On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on April 18 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 an April 18 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:


  • Philadelphia Phillies INF Gene Freese (West Liberty WV basketball captain of 1952 NAIA Tournament team) smacked a pinch grand slam against the Cincinnati Reds in a 1959 game.

  • San Diego Padres RF Tony Gwynn (All-WAC second-team selection with San Diego State in 1979-80 and 1980-81) went 5-for-5 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 1993 contest.

  • Texas Rangers 1B Mike Hargrove (Northwestern Oklahoma State hoops letterman) collected four hits and five RBI against the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of a 1976 doubleheader.

  • RHP Jim Konstanty (Syracuse hooper in late 1930s) traded by the Cincinnati Reds with cash to the Boston Braves in 1946.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Sandy Koufax (Cincinnati's freshman hoops squad in 1953-54) threw the second of two immaculate innings in his career when he struck out the side on nine pitches against the Cincinnati Reds in third frame in 1964.

  • Atlanta Braves CF Kenny Lofton (Arizona's leader in steals for 1988 Final Four team compiling 35-3 record) provided a homer among his five hits in a 14-0 romp over the Colorado Rockies in 1997. Five years later with the Chicago White Sox, Lofton delivered multiple safeties seven times in a span of eight games while raising his batting average from .250 to .426 in 2002.

  • Davey Lopes (NAIA All-District 15 selection for Iowa Wesleyan averaged 16.9 ppg and 3.4 rpg as freshman in 1964-65 and 12.1 ppg as sophomore in 1965-66 before transferring with his coach to Washburn KS) fired as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002.

  • San Francisco Giants CF Billy North (played hoops briefly for Central Washington in 1967-68) stole three bases against the Atlanta Braves in 1981.

  • Montreal Expos RHP Steve Renko (averaged 9.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg as Kansas sophomore in 1963-64) won his first start of season against the New York Mets before dropping last 10 decisions of the 1972 campaign.

  • Hall of Fame RHP Robin Roberts (one of Michigan State's top three scorers each season from 1944-45 through 1946-47) surrendered the first hit on artificial turf in 1966 when Los Angeles Dodgers SS Maury Wills singled to center at Houston's Astrodome.

  • 1B Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) ripped his first homer for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 (against New York Giants). The blast was Robinson's lone round-tripper in his first 30 MLB games.

  • New York Yankees RHP Roy Sherid (Albright PA hoops center in 1926-27 and 1927-28) toiled 15 innings but lost, 5-4, against the Boston Red Sox in 1931.

  • RHP Cecil Upshaw (led Centenary in scoring as junior while averaging 13.7 ppg and 6 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64) registered his fourth victory hurling at least three innings of relief in the Atlanta Braves' first 11 games of the 1971 season.

  • Philadelphia Athletics 3B Billy Werber (first Duke hoops All-American in 1929-30) provided four safeties in season opener en route to seven multiple-hit games in his first 11 outings of the 1938 campaign.