Great Moments in Redbird Baseball History

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Clark Griffith1887 - Two future Hall of Fame pitchers were featured when Illinois State sent Clark Griffith of Normal to the mound against Illinois Wesleyan and Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn of Bloomington. Neither player was enrolled in college and neither showed his best stuff as Wesleyan won 11-10.

1890 - Illinois State baseball earns its first official victory, a 13-9 decision against Illinois Wesleyan. The Redbirds ended the season with a perfect 2-0 mark after topping Wesleyan 11-4 in the second game of the season.

1896 - Frank "Pop" Dillon coached the Illinois State women's basketball team five years before setting a Major League baseball record by stroking four doubles on opening day in 1901 for the Detroit Tigers.

1897 - George Green, a local barber, coached Illinois State's baseball team, thereby becoming the university's first African-American coach. He reportedly had played professionally before pro baseball became segregated in the 1890s.

1905 - Former Illinois State baseball pitcher Ed Kinsella became the school's first major league baseball player in a brief appearance with the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting an 0-1 record. He returned to the majors in 1910 with the St. Louis Browns and had a 1-3 record.

1933 - James "Pim" Goff, the only five sport letterwinner in ISU history, scored a never-to-be-equaled feat against Western Illinois by winning his tennis doubles and singles matches in the morning, pitching the baseball team to victory in the afternoon, and tossing the winning javelin throw in a track meet between innings of the baseball game.

1933 - Illinois State defeats Eureka, 14-4, en route to winning the 100th game in program history.

1937 - Illinois State graduate James "Pim" Goff set a national strikeout record by whiffing 14 straight batters while pitching for Springfield in the National Semi-Pro Tournament at Denver. He finished the game with 22 strikeouts.

1944 - Illinois tops Western Illinois, 6-4, in the second game of a double header to earn the 200th win in program history.

1946 - Illinois State graduate Campbell "Stretch" Miller began eight seasons as part of a three-man broadcasting team for the St. Louis Cardinals with Harry Caray and Gabby Street.

1949 - Mike Rzadski strikes out 20 in a 19-0 win over Southern Illinois, setting the single-game strikeout record. Rzadski's catcher during the contest was Duffy Bass.

1952 - Former Illinois State pitcher Russ Ahearn coached Hebron to the Illinois high school basketball championship. It was the only time in state history that a district champion won the one-class tournament.

1954 - The Redbirds earn win No. 300 in program history with a 4-1 win over Western Illinois.

1956 - Illinois State, coached by Harold Frye, won its third consecutive baseball championship in the Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC).Duffy Bass

1961 - Henry V. Porter, an Illinois State baseball player who graduated in 1913, was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame. Porter helped develop the fan-shaped backboard and the molded basketball, and he coined the expression "March Madness" in an affectionate 1939 essay about fans of the Illinois high school basketball tournament. From 1940-58, he was executive secretary of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

1961 - Illinois State earns the 400th win in program history with a 5-1 victory over McKendree.

1962 - Bill Evans throws a no-hitter against Southern Illinois. Illinois State wins 10-0.

1964 - Legendary head coach Duffy Bass hired to take over Illinois State baseball program. Bass would guide the program to a 712-457-18 record and six post-season tournaments. Bass earned 1969 College Division Coach of the Year Honors after guiding the Redbirds to the College Division National Championship. Bass was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 1995.

1964 - Bill Evans throws second no-hitter, becomes only Redbird pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a career. Illinois State defeats Lewis 1-0.

1966 - Irish O'Reilly throws no-hitter against cross-town rival Illinois Wesleyan, but allows run in 2-1 Redbird win over Illinois Wesleyan.

1966 - The Redbirds score 17 runs in a win over Southwestern (Tenn.) for the program's 500th win.

1969 Redbirds


1969 - John Zotz throws no-hitter during Illinois State's College Division National Championship season in 2-0 win over Southeast Louisiana.

