On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on April 11 MLB Games
Extra! Extra! As a new season unfolds, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopers had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 11 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
RHP Roger Craig (forward with North Carolina State's 1949-50 freshman basketball team) released by the Cincinnati Reds and promptly signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1966.
RHP Dallas Green (Delaware's runner-up in scoring and rebounding in 1954-55) purchased from the Philadelphia Phillies by the Washington Senators in 1965. Returned to the Phillies a month later.
In 1932, utilityman Harvey Hendrick (Vanderbilt hoops letterman in 1918) traded with P Benny Frey and cash by the Cincinnati Reds to the St. Louis Cardinals for holdout OF Chick Hafey, the previous year's N.L. batting champion.
1B Gil Hodges (hooper for St. Joseph's IN in 1943 and Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948) supplied the first homer in New York Mets history (at St. Louis in 1962).
In his second MLB game, Boston Red Sox RF Joe Lahoud (New Haven CT hoops letterman in mid-1960s) socked a homer off the Detroit Tigers' Denny McLain in 1968.
Toronto Blue Jays DH Rick Leach (averaged 15.5 ppg for Michigan's JV squad in 1975-76) registered four hits against the New York Yankees in 1988.
Cleveland Indians CF Kenny Lofton (Arizona's leader in steals for 1988 Final Four team compiling 35-3 record) notched at least one double or triple in each of first six games of 1999 campaign while hitting .467.
Chicago White Sox RF Lyle Mouton (starter in LSU's backcourt with All-American Chris Jackson for 1989 NCAA playoff team) launched a game-winning, three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning against the Texas Rangers in 1996.
In 1961, Hall of Fame RHP Robin Roberts (one of Michigan State's top three scorers each season from 1944-45 through 1946-47) tied Grover Cleveland Alexander's N.L. record with a 12th straight Opening Day start for the Philadelphia Phillies.
St. Louis Cardinals rookie LF Wally Roettger (Illinois hoops letterman in 1921-22 and 1922-23) registered five RBI against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1928 season opener.
CF Bill Virdon (Drury MO hooper in 1949) traded by the New York Yankees to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal involving OF Enos Slaughter in 1954. Seven years later, Virdon socked a two-out, three-run homer to give the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory at San Francisco.