Aug 7, 2013, 3:14 PM EST
A new weekly Irish UNDerground feature revolves around the @NDSportsBlogger taking time away from his desk to go find an interesting artifact around the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department, enjoy…
In today’s “Way Back Wednesday” we turn to the Irish baseball squad and former head coach Jake Kline.
Kline held the head job at Notre Dame from 1934-1975 (and was the freshman coach from 1931-35) after playing and earning three monograms with the Irish in his playing days in the 1910’s. While at Notre Dame Kline compiled a 558-449-5 record over the 42 years at the helm of the Fighting Irish. Aside from having the field at Eck Stadium named after him, Kline was also voted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.
Now that we have dispensed with the background of coach Jake Kline, let me turn your attention to 1957. The year 1957 was a banner year for Notre Dame baseball. Kline’s team earned Notre Dame’s first trip to Omaha (Neb.) for the College World Series after winning district 4 (midwest region) with a 3-1 record.
The Irish would go 2-2 in the College World Series, finishing in a tie for third place. It would be 45 years before the Irish returned to Omaha when the 2002 team made their miraculous run through the NCAA Championship Regionals.
Today for “Way Back Wednesday” we are looking at a Hanna Batrite Northern Ash baseball bat with Jake Kline inscription.
From the best of my abilities I have traced this bat to be from 1957 after searching through a few hundred old Hanna Batrite catalogs. Additionally, without a full catalog to look through I am not able to ascertain whether Kline had his own official bat. Therefore I come to deduce that he was possibly given this bat as a gift for being the head coach at participant in the College World Series.
The Hanna Batrite bat company from Athens, Ga., is not well known anymore because the factory and the company closed down over 40 years ago due to a fire at the main building. Sources I have read said that most of the information and records of the company were lost in the fire.
If you can provide anymore information regarding this ‘Way Back Wednesday’ Artifact, please email Aaron Horvath at AHorvat3@nd.edu or on twitter at @NDSportsBlogger
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