1969 - Current head coach Jim Brownlee hit safely while starting at third base in one of Illinois State's three straight victories to capture the NCAA Division II national baseball championship.

1969 - The 1969 Redbird baseball team claimed Illinois State's first, and only, team national championship, when it won the NCAA College Division (now Division II) National Championship. Under the direction of legendary head coach Duffy Bass, the 1969 Redbird baseball team went 33-5 overall.
Buzz Capra

1969 - Lee "Buzz" Capra drafted by the New York Mets, ending one of the greatest pitching careers by a Redbird. Capra went 17-5 with a 1.58 ERA, including helping guide the 1969 ISU squad to the NCAA College Division National Championship.

1969 - Guy Homoly earned NCAA College Division (now Division II) All-American honors after hitting .413 and patrolling center field for the College Division National Champion Illinois State Redbirds.

1971 - Five Illinois State pitchers (John Shay, Dan Steinbach, Bob Newman, Phil Fox, Bob Seeds) combine to no-hit Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 5-0 win.

1971 - Illinois State cruises past Keesler Air Force Base, 8-3, to earn win No. 600 in the program's history.

1974 - Dave Bergman became Illinois State's first Division I All-American selection when he was named to The Sporting News All-American team. Bergman hit .363 during for his career at ISU and played 17 seasons in the major leagues.

1974 - Lee "Buzz" Capra becomes Illinois State's first alum to be named a Major League All-Star. Capra finished 9th in CY Young voting in 1974 and earned a spot on the National League All-Star team while pitching for the Atlanta Braves. He finished the season 16-8 and led the National League with a 2.28 ERA.

1976 - Four Illinois State pitchers (Jim Olivieri, Jim Roach, Gary Neubauer, Tim Hallam) no-hit Valparaiso in 9-0 Redbird win.

1976 - Redbirds earn the 700th win all-time against Evansville, a 3-1 decision in the second game of a doubleheader.               

1976 - Illinois State played in the NCAA Mideast Regional for its first appearance in a Division I baseball tournament. The Redbirds topped Southern Illino

is, 5-2, in the opening game but fell to host-school Eastern Michigan (3-0) and Michigan (5-4).

1981 - Duane Johnson throws a no-hitter against Illinois-Chicago. Illinois State wins 6-0.

1981 - Illinois State wins the 800th game in program history with a 4-2 defeat of Marietta.
Dave Bergman
1984 - Dave Bergman becomes Illinois State's first player to win a World Series playing first base for the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers finished 104-58 and first in the AL Eastern Division under Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson. In all, Bergman made four appearances in post-season series.

1985 - The Redbirds earn win No. 900 with a 11-9 decision over Valparaiso.

1985 - Mike Prior ends his Illinois State career as the career leader in batting average (.388) and slugging percentage (.715). Prior, also a standout defensive back for the football team, was drafted three times by Major League teams but chose to play in the NFL. Prior intercepted Drew Bledsoe to help the Packers win Super Bowl XXXI in 1997.

Paul Wagner1987 - Paul Wagner throws no-hitter in Redbird win over Chicago State.


1988 - Dan Freed pitches the Redbirds to two wins on their season-opening road trip, surrendering no earned runs against Tulane and Marietta. He earned Missouri Valley Conference First Team honors and was named the Redbirds' MVP after leading the team in innings pitched (82), strikeouts (67), wins (5) and ERA (2.52). Freed played in the Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds minor league systems and was elected to the Illinois State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

1988 - Illinois State hits seven home runs in a single game en route to a 15-3 beating of Valparaiso at the Gulf Coast Classic. Ray Ledinsky hit a solo home run and a grand slam and the Redbirds added homers by David Wyss, Don Prybylinski, Mike Piotrowski, Mike Huber and Mark Ringering. Conversely, in the second game of the day, Illinois State needed a four-hit shutout from starting pitcher Matt Hodges to win a 1-0 decision against Grandview.

