and ended up forcing his family to have him sign a contract to make sure he didn’t essentially abandon them for coaching.

One interesting thing to note, by the way, is that Urban Meyer played alongside Ron Gant and Mark Lemke during his 1983 stint in the Gulf Coast League.

So, anyway… now you know!

Famous for Something Else: Ernie Nevers

Ernie Nevers is a Hall of Famer in both Pro Football and College Football, a star of the early days of the NFL, and a member of the league’s 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams.

But he also had a baseball career, pitching for three seasons for the St. Louis Browns:

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
1926 24 SLB AL 2 4 .333 4.46 11 7 4 4 0 0 74.2 82 41 37 4 24 16 1 1 1 326 96 4.19 1.420 9.9 0.5 2.9 1.9 0.67
1927 25 SLB AL 3 8 .273 4.94 27 5 13 2 0 2 94.2 105 61 52 8 35 22 2 1 5 397 88 4.83 1.479 10.0 0.8 3.3 2.1 0.63
1928 26 SLB AL 1 0 1.000 3.00 6 0 2 0 0 0 9.0 9 4 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 36 146 4.79 1.222 9.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 0.50
3 Yrs 6 12 .333 4.64 44 12 19 6 0 2 178.1 196 106 92 13 61 39 3 2 6 759 93 4.56 1.441 9.9 0.7 3.1 2.0 0.64
162 Game Avg. 7 15 .333 4.64 53 15 23 7 0 2 217 238 129 112 16 74 47 4 2 7 922 93 4.56 1.441 9.9 0.7 3.1 2.0 0.64
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.

He also pitched a bit in the Pacific Coast League:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G IP H R ER BB WHIP H9 BB9
1928 26 -3.4 Mission PCL 14 11 .560 4.37 29 206.0 202 108 100 69 1.316 8.8 3.0
1929 27 -1.6 Mission PCL 7 8 .467 4.56 36 148.0 194 92 75 60 1.716 11.8 3.6
2 Seasons 21 19 .525 4.45 65 354.0 396 200 175 129 1.483 10.1 3.3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.

So, that’s the baseball career of Ernie Nevers, another player who is famous for something else.

Famous for Something Else: Urban Meyer

Did you know that Urban Meyer, head coach of Ohio State’s football team and former coach of the Florida Gators, had a brief minor league career? It’s true! He played two seasons in the low minors in the Braves organization.

Here are his stats:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB HBP SH SF IBB
1982 17 -2.9 Braves GULF Rk ATL 20 61 53 6 9 0 2 0 5 1 2 6 9 .170 .267 .245 .512 13 1 1 0 0
1983 18 -2.0 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk ATL 24 77 57 13 11 2 0 1 6 1 1 16 15 .193 .365 .281 .646 16 0 3 1 0
1983 18 -2.4 Pulaski APPY Rk ATL 15 41 32 8 8 2 0 1 4 0 0 8 9 .250 .400 .406 .806 13 0 1 0 0
1983 18 -1.5 Braves GULF Rk ATL 9 36 25 5 3 0 0 0 2 1 1 8 6 .120 .324 .120 .444 3 0 2 1 0
2 Seasons 44 138 110 19 20 2 2 1 11 2 3 22 24 .182 .321 .264 .585 29 1 4 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.

Now, as you can see, he didn’t do very good, but, according to a recent episode of Real Sports, it was a defining moment for him. Frustrated by his struggles, he told his father he was going to quit and come home, enraging his father, who told him that he would have no losers in his family. This would fuel a long obsession with winning that would define his career for years and ended up forcing his family to have him sign a contract to make sure he didn’t essentially abandon them for coaching.

One interesting thing to note, by the way, is that Urban Meyer played alongside Ron Gant and Mark Lemke during his 1983 stint in the Gulf Coast League.

So, anyway… now you know!