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 Iowa Hawkeyes. Earlier stories can be found here.
Number of Major Leaguers: 26
First: Cap Anson (debuted May 6, 1871)
Most recent: Wes Obermueller (debuted Sept. 20, 2002)
Cap Anson is a Hall of Famer who played 27 years of professional ball (1871-97), including 22 for what became the Chicago Cubs. Anson had 3,435 career hits, 2,075 RBI and led the league in RBI eight times. He had a career batting average of .334 and an OBP of .394. That’s pretty darn good, even though he was a virulent racist.
Jim Sundberg was a three-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glover who played in the Major Leagues for 16 years, most notably for the Texas Rangers. Sundberg had 1,493 career hits, good enough for a .248 batting average from 1974-89.
Mike Boddicker was a 20-game winner for the Baltimore Orioles in 1984 (when he also had a 2.79 ERA), the high point of his 14-year Major League career. He earned one All-Star appearance and one Gold Glove, and finished fourth in Cy Young voting in ’84. Boddicker finished with a career 134-116 record from 1980-93.
Cal Eldred won 86 games for the Brewers, Cardinals and White Sox from 1991 to 2005. His best year may have been his rookie year for the Brewers, when he finished 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA and 0.987 WHIP, for what that’s worth. He was fourth in American League rookie of the year voting behind Pat Litsach, Kenny Lofton and Dave Fleming.
Mace Brown pitched for 10 years in the Major Leagues (from 1935-46, with two years off during the war), compiling a 76-57 record with a 3.46 ERA for the Pirates, Dodgers and Red Sox.
Honorable mention: Jim McAndrew.