Born on April 15, 1841, Jim Creighton was baseball’s first real star and made his pitching debut with the Brooklyn Niagaras at age eighteen in 1859. He would join the Brooklyn Star Club that year and then join the Excelsior Club, in 1860, for “under the table inducements.” Although it is difficult to prove, he was probably the first paid player.

On June 30, 1860, the Excelsior Club boarded a train and embarked on the first great baseball tour. They started in upper New York State and on July 2 defeated the Champion Club of Albany, 24–6. On July 3 the Victory Club of Troy fell to the Excelsiors 13–7. They enjoyed a 50–19 victory against the Buffalo Niagaras on July 5. Wins in Rochester, NY and Newburgh, NY followed and the Excelsiors returned to Brooklyn on July 12 to prepare for the Atlantic Base Ball Club. On July 19, some 10,000 fans turned out to watch pitching ace Jim Creighton win easily 24–4. Afterwards they turned south in response to many invitations and played the Excelsior Club of Baltimore and won 51–6 on July 22. The trip concluded with games in Philadelphia, Maryland and Delaware, with the Excelsiors winning every game.

At the time Creighton pitched, the ball had to be delivered with a stiff-armed underhand motion. Creighton was said to be one of the first to bend the rule. He inaugurated speed pitching by adding an almost undetectable wrist snap and arm bend to his delivery. From 45 feet away he threw his rising “speedballs” and then threw slow pitches he called “dew drops” to further confuse the batter. During this time the pitcher’s job was to help the batter and not hinder him. Fielding was to decide the game and some detested his aggressive approach. On November 8, 1860, Creighton would record baseball’s first shutout. He was also an excellent hitter, scoring 47 runs in 20 games that same year. During the 1862 season, he was reportedly retired only four times.

On October 18, 1862, playing against the Union Club of Morrisania, NY, Creighton hit a home run. John Chapman, who was on-deck, heard something snap during Creighton’s swing. After Jim crossed home plate he assured Chapman that his belt had broken. Four days later the Excelsior star was dead having ruptured his spleen or bladder in the process. He had bled to death of internal injuries. Jim Creighton was 21.

Here is an article with a reprinted letter from a fan in attendance (at his last game) from the St. Louis Republican in 1887:

 “Creighton’s death occurred from the rupture of his bladder, which occurred while he was pitching for the Excelsiors against the Unions of Morrisania. I was a kid at the time, and was a spectator of the match. Creighton played out the game, although I think he changed positions and went out into the field to play during the last two or three innings. Some of my companions averred that they heard his bladder burst, but if they did they did not say anything about it at the time, and it was not generally known until the next day that the celebrated pitcher was injured.”

 

He has not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

Creighton’s monument

Baseball History- The Beginning Stage

People ask me what I do in retirement. For the most part, I research baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals History became my first passion and I have produced a website of over 650 pages called History of Cardinals. I update and research that almost daily. Also, in this research, I have come across all kinds of stuff related to baseball and its history.

This post today and others to follow will be about baseball and its beginning and how it has changed over the years. I hope you enjoy this information and come back for more. The next segment will be in about two weeks when I get into the rules and how they have changed over the decades of baseball.

Feel free to email me (Tom Knuppel) at [email protected] for any thoughts, questions or other things concerning these posts.

 

The Beginning of Baseball

 

    Baseball likely originated from a game that was played in Great Britain called “rounders.” It had several other names but this is the most widely used name. But America wanted its own game. One that they could say was invented and played in the United States first. Herein, lies the rub. It may have been an original but can we be sure? Abner Doubleday is known as the inventor of the game. Let’s look at some facts.

 

 

  • During the 1950’s, the game in Massachusetts was played on a square field that had four foot high posts in the ground as bases. Each team had 10-14 players and the umpire would ask those in attendance for help in making the calls. Also, the umpire awarded the win to the first team to score 100 runs.

The first games of baseball by Doubleday were said to be played on a smooth section of a field near Cooperstown, New York in 1839. That was said to be the beginnings of baseball. But there are issues with this story. Abner Doubleday was a young cadet at West Point in 1839 and never got to Cooperstown.

Children have hit balls with bats as long as there have been children, but baseballs most direct ancestor was probably the  British game of cricket. Americans began their variations of the game and called it names such as, “old cat”, “one old cat,’ “two old cat,” “goal ball,” town ball,” “barn ball,” “string ball,” stick ball,” “base,” and “Base Ball.” Even Lewis and Clark while exploring our country tried to teach the game to the Nez Perce Indians.

  • Forest City, located near Cleveland, defeated the Brooklyn Atlantics in five innings in 1870 by the score of 132-1. In another game during the same time frame, Forest City scored 90 runs in the first inning when the rains came while they had bases loaded. The game got rained out. 

 

Many historians have turned their attention to Andrew Cartwright as possibly making the largest contribution to the invention of baseball. In Cooperstown, NY, where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located, they have given Cartwright the title as “Father of Modern Base Ball.” as can be read on his plaque in the building.

Cartwright was a bank teller in New York and he organized the first team called the Knickerbockers. He wrote a set of rules for the game and set bases 90 feet apart, had teams set a batting order that was static and each half inning ended after three outs.

The bases were made of about anything including rocks. The batter or runner could be out by someone simply hitting them with a thrown ball. Many times, it was squarely in the middle of the back. The first game played under his rules ended when the New York team scored their 21st run (which was called an ace) in the fourth inning (innings ere called a hand). The game ended with the Knickerbockers losing 23-1. The first game was played on Elysian Fields (which they rented for $75 per year) in Hoboken, New Jersey on June 19, 1846.

 

Cartwright was the pitcher and umpire for this game. His intention was to teach the players the rules he had written. In fact, he was unhappy with a player swearing and fined the player six cents for the tirade. By 1849, the game was common enough that players began wearing uniforms to play the game. It wasn’t until 1857, that the nine inning rule replace the 21 runs to end the game.

Knickerbockers New York Nine
Turney Davis
Adams Winslow
Tucker Ransom
Birney Murphy
Avery Case
H. Anthony Johnson
D. Anthony Thompson
Tryon Trenchard
Paulding Sandy Rantos

One player from the Knickerbockers that stands out is Doc Adams. He was a Graduate of Yale and Harvard Medical School. He loved baseball and was the inventor of the shortstop position. He stated that a fielder was needed to handle short throws from the outfield as other players had to cover their base. He also was instrumental in the elimination of the “bound rule.” Previously, if you caught a ball on one bounce the batter was out. Another rule was the pitching rubber would be 60 ft from the rubber.The person who set up the first field had trouble reading the measuring stick and mistook a 6 for a zero. Therefore, he set it at 60′ 6″. Even though accidental, this has stayed constant through the years. Doc Adams went on to be the President of the Knickerbockers along with being a member of the State Legislature in Connecticut.

The Start of League Play

Games became popular and teams sprung up in many areas of the country. Chicago businessman, William Hulbert, was part of the Chicago White Stockings governing board. He had a plan to get some teams together and schedule regular games. Some teams met in Louisville in 1876 and established the National Association of Baseball and eventually shortened to the National League. That is the reason it is known as the “senior circuit” because it started first. Hulbert is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Eight teams started the league that planned to play a 70 game schedule. The teams were the Chicago White Stockings, Philadelphia  Athletics, Boston Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, New York Mutuals, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Louisville Grays. Before the conclusion of the season, the Mutuals and Athletics were expelled for not taking their final trip to the western cities. At each National League game, the cost of admission was 50 cents. However, if you waited until the 3rd inning was over, you could get in for 30 cents.

  • On May 2, 1886, the first National League home run was hit by Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings. He never hit another homer in his career. 

 

Problems with the Game

The game of baseball had issues. The biggest problem was player movement. Nothing kept them with one team. After a season, there was a raid on the best players by giving them more money. In 1879, the first reserve rule was put in place. Each team could name five players as untouchable. Later, it moved to 11, then 15 and finally the entire roster.

The big test came in 1882 when a new league was formed called the American Association. They had no allegiance to the National League and went after players. Eventually, an agreement was made and rules were set in place in 1883. Abraham Mills, president of the National League got the agreement signed that set up an 11 player reserve list, guaranteed territorial rights, minimum salary ($1,000) and a postseason game between the two best teams of each league. This created the World Series.

 

  • Old Hoss Radbourn won 309 games in 11 seasons which included a 28-0 shutout for his Providence team over Philadelphia on August 21, 1883. In those early days of baseball, pitchers were to throw underhand and keep their elbow wrist straight. The batters got three missed swings before they were called out. 

Back in the earlier days, Chadwick was concerned that the “seedier” element of man might get involved in the game. Sure enough, people, including players, began betting on the game. The Mayor of New York, William “Boss” Tweed, the corrupt boss of Tammany Hall,  got involved to the detriment of the game. A scandal came about in New York as the mayor gave his catcher, third baseman and shortstop each $100 to throw the game (it was called to “heave” a game in the olden days). These players were banned to play in their league.

 

  • Did You Know? Abraham Lincoln played baseball in the late 1850’s and early 60’s? Lincoln was playing baseball in 1860 when a messenger showed up to deliver the news. Lincoln insisted he didn’t want to be interrupted and had the guy wait until the game was over. The news was telling him he had been nominated to become President of the United States. Later while President, he could be seen on the White House lawn with a bat an ball in his hand. It is reported that apparently, he skipped cabinet meetings to play on the White House lawn. 

 

American League

A new league was attempting to form from the outshoots of the American Association. It used the goals of promoting honest competition that wouldn’t use the reserve clause to make up teams and would cater to crowds with low ticket prices. The president of the new league, called the American League, was Ban Johnson. The new league formed on November 14, 1900, and had eight cities with franchises. they were Washington, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo and Baltimore.

They decided on a 140 game schedule and each team was allowed 24 players on their roster. The players for this new league were primarily from the National League. As an example, Cy Young left the Cardinals to play in the American League. The best player in the league was Nap Lajoie who left the National League Philadelphia team to play for the American League Philadelphia squad. He hit .426 for his new team and it caused controversy in Philadelphia. People were not nice to him which caused his trade to the Cleveland Indians. Things got so bad that when the Indians came to town, Lajoie left the team and spent those days at the beach so the chaos didn’t prevail.

In January 1903, the two leagues got together and created an agreement to not allow players to wander from team to team. Also, they realigned the teams in the leagues to create balance. Baltimore player/manager John McGraw discovered a talented second baseman but the problem existed that he was black. Black players were not allowed. So he tried to hoodwink the league and claimed the player, Charlie Grant, was a Cherokee Indian named Tokomoma and should be allowed to play. other executives saw through this ruse and he was not allowed to play in the American or National Leagues.

 

  • The Deadball Era was just as it sounds. In 1906, the Chicago White Sox hit seven home runs in 154 games. In the World Series of the season, the White Sox and Cubs hit no home runs at all. 

 

  • Cy Young was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era. In 1904, he tossed 23 straight hitless innings. He tossed two hitless innings on April 25th, six hitless innings on April 30th, a perfect game on May 5th and six hitless innings on May 11th. 

 

The next section in a few weeks will be The Rules. I will look into how they have evolved and some strange things that have happened under those rules. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many new baseball books for your reading pleasure that are coming out in 2018. Here is a list (likely not a complete one) of the books that come out (some are out) January 1 to June 30, 2018. I will be reviewing several of them after they come out at KnupSports.

 

Tom Gamboa: My Life in Baseball, by Tom Gamboa and David Russell

Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind, by David Wanczyk

2018 Baseball Forecaster: Encyclopedia of Fanalytics from Triumph, Ron Shandler

Baseball America 2018 Almanac
The Call to the Hall: When Baseball’s Highest Honor Came to 31 Legends of the Sport, by Kevin Warneke and David C. Ogden
Motor City Champs: Mickey Cochrane and the 1934-1935 Detroit Tigers, by Scott Ferkovich
Whitey Herzog Builds a Winner: The St. Louis Cardinals, 1979-1982, by Doug Feldmann
The Immaculate Inning: Unassisted Triple Plays, 40/40 Seasons, and the Stories Behind Baseball’s Rarest Feats, by Joe Cox
Swinging for the Fences: Black Baseball in Minnesota, by Steven R. Hoffbeck
Biz Mackey, a Giant behind the Plate: The Story of the Negro League Star and Hall of Fame Catcher, by Rich Westcott
Tom Yawkey: Patriarch of the Boston Red Sox, by Bill Nowlin
Game of My Life: New York Mets: Memorable Stories of Mets Baseball, by Michael Garry
Koufax Throws a Curve: The Los Angeles Dodgers at the End of an Era, 1964–1966, by Brian M. Endsley
Baseball Rowdies of the 19th Century: Brawlers, Drinkers, Pranksters and Cheats in the Early Days of the Major Leagues, by Eddie Mitchell
Baseball America 2018 Prospect Handbook
50 Greatest Players in Indians History, by Robert W. Cohen
Manager of Giants: The Tactics, Temper and True Record of John McGraw, by Lou Hernandez
Babe Ruth and the Creation of the Celebrity Athlete, by Thomas Barthel
Baseball Greatness: Top Players and Teams According to Wins Above Average, 1901-2016, by David Kaiser
New York Yankees Openers: An Opening Day History of Baseball’s Most Famous Team, 1903-2017, by Lyle Spatz
2018 Minor League Baseball Analyst, by Jeremy Deloney and Rob Gordon
Insight Pitch: My Life as a Major League Closer, by Skip Lockwood
Fall from Grace: The Truth and Tragedy of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, by Tim Hornbaker
Baseball Italian Style: Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers from Crosetti to Piazza, by Lawrence Baldassaro
The Baby Bombers: An Inside Look at the Young Stars Forming the Next Yankees Dynasty, by Bryan Hoch
Try Not to Suck: The Exceptional, Extraordinary Baseball Life of Joe Maddon, by Bill Chastain and Jesse Rogers
Dick Bosman on Pitching: Lessons from the Life of a Major League Ballplayer and Pitching Coach, by Dick Bosman and Ted Leavengood
Why Baseball Matters, by Susan Jacoby
Gator: My Life in Pinstripes, by Ron Guidry
Ninety Percent Mental: An All-Star Player Turned Mental Skills Coach Reveals the Hidden Game of Baseball, by Bob Tewksbury and Scott Miller
Home of the Braves: The Battle for Baseball in Milwaukee, by Patrick Steele
Miracle in Shreveport: A Memoir of Baseball, Fatherhood, and the Stadium that Launched a Dream, by David Benham and Jason Benham
A Season in the Sun: The Rise of Mickey Mantle, by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
Alou: My Baseball Journey, by Felipe Alou and Peter Kerasotis
The Pitcher and the Dictator: Satchel Paige’s Unlikely Season in the Dominican Republic, by Averell “Ace” Smith
The Shift: The Next Evolution in Baseball Thinking, by Russell A. Carleton
Gehrig and the Babe: The Friendship and the Feud, by Tony Castro
Singles and Smiles: How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier, by Gaylon H. White
Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America, by David Rapp
The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team Who Helped Win World War II, by Anne Keene
The Hometown Team: Forty Years of Boston Red Sox Photography, by Mike Shalin and Steve Babineau
Miracle Moments in New York Mets History: The Turning Points, The Memorable Games, The Incredible Records, by Brett Topel
The Dodgers: 60 Years in Los Angeles, by Michael Schiavone
Cuba Loves Baseball: A Photographic Journey, by Ira Block
A Game of Moments: Baseball Greats Remember Highlights of Their Careers, by Ron Gerrard
Pinstripe Nation: The New York Yankees in American Culture, by William Carlson Bishop
Baseball and the Occupation of Japan: America’s Pastime as a Tool to Promote Social Values, by Takeshi Tanikawa
Being Ted Williams: Growing Up with a Baseball Idol, by Dick Enberg
Once Upon a Team: The Epic Rise and Historic Fall of Baseball’s Wilmington Quicksteps, by John Springer
Hawk: Duck Snorts, Chip Shots, and My Free-Swinging Life On and Off the Field, by Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Jeff Snook
Warren Spahn: A Biography of the Legendary Lefty, by Lew Freedman
The Comic Book Story of Baseball: The Heroes, Hustlers, and History-Making Swings (and Misses) of America’s National Pastime, by Alex Irvine, Tomm Coker, and C.P. Smith
Invisible Ball of Dreams: Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line, by Emily Ruth Rutter 70
Davey Johnson: My Wild Ride in Baseball and Beyond, by Davey Johnson and Erik Sherman
I’m Keith Hernandez, by Keith Hernandez
Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition, by Jon Weisman
Breaking Babe Ruth: Baseball’s Campaign Against Its Biggest Star, by Edmund F. Wehrle
The Integration of the Pacific Coast League: Race and Baseball on the West Coast, by Amy Essington
The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White House, by Curt Smith
The Age of Ruth and Landis: The Economics of Baseball during the Roaring Twenties, by David George Surdam and Michael J. Haupert
Bat Flips and Fat Lips: Pulling Back the Curtain On Baseball’s Unwritten Rules, by Gregg Zaun and Danny Knobler
Joy in Tiger Town: A Determined Team, a Resilient City, and our Magical Run to the 1968 World Series, by Mickey Lolich and Tom Gage
A Franchise on the Rise: The First Twenty Years of the New York Yankees, by Dom Amore
An October to Remember 1968: The Tigers-Cardinals World Series as Told by the Men Who Played in It, by Brendan Donley

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Keep reading!!!

College Baseball Today- Big Ten, Missouri Valley and Top 25 Scores

(2/26/18)

Big Ten Conference Standings

Indiana  6-1-0
Purdue 6-1-0
Iowa 5-1-0
Minnesota 5-2-0
Nebraska  5-3-0
Ohio State 5-3-0
Illinois 3-3-0
Penn State 3-3-0
Maryland  3-4-0
Northwestern 2-3-0
Rutgers 2-4-0
Michigan State 2-5-0

 

Missouri Valley Standings

Bradley   5-1
Indiana State   5-2
Missouri State  4-2

Dallas Baptist 3-3

Illinois State 3-3

Valparaiso 2-4

Southern Illinois 2-5

Evansville 1-5

 

Top 25 Scores

Two weekends have gone by and many of the top teams will remain there. Cal State Fullerton has stumbled out of the gate as has North Carolina. Another that was knocking on the Top 25 list that has struggled is Dallas Baptist.  Looks look at the scores from the past week of the Top 25 teams.

Rank- Team- Season Record- Weekend Record- Games and Scores

1 Florida 7-1                  4-1 FAU W 6-1, Bethune-Cookman W 7-4, at Miami: W 7-3, W 8-2, L 2-0
2 Oregon State 8-0      5-0 New Mexico W 15-3, Nebraska: W 9-1, W 10-3, Ohio State: W 10-8, W 6-1
3 Texas Tech 7-0          3-0 New Mexico State W 12-0, at UTSA: W 5-0, W 3-0
4 Arkansas 5-2             2-2 Arizona W 1-0, Cal Poly L 4-3, San Diego State W 5-2, San Diego L 7-6
5 Florida State 7-0      4-0 South Florida W 5-2, Troy: W 7-3, W 6-5, W 9-4
6 North Carolina 3-5   1-3 UNC Wilmington L 5-4, St. John’s L 5-2, East Carolina: L 2-1, W 5-4, L 12-0
7 TCU 4-2                      2-1 Long Beach State: L 3-2, W 8-3, W 5-2
8 Kentucky 7-1             3-1 Xavier L 3-2, Oakland: W 10-1, W 17-6, W 15-6
9 Ole Miss 7-0             4-0 Memphis W 8-6, Tulane: W 5-4, W 9-1, W 6-3
10 Texas A&M 7-0      4-0 SFA W 11-4, Cornell: W 3-21, W 22-0, W 8-2
11 UCLA 6-1                 3-1 Pepperdine W 2-1, Baylor: W 5-2, L 8-6, W 3-0
12 Stanford 8-0          5-0 UC Davis W 3-2, Rice: W 7-2, W 6-2, W 7-4, W 2-0
13 Vanderbilt 7-1        5-0 Presbyterian: W 7-1, W 15-2, Umass-Lowell: W 15-0, W 15-2, W 9-2
14 Louisville 7-0         4-0 Eastern Kentucky W 4-2, Youngstown St.: W 11-0, W 8-1, W 12-2
15 Southern Miss 5-2 2-2 at South Alabama: L 10-9, UT-Martin: W 16-2, W 13-4, L 13-10
16 Dallas Baptist 3-3 0-3 at Clemson: L 12-1, L 9-1, L 3-2
17 Virginia 4-3           2-2 VMI L 9-4, Eastern Kentucky: L 7-6, W 12-3, W 13-1
18 South Alabama 7-1 4-0 Southern Miss W 10-9, Hartford: W 17-1, W 6-3, W 9-3
19 Texas 4-3              2-2 Lamar W 7-2, at LSU: L 13-4, L 10-5, W 11-1
20 Indiana 6-1         4-0 Coastal Carolina W 6-5, Rutgers W 7-6, Boston College W 4-0, Chicago State W 7-2
21 Mississippi State 3-4 3-1 at Jackson State W 12-1, UCSB W 7-4, Nicholls State W 14-4, Texas A&M CC L 6-3
22 CS Fullerton 1-6 1-3 Nevada L 2-0, Houston: W 2-1, L 9-4, L 10-5
23 LSU 4-3               3-1 New Orleans W 14-6, Texas: W 13-4, W 10-5, L 11-1
24 Houston 4-2       2-1 at Cal State Fullerton: L 2-1, W 9-4, W 10-5
25 Clemson 7-0       4-0 Furman W 12-4, Dallas Baptist: W 12-1, W 9-1, W 3-2

 

 

(2/23/18) This is the 2nd weekend of college baseball. There have not been too many surprises among the results but there has already been one coaching firing and that was at Mississippi State. The first match-up to pay attention to is #1 Florida taking on #9 Miami. The LSU #16 faces #21 Texas at home.

Top 25 in Action

1 Florida at No. 9 Miami Coral Gables, FL
2 Oregon State vs. Nebraska, Ohio State Surprise, AZ
3 Texas Christian home vs. Long Beach State Fort Worth, TX
4 Texas Tech at Texas-San Antonio San Antonio, TX
5 Florida State home vs. Troy Tallahassee, FL
6 Arkansas at Tony Gwynn Classic (Cal Poly, SDSU, USD) San Diego, CA
7 North Carolina vs. East Carolina Greenville, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC
8 Kentucky home vs. Oakland Lexington, KY
9 Miami home vs. No. 1 Florida Coral Gables, FL
10 Stanford home vs. Rice Stanford, CA
11 Ole Miss home vs. Tulane Oxford, MS
12 NC State home vs. Furman Raleigh, NC
13 Louisville home vs. Youngstown State Louisville, KY
14 Texas A&M home vs. Cornell College Station, TX
15 UCLA home vs. Baylor Los Angeles, CA
16 Louisiana State home vs. No. 21 Texas Baton Rouge, LA
17 Indiana at Snowbird Classic (Rutgers, Boston College, Chicago State) Port Charlotte, FL
18 Southern Miss at SFA Tournament (South Dakota State, UT Arlington, Stephen F. Austin) Nacogdoches, TX
19 Houston at Cal State Fullerton Fullerton, CA
20 Sam Houston State home vs. Cincinnati Huntsville, TX
21 Texas at No. 16 LSU Baton Rouge, LA
22 Clemson home vs. Dallas Baptist Clemson, SC
23 Vanderbilt home vs. UMass-Lowell Nashville, TN
24 Oklahoma home vs. Holy Cross, Valparaiso Norman, OK
25 Duke home vs. Bucknell Durham, NC

 

Some other game is interest include:

Dallas Baptist at 22 Clemson
Tulane at 11 Ole Miss
7 North Carolina vs. East Carolina
19 Houston at CS Fullerton
Long Beach State at 3 TCU
Baylor at 15 UCLA
UConn at Southeastern La.
Saint Mary’s at Arizona State

 

 

The Season Begins!

(2/16/18) There are many fans hopeful their collegiate team will be playing in Omaha in June for the College World Series. It all starts today for most team. There are 297 teams with 10,484 players that begin their quest!

Opening Weekend Matchups

The first weekend of the season is difficult to judge after it is over as to wins and losses. Don’t rush to judgment if a Top 25 team loses. It will happen on this weekend. There are some great matchups to watch, though. Duke is at Vanderbilt which is more than two smart schools getting together. It is likely both teams will get a postseason invite. On the West Coast, we find Cal State Fullerton going to face Stanford for the weekend. Another game to watch is LSU at Texas in which the LSU Tigers must replace 40 home runs and 196 RBI’s from their offense along with 56 of their 72 starts from a year ago. My favorite matchup is for in-state bragging rights with Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi facing off.

One of the best tourneys takes place in Myrtle Beach with the Baseball at the Beach Classic which will feature host Coastal Carolina along with Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Virginia Tech. I went to their event probably five years ago and it is a great way to start the season.

Enjoy the season as it should be a fun one.

 

 

Here is a look at the Missouri Valley baseball season for 2018. They are listed in the order that the coaches select them to finish this year. The Valley website has provided the following preview:

 

Dallas Baptist welcomes back seven position players with over 100 at-bats and 10 pitchers from a team that finished the season with a 42-21 record, en route to capturing the MVC tournament title. The Patriots ended the season in the NCAA Regionals with a loss to in-state rival TCU. Senior outfielder Devlin Granberg, last year’s MVC batting champ, headlines a Patriot offense that ranked 18th in the nation in scoring in 2017. Granberg hit .359 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 47 RBI a year ago. Junior third baseman Tim Millard will bring the power to the lineup, blasting 17 doubles with a team-high 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 2017. The Patriots will also return a pair of first-team All-MVC selections from last season. Junior catcher Garrett Wolforth (.289, 13 2B, 7 HR) and preseason All-American Jameson Hannah (.328, 69 runs, 19 2B, 9 HR) will look to build off last season’s success. The Patriots enter 2018 as one of just six teams in the nation to post four consecutive 40-win seasons and are one of just 13 teams to advance to the postseason in each of the last four years. DBU’s 11th place pre-season ranking from Collegiate Baseball is the highest preseason ranking in school history since the Patriots joined the Division I ranks in 2004. The Patriots will also enter the season ranked in two other preseason polls (No. 18 D1Baseball.com & No. 17 USA Today Coaches).

Missouri State returns four position starters and eight pitchers from last season’s 43-20 squad that won the MVC regular season title with an 18-1 record. The Bears won the Fayetteville Regional with a win over host Arkansas and fell in the Super Regional to host TCU. Keith Guttin enters the 2018 season as the sixth-winningest active head coach in Division I baseball with 1,219 career wins. and the Bears will enter the season ranked No. 22 in the preseason Collegiate Baseball poll. Jeremy Eierman was a first-team preseason All-America pick by Collegiate Baseball and D1Baseball.com after ranking fifth nationally with 23 home runs last spring. Eierman will look to replicate the production from 2017 after hitting .313 with 67 runs scored, 15 doubles, 23 home runs and 68 RBI. Junior outfielder Hunter Steinmetz will also be a key to the Bears lineup this season after earning second-team All-MVC honors a year ago. Steinmetz hit .300 with 60 runs scored, 11 doubles, seven home runs and 42 RBI in 2017. On the mound, Missouri State welcomes back MVC Pitcher of the Year and preseason All-American Jake Fromson. Fromson posted a 2.25 ERA in 37 appearances, going 8-3 with three saves. The reliever tossed 76.0 innings, allowing only 46 hits and 19 earned runs with 88 strikeouts. Junior Dylan Coleman will look to anchor the Bears’ rotation, finishing last season with an 8-3 record in 16 starts. Coleman boasted a 4.80 ERA in 99.1 innings of work, striking out 106 batters over the course of the season.

Indiana State returns six position starters and three key pitchers from last season’s 29-26 team. Since 2010, any time Indiana State has recorded 29 or fewer wins the team has responded with 35 or more wins the following season. Second-team All-MVC selection Dane Giesler returns to lead the Sycamore lineup this spring. Giesler batted .291 with 58 hits including a team best 17 home runs. Infielder Clay Dungan returns for ISU after starting in 55 games last season hitting .275 with 60 base hits and nine home runs. Indiana State will look to fill a void in the starting rotation this season after its top arm was taken in the 11th round of the MLB Draft. Junior RHP Tyler Ward will look to fill the spot after a solid year on the mound. Ward finished at 4-5 with a 4.16 ERA in 84.1 innings. Two Bullpen arms in right-hander Ethan Larrison and southpaw Tristan Polley return for the Sycamores this season as well. Larrison appeared in 19 games last season and struck out 32 batters while walking only one. Polley struck out 35 batters and walked just four in 26.2 innings.

Southern Illinois returns three position starters and six key pitchers from its 2017 team that finished 27-30. The Salukis will be led offensively by senior second baseman Connor Kopach. Kopach earned honorable mention All-MVC accolades last season, hitting .272 with 44 runs scored, 14 doubles four triples, four home runs and 34 RBI. Logan Blackfan enters his senior season with the second-most career doubles of all active players in NCAA Division I, boasting 54 two baggers after his junior season. The Salukis return two key arms to the mound in 2018. Senior right hander Michael Baird started 13 games last spring, going 4-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 79.0 innings of work. Senior reliever Ryan Netemeyer led the MVC with 15 saves last season and posted a 3.48 ERA in 31.0 innings of work. In 27 appearances, Netemeyer allowed only 12 earned runs and 20 hits, striking out 32 batters.

Illinois State welcomes back all nine position starters and most of the pitchers from last year’s 16-40 team. The Redbirds finished the season strong, advancing all the way to the championship game of the MVC Tournament. ISU was the only league team to defeat league champion Missouri State, as the Redbirds accomplished the feat three times. The Redbirds lost 12 games by one run last season and six more by only two runs. Illinois State returns 95.2 percent of its total starts and 95.6 of the team’s at-bats from last season. Most of the pitching staff also returns, including 78.6 percent of starting assignments and 77.3 percent of innings pitched. Junior shortstop Owen Miller will lead the Illinois State offense. Miller hit .325 with 36 runs scored, 19 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 48 RBI a year ago, earning second-team All-MVC honors. Senior catcher Collin Braithwaite is the top returning power bat for the Redbirds. The senior hit .239 with 12 doubles, six home runs and 36 RBI in the middle of the order a year ago.

Bradley returns eight position starters and six pitchers with over 30 innings of work from last year’s 20-31 squad. The Braves welcome back last year’s MVC Freshman of the Year winner as Brendan Dougherty prepares for his sophomore season. Dougherty led the Braves with a .305 batting average, adding 33 runs scored, nine doubles and 15 RBI. The power for the Bradley lineup returns as well as senior first baseman Derek Bangert looks to improve upon last year’s team-high of 14 home runs and 42 RBI. On the mound, junior lefty Cole Cook claimed an 8-6 record in 2017. Cook held a 4.77 ERA in 11 starts and 77.1 innings of work. The 2018 campaign will mark the ninth season in which the Braves return at least one pitcher who won at least seven games (Cook) the previous season and the team’s top hitter by batting average (Dougherty). The last year it occurred, 2015, the Braves finished 36-21 overall and earned their first NCAA Regional appearance in 47 years.

Evansville returns eight position player starters and six pitchers with over 20 innings of work from last season’s 18-39 team. Senior catcher Travis Tokarek returns after earning second-team All-MVC honors last season. Tokarek hit .265 in 2017 with 31 runs scored, 13 doubles, eight home runs and 36 RBI. Tokarek will be joined in the middle of the Aces order by senior Andrew Tanous. Tanous posted a .303 batting average last season, adding 32 runs scored with 18 doubles, four home runs and 31 RBI. On the mound, senior right hander Justin Hayden is the lone returning starter for Evansville. Hayden started 15 games last spring, going 4-8 with a 5.99 ERA. The senior tossed 76.2 innings and struck out 58 batters.

Valparaiso will compete as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference for the first time this spring. The Crusaders return 12 position players and 14 pitchers from last year’s team that finished 24-29 overall as a member of the Horizon League. Three Crusaders earned Horizon League all-freshman team honors last season, the first time Valpo had three players on the all-freshman team since 2013. After posting a 4-1 record, 2.93 ERA and seven saves, right-handed pitcher Jon Tieman was named a Freshman All-American, becoming the first Crusader to earn that high honor since shortstop Spencer Mahoney in 2012. The Valpo offense has enjoyed a significant statistical uptick over the last three seasons. The Crusaders held a combined average of .279, slugging percentage of .387 and on-base percentage of .372 from 2015-2017, all improvements from a .265/.351/.337 slash line from 2012-2014. Senior outfielder Giovanni Garbella is the top returning power bat for the Crusaders, hitting .302 with 17 doubles, five home runs and 32 RBI last season.

 

DBU will host the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference Championship, May 23-26, in Dallas, Texas. All games will be played at Horner Ballpark and will be shown live on The Valley on ESPN3.

 

 

 

 

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(2/14/18) The Big Ten comes from a cold climate area of the country and therefore doesn’t get many teams into the Field of 64 in most years. It is those from the South, Southeast and West that get in. Today, we look at the Big Ten and what each team brings to the field. This review will be brought to you in alphabetical order but Indiana and Maryland are the two favorites in the Big Ten. In 2017, this conference got five teams into the tournament but none of them made it out of regionals.

Illinois– The Illini was 23 games last year but really struggled in conference contests by winning 9 games and losing 15. Tow of the best bats return and second baseman Michael Massey brings in his .330 average and 6 homers along with 36 runs batted in. Jack Yalowitz, the right fielder, led the squad with 12 home runs, 44 runs batted in and a .335 batting average along with 10 stolen bases. The Illini will be counting on them to keep it going.

The pitching staff gets a bit more seasoning as Joey Gerber returns after tossing 33 innings and fanning 43  with a 4.26 ERA to help him save 8 games. Ty Weber threw over 78 innings and finished with 53 strikeouts and a 5.51 ERA. Look for transfer hurlers Sean Leland and Andy Fisher to help out on the mound. The pitching projects to be the most concern for Illinois and head coach Dan Hartleb.

Indiana– The Hoosiers are the class of the conference this year after a good season in 2017. Lat year they won 34 games and were 14-9-1 in the Big Ten Conference. Coach Chris Lemonis will return 7 starters return from the field with third baseman Li=uke Millers and his 15 doubles, 10 home runs, 52 runs scored and 42 RBI’s leading the return. Matt Lloyd and Logan Sowers combined for 24 homers and 89 runs batted in for Indiana as they come back for 2018.

The entire rotation and bullpen return for Indiana and will be led by Jonathan Stievers and his 57 strikeouts, Pauly Milto with 65 punch outs and Time Herring who sported a 3.91 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Matt Lloyd will return from his solid 2017 season along with Cal Krueger and a 2.82 ERA in 60 innings of work.

Iowa- It was a great season in 2017 for the Hawkeyes as they took the conference championship and won a game at the Houston Regional and defeat the host in one game. They ended with a 39-22 record and were 15-9 in conference play. This season appears to project differently as leading home run hitter as Jake Adams and his 29 bombs have graduated. Leading the new charge will be outfielder Robert Neustrom who drove in 55 runs while hitting .310 and knocking nine bombs. Catcher Tyler Cropley comes back and is possibly the best defensive catcher in the conference who had a solid .260 batting average in 2017. Watch for Ben Norman to add to his outstanding freshman season.

Brady Schaunel has bypassed two MLB draft picks and comes to Iowa from nearby Parkland College (in Illinois). He brings a great fastball to the mound and Coach Rick Heller is excited to get him in the rotation. Also, Nick Allgeyer will get a weekend rotation spot after missing last year with Tommy John surgery. One of the top closers last year returns for Iowa as Zach Daniels returns from a 3.22 ERA and 55 strikeouts.

