Top 10 MLB Baseball Players from UC Berkeley

The California Golden Bears baseball team has had very notable success over the years as an athletic program. Over the team’s history, the Bears have appeared in the NCAA Division I Baseball tournament 12 times, appeared in the College World Series six times (most recently in 2011), and won two National Championships in 1947 and 1957. Over the years, there have been many notable players who have played in MLB. Here’s a look at the top ten players to come out of UC Berkeley.

10. Bob Melvin

Years at California: 1980

Years in MLB: 1985-1994

Career MLB Teams: Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox

Position: Catcher

Career batting average: .233

Career home runs: 35

Career runs batted in: 212

Career achievements: 2007 NL Manager of the Year

While Melvin’s career statistics were less than impressive, Melvin has now gone on to become the manager for the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and most recently, the Oakland Athletics.

9. Conor Jackson

Years at California: 2001-2003

Years in MLB: 2005-present

Career MLB Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland Athletics

Position: Left fielder/First baseman

Career batting average: .272

Career home runs: 50

Career runs batted in: 280

Career achievements: Baseball America Triple A All-Star, 2005 Futures Game selection

After playing third base at Berkeley and being drafted in the first round of the 2003 MLB amateur draft, Jackson has gone on to play a so-far mediocre career in the majors, struggling to excel offensively and find a place on the field defensively.

8. Brandon Morrow

Years at California: 2004-2006

Years in MLB: 2007-present

Career MLB Teams: Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays

Position: Starting pitcher

Career win-loss record: 25-23

Career earned run average: 4.22

Career strikeouts: 499

Career WHIP: 1.39

After initially spending only one year in the minor leagues, Morrow has spent time in the majors as both a starting pitcher and a reliever. A Type 1 diabetic, Morrow has four primary pitches, a fastball, slider, circle change, and spiked curveball, and has had an encouraging start to his young career.

7. Xavier Nady

Years at California: 1998-2000

Years in MLB: 2000-present

Career MLB Teams: San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks

Position: Outfielder/First baseman

Career batting average: .275

Career home runs: 96

Career runs batted in: 388

Career achievements: May 2003 NL Rookie of the Month, 18th player to go directly to the major leagues without the a stop in the minors since 1965

An all-time Pac-10 Conference record for career .729 slugging percentage, Nady became the 18th player to go directly to the major leagues without making his professional debut in the minor leagues since 1965. A journeyman who has so far played for six major league ball clubs, he has started over 650 games and has collected over 750 hits over his career.

6. Geoff Blum

Years at California: 1992-1994

Years in MLB: 1999-present

Career MLB Teams: Montreal Expos, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks

Position: Utility infielder

Career batting average: .251

Career home runs: 98

Career runs batted in: 470

Career achievements: 2005 World Series champion, hit game-winning home run in 14th inning to win Game 3 of 2005 World Series

A career backup, Blum is best known for his home run against the Houston Astros in the top of the 14th inning to win Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, ending the longest game in the history of the World Series.

5. Sam Chapman

Years at California: 1935-1937

Years in MLB: 1938-1951

Career MLB Teams: Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians

Position: Center fielder

Career batting average: .266

Career home runs: 180

Career runs batted in: 773

Career achievements: 1946 All-Star selection, drafted in the third round of the 1938 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins

An All-American football and baseball player at Cal, Chapman chose baseball over football and played 11 years in the majors. During his professional career, he also joined the Navy for World War II and became a one-time All-Star.

4. Darren Lewis

Years at California: 1988

Years in MLB: 1990-2002

Career MLB Teams: Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs

Position: Center fielder

Career batting average: .250

Career hits: 1,021

Career runs batted in: 342

Career stolen bases: 247

Career achievements: 1994 Gold Glove Award winner, 243 consecutive errorless games to start his career

A top base stealer and strong defensive center fielder in the 90s, Lewis has his best seasons for the Giants and Red Sox. Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Lewis had the opportunity to play for his local college, the two Bay Area baseball teams in Oakland and San Francisco, and is now a varsity baseball coach at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, California.

3. Andy Messersmith

Years at California: 1965-1966

Years in MLB: 1968-1979

Career MLB Teams: California Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees

Position: Pitcher

Career win-loss record: 130-99

Career earned run average: 2.86

Career strikeouts: 1,625

Career achievements: Four-time All-Star selection; two-time Gold Glove Award winner

Messersmith is best remembered for his role in the 1975 Seitz decision that helped usher the current free agency system. With his career 2.861 earned run average, he owns the fourth lowest ERA among starting pitchers of the Live Ball Era in 1920 behind Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax, and Jim Palmer.

2. Jackie Jensen

Years at California: 1947-1949

Years in MLB: 1950-1961

Career MLB Teams: New York Yankees, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox

Position: Right fielder

Career batting average: .279

Career home runs: 199

Career runs batted in: 929

Career achievements: 1958 AL MVP, 1950 World Series champion, three-time All-Star selection, 1959 Gold Glove Award winner

Similar to Chapman, Jensen was a two-sport star in college. He became the first person to play in the Rose Bowl, the World Series, and the MLB All-Star Game. Unfortunately for Jensen, his career numbers aren’t as high as they could be, as he retired in his early thirties due to an intense fear of flying.

1. Jeff Kent

Years at California:

Years in MLB:

Career MLB Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Second Baseman

Career batting average: .290

Career hits: 2,461

Career home runs: 377

Career runs batted in: 1,518

Career achievements: Five-time All-Star selection, four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 2000 NL MVP

A National League MVP and a five-time All-Star selection, Kent is one of the best second basemen in the history of baseball. The all-time leader in home runs among men playing his position, Kent has also driven in 90 or more runs from 1997 to 2005 and has 560 career doubles, 21st on the all-time doubles list.

Statistics current as of July 23, 2011.


Baseball-Reference: University of California Golden Bears

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