Over the next two weeks, we are highlighting the five best Major League players to ever play baseball at each of the Big Ten universities. Today, we take a look at the Michigan State Spartans. Earlier stories can be found here.
School: Michigan State
Number of Major Leaguers: 38
First: Ed Pinnance (debuted Sept. 14, 1903, played just two games)
Most recent: Mark Mulder (debuted April 18, 2000)
Robin Roberts is Michigan State’s lone Hall of Famer, having played from 1948-66 for the Phillies, Orioles, Astros and Cubs (but mostly the Phillies). Roberts won 286 games with a 3.41 career ERA. He led the National League in complete games every year from 1952 to 1956, averaging just 28 a year. It seems he wasn’t on a pitch count. He also was a seven-time All Star.
Steve Garvey played 19 years for the Dodgers and Padres (breaking Cubs fans hearts in 1984), racking up 10 All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves, four World Series appearances (one title), and an MVP (in 1974). Garvey had 2,599 hits, 1,308 RBI and 272 home runs in his career. I would have thought it would have been more.
Kirk Gibson won two World Series titles in his 17-year career with the Tigers, Dodgers, Royals and Pirates, including this little bit of history that some of you may remember. Gibson finished with 1,553 hits and 255 home runs in his career, and won the MVP in 1988 with Dodgers. Interestingly, Gibson never made an All-Star team.
Ron Perranoski pitched in 737 games over 13 Major League seasons (and started just one). As a reliever, he put together a 79-74 record with a 2.79 ERA and 179 saves for the Dodgers, Twins, Tigers and Angels. He led the league in saves in 1969 and 1970, and finished fourth in the National League MVP race in 1963 behind Sandy Koufax, Dick Groat and Hank Aaron (and just ahead of Willie Mays).
Mark Mulder won 103 games (against just 60 losses) in his nine-year Major League career with the A’s and Cardinals, which was cut short by injuries. In 2001, he finished second in the Cy Young voting to Roger Clemens after going 21-8 with a 3.45 ERA.
Honorable mention: Rick Miller, Hobie Landrith.
- Ex-Dodger’s Son Starts Climbing To Majors In Colorado (denver.cbslocal.com)