Celebrating Former Hooper Jackie By Acknowledging 42 Other MLB Players

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson

Every sports fan accepts the cultural significance of Jackie Robinson Day, an annual event commemorating and honoring the groundbreaking day he made his debut 70 years ago with the Brooklyn Dodgers as MLB's first African-American player.

But what many observers might not know about Robinson is the impact he also had in basketball. UCLA's initial all-conference hooper in the 1940s was a forward who compiled the highest scoring average in the Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with the Bruins (12.3 points per league game in 1939-40 and 11.1 ppg in 1940-41) after transferring from Pasadena (Calif.) City College. Continuing his scoring exploits, the six-time National League All-Star was the leading scorer for the Los Angeles Red Devils' barnstorming team in 1946-47.

In deference to Robinson's uniform number, following is an alphabetical list of 42 more of the best African-American basketball players for four-year colleges who subsequently played at the MLB level (including Cincinnati Reds regal rookie Amir Garrett):

College Hooper Four-Year School Summary of Basketball Career Summary of MLB Career
Ron Allen Youngstown State Averaged 14.7 ppg from 1961-62 through 1963-64, leading Penguins in scoring and rebounding as sophomore. Only hit in 11 MLB at-bats for 1B and brother of Dick Allen and Hank Allen was homer with St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego in 1972.
George Altman Tennessee State Four-year letterman was forward on teams compiling 88-17 record from 1951-52 through 1954-55 (including two NAIA Tournament appearances). Two-time All-Star 1B hit .269 with 102 home runs in nine seasons from 1959 through 1967 with Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets before playing eight years in Japan.
Jim Bibby Fayetteville State (N.C.) Backup hooper's brother, Fred, set Fayetteville State single-season record with 18.1 rpg in 1963-64. Their younger brother, Henry, was All-American guard with UCLA. RHP compiled 111-101 record and 3.76 ERA with St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates in 12 seasons from 1972 through 1984. Hurled first no-hitter in Rangers history in 1973 and started two games for victorious Pirates in 1979 World Series.
Dorian "Doe" Boyland Wisconsin-Oshkosh Averaged 5.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg in half a season in 1974-75. 1B had two hits in 19 at-bats with Pittsburgh Pirates in three years from 1978 to 1981. Traded to San Francisco Giants but never played for them.
Al Bumbry Virginia State Averaged 16.7 ppg (team runner-up) as freshman in 1964-65 and 12.4 ppg plus 4.6 rpg as junior in 1966-67. Lefthanded-swinging OF hit .281 with Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres in 14 years from 1972 through 1985. Hit .337 as A.L. Rookie of the Year in 1973 when tying MLB single-game record with three triples. Finished among top nine in stolen bases five times in first nine years. Participated in World Series in 1979 and 1983.
Ray Burris Southwestern Oklahoma State Two-sport standout is in school's Hall of Fame. RHP compiled 108-134 record and 4.17 ERA with Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Oakland A's, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in 15 years from 1973 through 1987. Started three postseason games for Expos in 1981 after averaging 227 innings pitched last four full seasons with Cubs.
Tony Clark Arizona/San Diego State Swingman averaged 11.6 ppg and 4.6 rpg for Aztecs as sophomore in 1991-92, leading them in scoring in WAC games. 1B averaged 31 HRs annually in four-year span from 1996 through 1999 with Detroit Tigers. Tallest switch-hitter (6-7) in MLB history hit .262 with 251 homers and 824 RBI in 15 seasons from 1995 through 2009 with Tigers, Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.
Donn Clendenon Morehouse (Ga.) Earned letters in four collegiate sports before leading Army base at Fort Jackson (Columbia, S.C.) to hoop title before discharge in time for spring training in 1959. 1B hit .274 with 159 home runs and 682 RBI with Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Expos, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals in 12 years from 1961 through 1972. World Series MVP with "Miracle Mets" in 1969 when hitting three home runs (Games 2, 4 and 5).
Vince Colbert East Carolina ECU's first African-American hooper averaged 14.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg in 1966-67 and 1967-68. J.C. transfer led Pirates in rebounding as junior. RHP compiled 9-14 record and 4.57 ERA with Cleveland Indians in three years from 1970 through 1972. He was their only winning pitcher (7-6) with 10 or more starts in 1971.
