Lafayette Leopards baseball

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Lafayette Leopards
2018 Lafayette Leopards baseball team
Lafayette Leopards wordmark.png
Founded 1865 (1865)
University Lafayette College
Head coach Joe Kinney (15th season)
Conference Patriot
Location Easton, Pennsylvania
Home stadium Hilton Rahn '51 Field at Kamine Stadium
(Capacity: 500)
Nickname Leopards
Colors Maroon and White[1]
College World Series appearances
1953, 1954, 1958, 1965
NCAA Tournament appearances
1948, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1965, 1966, 1990, 2007
Conference tournament champions
Conference champions
1990 (ECC), 2007

The Lafayette Leopards baseball team represents Lafayette College in NCAA Division I college baseball. The team participates in the Patriot League. They are currently coached by Joe Kinney and assistant coaches Gregg Durrah and Brandt Godshalk. They play home games in Hilton Rahn '51 Field at Kamine Stadium. The Leopards have advanced to the College World Series four times. Lafayette has also qualified for the NCAA tournament ten times, but only twice since 1966.


Kamine Stadium is the home of Lafayette baseball. The stadium was renovated in 2003, establishing permanent seating and a permanent press box. It is a natural grass field with an official capacity of 500.[3]


Baseball is the oldest sport at the college, with a club team competing on a College Hill since March 1860. The team's first official game was a 44–11 win on November 8, 1865 against amateurs from Easton. The first recorded intercollegiate match was a 45–45 tie in a baseball game against Lehigh in October 1869 and its first win against Lehigh 31–24 shortly thereafter.

Aside from its traditional Ivy League and local rivals, Lafayette developed a rivalry with North Carolina and South Carolina in the late 19th and early 20th century. Games were played on March Field, and were later played at Fisher Stadium. Once the Metzgar Athletic Complex was built in the late 1960s, the team moved its field to what is now known as Kamine Stadium.

Lafayette has made four appearances in the College World Series in the 1950s and 1960s,[4] the final round of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. Coached by former major leaguer Charlie Gelbert, the Leopards made it the semi-finals in 1953 before bowing to the University of Texas, finishing third. Lafayette eliminated Stanford and Boston College, with their only losses coming against Texas. Lafayette did not win a game in its other trips in 1954, 1958, and 1965.

Lafayette won the East Coast Conference in 1990 and Patriot League title 2007 to earn a trip to the NCAA Regionals.

The most noted Lafayette baseball player is current Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who played on the team in the early 1970s.[5]

Tournament appearances[edit]

  • 1948: Lafayette made its first NCAA tournament appearance, going 2–2 in the Eastern Playoff played in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Leopards defeated Illinois 9–6 but lost to Yale 11–2 to drop to the loser's bracket. Lafayette beat North Carolina 5–2 to advance to the final, but fell one run and one win short of the College World Series with a 4–3 loss to Yale.
  • 1953: After a 17–4–3 regular season, Lafayette was one of the eight selected teams to participate in the 1953 College World Series. The Leopards finished 3–2 in the tournament, a third-place finish for the best in school history. Lafayette opened up play with a 6–2 defeat of Colorado State before being sent to the loser's bracket with a 7–2 loss to Texas. Lafayette advanced to the semi-finals with a 4–3 win over Stanford. The Leopards eliminated Boston College with a 2–1 victory before being eliminated by eventual runner-up, Texas.
  • 1966: Lafayette returned to the District 2 regional in Princeton, New Jersey where they played four games, finishing 2–2. The Leopards beat Colgate 15–0, lost to St. John's 2–0, eliminated Rutgers with a 4–3 win, and were eliminated by St. John's with an 8–3 defeat.
  • 1990: Lafayette was the No. 6 seed in the "South II Regional" in Starkville, Mississippi where they paired up with No. 1 regional seed Florida State and lost 7–2. The Leopards were eliminated by the regional's No. 5 seed, BYU, losing 13–3.
  • 2007: The Leopards were the No. 4 seed in the "Charlottesville Regional". Lafayette paired up with No. 1-seeded Virginia where they lost 5–1. They were eliminated by the regional's No. 2 seed, Rutgers, after an 11–10 loss. No. 3-seeded Oregon State was the other team in the Charlottesville Regional, who went on to win the 2007 National Championship.

Major Leaguers[edit]

The Leopards have sent 12 players to the Major Leagues but have not had an active alumnus since 1994.[6] 21 Lafayette players have been drafted in the Major League Baseball draft.

Player Years at Lafayette Years in MLB Position Clubs
George Barclay 1896–98 1902–05 Outfielder St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Beaneaters
Charlie Berry 1922–25 1925–38 Catcher Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox
Ben DeMott 1908–10 1910–11 Pitcher, Outfielder Cleveland Naps
Mike Gazella 1920–23 1923–28 Infielder New York Yankees
Frank Grube 1924–30 1931–41 Catcher Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Browns
Ty Helfrich 1910–15 1915 Second baseman Brooklyn Tip-Tops
Les Hennessy 1912–13 1913 Second baseman Detroit Tigers
Frank Hiller 1939–42 1946–53 Pitcher New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants
Lep Long 1907–11 1911 Pitcher Philadelphia Athletics
Jeff Mutis 1986–88 1991–94 Pitcher Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins
Fritz Scheeren 1913–14 1914–15 Outfielder Pittsburgh Pirates
Dick Wright 1909–15 1915 Catcher Brooklyn Tip-Tops

Other Notables[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lafayette College Full-Color Representations (PDF). Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Patriot League Record Book" (PDF). Patriot League. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Hilton Rahn '51 Field at Kamine Stadium". Lafayette Athletics. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ "1953 College World Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Joe Maddon". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Lafayette College Leopards". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved December 1, 2014.