Millsaps College will play at Twenty Field this weekend without Keith Shumaker for the first time in five years. The Majors, hosting the three-team Millsaps Invitational, play LaGrange on Friday in their home opener. They went 1-2 in a tournament in Alabama last weekend. Shumaker, the team’s best all-around hitter and pitcher in 2015, was the Southern Athletic Association player of the year and an NCAA Division III All-America as a senior, leading the Majors to a 29-14 finish and an at-large berth in the D-III regionals. Among the familiar faces in purple and white this season is coach Jim Page, who typically finds a way to win. He has 701 career W’s. Page has some experienced talent back in the fold in Isaac Glenn, an All-America candidate who hit .425 last year; Andy Page, .331 in 2015 as a freshman; and Lee Ogletree, .305 last year. Those three combined for nine hits in an 11-7 romp against Southwestern last weekend. P.S. In case you missed it, Rust College opened its season last weekend at Loyola-New Orleans with three losses. The Bearcats, who play in NCAA D-III, were outscored by the NAIA Wolf Pack 54-8.
Did you know that Rust College has produced one and only one professional baseball player? His name is Otis Edwards; he played one season in the minors in 1991. Stumbled across this fascinating bit of data on the wonderful web site baseball-reference.com. Atop the list of most pro players produced by a Magnolia State college is Mississippi State, with 196, including 49 major leaguers. Ole Miss is second (at 193 and 48), Southern Miss third (109/23) and Jackson State fourth (62/9). The rest: Delta State 47/10, William Carey 39/1, Mississippi Valley State 21/0, Alcorn State 16/1, Mississippi College 15/7, Belhaven 10/0 and Millsaps 8/4. More on Edwards: Undrafted out of NCAA Division III Rust, he signed with Cleveland and played 29 games at the rookie and short-season Class A levels, batting .152 with seven RBIs, eight runs and three steals. He also pitched a scoreless inning for Burlington of the rookie Appalachian League. The one Carey player to make The Show? John Stephenson, the ex-Crusaders coach. The one Alcorn player? Al Jones, a pitcher in the mid-1980s. … Stumbled across a couple more interesting items in the July/August issue of Baseball Digest. To wit: Don Kessinger was a six-time All-Star and a career .252 hitter with 1,931 hits over 16 years in the majors. But as a pinch hitter, he was 0-for-37, the worst drought of any player in MLB history with at least 20 pinch-hit appearances. Kessinger did draw four walks as a pinch hitter, but still, it makes you wonder, when he reached 0-for-36, why in the world did his manager send him up there again? Also on the list of pinch-hit futility: former Jackson Mets standout Stanley Jefferson, who was 1-for-32. Then there’s this: The dubious distinction of worst-hitting Gold Glove winner in any season belongs to Greenville native George Scott. “Boomer” hit .171 as the Boston Red Sox’s first baseman in 1968, his third year in the big leagues. Scott, a career .268 hitter with 271 home runs, won eight Gold Gloves over his lengthy career. P.S. The current issue of Sports Illustrated (July 27) has a cool photo essay and brief article on the Anderson Monarchs’ Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour that made a stop for a game at Jackson State’s Braddy Field last month. The 23-day, multi-state trip was a living history lesson for the Philadelphia (Pa.) area youth team, which included 2014 Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis. It’s unclear whether any of the pictures were taken in Mississippi.