D3 Baseball has a long string of success when it comes to sending alumni into the Major Leagues, with recent names such as Chris Heisey (Messiah), Joe Nathan (Stony Brook, circa 1995), and Jordan Zimmermann (UW-Stevens Point) making the rounds of The Show.
But when digging into the history books of America's Favorite Pasttime, there are a handful of Baseball Hall of Famers who attended D3 institutions during their collegiate days.
In fact, there are 16 Hall of Famers who attended D3 schools as the classification is currently set up. Take a look at all of the honorees below, as well as some interesting facts and stats about the group of players, coaches, and off-field pioneers who are forever enshrined as part of baseball's greatness.
|Hank Greenberg||First Base||New York||1956|
|Branch Rickey||Manager||Ohio Wesleyan||1967|
|Cal Hubbard||Umpire||Centenary (LA)||1976|
|Johnny Mize||First Base||Piedmont||1981|
|Carlton Fisk||Catcher||Keene State||2000|
Of the 16 members in the Hall of Fame, there are only seven different positions represented, with five of them actually on the field. The position with the most members is pitcher with four honorees.
Between all of the major honors in the current MLB (MVP, Cy Young, All Star Appearances, Rookie of the Year, Etc.) there are a total of 76 accolades among the 16 Hall of Famers. Standout totals among those overall honors include 14 all-star selections by Mr. Cub Ernie Banks.
World Series Glory
The World Series is the pinnacle of baseball success, and there are plenty of our honorees who have tasted the glory of the Commissioner's Trophy. Unfortunately we know Ernie Banks never claimed a title to go with his 14 all-star selections, but there are 13 World Series titles among the players and executives.
The player with the most World Series titles among our selected pool of players is Johnny Mize with five. The former Piedmont standout won his titles with the New York Yankees in each season between 1949 and 1953.
One Hall of Famer can lay claim to being the namesake of a featured award in the current MLB environment. Former announcer Ford Frick of DePauw is the namesake of the annual Ford C. Frick Award awarded by the Baseball Hall of Fame for major contributions to baseball by a broadcaster.
Frick himself was an astounding broadcaster and writer that away from his time behind the mic or typewriter, also served as the President of The National League, and the Commissioner of Baseball for a time between 1951 and 1970 after another D3 Hall of Famer, Happy Chandler, was dismissed by the owners.
One of the crowning achievements of Frick's time in the executive offices was to help create the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Winners of the Ford C. Frick Award include Vin Scully, Dick Enberg, Bob Uecker, and the 2018 recipient Bob Costas. The award has been given every year since 1978, and the winners are enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit during Hall of Fame weekend.
The first Hall of Famer inducted from a D3 school came back in 1937, just one year removed from the very first class that was inducted into the Hall. But since then, it has been an average of 5.4 years between D3 Hall of Famer, with the longest drought currently ongoing at 18 years since Carlton Fisk was inducted. Prior to that, the longest stretch was fourteen years between Rick Ferrell in 1984 and Don Sutton in 1998.
So when will we see another D3 Hall of Famer? Well when looking at players who will be eligible in the coming years or who are currently on the ballot with a good chance to get in, it could be quite some time.
Joe Nathan is the only player within the next few years who will be a first-time eligible that even attended a D3 school, and it is unlikely that he will get elected into the Hall.
But with the introduction of the Modern Baseball Era Committee in recent years for potential inductees from 1970-1987, we could see someone sneak in that was left off of the BBWAA ballot for their entire nomination run.
For now it seems we are set at 16 D3 Hall of Famers, but anything could change in the coming years. But if you can take anything away from this study, it's that you can now claim some ultimate baseball trivia over your friends, and that a potentially great baseball player can come from anywhere.