Princeton Repeats As Champion
The 1872 season started out with the favorites jumping into the lead right from the beginning, with Yale, Princeton and Villanova hold down 1st place after the first two weeks of play. But a new team had come into the mix, the Lafayette Leopards. Lafayette was a preseason pick for the wild card and was right on ‘Nova’s heels. Six weeks into the season, last year’s playoff contender, Penn, was out of the race, its team ravaged by injuries.
Halfway through the season, Princeton was the obvious favorite, posting a 25-5 record, four games ahead of the next competitor. After 48 games and a record of 38-10, the Tigers clinched their second regional title. Yale ended up winning the New England Region by five games, finishing at 39-21. The Bulldogs were led by sophomore pitcher Kyle Brown, who ended the season 37-20 with a 1.94 earned run average. The Villanova Wildcats were able to hold off Lafayette and win the Atlantic Region. Villanova’s junior first baseman, David Olsen, won the batting title with a .407 average.
Yale ended up taking care of Villanova in a two game sweep, while Princeton and Lafayette exchanged blow outs before Princeton finished the Leopards off in Game 3. In the Collegiate Championship Series, Yale took Game 1 and looked to sweep the defending champion Tigers. But Princeton was able to bounce back and win the next two games to take home the championship trophy for the second consecutive year.
With attendance up in the association’s second year, eight of the fourteen teams are expanding their stadiums to deal with increased patronage. As for year-end awards, Kevin Haas, the manager for the Princeton Tigers, took home Manager of the Year honors. Yale’s Kyle Brown was named Pitcher of the Year in a greatly debated award. Princeton’s sophomore pitcher Jon Richmond (41-10, 2.33) felt jilted and many fans were not happy with the decision. Villanova Wildcat’s first baseman David Olsen was named the Most Valuable Player.
Harvard University ended up firing their manager, Guillermo Perez, at the season’s end. Perez was 64-56 in two seasons, but finishing 2nd to Yale apparently was not tolerated by university administrators. Fordham also cleaned house, firing both their manager and athletic director. As with the end of every season, key players graduate and move on with their lives. Some notable players this season include the following: Villanova pitcher Ryan Kovar, who finished his career 42-14 with a 3.21 earned run average; Lafayette center fielder Josh Moss, who finishes with a .326 career batting average; Brown left fielder Luis Ruiz, who ends his collegiate career with a .319 average; and finally, Penn shortstop Luke Rising. Rising was the 1871 MVP and finishes his career with a .353 average, with two home runs and 92 runs batted in over 121 games played.
Only one notable addition for the upcoming 1873 season. Catcher/first baseman Jim O’Rourke signed with the Brown University Bears. O’Rourke played professional baseball for 22 seasons, finishing with a career average of .311. As always, if you want to read about the Collegiate Baseball Association in more detail, just click here to go to Out of the Park Developments Dynasty Reports. For more on Jim O’Rourke, click here for his baseball-reference profile or here for his SABR biography.