On This Date: Ex-College Hoopers Make Their Mark on September 9 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.

Two former hoopers from Kentucky small colleges - Sweet Lou Johnson (Kentucky State) and David Justice (Thomas More) - made hitting headlines as N.L. outfielders on this date. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is a September 9 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:


  • Chicago Cubs 1B Larry Biittner (runner-up in basketball scoring and rebounding in 1966-67 for Buena Vista IA) stroked four hits in a 15-2 romp over the Philadelphia Phillies in 1979.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates RF Dan Costello (Mount St. Mary's hooper from 1910-11 through 1913-14) went 3-for-3 against the Chicago Cubs in a 1914 game.

  • SS Alvin Dark (hoops letterman for LSU and USL during World War II) accounted for all of the New York Giants' offense with two homers in a 2-0 victory against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 as teammate Sal Maglie hurled a MLB-tying fourth straight shutout.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers RF Joe Ferguson (hooper in 1967 NCAA playoffs for Pacific) launched a three-run homer, which was the game-winning hit in a 5-3 win against the San Diego Padres in 1973.

  • Brooklyn Robins 2B Jake Flowers (member of Washington College MD "Flying Pentagon" hoops squad in 1923) knocked in the winning run in the ninth inning in a 3-2 victory against the New York Giants in 1928.

  • Chicago Cubs 3B Howard Freigau (Ohio Wesleyan hooper) supplied four safeties, including three extra-base hits, in a 9-7 triumph against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925.

  • LHP Steve Hamilton (Morehead State's leading scorer and rebounder in 1956-57 and 1957-58) awarded on waivers from the New York Yankees to the Chicago White Sox in 1970.

  • In 1964, Los Angeles Dodgers 1B-OF Frank Howard (two-time All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection when leading Ohio State in scoring and rebounding in 1956-57 and 1957-58) hammered his eighth homer in 20 at-bats against San Francisco Giants P Bob Hendley, including four in a row the previous year (not in same game).

  • RHP Bobby Humphreys (four-year hoops letterman graduated from Hampden-Sydney VA in 1958) won his second game in relief in four days to help the St. Louis Cardinals advance toward the 1964 N.L. pennant.

  • Atlanta Braves RF David Justice (Thomas More KY assists leader in 1984-85) amassed two homers and five RBI against the San Francisco Giants in a 1991 contest.

  • In 1965, Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Sandy Koufax (Cincinnati's freshman hoops squad in 1953-54) hurled his fourth no-hitter in as many years. It was a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs, who yielded a lone safety but incurred their second one-hit setback this season against L.A. LF "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) secured the game's only hit and scored the lone run.

  • Minnesota Twins rookie RF Graig Nettles (shot 87.8% from free-throw line for San Diego State in 1963-64) homered in his fourth consecutive contest in 1968.

  • INF Tim Nordbrook (Loyola LA hoops letterman in 1968-69) purchased from the Baltimore Orioles by the California Angels in 1976.

  • RHP John Stuper (two-time all-conference junior college hooper in mid-1970s for Butler County PA) traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds in 1984.

  • Detroit Tigers 2B Gary Sutherland (averaged 7.4 ppg with USC in 1963-64) provided four hits against the New York Yankees in a 1975 outing.

  • Chicago White Sox RF Evar Swanson (played all five positions for Knox IL) went 4-for-4 against the Washington Senators in the opener of a 1934 doubleheader.

  • Detroit Tigers rookie SS Coot Veal (averaged team-high 10.9 ppg as Auburn sophomore in 1951-52 before transferring to Mercer) scored three runs in the first of five two-hit outings in a seven-game span in 1958.

  • Kansas City Athletics 1B-OF Preston Ward (second-leading scorer for Southwest Missouri State in 1946-47 and 1948-49) walloped three homers in a row against the Baltimore Orioles in a 1958 game.

  • Philadelphia Phillies RF Cy Williams (Notre Dame forward in 1909-10) whacked homers in his first two at-bats but they weren't enough to prevent a 12-6 reversal against the Brooklyn Robins in 1926.

  • New York Giants 1B Babe Young (Fordham hoops letterman in 1935-36) blasted two homers in a 1941 contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates.