A History of Badger Baseball: The Rise and Fall of America's Pastime at the University of Wisconsin

by Steven D. Schmitt

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For more than a century, the University of Wisconsin fielded baseball teams. This comprehensive history combines colorful stories from the archives, interviews with former players and coaches, a wealth of historic photographs, and the statistics beloved by fans of the game. The earliest intercollegiate varsity sport at Wisconsin, the baseball team was founded in 1870, less than a decade after the start of the Civil War. It dominated its first league, made an unprecedented trip to Japan in 1909, survived Wisconsin's chilly spring weather, two world wars, and perennial budget crises, producing some of the finest players in Big Ten history—and more than a few major leaguers. Fan traditions included torchlight parades, kazoos, and the student band playing "A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" as early as 1901.

There is painful history here, too. African Americans played on Wisconsin's first Big Ten championship team in 1902, including team captain Julian Ware, but there were on the team between 1904 and 1960. Heartbreaking to many fans was the 1991 decision to discontinue baseball as a varsity sport at the university. Today, Wisconsin is the only member of the Big Ten conference without a men's baseball team.

Appendixes provide details of team records and coaches, All Big Ten and All American selections, Badgers in the major leagues, and Badgers in the amateur free-agent draft.



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