First Years of the College World Series

The first NCAA baseball tournament was held in 1947. The tournament was divided into two single-elimination brackets, the Eastern Playoff and the Western Playoff.

Eastern Playoff
Yale (2-0)
New York U. (1-1)
Clemson (0-1)
Illinois (0-1)
Western Playoff
California (2-0)
Texas (1-1)
Oklahoma (0-1)
Denver (0-1)

California and Yale then met in the "College World Series" at Hyames Field at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo MI in a best-of-three format. Baseball commissioner "Happy" Chandler threw out the first pitch and major league umpires Ed Hurley and Bill McKinley worked the games. The Bears, led by future major leaguer (and All-American RB) Jackie Jensen, won 17-4 and 8-7 to take the championship. Jensen pitched as well as played outfield. The Eli first baseman was George H. W. Bush.

The 1948 tournament followed the same format, except that the regional playoffs were double-elimination.

Eastern Playoff
Yale (3-0)
Lafayette (2-2)
North Carolina (1-2)
Illinois (0-2)
Western Playoff
Southern California (3-0)
Baylor (2-2)
Oklahoma State (1-2)
Northern Colorado (0-2)

The winners returned to Kalamazoo where Yale (and its famous first-sacker and now team captain) lost to a Golden State squad again. The Ivy League champs did manage an 8-3 win after losing the opener 3-1. However, SC won the third game 9-2 to take the first of its twelve championships – the most of any school.

The third tournament, in 1949, was divided into four regional brackets. Each region consisted of a best-of-three series between two teams.

Region A: St. John's (NY) (coached by Frank McGuire of basketball fame) defeated Boston College two games to none.
Region B: Wake Forest (Southern Conference champs) bested Notre Dame 2-0.
Region C: Texas (pride of the Southwest Conference) eliminated Oklahoma State 2-0.
Region D: Southern California (California Intercollegiate Baseball Association) defeated Northern Colorado 2-1.

The four regional winners descended on Wichita KS for the College World Series. Texas, coached by the legendary Bibb Falk, stormed through the double-elimination tournament undefeated, knocking off Wake Forest 10-3 in the final game. Charles Teague, Texas second baseman, won the inaugural MVP award. The Longhorns have the most wins (78) in College World Series history and the second most championships (6).

In 1950 the NCAA changed the tournament format (and site) yet again. Eight teams were invited to a double-elimination tournament at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. The SEC champion, Alabama, participated for the first time. They were joined by Bradley of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, defending champion Texas, Washington State from the Pacific Coast Conference, Wisconsin from the Big Ten, and independents Colorado State, Rutgers, and Tufts. The Longhorns bounced back from an opening loss to Rutgers to win five in a row to take its second straight crown. Notable players who participated in the tournament were: Frank and Al Lary (Alabama), Kal Segrist (Texas), Bill Tuttle (Bradley), and Gene Conley (WSU). However, Ray Van Cleef, Rutgers CF, was MVP.

The World Series has returned to Omaha every year since 1950. Like March Madness, the NCAA baseball tournament expanded to 16 teams, then 32, 48, and now 64. The MVP list includes future major leaguers Sal Bando (Arizona State), Dave Winfield (Minnesota), Bob Horner (ASU), Terry Francona (Arizona), Calvin Schiraldi (Texas), Phil Nevin (CS Fullerton), Todd Walker (LSU), Mark Kotsay (Fullerton), Pat Burrell (Miami), and Hudson Street (Texas). However, the most famous participants (along with Hall-of-Famer Winfield and a president) undoubtedly are Roger Clemens (Texas) and Barry Bonds (Arizona State).

Golden Moments Archive | Golden Rankings Home