Thursday, August 4, 2016

Four Princeton Alums Pitch In One Night

TigerBlog isn't sure if he ever mentioned this before. Maybe he'll go back in the archives and check.

Yes. Yes, he did mention that he went with the baseball team to Louisiana for the NCAA Regional in June. And yes, as he thinks back on it, he may have also mentioned that he enjoyed his time there very much.

Princeton was there with Arizona, who finished as the national runner-up, Sam Houston State and Louisiana-Lafayette. They are all baseball powers.

As TigerBlog pointed out to the assembled media there, Princeton had three players in the Major Leagues at the time. The other three combined had none.

As it turns out, that number has since doubled.

Princeton has had an incredible six players in the Major Leagues so for this season: Chris Young, Ross Ohlendorf, Matt Bowman, Will Venable, David Hale and the newest member of the club, Danny Barnes, who was called up Tuesday by the Blue Jays.

Even more amazingly, four of the pitchers pitched in games Tuesday night.

Let's start with Barnes.

Rather than have a chance to soak it all in, Barnes was thrown to the wolves instead. The Blue Jays, who are one game back of the Orioles for first in the AL East, led Houston 2-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

In came Barnes, for his Major League debut. And how did he respond? With a scoreless inning, including a pair of strikeouts.

As for the rest of the Tigers?

Young picked up a win for the Royals in relief. Young, as you might recall, played a huge role in Kansas City's World Series championship last fall.

Bowman pitched two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief for the Cardinals. When TB clicked on Bowman's bio, he learned that he is a native of Chevy Chase, Md.; maybe Bowman liked to go the same Houlihans in Mazza Gallerie that MotherBlog did.

Also, Bowman has now pitched in 37 games for the Cards, with a 2.96 ERA, with 34 strikeouts and 12 walks. St. Louis is probably not going to catch the Cubs for the division title but will be right there for the wild cards.

Oh, and on the other side of the field from Bowman Tuesday night was Ohlendorf, who pitched an inning in relief for the Reds in that game. Cincinnati won 7-5.

Four Princeton alums who pitched in the Major Leagues in one night?

TigerBlog considers himself a Princeton Athletic historian as much as anything else, and the idea that Princeton had four alums who pitched in one night is way, way up there on the list of major accomplishments that he's ever heard of here.

The Olympics are the big story for now in the world of sports.

TigerBlog saw a graphic the other day that said that Princeton ranked sixth among American colleges in number of Olympians. Of course, the same graphic said Princeton has 12 Olympians, when the correct number is actually 13. That would actually tie Princeton for fourth, behind Stanford, Cal and USC.

That same graphic, though, didn't include some other schools that TB knows should have been there, and of course it had the mistake in Princeton's total. Still, Princeton is close to the top nationally in producing Olympians.

It also made TB wonder how many other schools have had more than six players in the Major Leagues this year. Or had four alums pitch on the same night this year - or any other year, for that matter.

It's all a tribute to Scott Bradley and the way he runs his program at Princeton.

Bradley himself was a longtime Major League player (a catcher), and he clearly knows how to develop Major Leaguers as a coach. When TB was in Louisiana, he saw first-hand why, and it's because Bradley's Princeton team has the feel of a professional team, with trust, respect and accountability at the forefront.

He has also done an incredible job of bringing in players - especially pitchers - who understand that the value of the academic side of Princeton doesn't mean having to sacrifice the Major League opportunity. If anything, it enhances it, since a high school pitcher can come to Princeton, mature, get the kind of education that Princeton offers and not get his arm burned out in the process.

It works the same way with the Olympians. Princeton in no way provides a roadblock to any athletic opportunity.

That, of course, is the best part. The combination of both, and the people who come here who value both.

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