1988 - Illinois State tops Valparaiso 9-4 in a six inning contest at the Gulf Coast Classic Tournament for head coach Duffy Bass' 700th win. The win also marked the 1000th win in program history. Redbird pitcher Matt LaBuda earned the victory with four innings of scoreless relief after Illinois State broke open a 4-4 game in the fourth inning with four runs.

1994 - Illinois State, seeded sixth in the six-team field at the Missouri Valley Tournament, upset Wichita State in the first round and went on to claim its first tournament title by defeating Bradley in the finals.

1994 -
In one of the biggest individual turnarounds in Illinois State history, Matt Gainer earned Missouri Valley Tournament MVP honors after hitting .625 in the postseason. Ga

iner led the Redbirds in batting average (.377), hits (75), home runs (14), RBI (54), total bases (134), slugging percentage (.673) and on-base percentage (.468) as a junior. As a sophomore in 1993, Gainer hit .079 in 29 games for the Redbirds.
Carlton Fisk
1994 - Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk spends a season as an Illinois State assistant coach while his son, Casey, competes as a Redbird.

1994 - Former Illinois State University president Gene Budig became president of the American League. He held that position for seven seasons until 2002 when the commissioner of Major League Baseball took over administrative responsibility for the American and National leagues.

1995 - Former Illinois State pitcher Paul Wagner comes within one strike of a no-hitter while pitching for the Pirates against the 1995 NL West Champion Colorado Rockies. With two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth, Andres Galarraga singled to end the bid.

1999 - The Redbirds scorched the record books while setting new marks for runs, hits and RBIs under the guidance of former head coach Jeff Stewart and current assistant Mark Kingston. Illinois State finished 35-24, the most wins ever by a Redbird team.

1999 - Ryan Duncheon sets the single-season home run record after clubbing his 23rd of the season.

2000 - Eric Eckenstahler is drafted by the Detroit Tigers, ending his tenure at Illinois State as the career leader with 313 strikeouts. Eckenstahler fanned 103 batters in 2000 and 96 in 1997.

Neal Cotts

2002 - Mike Quinlan throws a five-hit shutout as the Redbirds top Wichita State, 2-0.  The win snapped a 24-game skid to the Shockers and marked the first win by the Redbirds over Wichita State since the Missouri Valley Tournament in 1994. Quinlan surrendered two hits and walked the bases loaded in the first inning before settling down and earning the win.

2003 - Jeremy Accardo finishes his career with 13 saves, most by an Illinois State reliever. Accardo was signed by the San Francisco Giants and saved 30 games with a 2.14 ERA for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007.

2005 - Former Redbird pitcher Neal Cotts becomes the second Illinois State player to win a World Series, as a reliever with the Chicago White Sox. Cotts was a pivotal player out of the bullpen, giving up one hit and no earned runs in six appearances during the playoffs. Cotts earned the win in game two against the Houston Astros. 

2007 - Illinois State head coach Jim Brownlee earned the 800th win of his career after the Redbirds defeated Valparaiso, 5-1, in Illinois State's home opener. Brownlee, who played for the 1969 College Division National Championship team, sits at 132 wins with the Redbirds prior to his final season at the helm and is the fourth coach in Valley history to go over 800 wins.

2008 - Redbirds defeat Bucknell 13-6 in Bradenton, Fla., for the 1,500 win in school history. Kevin Dubler, Mike Stalowy, Ronnie Calvird and Kevin Konsler lead the Illinois State attack with two hits apiece as Tyler Cox earned the win on the mound.

2008 - Kevin Tokarski shatters the single season record for steals with 32. Tokarski became the third Redbird to be named a Freshman All-American after garnering honorable mention honors.Kevin Dubler

2008 - Kevin Dubler breaks the single season doubles record with 23. Dubler was drafted in the eighth round by the Chicago White Sox and was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher.

2008 - Illinois State breaks ground on $3.2 million stadium project to include chair-back seating for 1,000 spectators, ticket booths, an open concourse with concession stands, new restrooms and a state-of-the-art press box facility.