George Crowe Indiana Central Four-year hoops letterman from 1939-40 through 1942-43 for college now known as University of Indianapolis after becoming first Indiana H.S. player named state's "Mr. Basketball." 1B hit .270 in nine years (1952, 1953 and 1955 through 1961) with Boston/Milwaukee Braves, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. One year after named All-Star, led N.L. in pinch-hits (17)in first season with Cards in 1959 before slugging MLB-record 11th pinch-hit HR in 1960.
Arthur "Bill" Davis Minnesota Averaged 6.4 ppg and 5 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64 under coach John Kundla. Forward contributed 12.5 ppg as senior for team including eventual NBA standouts Archie Clark and Lou Hudson. 1B hit .181 with Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres in three seasons (1965, 1966 and 1969).
Larry Doby Virginia Union Attended LIU on hoops scholarship but transferred to VU after Uncle Sam summoned him for World War II service. Reserve guard on team winning 1943 CIAA title. Seven-time All-Star OF hit .283 with 253 HRs and 969 RBI in 13 years from 1947 through 1959 with Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. First black player in A.L. twice led league in homers (1952 and 1954). Smacked 20 or more HRs eight seasons in row from 1949 through 1956.
Don Eaddy Michigan One of first two African-Americans to play hoops for Wolverines averaged 11.4 ppg in four seasons from 1951-52 through 1954-55. Led team in scoring in Big Ten Conference competition as sophomore. INF played briefly with Chicago Cubs in 1959.
Amir Garrett St. John's Averaged 7.4 ppg and 4 rpg in 2011-12 and 2012-13 under coach Steve Lavin prior to transfer to Northridge State, where he had RS year before focusing only on baseball. After representing Cincinnati Reds at 2016 All-Star Futures Game, LHP won his first two MLB decisions in April 2017 with six shutout innings in each start. In his third start, he tied Reds record for rookie LHP by fanning 12 Baltimore Orioles batters.
Bob Gibson Creighton First Bluejays player to average 20 ppg for his career (20.2). Led school in scoring in 1955-56 (40th in country with 22 ppg) and 1956-57 and was second-leading scorer in 1954-55. Hall of Famer compiled 251-174 pitching record with 3,117 strikeouts and 2.91 ERA in 17 seasons from 1959 through 1975 with St. Louis Cardinals. In 1968, RHP tossed 13 shutouts en route to a 1.12 ERA. Ranked among N.L. top six in strikeouts 11 times from 1961 through 1972. He hit 24 home runs and won nine consecutive Gold Gloves (1965 through 1973). Notched 7-2 mark and 1.89 ERA in nine World Series games, including strikeout record of 17 Tigers in 1968 contest.
Tony Gwynn San Diego State Averaged 8.6 ppg and 5.5 apg from 1977-78 through 1980-81. Second-team All-WAC selection as junior and senior. San Diego Padres OF hit .338 in 20 seasons (1982 through 2001), winning eight N.L. batting titles - 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997. Played in 15th All-Star Game in 1999 before topping 3,000-hit plateau later in year.
Chuck Harmon Toledo Second-leading scorer as sophomore in 1946-47 (13.6 ppg) and as junior in 1947-48 (8.8). As freshman starter in 1942-43, swingman was second-leading scorer for 22-4 team finishing NIT runner-up. Utilityman hit .238 in four seasons from 1954 through 1957 with Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.
Billy Harrell Siena When school's first African-American player finished career, he held school records for most points in season (396 in 1951-52), career and game (28 against Arizona State in 1951) plus most rebounds in season (387 in 1949-50). INF hit .231 in 173 games with Cleveland Indians (1955, 1957, 1958) and Boston Red Sox (1961).
Chuck Hinton Shaw (N.C.) Played multiple sports before serving two years in U.S. Army in mid-1950s. His brother, Checo, was lineman with him on football squad and power forward for hoops team. OF-INF played every defensive position while hitting .264 with Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians and California Angels in 11 A.L. seasons from 1961 through 1971. In 1962, he was runner-up in stolen bases in A.L. and finished fourth in batting average. First expansion Senator to be named to All-Star team was final Senator to hit .300.
Monte Irvin Lincoln (Pa.) Athletic career was nearly prematurely ended when infection from scratched hand in hoops game kept him close to death for seven weeks. Hall of Fame OF-1B hit .293 with 99 HRs and 443 RBI in eight years from 1949 through 1956 with New York Giants and Chicago Cubs. Irvin led N.L. in RBI with 121 in 1951 (same year led World Series in hitting with .458 mark vs. crosstown Yankees).
