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 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Earlier stories can be found here.
Number of Major Leaguers: 39
First: Ad Liska (debuted Sept. 24, 1933)
Most recent: Dan Jennings (debuted April 30, 2012)
Darin Erstad (who also punted on the Nebraska football team) played 14 Major League seasons, made two All-Star games and won a World Series in 2002 with the Angels. Erstad is the poster boy for scrappy players everywhere. He led the league in hits in 2000 with 240, good enough for a .355 average and .409 OBP. That was far and away his best year in a career that ended with 1,697 hits. Erstad now coaches the Nebraska baseball team.
Alex Gordon was a top prospect in baseball for the Royals who has begun to come into his own. He has hit .298 with a .374 OBP over the last two seasons while winning a Gold Glove in 2011.
Stan Bahnsen pitched 16 seasons for the Expos, Yankees, White Sox, A’s, Phillies and Angels between 1966 and 1982. He won 21 games for the Sox in 1971 – and lost 21 games in ’72 (to lead the league). He finished with a career 146-149 record and 3.60 ERA.
Pete O’Brien played in the Major Leagues from 1982 until 1993 for the Rangers, Indians and Mariners, compiling 1,421 hits, 169 home runs (more than any other Nebraska alum) and 736 RBI. He hit 22, 23 and 23 and home runs between 1985 and 1987.
Tim Burke won 49 games and saved 102 others in an eight-year career for the Expos, Mets and Yankees. Between 1987 and 1990, Burke saved 84 games while compiling a 22-11 record and 2.38 ERA for the Expos. He was an All-Star in 1989.
Honorable mention: None.