On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on April 15 MLB Games
Extra! Extra! 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 a taxing April 15 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
New York Giants 2B Andy Cohen (Alabama basketball letterman in 1924 and 1925) went 3-for-4 for the second time in first three games of 1928 campaign.
Brooklyn Dodgers RF Ox Eckhart (Texas hoops letterman in 1923) smacked his lone MLB homer (against New York Giants in 1936).
RHP Bob Gibson (Creighton's leading scorer and rebounder in 1955-56 and 1956-57) made his St. Louis Cardinals debut at Los Angeles in 1959, hurling the final two innings in a 5-0 setback against the Dodgers. He became the first future Hall of Famer to yield a homer to first batter he faced in the majors (3B Jim Baxes went downtown in seventh inning).
First appearance and start in 1961 for Philadelphia Phillies RHP Dallas Green (Delaware's second-leading scorer and rebounder in 1954-55) wound up becoming a five-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants.
INF Gene Handley (Bradley hoops letterman in 1932-33 and 1933-34) purchased from the Pittsburgh Pirates by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1940.
1B Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, becoming the first black player to appear in a MLB game. Before Robinson was replaced by Howie Schultz (Hamline MN hooper in early 1940s), he went hitless in three at-bats against the Boston Braves a year before President Truman desegregated the military.
Pittsburgh Pirates CF Bill Virdon (Drury MO hooper in 1949) belted two homers in a 4-1 triumph against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1961.
Washington Senators rookie RHP Monte Weaver (hoops center for Emory & Henry VA in mid-1920s) won his season debut in 1932 with a four-hit shutout against the Boston Red Sox.
Philadelphia Phillies CF Cy Williams (Notre Dame forward in 1909-10) homered twice against the Boston Braves in a 1922 game.
San Diego Padres RHP Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection as Princeton's leading scorer and rebounder in 1999-00) tied a MLB record with 25 straight starts on the road without a defeat before bowing at Los Angeles against the Dodgers in 2007.