Anthony "Tony" Johnson LeMoyne-Owen (Tenn.) J.C. transfer forward was All-VSAC selection in 1976-77 and 1979-80 as team's top scorer. LF hit .232 with Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays in two years in 1981 and 1982.
"Sweet" Lou Johnson Kentucky State Teammate of legendary coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52. OF hit .258 with Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles/California Angels, Milwaukee Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians in eight seasons from 1960 through 1969. Contributed two homers and two doubles for Dodgers in 1965 World Series against Minnesota Twins.
Lynn Jones Thiel (Pa.) Averaged 10.4 ppg from 1970-71 through 1973-74. OF hit .252 with Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals in eight seasons from 1979 through 1986. Doubled and tripled as pinch-hitter for Royals in 1985 World Series against St. Louis Cardinals.
David Justice Thomas More (Ky.) Led team in assists in 1984-85 while averaging 9.3 ppg and 3.5 rpg. Three-time All-Star OF hit .279 in 14 seasons from 1989 through 2002 with Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Oakland A's. Jacked 40 homers (N.L. runner-up) with 120 RBI (also runner-up) in 1993 with Braves and total of 41 homers (fourth in A.L.) with 118 RBI in 2000 with Indians and Yanks.
Kenny Lofton Arizona Averaged 4.8 ppg and 2.6 apg in four seasons from 1985-86 through 1988-89 under coach Lute Olson. Leader in steals for 1988 Final Four team compiling 35-3 record. Lefthanded CF hit .299 and stole 622 bases in 17 seasons from 1991 through 2007 with Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers. Four-time Gold Glover led Indians with .325 batting mark (fourth in A.L.) and paced majors with 70 stolen bases in 1993. After trade to Cleveland, hit .285 for Indians in 1992 and led the A.L. in stolen bases with 66 (record for A.L. rookie). Six-time All-Star led A.L. in stolen bases five consecutive years from 1992 through 1996, hitting career-high .349 in 1994.
Davey Lopes Iowa Wesleyan/Washburn (Kan.) NAIA All-District 15 selection averaged 16.9 ppg and 3.4 rpg as All-IIAC first-team choice freshman in 1964-65 and 12.1 ppg as sophomore in 1965-66 before transferring with his coach. All-CIC selection in 1967-68 when averaging 7.6 ppg for NAIA Tournament team. Four-time All-Star 2B hit .263 with Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland A's, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros in 16 seasons from 1972 through 1987. Led N.L. in stolen bases in back-to-back campaigns in 1975 (77) and 1976 (63) after finishing runner-up in 1974 (59). Swiped five bases in game in 1974, tying 70-year-old N.L. record before establishing since-broken N.L. mark with 38 consecutive successful thefts in 1975.
Terrell Lowery Loyola Marymount Two-time All-WCC first-team selection and league-leading scorer. Tallied career-high 48 points against Idaho State as junior in 1990-91 when finishing among top five nationally in scoring (28.5 ppg) and assists (9.1 apg). OF hit .282 with Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and San Francisco Giants from 1997 through 2000. Stroked five hits for Giants in single game against Milwaukee Brewers in 2000.
Arnold "Bake" McBride Westminster (Mo.) Averaged 12.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg in 21 games in 1968-69 and 1969-70. Lefthanded-swinging OF hit .299 with St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians in 11 seasons from 1973 through 1983. N.L. Rookie of the Year in 1974 when hitting .309 with Cardinals was named to N.L. All-Star team two years later.
Lyle Mouton Louisiana State Averaged 8.2 ppg and 3.2 rpg as sophomore in 1988-89 under coach Dale Brown. Started in backcourt with All-American Chris Jackson when Tigers lost to UTEP in West Regional of NCAA playoffs. OF hit .280 for Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins in seven years from 1995 through 2001.
Billy North Central Washington Collected two points and two rebounds in four games in 1967-68. Switch-hitting CF posted .261 batting average with Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in 11 years from 1971 through 1981. Paced A.L. in stolen bases in 1974 (54) and 1976 (75).
Curtis Pride William & Mary Averaged 5.6 ppg and 3.1 apg from 1986-87 through 1989-90. Led team in steals three times and assists twice. Named to CAA All-Rookie team as freshman and All-Defensive team next two seasons. Born with 95% hearing disability, lefthanded-swinging OF hit .250 in 11 seasons from 1993 to 2006 with seven franchises (Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees and Anaheim/California Angels).
