On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on May 15 MLB Games

Extra! Extra! Read all about memorable major league baseball achievements and moments involving former college basketball players! Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Nonetheless, numerous ex-college hoopers had front-row seats to many of the most notable games, transactions and dates in MLB history.

Former Bucknell hoopers Bob Keegan and Christy Mathewson were premium MLB pitchers on this date. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is a May 15 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:

MAY 15

  • Chicago Cubs RF George Altman (appeared in 1953 and 1954 NAIA Tournament with Tennessee State basketball team) made an eighth-inning leaping catch in 1960 to help preserve Don Cardwell's no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was Cardwell's first start for the Cubbies after he was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies.

  • Kansas City Athletics LF Bob Cerv (ranked fourth on Nebraska's career scoring list in 1949-50 when finishing his career) blasted three homers against the Detroit Tigers in a 1960 doubleheader.

  • Cincinnati Reds 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) collected five RBI in a 9-4 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1958.

  • RHP George Earnshaw (Swarthmore PA hooper in 1922) purchased from the Chicago White Sox by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers C Joe Ferguson (hooper in 1967 NCAA playoffs with Pacific) furnished two homers and five RBI against the Houston Astros in a 1974 game.

  • Hall of Fame C Rick Ferrell (Guilford NC hooper in mid-1920s) traded by the Washington Senators to the St. Louis Browns in 1941.

  • Philadelphia Athletics 2B Gene Handley (Bradley hoops letterman in 1932-33 and 1933-34) had four hits in a 14-inning game against the Detroit Tigers in 1947.

  • Brooklyn Dodgers 1B Gil Hodges (hooper for St. Joseph's IN in 1943 and Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948) homered twice against the Chicago Cubs in a 1951 contest.

  • Atlanta Braves RF David Justice (Thomas More KY assists leader in 1984-85) sidelined for the remainder of the 1996 campaign after dislocating his right shoulder swinging at a pitch.

  • Chicago White Sox RHP Bob Keegan (Bucknell hoops letterman in 1941-42 and 1942-43) went the first 21 2/3 innings of the 1956 season without yielding an earned run.

  • Chicago Cubs SS Don Kessinger (three-time All-SEC selection for Mississippi from 1961-62 through 1963-64 while finishing among nation's top 45 scorers each year) contributed five hits in a 14-inning outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974, triggering a 13-game hitting streak.

  • New York Giants RHP Christy Mathewson (Bucknell hooper at turn of 20th Century) tossed his third straight shutout in 1901.

  • In 1984, Philadelphia Phillies 1B Len Matuszek (starter for Toledo's 18-7 team in 1975-76) smashed a homer in his fourth contest in a five-game span.

  • The first MLB victory for San Francisco Giants rookie LHP Phil Nastu (averaged 13.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg as senior for Bridgeport CT 1976 DII Elite Eight team compiling 24-5 record) ended up as his lone complete game (8-1 nod over Houston Astros in 1979).

  • New York Yankees LF Irv Noren (hoops player of year for California junior college state champion Pasadena City in 1945) stroked an inside-the-park grand slam in an 8-4 win over the Kansas City Athletics in 1955.

  • 2B Marv Olson (all-conference hoops selection was team MVP for Luther IA) traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees in 1933 but never played for the Bronx Bombers.

  • RHP Nels Potter (leading scorer during two years attended Mount Morris IL in early 1930s) purchased from the St. Louis Browns by the Philadelphia Athletics for $17,500 in 1948.

  • Kansas City Athletics 1B Norm Siebern (member of Southwest Missouri State squads capturing back-to-back NAIA Tournament hoops titles in 1952 and 1953) smashed two homers against the Cleveland Indians in a 1962 game.

  • San Diego Padres RF Will Venable (All-Ivy League first-team selection as junior and second-team choice as senior averaged 9.3 ppg under Princeton coach John Thompson III from 2001-02 through 2004-05) banged out four hits in a 6-1 win against the Washington Nationals in 2012.

  • Chicago White Sox RHP Jim Wilson (hoops letterman for San Diego State's 1942 NAIA Tournament participant) tossed his second of back-to-back shutouts en route to an AL-leading five whitewashes in 1957.

  • Minnesota Twins DH Dave Winfield (starting forward for Minnesota's first NCAA playoff team in 1972) smacked two homers against the Boston Red Sox in a 1993 contest.