IT's really hard to believe.
Jeff Jacobson, an All-American second baseman
last year and this year's Most Valuable Player on
the Michigan baseball team, didn't receive first-
team All-Big Ten honors.
Chris Sabo, an outstanding third baseman and
probably the Wolverines' best hitter, didn't make
the team, either.
Nor did Barry Larkin, Michigan shortstop and the
MVP of last weekend's Big Ten Playoffs.
Of course, none of these players won the con-
ference batting championship. Fred Erdmann did,
and that's one reason why the Wolverine senior -
an unheralded player - made the honor squad
while his better-known teammates didn't.
Never mind that there happened to be better in-
fielders in the Big Ten than outfielders. Erdmann
knows that. "I guess the infield in the conference
was pretty good," he said. "It worked out well that I
played left field."
Erdmann made first-team All-Big Ten because he
The Warren native accomplished what only two
players in conference history ever managed - a
.500 batting average. Erdmann hit that mark exac-
tly, matching the average set by Purdue's Bill
"Moose" Skowron in 1951. Only ex-Wolverine Bill
Freehan's .585 average in 1961 tops Erdmann's.
Freehan, it might be noted, went on to collect 1,591
hits in a Detroit Tiger uniform. Skowron had a
similarly distinguished professional career.
What makes the Wolverine outfielder's feat even
more remarkable is that he, and not one of his
teammates, performed it. While Sabo, Jacobson
and Ken Hayward were among the Big Ten's best
The Michigan Daily- Thursday. May 26, 1983 - Page 19
Once a benchwarmer...
.. ."Boom-boom" swings big bat
hitters last year, Erdmann sat on the Michigan ben-
ch, stepping to the plate only for an occasional pinch
hit. He didn't bat well enough to beat out Jim
Paciorek in right field. He didn't field or run well
enough to knock Greg Schulte or Dave Stober out of
the other two outfield positions.
"Fred just accepted his role the first three
years," said Jacobson, Erdmann's roommate.
"This year, he's finally gotten a chance to play
every day and he's proven himself to be a fine
Erdmann had to accept his role. With a .272
career batting average, limited speed and a below-
average arm, he
couldn't expect much
else. But several
months of hard work
improved the ac-
major's fielding and
throwing to the point..,.
coach Bud Middaugh
wasn't afraid to use
him in outfield.
"I knew I could
play well," the one-
graduating senior Erdmann
said. "It was just a
matter of going out and doing it."
The 6-0, 185 pounder still doesn't run well. Mid-
daugh regularly substitutes Dan Sygar for Er-
dmann on the basepaths. He still isn't the best
fielder. Sygar fills in there, too.
Erdmann is, however, Michigan's best hitting
outfielder. His overall batting average of .349 is fifth
among Wolverine regulars. His eight doubles in-
dicate Erdmann's penchant for driving the ball
between opposing outfielders. That's why his
tesmmates called him "Ysrdgap."
"We used to call him 'Yardbird' because he hit
the ball out of the park a lot," explained Jacobson,
noting that "yard" is baseball sland for field, and
that Erdmahn's hits used to fly like birds. "He
always hit homers in the summer but never during
the season. Even in batting practice, he'd rarely hit
a home run. He'd always line the ball up the gap, so
we changedhis name to 'Yardgap."' s
Fortunately for Erdmann, the strange-sounding
nickname didn't stick. Unfortunately, a worse one
After hitting the first two homers of his collegiate
career last month in a doubleheader against Ohio
State, Erdmann was dubbed "Boom-boom" by Paul
Chapman, play-by-play man for WAAM radio's
broadcasts of Michigan baseball. Two more Er-
dmann homers and 200 Mr. WAAM and Rodney
(Derringer) repetitions of "Boom-boom" later and
the moniker became part of regular Fisher Stadium
"The WAAM man (Chapman) stuck him with the
name and we all chuckle about it," said Jacobson.
Erdmann himself blushes upon hearing the name.
He knows it's a joke. He realizes that power hitting
isn't an Erdmann forte.
"Before, when he hit a home run in batting prac-
tice, he'd talk about it for weeks," Jacobson said.
"He'd say, 'Did you see that one hit the building?'
Now, he doesn't talk about his hits any more."
He doesn't have to. He's in the Big Ten record
Stoll named co-player
of year in Big Ten
Collegiate Baseball Top Twenty
From Staff and Wire Reports
Michigan pitcher Rich Stoll and Min-
nesota outfielder Tom Steinbach were
selected by the Big Ten baseball
coaches as the lesgue's 1983 players of
the year, the conference announced
Stoll compiled a 3-0 record in con-
ference play this season, 8-2 overall.
The righthander sat out two weeks of
the Big Ten season before returning in
last weekend's Big Ten playoffs to post
a win and a save.
Steinbach set the Big Ten record for
home runs in a season with nine.
All-Big Ten Baseball Team
1B - Joe Scime, Wisconsin
2B - Robby Cobb, Ohio State
3B- Terry Steinbach, Minnesota
SS- Bill Piwnica, Minnesota
C- RICH BAIR, MICHIGAN
Milwaukee7, Oakland 6
Seattle 2, Cleveland 1
SanFrancisco7, New York 6
Atlanta 6, Pittsburgh 0
LosAngeles6, Philadelphia 1
St. Louis 7, Cincinnati 2
Montreal2, San Diego0
The h E
To Buy A Yearbook
Stop BY THE Student,
C - Jack Schlichting, Minnesota
OF - FRED ERDMANN, MICHIGAN
OF - Mike Verkuilen, Wisconsin
OF - Andy Krause, Michigan State
OF - Tom Steinbach, Minnesota
DH - Scott Schuveiller, Minnesota
P - RICH STOLL, MICHIGAN
P - Marty Clary, Wisconsin
2. Brigham Young .........45-9
4. Oklahoma St............43-14
6. Arizona St.-.............39-22
7. Florida St.............54-16-1
8. North Carolina-..........41-8
9. San Diego St............61-13
11. Oral Roberts...........49-15
12. UC-Santa Barbara .....42-20
13. Alabama ...........40-9
14. Cal. St.-Fullerton .....49-19-1
15. Pan American ........60-16
16. South Carolina ......... 33-11
17. Maine .................26-14
18. Indiana St............37-12-1
19. Wichita St..............54-16
20. Miami (Fla.)-..........59-19
AV Admlp IqQMIL
-. 3-0in Big Ten
pSmu UR OWN!
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