Dave Ricketts Duquesne Three-year starter led Dukes in scoring as senior with 17.9-point average in 1956-57, finishing fourth in nation in free-throw percentage (86.2%). Converted school-record 42 FTAs in row. Catcher hit .249 in six seasons (1962, 1965 and 1967 through 1970) with St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Switch-hitter played with Cards in 1967 and 1968 World Series.
Dick Ricketts Duquesne Second-team consensus All-American choice as junior in 1953-54 and first five consensus All-American selection as senior in 1954-55. Converted all 19 FTAs in game against Dayton. School's all-time leading scorer averaged 17.7 ppg and 12.2 rpg in starting all 111 games during four-year career. Compiled 1-6 pitching record in only season with St. Louis Cardinals in 1959.
Earl Robinson California Three-time All-PCC second-team selection averaged at least 10 ppg each season from 1955-56 through 1957-58 under coach Pete Newell. Averaged 15.5 points in four NCAA Tournament games his last two years, leading Bears in scoring in two of four playoff contests. OF hit .268 in four seasons from 1958 to 1964 with Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.
Ted Savage Lincoln (Mo.) Led in scoring average with 13.5 ppg in 1955-56 before averaging 14.5 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1956-57. OF hit .233 in nine seasons (1962, 1963 and 1965 through 1971) with Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals.
Ken Singleton Hofstra Freshman hooper in mid-1960s. Three-time All-Star OF hit .282 with 246 HRs and 1,065 RBI with New York Mets, Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles in 15 years from 1970 through 1984. Switch-hitter exceeded 20 HRs in five seasons, including high of 35 (fifth in A.L.) in 1979 with Orioles.
Lee Smith Northwestern State Forward averaged 3.4 ppg and 1.9 rpg in 1976-77. Seven-time All-Star was all-time saves leader when he retired, notching 478 in 18 seasons from 1980 through 1997 with Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos until Trevor Hoffman broke his mark in 2006. Set N.L. record in 1991 (subsequently broken) for most saves in season with 47 for Cardinals. RHP led N.L. in saves three times (1983-91-92) and A.L. once (1994).
Nate Smith Tennessee State Letterman in 1953-54 and 1954-55. Catcher went 2 for 9 in five games with Baltimore Orioles in 1962.
Bob Veale Benedictine (Kan.) Scored 1,160 points from 1955-56 through 1957-58 as center for school previously called St. Benedict's. LHP compiled 120-95 record and 3.08 ERA in 13 seasons from 1962 through 1974 with Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox. Led N.L. in strikeouts with 250 in 1964 (first of four consecutive years he won at least 16 games and ranked among top seven in strikeouts).
Will Venable Princeton All-Ivy League first-team selection as junior and second-team choice as senior averaged 9.3 ppg under coach John Thompson III from 2001-02 through 2004-05. Lefthanded OF hit .249 with San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers in nine seasons from 2008 through 2016. Finished among N.L. top 10 in triples (8th with 7) and stolen bases (9th with 29) in 2010.
Bill White Hiram (Ohio) Three-sport letterman played two years of hoops. Five-time All-Star 1B hit .286 with New York/San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies in 13 N.L. seasons in 1956 and from 1958 through 1969. Lefthander ranked among N.L. top 10 in RBI five times (1961-62-63-64-66). Placed among N.L. top eight in both doubles and triples three straight campaigns from 1959 through 1961. Gold Glover seven consecutive years from 1960 through 1966.
Desi Wilson Fairleigh Dickinson FDU's all-time leading scorer (1,902 points) was NEC player of year in 1989-90. Leading scorer (23.8 ppg) and rebounder (9.2 rpg) for 1990-91 league co-champion. Lefthanded-swinging 1B hit .271 with San Francisco Giants in 1996.
Dave Winfield Minnesota Averaged 6.9 ppg and 5.4 rpg as junior in 1971-72 and 10.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg as senior in 1972-73 under coach Bill Musselman. Played entire game in 1972, collecting eight points and eight rebounds against eventual Final Four participant Florida State, in Gophers' first NCAA Tournament appearance. Hall of Fame OF hit .283 with 465 home runs, 1,833 RBI and 3,110 hits in 22 seasons (1973 through 1988 and 1990 through 1995) with San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. Led N.L. in total bases in 1979 with 333 before ranking among A.L. top four in batting average in 1984 (.340) and 1988 (.322). Seven-time Gold Glover appeared in 12 All-Star Games after never playing in minors. Participated in World Series with Yankees (1981) and Blue Jays (1992).