Introduction of 1950 Baseball Team, presented by John Casey, Tufts Head Baseball Coach
Anyone who is a fan of college baseball knows that Omaha, Nebraska is the Mecca of the sport. For almost 70 years, the College World Series has been played there.
What many people do not know is that Tufts Baseball was in Omaha for the start of it all. When Omaha hosted its first-ever College World Series in 1950, the Jumbos were there. Coach by Jit Ricker, the 1950 Jumbos were selected to represent New England at the eight-team, double-elimination NCAA tournament that year. The other schools in Omaha that year were Alabama, Bradley, Colorado State, Rutgers, Texas, Washington State, and Wisconsin.
That 1950 Jumbo team was fast on the base paths, clutch at the plate, reliable in the field, and had a workhorse ace pitcher in senior Bud Niles. The team was experienced, with three-year starter and captain George Minot at first base, four-year regular Ed Schluntz at third base, slugger Rudy Fobert in left field, and Jim Jabbour as starting catcher for the third straight year.
Tufts clinched the New England berth into the NCAA Tournament with a pair of victories over Boston College on consecutive Saturdays in early June.
In order to prepare to play under the lights in Omaha, Tufts held night practices at Fenway Park and at Braves Field in Boston. “We forgot all about defensive work at Fenway Park when the boys concentrated on trying to clear that left-field fence,” Ricker snapped. The team then left for Omaha on June 15 aboard United Airlines, with many players on a plane for the very first time.
Tufts lost to Washington State 3-1 in their opening game at the College World Series, defeated Bradley 5-4 in an elimination game, and then lost to the University of Texas 7-0. Playing well against larger schools, the Jumbos impressed the national baseball audience in Omaha that week.
Now that Tufts is affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III, the 1950 baseball season is a historic feat that will never be repeated. Sixty years later, on May 10, 2010, 13 members of the Tufts 1950 baseball team were honored by the Red Sox at Fenway.
Tonight, we honor them again.