Friday, February 19, 2010

Sisler Elected to College Baseball Hall of Fame

 Former University of Michigan baseball great George Sisler (1913-15) will become the fourth Wolverine in the last three years enshrined into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday (Feb. 18). Sisler joins former U-M coach Branch Rickey (1910-13) and players Jim Abbott (1986-88) and Barry Larkin (1983-85) in the Hall.

Hall of Fame inductees are chosen based on the votes of more than 110 representatives from coast to coast. Voters include retired and active coaches, media members and previous inductees. To be eligible for the College Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, players must have completed one year of competition at a two-year institution in the CCCAA or NJCAA or a four-year NCAA (Division I, II or III) or NAIA institution.

Sisler and the rest of the 2010 inductees will be honored on July 1, 2010, as part of the College Baseball Foundation's annual celebration of both the past and present of college baseball from July 1 through July 3 in Lubbock, Texas.

Sisler made his mark at Michigan both on the mound and at the plate, but it was his exploits with a bat that gained him the most fame, tallying a career average around .445. Sisler's U-M career began as a member of the first-year engineering school team as a freshman in the intramural league. At the time, freshmen could not play for the varsity squad. His MVP performance over the juniors of the law school in the championship was enough to catch the eye of varsity coach Rickey.

Sisler became an immediate starter in his sophomore season of 1913, leading the Wolverines to a 21-4-1 record, their first 20-win season in history. Sisler finished the 1913 season with a .445 batting average and earned All-America honors for his pitching and outfield play. In 1914, Sisler battled arm trouble on the mound but still managed to hit near .500 at the plate. He returned for the 1915 season, earning All-America accolades for the second time with a .451 average.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Browns No-Hit White Sox on Two Consecutive Days

A bizarre pitching performance of the 1917 season includes the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox. In 2 of 3 games over 2 days, the Browns no hit the Sox - in both games. The Browns had their number for at least one weekend. (Click on Bob Groom Photo to Enlarge)

Neither Ernie Koob nor Bob Groom were particularly great pitchers. Koob went 6-14 with a 3.90 ERA in 1917. For a career he was 24-31 with an ERA of 3.13 over 125 games and ended up with more walks than strikeouts (186 to 121). His final season was 1919 and he died in 1941. Groom was 8-19 (the 19 losses led the AL), with an ERA of 2.94 in 1917. For his career he was 120-150 with a 3.10 ERA over 367 games. He had 783 walks and 1159 strikeouts. He ended his Major League career in 1918, only a year after his no hitter, and died in 1948.

A couple of interesting points to make here: First, it’s the only time the same team threw no hitters on back to back days (in 1968 there were no hitters on back-to-back days, but by different teams, and in 1990 there were two no hitters thrown on the same day, but in different leagues). Second, the Browns were on their way to finishing a dismal 7th (in an 8 team league) 43 games back. The pennant winner? The Chicago White Sox, who won the pennant by nine games and the World Series in six games. So the Sox were a better team, but for one weekend they simply couldn’t buy a hit off two marginal pitchers playing for a weak team in St. Louis.

Who would have guessed it?