Baseball ( Men )

From GW Encyclopedia

Sketch of baseball players done by George Coffin, class of 1869. Coffin spoke of baseball teams at the college frequently in his diaries.

Article

Baseball, the national pastime, began at GW in the later part of the 19th century. Originally played by athletes at Columbian University's Preparatory School, (The Preparatory School was discontinued in 1898) it was quickly picked up at the college level. In 1904 Columbian University became The George Washington University and the Van Ness Park was acquired, supplying a much-needed athletic field. Van Ness Park was sold two years later and the team was again without a regular playing field. In 1905 Club Manager Clyde Kelly arranged a strong schedule with the team traveling to Franklin and Marshall, Villanova, Virginia and Roanoke College. In this period of GW history, athletes were awarded the "W" by the Athletics Council.

By 1920 and a lapse of 15 years without varsity baseball, the team was reorganized and play begun through the efforts of Ed Hanson. In the 1930s, after a lapse in team play for 10 seasons, the Colonials took to the diamond at Griffith Stadium, the home of the Washington Senators, under Coach E.K. Morris. Ten night games were scheduled for that first season. After leaving Griffith Stadium, the West Ellipse became the home field for the GW team. President Harry Truman, a GW neighbor, periodically viewed Colonial baseball on the Ellipse across from the White House in the late 1940s where Coach Vinnie DeAngelis directed the baseball team.

GW baseball is a three-time champion of both the Atlantic 10 Conference (1979, 1989, and 1992) and the Southern Conference (1957, 1958, 1959). In the 1950s the teams were led by Bill Reinhart.

Former Colonials catcher, Steve Korcheck '54 played for the old Washington Senators for three seasons in the mid-50s and was awarded the University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 1993. Bill Collins ('72), a Colonials catcher and former professional player in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.

Eleven GW baseball players have signed with professional baseball teams in the last 11 years: Kevin Fitzgerald '86 (San Francisco Giants), Gregg Ritchie '86 (San Francisco Giants), John Flaherty '88 (Boston Red Sox), Mike Rolfes '89 (Atlanta Braves), Joe Ross '89 (New York Yankees), George Baker '91 (Florida Marlins) Mike Welch '92 (Texas Rangers), Matt Aminoff '93 (Kansas City Royals), Greg Patton '94 (Boston Red Sox), Bill Anderson '94 (San Diego Padres), and Scott Sharp '94 (Cincinnati Reds).

Jay Murphy took the position of head coach in 1991 after John Castleberry accepted a scouting position with the Florida Marlins. In his first season as head coach Murphy led the Colonials to the Atlantic 10's regular season West Division title, the A-10 championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA midwest regional.

(From the website (2007): [1] Steve Mrowka began as head coach in 2004. He is in his third year at George Washington University. Last year, Mrowka's second as the GW skipper, was a disappointing season for the Colonials, as they struggled to a 25-34 overall record, and just 13-12 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. However, they managed to win four of their final six league games and qualified as the sixth seed in the post-season tournament, and it was there that they excelled. They became the first No. 6 seed in A-10 Championship history to win three games, all of which were elimination games for GW, and fell just one game short of reaching the final. Their third victory was a 6-5, 17-inning thriller over No. 1 seed Rhode Island, the longest game ever played in the 27-year history of the tournament.

Under Mrowka's tutelage, GW produced an All-Conference First Team pitcher in RHP Derrik Lutz, who was also voted the MVP of the team. Lutz was later drafted in the 19th round by the Cincinnati Reds.

In his first season as GW's skipper and a Division I head coach, Mrowka led the Colonials to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game, the A-10 West Division Title and a conference best 41-win season.

Overall, GW posted a 41-19 mark and went 17-7 in the A-10. His team led the conference in home runs (73) and slugging percentage (.473), and stood second in runs (375), hits (594) and ERA (4.01).

Under Mrowka's direction in 2005, GW's program produced its first A-10 Player of the Year (Brad Rosenblat), saw three players earn first-team all-conference honors and all seven seniors graduate and sign contracts with professional teams.

Mrowka (pronounced "MROW-kah") came to GW in August 2004 after 11 years as head coach at Georgia College & State University, an NCAA Division II program located in Milledgeville, GA.

See Also GW Baseball, 2007 at:[2]

Document Information

Images: 1
Photographic Credit: George Coffin papers/MS2048
Author or Source: Cherry Tree;GW Sports Media Guides; Sports Information Office; GW Athletics web site [http://
Document Location: University Archives
Date Added to Encyclopedia: December 21, 2006
Prepared by: G. David Anderson

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