On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on April 9 MLB Games

Extra! Extra! As a new season gains steam, 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. Did you know that outfielder "Sweet" Lou Johnson, an ex-Kentucky State hooper, was traded three times the first nine days in April in deals involving Los Angeles-based teams?

In the minors, all-time basketball great Michael Jordan made his Organized Baseball debut on April 9, 1994, when the Chicago White Sox farmhand went hitless as an outfielder for the Birmingham Barons (Southern League). What in the world was the 31-year-old Jordan thinking en route to a .202 batting average in 127 games?

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 9 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:

APRIL 9

  • RF George Altman (appeared in 1953 and 1954 NAIA Tournament with Tennessee State's basketball squad) stroked four hits against the New York Mets on Opening Day 1963 in his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals.

  • 1B George Crowe (four-year letterman from 1939-40 through 1942-43 for Indiana Central after becoming first high school player named state's "Mr. Basketball") traded by the Milwaukee Braves to the Cincinnati Reds in 1956.

  • Detroit Tigers DH Darrell Evans (member of Jerry Tarkanian-coached Pasadena City CA club winning 1967 state community college crown) homered twice in a 1986 game against the Boston Red Sox.

  • LF "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Kentucky State hoops teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded by the Detroit Tigers with $10,000 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for P Larry Sherry in 1964.

  • In his first start of the 1992 campaign, Baltimore Orioles RHP Ben McDonald (started six times as freshman forward for LSU in 1986-87 under coach Dale Brown) tossed a two-hit shutout against the Cleveland Indians.

  • Detroit Tigers 2B Gary Sutherland (averaged 7.4 ppg with USC in 1963-64) went 4-for-4 against the New York Yankees in 1974.

  • Minnesota Twins DH Dave Winfield (starting forward for Minnesota's first NCAA playoff team in 1972) stroked three extra-base hits against the Kansas City Royals in 1993.