Maryland– The Terrapins were good last year as they were 38-23 but struggled to beat ranked team as they went 3-8 in those games. The cupboard is far from bare as Outfielder Zach Jancarski is back after hitting .325 a year ago with 50 runs scored, 17 doubles, 3 home runs, 26 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Marty Coses had 46 runs batted in to go along with 45 doubles, 13 homers and a .322 batting average. He returns despite being drafted in the 25th round by the Astros. On the infield, AJ Lee, Will Watson and Nick Dunn come back and freshmen Randy Bednar and Tommy Gardiner look to contribute to the squad.

On the hill, the weekend rotation of Tyler Brohm and Taylor Bloom return to make that a solid 1-2 punch. Ryan Hill and John Murphy close out the staff that come back for 2018.

Michigan– The Wolverines were fantastic during the regular season with 42 wins but flopped miserably in the postseason with two consecutive losses in the conference tourney and then out quickly in the regional. Leading the charge this season is second baseman Ako Thomas with his .354 average last season with 23 stolen bases and 41 runs scored. Also, outfielder Miles Lewis and Jonathan Englemann return to the team. Four of the top six hitters from 2017 are gone and the onus is on the returnees.

Another issue comes from the pitching staff and 43 starts from last year are gone. Alec Rennard is back as he pitched 65 innings with a 4.43 ERA last season along with Jayce Vancena and his five starts. The bullpen will be turned over to and anchored by Tommy Henry who tossed 31 innings last year and fanned 39 batters.

Michigan State– The Spartans started strong last year with a 9-1 record and then fell apart. They finished with 29 wins and didn’t qualify for the Big Ten Tournament. Returning from a fantastic freshman season is outfielder Bryce Kelley. He hit .353 and drove in 21 runs along with 13 stolen bases. Chad Roskelley is back after hitting .324 last year and Royce Ando will man the shortstop spot. Look for freshman Adam Proctor and Bailey Peterson to get plenty of chances to be part of the offense.

Jake Lowery will get a rotation spot after fanning 70 in 51 innings along with Mike Mokma and Riley McCauley on the mound for this young team.  Ethan Landon is expected to be a key contributor to the pitching staff as well.

Minnesota– The Gophers won 36 games on the year with 15 in the conference and has a solid season in 2017 with a three seed in the tourney. Luke Pettersen returns after hitting .354 and driving in 30 runs. Micah Coffey, Jordan Kozicky and Toby Hanson return to make their top four batters back for another year.

On the mound, Reggie Mayers, Nolan Burchill, Brett Schulze and Nick Lackney return as starters with Fred Manke and Jackson Rose doing bullpen duty. The Gophers return very little experience and will need some young pitchers to step up in 2018.

Nebraska– The Cornhuskers made the NCAA Tournament last year as they won 16 conference games and 35 overall but went out in two games. The Rays drafted outfielder Scott Schreiber in the 27th round but he will return after hitting .330 on the yar with 15 doubles and 7 home runs. Shortstop Angelo Atlavila drove in 39 runs with 14 doubles and a .316 average and is back for this year. Others to return are Jesse Wilkening, Mojo Hagge and Luis Alvarado for offensive help.

Jake Hohensee went 7-3 last year in 80 innings and sported a 4.39 ERA including 57 strikeouts. The rotation is in need of help and will call on Jake McSteen and Matt Waldron to replace those gone to graduation.

Northwestern– The Wildcats finished under .500 after a 0-7 start. Things got better for them as they made it to the Big Ten Tournament championship only to lose to Iowa. The bats that return look like they will need some work as Alex Erro hit .275, Jack Claeys at .256 and Connor Lind finished at .255. A couple of freshmen, Jack Kelly and David Dunn, will get plenty of looks to break into the lineup in 2018.

On the hill, Hank Christie returns after pitching 83 innings and fanning 53 batters. Josh Levy comes back after 35 innings and Sam Lawrence threw 47 innings and led the team with a 2.85 ERA. Look for freshman Quinn Lavelle to make an impression for Northwestern.

 

 

Ohio State– The Buckeyes finished 22-34 and were 8-16 in the conference. The leading hitter that returns will be Dom Canzone. He hit three homers, drove in 26 runs and had a .343 batting average. Things fall down from there with Brady Cherry, Connor Pohl and newcomers Malik Jones, Kobie Foppe and Dillon Dingler being called upon to fill the gap. Three pitchers with experience return for coach Greg Beals with Ryan Feltner, Connor Curlis and Seth Kinsler getting the call.

Penn State– After a dismal 18-37 record, the Nittany Lions will be looking for improvement as Braxton Giavedoni will return from a decent freshman season and Conlin Hughes will continue to hit. Help is needed on the field and at the plate. Not much returns from the pitching staff except Justin Hagenman and Myles Gayman along with Nick Distasio and his 4 saves.

Purdue– The Boilermakers won 29 games and an invite to the Big Ten Tourney only to get ousted in two games. Freshman Ben Nisle will be getting a chance to start in the outfield. Jacson McGowan returns along with Nick Dalesandro, Harry Shipley and sophomore Skyler Hunter. There are a few transfers, Braden Giroux and Nick Everts that will be asked to contribute in 2018.

The top starter, Tanner Andrews comes back after a 4.52 ERA in 83 innings and Gareth Stroh will hope to improve his numbers from last year. Others looking for time with be Ross Learnard, Dalton Parker and freshman Cory Brooks. Look for transfer Ryan Beard to vie for a rotation spot.

Rutgers– Head Coach Joe Litterio is looking for help from a 2017 squad that won only 19 games. Things should improve with the players that are returning. Shortstop Kevin Welsh, centerfielder Jawuan Harris and catcher Nick Matera will be called upon to lead the improvements. Pitchers Serafino Brito, John O’Reilly and Joe Neglia all come back and this will be the strength of the club. Freshman Harry Rutkowski and Eric Heatter will e given chances all season to make the weekend rotation.

