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History of Baseball at Manhattan College

Photograph of Brother JaspersManhattan College features one of the oldest baseball programs in the nation.  Brother Jasper, the College’s Prefect of Discipline, brought the new but fast-growing, American sport of baseball to Manhattan College in 1863, and served as the team’s first coach. Moreover, Brother Jasper also featured in the establishment of a time-honored, baseball tradition called “The Seventh Inning Stretch.”

Noticing the Manhattan College student fans were becoming restless during the seventh inning of one particularly hot and humid day in 1882 when the College was playing a semi-pro team, Brother Jasper called timeout. He then instructed that the students to stand up and stretch for a few moments until the game resumed.  That practice and custom eventually spread to Major League Baseball.

Brother Jasper’s baseball team was the College’s first athletic team. At a time when club and collegiate teams were exceptionally strong, the Jaspers boasted an outstanding lineup that regularly competed against professional clubs and semi-pro teams. The College’s athletic teams continue to be known as the Jaspers in his honor.

Many of the College’s baseball players went onto professional baseball careers including Luis Castro, a Jasper alumnus who in 1902 became the first Latin American-born player to play Major League Baseball in the US.

In 1923, Manhattan College moved from upper Manhattan to its new Riverdale campus directly across from Van Cortlandt Park where Jasper baseball played many of its home games. But by the late Seventies, the park itself was falling into disrepair; the baseball diamond was deemed unplayable forcing the Jaspers to seek alternate home fields. Most recently, the team was required to travel 65 miles each way to play “home” games in East Fishkill up in Dutchess County.

 

  • 1879

    Photograph of 1879 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    Baseball was the first sport played at the College and began as early as 1870.
  • 1882

    Photograph of Brother Jasper and Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    In 1882, Brother Jasper invented the 7th Inning Stretch.
  • 1886

    Photograph of 1886 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    Manhattan competed against the New York Giants and were presented a pennant from the professional team as the best college team of the year.
  • 1898

    Photograph of 1898 baseball team.
    In 1898 Manhattan was one of the top collegiate teams in the country and reigned as the Metropolitan Champions. 
  • 1900

    Photograph of 1900 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    1901-1903: Manhattan had one of the best baseball teams in its history. More than 12 members of the teams entered the field of professional baseball.
  • 1902

    Photograph of Luis Castro
    Luis Castro, a Manhattan College alumnus, was the first Latin American-born player to play in Major League Baseball in the United States in 1902.
  • 1910

    Photograph of 1910 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    Metropolitan Champions once again.
  • 1913

    Photograph of Van Cortlandt Park entrance.
    The City of New York acquired parkland in 1888. It was not named in honor of the Van Cortlandt family until 1913.
  • 1915

    Photograph of 1915 Newspaper clipping.
    Rumor has it that Manhattan College is about to begin work on a new athletic field...ample ground for a fine stadium and gymnasium.
  • 1917

    Photograph of 1917 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    World War I: President Woodrow Wilson asks the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
  • 1923

    Photograph of 1926 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    Manhattan College moves from its 131st Street and Broadway site to a new campus in Riverdale, directly across from Van Cortlandt Park.
  • 1946

    Photograph of two Manhattan College Baseball players on the field.
    All athletic programs were halted due to WWII in 1943. Three major intercollegiate sports, basketball, track and baseball, were re-established by 1946.
  • 1950

    Coach Dave Curran speaking to team on field.
    Baseball continued under coach Dave Curran, who also served as an assistant basketball coach, assistant professor of physical education, and director of the intramural program.
  • 1957

    Photograph of 1957 Manhattan College Baseball Team.
    During its hottest stretch, Manhattan caputured the Metropolitan Conference Championship and qualified for its first NCAA tournament appearance.
  • 1970

    Photograph of Bob Chlupsa pitching for Manhattan College in 1970.
    Bob Chlupsa signed to a professional contract as relief pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals and Mark Connor, known for his complete games and strikeouts as a Jasper, was recruited to the Minnesota Twins.
  • 1998

    Photograph of Manhattan College Baseball rounding third base in 1998.
    Manhattan signed a deal with Van Cortlandt Park to become the Jaspers’ new home field, marking the first time that the team had a field in the Bronx in twenty years.
  • 1998

    Photograph of Manhattan College Baseball player at bat.
    On March 28, 1998 the field was christened with a doubleheader sweep against Iona College, traditional MAAC rivals. During the season, the team recorded twenty victories for the first time since 1903.
  • 2006

    Photograph of 2006 Manhattan College MAAC Championship game celebration on the field.
    A true Cinderella story, Manhattan wins its first MAAC Championship in 2006 and bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1957.