On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on May 17 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.

Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is a May 17 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:

MAY 17

  • Milwaukee Brewers 1B Joe Adcock (Louisiana State's leading basketball scorer in 1945-46) collected a homer among his four hits in a 9-4 triumph against the New York Giants in 1955.

  • Philadelphia Phillies LF Morrie Arnovich (Wisconsin-Superior hooper in early 1930s) went 5-for-5, raising his batting average to .426, in a 7-3 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1939.

  • Chicago Cubs 2B Glenn Beckert (three-year hoops letterman for Allegheny PA) went 4-for-4 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the midst of a 26-game hitting streak in 1973.

  • 1B-OF Larry Biittner (runner-up in scoring and rebounding for Buena Vista IA in 1966-67) traded with RHP Steve Renko (averaged 9.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg as a Kansas sophomore in 1963-64) by the Montreal Expos to the Chicago Cubs for 1B Andre Thornton in 1976. The next year, Biittner belted two of the Cubs' seven homers in a 23-6 romp over the San Diego Padres.

  • Detroit Tigers 2B Frank Bolling (averaged 7.3 ppg for Spring Hill AL in 1950-51) swatted a homer in his third consecutive contest in 1958.

  • Detroit Tigers 1B Tony Clark (San Diego State's leading scorer in WAC games in 1991-92) socked two homers for the second time in a six-game span in 1997.

  • New York Mets 1B Donn Clendenon (four-sport letterman with Morehouse GA) clubbed two homers against the Atlanta Braves in a 1971 outing.

  • California Angels OF Billy Cowan (Utah hoops letterman from 1957-58 through 1959-60 was co-captain of NCAA playoff team as senior) hit safely for the fourth time in a span of five pinch-hit appearances in 1970.

  • Boston Braves SS Dick Culler (#9 jersey retired by High Point for Little All-American in 1935 and 1936) went 4-for-4 in a 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1947.

  • Detroit Tigers CF Hoot Evers (hoops starter for Illinois in 1939-40) broke up a scoreless duel with a two-run homer in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1947.

  • Boston Red Sox 1B Dick Gernert (Temple letterman in 1948-49 when averaging 2.7 ppg) went 4-for-4 in a 10-1 triumph against the Detroit Tigers in 1959.

  • San Francisco Giants RHP Ed Halicki (NAIA All-American third-team choice in 1971-72 when leading Monmouth in scoring with 21 ppg after setting school single-game rebounding record with 40 the previous season) hurled his second straight two-hitter in 1979.

  • 1B Ron Jackson (All-MAC second-team choice from 1951-52 through 1953-54 led Western Michigan in scoring his last two seasons) traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Milwaukee Braves for INF Ray Boone in 1960.

  • Atlanta Braves CF Kenny Lofton (Arizona's leader in steals for 1988 Final Four team compiling a 35-3 record) supplied his third five-hit game of the 1997 campaign in an 11-6 triumph against the St. Louis Cardinals. Three years earlier with the Cleveland Indians, Lofton smacked two homers against the Milwaukee Brewers in 1994.

  • RHP Ted Lyons (two-time All-SWC first-team hoops selection for Baylor in early 1920s) started the first of eight straight doubleheader openers for the Chicago White Sox in 1942.

  • Washington Senators 1B Sam Mele (NYU's leading hoops scorer in 1943 NCAA playoffs) supplied two triples among his four hits in 1951 game against the Detroit Tigers.

  • CF Billy North (played four basketball games with Central Washington in 1967-68) traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Los Angeles Dodgers for OF Glenn Burke in 1978.

  • CF Jim Northrup (second-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder for Alma MI in 1958-59) drilled a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 7-3 victory over the Washington Senators. It was one of Northrup's five grand slams in 1968.

  • In 1935, New York Giants RHP Roy Parmelee (Eastern Michigan hoops letterman in 1924-25 and 1925-26) lost for the only time in his first 10 decisions to early July.

  • Brooklyn Dodgers 2B Jackie Robinson (highest scoring average in Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with UCLA in 1939-40 and 1940-41) supplied three extra-base safeties against the Chicago Cubs in 1949, triggering a streak where he had multiple-hit outings in 2/3 of his next 39 contests en route to a N.L.-high .342 batting average. Two years later, Robinson went 4-for-4 against the Cubs in 1951.

  • Chicago Cubs SS Roy Smalley Jr. (one of top scorers for Drury MO in 1942-43 and 1943-44) went 4-for-5 against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 1953 doubleheader.

  • LHP Eric Stults (hooper for 1999 NAIA D-II Tournament runner-up and 2000 NCCAA Tournament titlist with Bethel IN) awarded on waivers from the Chicago White Sox to the San Diego Padres in 2012.

  • CF Bill Virdon (Drury MO hooper in 1949) traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956 only one year after being named N.L. Rookie of the Year. He finished runner-up in the N.L. batting race with a .319 mark (.211 for Cards and .334 for Pirates).

  • Chicago Cubs CF Cy Williams (Notre Dame forward in 1909-10) went 4-for-4 with five RBI in a 7-2 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1916.

  • New York Yankees LF Dave Winfield (starting forward for Minnesota's first NCAA playoff team in 1972) cracked two homers against the Detroit Tigers in a 1983 game.

  • In the midst of a career-high 20-game hitting streak in 2007, San Francisco Giants CF Randy Winn (Santa Clara backcourtmate of eventual two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash in 1993-94) drove in the decisive run in the 12th inning of a 2-1 triumph against the Houston Astros.

  • In 1925, Washington Senators LHP Tom Zachary (Guilford NC hoops letterman in 1916) yielded the 3,000th hit of Cleveland Indians OF Tris Speaker's Hall of Fame career.