Baylor baseball alums in the big leagues
Four Bears are in the big leagues as most of Major League Baseball kicks off the 2008 season today.
Former national collegiate player of the year (and Mesquite native) Jason Jennings begins his first season with his hometown Texas Rangers. Jennings, who played at Baylor from 1997-99, is coming off a strong spring and will be the Rangers’ No. 3 starter.
Fellow Baylor alum David Murphy will join Jennings with the Rangers. A former first-round pick, Murphy hit .343 in limited action last year and should see more playing time this season.
Outside of Texas, Kelly Shoppach begins his third season backing up all-star catcher Victor Martinez in Cleveland. Shoppach set new career highs in virtually every offensive category last year, and like Murphy, should see more playing time this year as the Indians occasionally shift Martinez to first base to get Shoppach in the lineup.
Kip Wells will start 2008 in the bullpen for the defending National League champion Colorado Rockies. Wells is the veteran among active Baylor alums in the big leagues; this year will mark his 10th major league season, second only to Hall of Famer Ted Lyons among Baylor alums.
And that’s not all; at last count, 22 more former Baylor players were still active at some level of professional baseball. In total, 26 Bears in the Pros? A nice showing for the baseball program’s 13-plus seasons under head coach Steve Smith.
Sic ’em, Baylor baseball!