Baseball season is at our fingertips as Major League Baseball’s opening day is less than a week away, and it appears Notre Dame baseball will have a handful of it’s alumni on opening day rosters.
Jeff Samardzija, A.J. Pollack, John Axford, Jeff Manship and David Phelps will all break camp with their respective clubs. Former Irish sluggers Eric Jagielo and Trey Mancini will begin the season in the minors, but could possibly see time in the big leagues this season.
While the Notre Dame baseball might not have the storied tradition and history as some of the big time baseball schools, they still have a little history of their own. Boston Red Sox great, Carl Yastrzemski, actually spent a little time at Notre Dame. Ed Ruelbach, Cubs great of the 1900s, played for the Irish in 1903 and 1904. As for recent players, Craig Counsell and Brad Lidge both starred for the Irish in the 1990s.
The Irish have also had some of their fair share of two sports stars. Samardzija, Golden Tate, Pat Connaughton and now Torii Hunter Jr. have all played for the Irish program.
Since baseball season is so close, it got me thinking. Who are the five best players ever to play for the Irish? My criteria was quite simple. First, they had to actually play for the Irish, so Yastrzemski didn’t make the cut. Secondly, they had to enjoy some type of Major League success. Lastly, I kept it within the last 30 years.
So without further ado, here are the top five Irish baseball players.
Next: Jeff Samardzija