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World Series Champion Graduates From Penn State

Penn State Nittany Lion Shrine
Penn State Nittany Lion Shrine

Penn State will never be known for baseball.

Even if the program turns into a consistent winner, football will almost certainly always be the king with wrestling second.

But don’t let anybody try to argue that Penn State doesn’t have interesting baseball-related connections.

Going way back to the 70s— the 1870s— John Montgomery ’Monty’ Ward is credited for helping field Penn State’s first baseball team. Ward, a Bellefonte native, enrolled at Penn State when he was 13– it was a different world 150 years ago— and is thought to have helped start the squad in 1875. Ward’s time at Penn State didn’t have a happy ending. Per Baseball Almanic, Ward was “kicked out of school for stealing chickens after numerous warnings from the administration.”

Again, it was a different world 150 years ago.

Nonetheless, Ward ended up becoming a key figure in baseball history.

As a pitcher, infielder and outfielder, Ward led the league in ERA, strikeouts, wins and stole bases over the course of his career, something that, again, wasn’t as crazy in the 19th century.

In 1885, Ward, then with the New York Giants, started the first players union, which is perhaps what he’s best remember for.

He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

Most baseball fans these days have never heard of Ward but have heard of Mike Scioscia.

Scioscia, an Upper Darby native who won two World Series playing with the Dodgers (1981, ‘88) and managing the Angels (2002), never played for Penn State but did take classes there in the offseason while he was catching in the Dodgers’ system.

Dexter Fowler also never played for Penn State but now he, too, is connected.

Over the weekend, Fowler, who had a 14-year MLB career and was part of the 2016 World Champion cubs, graduated from Penn State, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational and Professional Communication, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Nightengale also reported that Fowler was the student marshal at Penn State’s graduation ceremony over the weekend.

“My parents always wanted me to go to school, so I promised them I would return,” Fowler told Penn State’s website. “My dad negotiated into my contract that I would get four years of school paid for. I’m a man of my word, so I returned to get my degree.”

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