 

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College Baseball Today- Conference Predictions and Field of 64

(February 12, 2018) This week the games begin!!! I am looking forward to watching, listening, reading and discussing some College Baseball from around the country. First, I will begin by predicting the Top Four teams in each conference. Please note that I also will put the teams that I predict will be in the Field of 64 to begin their trek to Omaha for the College World Series 2018 and they will be in bold type.

There is a difference in how the Field of 64 is constructed in 2018. In the past, the selection committee seeded the top eight team in the nation and paired them with a host site based on approximate geography. This seemed to always pit the same two teams in the first round against each other almost every year. This year, the committee will seed all the 16 host sites and pair the regionals accordingly. 

ACC

  1. Florida State
  2. Louisville
  3. NC State 
  4. Clemson

also in Virginia, Duke, Miami, Wake Forest and UNC

American

  1. Houston
  2. E Carolina
  3. UConn
  4. UCF

Atlantic 10

  1. VCU
  2. St. Louis
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Davidson

Atlantic Sun

  1. Stetson
  2. Florida Gulf Coast
  3. Jacksonville
  4. North Florida

Big Ten

  1. Indiana
  2. Maryland
  3. Minnesota
  4. Michigan

Big 12

  1. Texas Tech
  2. TCU
  3. Texas
  4. West Virginia

also in is Oklahoma

Big East

  1. St. John’s
  2. Seton Hall
  3. Xavier
  4. Creighton

Big South

  1. Winthrop
  2. Liberty
  3. High Point
  4. Radford

Big West

  1. Cal State Fullerton
  2. Long Beach State
  3. UC Santa Barbara
  4. Hawaii

Colonial

  1. UNC Wilmington
  2. College of Charleston
  3. Delaware
  4. Northeastern

C-USA

  1. Southern Miss
  2. Rice
  3. Florida Atlantic
  4. Florida International

Horizon

  1. Wright State
  2. Illinois Chicago
  3. Northern Kentucky
  4. Milwaukee

Ivy

  1. Yale
  2. Dartmouth
  3. Columbia
  4. Pennsylvania

Metro Atlantic

  1. Canisius
  2. Marist
  3. Niagara
  4. Fairfield

MAC

  1. Kent State
  2. Central Michigan
  3. Ball State
  4. Ohio

MEAC

  1. Bethune-Cookman
  2. Norfolk State
  3. Florida A&M
  4. NC A&T

Missouri Valley

  1. Dallas Baptist
  2. Missouri State
  3. Indiana State
  4. Southern Illinois

Mountain West

  1. San Diego State
  2. New Mexico
  3. Fresno State
  4. Nevada

Northeast

  1. Bryant
  2. Central Connecticut
  3. Wagner
  4. LIU Brooklyn

Ohio Valley

  1. Morehead State
  2. Tennessee Tech
  3. Belmont
  4. Jacksonville State

Pac-12

  1. Oregon State
  2. Stanford
  3. UCLA
  4. Arizona

also getting in is California

Patriot

  1. Navy
  2. Lehigh
  3. Bucknell
  4. Holy Cross

SEC

  1. Florida
  2. Arkansas
  3. Vanderbilt
  4. LSU

also in are Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M

Southern

  1. Mercer
  2. UNCG
  3. West Carolina
  4. Furman

Southland

  1. Sam Houston State
  2. Southeastern Louisiana
  3. McNeese State
  4. Central Arkansas

Summit

  1. Oral Roberts
  2. South Dakota State
  3. North Dakota State
  4. Western Illinois

Sun Belt

  1. South Alabama
  2. UL Lafayette
  3. Coastal Carolina
  4. UTA

SWAC

  1. Grambling
  2. Texas Southern
  3. Alabama State
  4. Jackson State

WAC

  1. Grand Canyon
  2. New Mexico State
  3. Sacramento State
  4. Seattle

West Coast

  1. San Diego
  2. St. Mary’s
  3. BYU
  4. Gonzaga

It is not an exact science but this gives me a baseline as I watch the teams this season. According to my picks, the ACC will get nine teams in and the SEC will feature 10 teams. This is a huge number of teams. However, the Big Ten has two but the Big 12 could get a many as five teams into the field of 64.

The College World Series takes place in Omaha, Nebraska at the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 16 and will conclude on June 27th. You may want to get your tickets early.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is less than a week before the collegiate baseball has opening day. February 16th all over the country teams will flock to warm climates to play some baseball and begin their trek to the College Baseball World Series. I will be watching three area this season as I cover the Top 15, the Big Ten and Missouri Valley teams with an occasional “other” comment and coverage.  I can’t vow to be doing this everyday but hope to be rather consistent with my information. I hope you find this interesting and will join me for the season. Feel free to comment and give opinions throughout the year.

 

 

  • Monday will be Top 25 talk.
  • Tuesday we look into the Big Ten
  • Wednesday the Missouri Valley gets our attention.
  • Thursday we seek out the Top 25 college players in the nation.
  • Friday we have game match-ups.
  • Saturday-Sunday will be scoreboard and box scores

Here is the preseason Top 25 with their preseason rank followed by 2017 record and final 2017 rank.

1. Florida | 52-19 | 1

2. Oregon State | 56-6 | 3

3. Florida State | 46-23 | 6

4. Arkansas | 45-19 | 19

5. Texas Tech | 45-17 | 12

6. UNC | 49-14 | 11

7. TCU | 50-18 | 3

8. Kentucky | 43-23 | 9

9. Stanford | 42-16 | 15

10. Texas A&M | 41-23 | 10

11. Cal State Fullerton | 39-24 | 7

12. Clemson | 42-21 | 23

13. UCLA | 30-27 | NR

14. Texas | 39-24 | 24

15. Virginia | 43-16 | 12

16. Mississippi | 32-25 | NR

17. LSU | 52-20 | 2

18. Vanderbilt | 36-25 | 18

19. Louisville | 53-12 | 5

20. Indiana | 34-24 | NR

21. Southern Miss | 50-16 | 16

22. UCF | 40-22 | NR

23. Mississippi State | 40-27 | 14

24. South Alabama | 40-21 | NR

25. St. John’s | 42-13 | NR