Anyone miss Wyoming baseball?
LARAMIE -- Thirty-three University of Wyoming baseball players have been drafted into the Major Leagues. Seven of those former Cowboys made big league rosters, according to the Baseball Almanac.
Of course, that doesn't include the 16 who were born in the Cowboy State, including Cheyenne's own Brandon Nimmo, who is on the New York Mets 40-man roster and will be standing in center field Thursday night in Washington DC for the 2021 season opener.
UW eliminated its baseball program in 1996. Title IX helped shovel some dirt of the Pokes' grave. So did major budget cuts at the university. Toiling in mediocrity over its 58-year history didn't help matters. Neither did Wyoming's spring weather, which forced the team to play in Arizona and California over the first couple months of the season.
Wyoming made just one appearance in the College World Series. That came back in 1956.
Still today, though, fans talk about baseball in Laramie.
"Obviously, they're nowhere close, but the two saddest days I've ever experienced here is the van crash when the (cross country) runners were killed (in September 2001) and when we dropped baseball," UW's Senior Associate Athletic Director Kevin McKinney told the Casper Star Tribune back in 2004. "I'll preface that with any time we drop a sport, it's tremendously sad.
"But I'm a baseball guy. I miss it terribly. We talk about it every spring."
The likelihood of baseball returning to 7,200 feet above sea level isn't promising. Once again, budget cuts are taking a toll. Adding an additional sport, not to mention another one the women's side to comply with Title IX demands, doesn't appear to be in the cards anytime soon.
So, all we have is memories.
Here are the former Wyoming Cowboys to make Major League rosters:
Rigo Beltran - 5 years - LHP - Cardinals, Mets, Rockies, Expos
Greg Brock - 10 years - 1B - Dodgers, Brewers
Paul Fitzke - 1 year - RHP - Indians
Pat House - 2 years - LHP - Astros
Art Howe - 11 years - 3B, 2B, 1B - Pirates, Astros, Cardinals
Jeff Huson - 12 years - SS, 2B, 3B - Expos, Rangers, Orioles, Mariners, Cubs
Bob Linton - 1 year - C - Pirates
Here are the Wyoming natives who have appeared in a Major League game:
Tom Browning - Casper
John Buck - Kemmerer
Dennis DeBarr - Cheyenne
Mike Devereaux - Casper
Jan Dukes - Cheyenne
Dick Ellsworth - Lusk
Bob Harris - Gillette
Jeremy Horst - Cheyenne
Bucky Jacobsen - Riverton
Mike Lansing - Casper
John McCloskey - Laramie
Brandon Nimmo - Cheyenne
Rick Sofield - Cheyenne
Dan Spillner - Casper
Zach Walters - Cheyenne
Bill Wilkinson - Greybull