default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Why the College World Series is my favorite

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:17 am, Sat Jun 16, 2012.

Given my choice between watching the College or Major League World Series, I'd pick college without hesitation. Even in the opening rounds, the players are more fundamentally well-schooled in the basics: advancing the runner, hitting the cut off man and laying down a bunt. And, to be honest, if those same players put on a San Francisco Giants uniform and passed themselves off as big leaguers, few in AT&T Park's stands could tell the difference. Many of the college pitchers throw over 90 miles per hour and field their positions flawlessly.

The College World Series has a rich tradition dating back to 1947 when Kalamazoo, Mich. hosted the event. Two players from that year's final, which pitted the California Bears against the Yale Bulldogs, went on to achieve outstanding success in their professional careers: Jackie Jensen with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators, and George Herbert Walker Bush, United States president.

Although Jensen pitched for the Bears, by the time he was named the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1957, he played outfield. Bush was a slick-fielding, no-hit first baseman and a decorated World War II hero. Many of the players, including Jensen, had military experience.

In the series opener, Jensen came through with a pinch hit single to drive in Cal's tying run. Recalled Red Mathews, Yale's third baseman, Jensen was "... strong and fast and big. I was very impressed with him." The game wasn't close for long. The Bears scored 11 runs in the top of the ninth to win easily; Cal 17, Yale 4.

The series has a best two of three format. In the next day's deciding double header, Jensen started the opener. The "Golden Boy," as Jensen was known, gave up a run in the first inning but then held Yale in check until the bottom of the fourth. The Elis made a fatal mistake when manager Ethan Allen ordered Cal's No. 8 hitter walked to face Jensen. As Bush recalled: "(Jensen) hit one that's still rolling out there in Kalamazoo."

Eventually, Jensen tired and was lifted in the bottom of the fourth with the score tied, 4-4. In the end, the Bears prevailed 8-7. Bears relief pitcher Virgil Butler struck out Bush, 0 for 7 in the series, to end the game. As Butler later remembered: "On the last pitch, I struck out George Bush on a curveball. I got my 15 minutes of glory!"

In 1961, after only 11 years in professional baseball and his career shortened by his notorious fear of flying, Jensen retired. While Jensen starred on the baseball diamond, his later life was plagued by personal and financial misfortune. He was married to, divorced from, remarried to and again divorced from Zoe Ann Olson, an Olympic diving star.

Jensen returned to Berkeley in 1974 to coach his beloved Bears, whom he led to more than 100 wins. But in 1982, age 55, Jensen died from his second heart attack in two months.

Bush, on the other hand, is a hale and hearty 88. His political resume includes two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, stints as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, two terms as Vice President and one as term as President.

As for his College World Series memories, Bush disputes his teammates' criticism that he couldn't hit. According to Bush, he batted about .250. And, Bush said, "And I think if I were playing today in the bigs, I'd probably get about $8 million bucks a year for that."

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. In this year's CWS, he's rooting for either underdog, Kent State or Stony Brook University. Contact Joe at

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Patrick W Maple posted at 4:56 am on Sun, Jun 17, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Gotta agree with you Joe I like the strategy behind small ball... When we were younger professional baseball seemed much more of a kids that kids could go to and it costs almost as much to go to a game as it does to take a vacation.

    Ron: It is a pure the college have team mates...professionally they are associates...and players.

  • Ron Werner posted at 6:12 pm on Sat, Jun 16, 2012.

    Ron Werner Posts: 101

    I don't follow college baseball through out the season but starting with the regionals and ending with the championship game -it is fantastic. Those kids play with heart and emotion that is just not found in the pros. Like the LSU centerfielder who gave up his scholarship and told the coach -my family doesn;t need the money, give it to a player who will help us get to Omaha ( the site of the CWS). Then top seeded LSU gets eliminated in the super regionals by lowly Stony Brook. A fourth seed from the Atlanic conference that has never had a team get past the first round. Go underdogs. has the game dates and times. Most are on one of the ESPN channels.
    Womens college softball is also a great experience but they already finished last weekend.


Recent Comments

Posted 7 hours ago by Shane Marcus.

article: Letter: The drought is punishment

Greg Myers, There are some truthful things in your comment. However, God isn't punishing anyone for certain sins. Homosexual marriage, (e…


Posted 7 hours ago by Shane Marcus.

article: HIREvent job fair in Stockton on Tuesday

O my, let me just rush over there


Posted 7 hours ago by Shane Marcus.

article: 133-year-old safe delivered to family o…

Keep trying you never know, it may just open one day


Posted 10 hours ago by Steve Schmidt.

Posted 16 hours ago by Christina Welch.

article: Letter: Large class sizes are good for …

Are you really serious, Mr Arthur? When was the last time you were ever in a classroom? [huh]



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists