March 30, 2011

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 81, Issue 9

Historic baseball player honored at home field

Members of the 2010 Niagara baseball team.

Members of the 2010 Niagara baseball team.

Niagara baseball currently lists nine freshmen on its roster.  That's nine talented youngsters that Niagara coaches and fans alike can look forward to watching hit, run, pitch and field for the next four years.  

As the team looks to the future, it is important for us to keep an eye on the past as well.

Niagara University's baseball history is on display at every home game that the team plays.  Each home game is played at Sal Maglie field, located in Niagara Falls.  

We remember Maglie with a field named in his honor, but who is he?  Answer: A pretty darn good baseball player.

Maglie made his major league debut in 1945 with the New York Giants, but he didn't stick.  In fact, after his brief stint in the majors in '45, Maglie didn't appear in the majors again for another five years. It took

Maglie until 1950 to get a steady job as a major league pitcher, and he took advantage of his opportunity.  

In Maglie's first year as a regular, 1950, he led the majors in win percentage with an 18-4 record. In 1951, Maglie's second full year as a major league pitcher, he led all of baseball with 23 wins.  Maglie never looked back from there, achieving a double digit number of wins six times in his career.  In total, Maglie won 119 games in his career.  The most amazing thing about this stat though, is that Maglie was born in 1917, meaning that Maglie didn't earn a steady job pitching until he was 33 years old.  When you consider that Maglie pitched with such a limited number of years, his 119 wins are even more impressive.

Maglie's career is not remembered for his numbers so much as it is for his nickname.  For Maglie's 10 major league seasons, Maglie was referred to by all who watched him as The Barber.  He earned his nickname partially for his five o'clock shadow, but mostly for his attitude toward pitching.  Maglie was known around the league as a fierce competitor who would do anything to send a message of power to his opponents.  

Maglie's chin music is legendary in the baseball lexicon.  He was said to place his brushback pitches so close to the batter's face that the ball would shave the hairs off his face.  Thus, The Barber was born.

So why do we here at Niagara remember Maglie?  The answer, of course, is that Maglie was born and raised in Niagara Falls!  Maglie also attended Niagara University and displayed his pitching talents for the whole campus to see.  Almost 20 years after Maglie's death, we still honor his contribution to American athletics by showing off our young talent at his field every home game.

And who knows?  Maybe one of our nine freshmen could be the next Sal Maglie?


Share this: