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May 31, 1980 - Image 16

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-31

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Page 16-Saturday, May 31 1980-The Michigan Daily
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Blue nine to face top Cat hurlers
By JON WELLS reditahiilt Michi an and Califnrnia


Special to The Daily
OMAHA - There is a shroud of
mystery around tonight's confrontation
between the Michigan Wolverines and
the Golden Bears of Berkeley.
The two teams will know little or
nothing of one another when they enter
Rosenblatt Stadium for the final first
round game of the College World Series
IT IS the nature of the collegiate
"Spring Classic" that early-round mat-
chups such as this one provide few
strands of comparison and even less

p CI~dlly. II IgkIIMUdIVI~
have faced no common opponent and
neither team has seen the other per-
form. "We're going into this game
blind," said Michigan coach Bud Mid-
daugh. "All we know about them
(California) is what we read on their
stat sheet."
But stat sheets do talk, at least to
Middaugh, and the first-year Wolverine
coach has formulated an image, albeit
hazy, of the Berkeley nine.
"Their pitching is their strong point,
and they're a good defensive club.
They've stolen 121 bases so they can

The Sporting Views
College base ball..
.a struggle for recognition
B IG TIME COLLEGE baseball is definitely not big time.
When layed beside the NCAA basketball championship, or the
Rose Bowl, or the Orange Bowl, or even the Gator Bowl, a college baseball
World Series pales.
The seven-day baseball extravaganza that began here last night has
never received the media hype, in print or on television, that its big sisters
have been treated to.
There are at least three compelling reasons for this.
First of all, major league baseball is a game played virtually everyday,
for seven months in twenty-three different cities by twenty-six different
College baseball, dominated by younger and less adept players, is
showcased in most parts of the country (at least the heavily populated,
media-prone areas) during a few ugly and often frigid pre-summer months.
Second, the NCAA has chosen Omaha, called a city by some and an
exaggerated cow town by others, as the parade ground for its finest to
display their timber.
Rosenblatt Municipal Stadium, although charming with Big Macs,
Whoppers and local car dealers adorning its outfield walls, is certainly not a
worthy setting for such media mountains as Cosell, Kubek, or even Joe
And finally, college baseball has yet to prove it can produce quality
baseball and quality baseball players consistently.
Orhas it?y
Each year the College World Series ignites its week of baseball with a
banquet on the first day of the tournament. This year, after the bland, yet
mandatory speeches by the local dignitaries, Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner
of major league baseball, contributed some thoughts on college baseball.
The gist of Kuhn's speech was a list of reasons why-as he perceived
it-college baseball has been experiencing increased popularity in recent
As he's been known to do in other areas, the commissioner made a brief
excursion into some less than convincing reasoning, citing ". . . the
philosophy of love for the intrinsic value of baseball.. ." and the "zany
human qualities," that are brought out by the game.
Finally, however, he settled on one quite significant statistic:
"Forty percent of all major league players in the game today have
playead for a college baseball team."
Of course, it is true that the majority of these players did not play four
years and graduate.
It is also true that these players were virtually anonymous until they
reached the pros.
Yet when coupled with the declining ability of many minor league
operations to survive financially, this statistic may be an early indication
that college baseball will eventually replace the minors as the feeder of the
professional teams.
How quickly and to what degree this would affect college baseball's
media exposure is purely speculative.
Just in case, though, maybe someone should go to work on Rosenblatt
Municipal Stadium.

obviously run."
THE CALIFORNIA statistic that
speaks loudest is its team earned run
average of 0.71 in eight post-season
games (six earned runs in 76 innings).
Lefthander Chuck Hensley is one of
'We're flog got n a cl aIge
a thing because tat'S
if -hat 1roflghu is here.'
- Bud(1Middaugh'
the gems on the Golden Bear pitching
staff. The lanky 6-4 junior compiled a
record of 9-3 and an ERA of 2.43 in 1071/3
If Hensley and Prater are the gems,
righthanded reliever Mitch Hawley is
the polish. The junior fireman is 5-3
with eight saves and a sparkling 1.13
however, are not exceptionally talented
with the bat. Golden Bear coach Bob
Milano's swatters compiled the lowest
team batting average (.289) of the eight,
teams at Omaha.
"If we don't execute - advance the
runners, bunt well, hit and run - we
don't win," said Milano. "We're not
going to stand up there and hit the ball
out of the park. We just don't have that

kind of power."
Middaugh, although he admits that
his Wolverines "do not have good team
speed," refuses to stray from the
aggressive style of play that has been
the Michigan trademark all year.
"IF GIVEN the opportunity, we'll do
the same thing," said Middaugh.
"We're not gonna change a thing
because that's what brought us here."
The former Miami (0.) coach will
also stand firm in his playoff pitching
rotation by starting Scott Dawson (9-1,
2.21) tonight and Mark Clinton (6-3,
2.18) on Sunday.
If the Wolverines participate in a
third game, Steve Ontiveros (8-6, 2.81)
will most likely get the starting nod.
Milano has opted to start Hensley in
tonight's game, scheduled to begin at
8:10 CDT.
FOUL TIPS - Michigan starting left
fielder Randy Wroten, sidelined
throughout the Mideast regionals with
mononucleosis, did not make the trip to
Omaha. Tom Fredal will take his spot
tonight ... The Golden Bears have
only been in two other College World
Series (1947 and 1957), but both teams
came home with the national cham-
pionship . .. The Wolverines are in-
deed the junior squad in Omaha. The
Blue roster holds down the most fresh-
men (10) and the youngest average age
in the tournament.

Hiller, stuns Tigers,
announees retirement

DETROIT (AP)-John Hiller, one
of the premier left-handed relief pit-
chers in baseball, announced his
retirement yesterday after 12 years in
the major leagues-all with the Detroit
Tigers. .
Hiller, 37, said he told the news to Jim
Campbell, the Tigers' president and
general manager, and to Manager
Sparky Anderson on Wednesday. He
called it the hardest decision he's ever
had to make.
"MY REASONS were poor perfor-
mances and the fact that I can't do the
job," Hiller said in the clubhouse after
making the announcement a couple of
-hours before the Tigers' scheduled
American League game with the
California Angels (see story, page 15).
"I don't think I can compete up here
anymore, that's the main thing. That's
the black-and-white thing about it. I
can't see sitting around on the bench for
the rest of the year, taking up a spot and
not being able to help the ballclub. And
I think that my pitching will get worse if
I continue to go up there."
As both a reliever and spot starter,
Hiller appeared in 545 games-more
than any Tiger pitcher in history.
BILLER SUFFERED a heart attack
in January 1971 but recovered and
through sheer effort and will made it
back to the big leagues the following
year, even though doctors told him he
never would pitch again.
His 38 saves in 19,73; are ,a,M ajor
league record.


... Longtime ace calls it quits
1976 photo
Age began to creep up on Hiller last
year, however, when he finished with a
5.22 earned run average-his worst
ever-and a 4-7 record with just nine
saves. In 1980, Hiller appeared in 11
games and had a 1-0 record and a 4.40
ERA. He concluded his career with an
87-76 record and a club record 125
saves. His lifetime ERA is 2.84.
Anderson called Hiller the finest left-
handed relief pitcher in baseball.
The Tigers called up left-hander
Bruce Robbins from their Evansville,
Ind. farm club of the American
. Association to replace Hiller on their
roster. ,,,


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