On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on October 1 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.

Three former hoopers from Louisiana universities - Walker Cress (LSU), Lee Smith (Northwestern State) and Cecil Upshaw (Centenary) - made N.L. pitching news on this date. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an October 1 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:


  • California Angels RHP Mike Barlow (basketball player for Syracuse from 1967-68 through 1969-70) won his lone start in 1977, yielding only two hits in seven innings in a 4-1 decision over the Kansas City Royals.

  • RHP Ralph Branca (sixth-leading scorer for NYU in 1943-44) incurred the loss for the Brooklyn Dodgers when they dropped the first-ever N.L. playoff in 1946 at St. Louis, which got three hits from C Joe Garagiola.

  • 1B Herb Conyers (second-leading scorer for Central Missouri State in 1941-42 when earning All-MIAA first-team recognition) clobbered a homer during an eighth-inning, five-run rally to help propel the Cleveland Indians to a 7-5 win against the Detroit Tigers in 1950.

  • Cincinnati Reds RHP Walker Cress (LSU hoops letterman from 1936-37 through 1938-39) hurled a complete game but lost his lone MLB decision (2-1 against Pittsburgh Pirates in 1948).

  • Chicago White Sox RHP Charles "Slim" Embrey (Vanderbilt hoops letterman in 1921-22 and 1922-23) appeared in his lone MLB game in 1923.

  • After having only 66 regular-season at-bats, Chicago White Sox backup 3B Sammy Esposito (averaged 7 ppg in 1951-52 as starting guard under Indiana coach Branch McCracken) batted twice in an 11-0 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1959 World Series opener.

  • Detroit Tigers 1B Darrell Evans (member of Jerry Tarkanian-coached Pasadena City CA club winning 1967 state community college crown) homered twice in a 1985 contest against the Toronto Blue Jays en route to an A.L.-high 40 round-trippers.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers C Joe Ferguson (hooper for Pacific's 1967 NCAA playoff team) collected six RBI in an 8-4 win against the San Francisco Giants in 1980.

  • San Francisco Giants RHP Bob Garibaldi (starting forward averaged 10.6 ppg and 5.6 rpg for Santa Clara in 1961-62) lost his lone MLB start (9-4 against San Diego Padres in 1969).

  • Pittsburgh Pirates LHP Joe Gibbon (two-time All-SEC forward for Ole Miss was nation's second-leading scorer as senior in 1956-57) went the distance winning his last three decisions of the 1961 campaign, including two shutouts (three-hitter and one-hitter).

  • In the first game ever broadcast live coast-to-coast, RHP Jim Hearn (Georgia Tech hoops letterman in 1941-42) notched a career-high 17th triumph for the New York Giants in the opener of 1951 N.L. playoff series against Branca and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Supporting Hearn with a homer was LF Monte Irvin (Lincoln PA hooper 1 1/2 years in late 1930s).

  • Brooklyn Dodgers 1B Gil Hodges (hooper for St. Joseph's IN in 1943 and Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948) contributed three hits and three RBI in an 8-5 triumph against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the 1955 World Series.

  • Cincinnati Reds RF Earle "Greasy" Neale (West Virginia Wesleyan College hooper graduated in 1915) contributed three hits in a 9-1 success against the Chicago White Sox in the opener of the 1919 World Series.

  • In his third start in five days, RHP Robin Roberts (Michigan State's second-leading scorer in 1945-46 and 1946-47) defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-1, in 1950 as the Whiz Kids clinched the Philadelphia Phillies' first pennant in 35 years. Roberts became the first 20-game winner for the Phils since Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1917.

  • In a 1970 game, New York Mets rookie LF Ken Singleton (Hofstra freshman hoops team in mid-1960s) supplied the only two hits (both doubles) off Chicago Cubs standout Ferguson Jenkins.

  • St. Louis Cardinals RHP Lee Smith (averaged 3.4 ppg and 1.9 rpg with Northwestern State in 1976-77) established a N.L. record for most saves in a single season in 1991.

  • In 1954, OF Ted Tappe (leading scorer in 1949 NJCAA Tournament was Washington State's third-leading scorer the next year in 1949-50) traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago Cubs in a deal involving RHP Jim Willis (Northwestern State letterman in late 1940s).

  • In his MLB debut, Atlanta Braves RHP Cecil Upshaw (Centenary's leading scorer as junior in 1962-63) tossed three hitless innings of relief against the Cincinnati Reds in 1966.

  • St. Louis Cardinals 1B Bill White (two-year hooper with Hiram OH in early 1950s) played the entire schedule in 1963.