Diamond Reflections: CYCLONES IN THE MAJORS

The Lineup:

Cyclone Baseball, 1892-2001

The Ames Nine





The Diamond Darlings

Team Photos




Cyclones in the Majors


The distinction between professional and amateur is relatively new. When Iowa State began playing the game as part of the Iowa Inter Collegiate Base Ball Association (IIBBA), it was regular practice for most players to spend their off time running the bases for money. 

This practice was severely challenged by Charles "Yank" Brown, an exceptional pitcher and captain of the 1905 team. The State University of Iowa (UI) pushed the IIBBA to adopt rules prohibiting any kind of professional activity and eventually withdrew from the group with ally Cornell College. Brown went on to pitch for St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Boston and chalk up an ERA of 3.20 between 1905 and 1913.

Charles "Yank" Brown, 1903

With the exception of three players, Clyde Southwick who caught for the St. Louis Browns in 1911, George Clark, a New York Yankees pitcher in 1913,  and Emil "Dutch" Levsen who pitched for Cleveland from 1923-1928, Iowa State did not contribute to any of the major leagues until 1960 when Dick Bertell joined the ranks of the Chicago Cubs.

Under "Cap" Timm's tutelage four players would go on to the major leagues, including Bertell (see photo); pitcher Al Closter who played for Washington, New York, and Atlanta from 1966-73; Bob Locker, who pitched for Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Oakland from 1965-72; and Jerry McNertney, who caught for Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh from 1964-73. 

Dick Bertell, left, with co-captain Gary Thompson and Coach "Cap" Timm, 1957. Bertell played in the major leagues from 1960-67, catching for Chicago all but one year, which was spent with the San Francisco Giants organization.

Iowa State can boast of being the breeding grounds for seven more major league players: Mike Busch, first-baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1995-96; Curt Kaufmann, a pitcher for the New York Yankees from 1982-1983 and California Angels in 1984; Matt Wagner, who pitched for the Seattle Mariners in 1996 before moving to the Montreal Expos where he stayed until 1998 although an injury prevented him from ever making an appearance in Olympic Stadium. Infielder Jim Walewander made his debut in 1987 with Detroit, but took 1989 off, returning to the Yankees in 1990, leaving again until 1993, where he played his final major league season with the California Angels; Don Wengert began pitching for the Oakland Athletics in 1995, but played for the Cubs, Padres, and Toronto in 1998 before moving to Kansas City in 1999, Atlanta in 2000. Wengert is currently a relief pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The most prominent major league player to hail from Iowa State in 2001 is Mike Myers, a rising left-handed pitcher for the Colorado Rockies.  Myers began his career in 1995 with the Detroit Tigers, but would wear both Florida and Toronto uniforms before the year was finished. In 1996, he was back with the Tigers where he would stay until being traded to Milwaukee in 1998 (see photo). Colorado grabbed him in 2000 and he has enjoyed increasing success.