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Sept. 9, 2004

Nick Swisher, a three-year baseball letterman at Ohio State from 2000 to 2002, was called up by the Oakland Athletics from Triple-A Sacramento Sept. 3. Swisher batted .269 with 29 home runs and 92 RBI with the River Cats before the promotion.

The 24-year-old from Parkersburg, W.Va., started left field in his major league debut and went 1-for-3 with a double and a pair of walks in the series opener, a 7-4 victory at Toronto.

Swisher was met in Toronto by his father, former major league catcher Steve Swisher, who played nine seasons with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, and four friends from Ohio State, who drove up from Columbus.

“I still can’t describe it,” Swisher told the Oakland Tribune after his first game. “The feeling is unbelievable. Just to get the first hit out of the way was awesome. I was so nervous. I was shaking my first at-bat.

“I tried not to look into the stands too often. But I heard somebody screaming my name and it sounded like one of my buddies. Sure enough, it was. I knew he was coming, but I didn’t know he was bringing everybody with him. It was even more special.”

Swisher has played all five games since leaving the River Cats, who were getting ready for a game in Tacoma, Wash., last Thursday when he found out he would be joining the big league team. Swisher hit his first major league home run, which scored two runs, Sunday off Sean Douglas in the sixth inning of a 13-5 loss to Toronto.

After reaching base seven of his first nine plate appearances with the A’s, Swisher is 3-for-15 in his first six games. He has walked three times, been hit by a pitch and has struck out twice while scoring four times. He has an on-base percentage of .368 and a slugging percentage of .467.

Swisher became the highest-ever drafted player from Ohio State when he was picked 16th overall in the first round of the 2002 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He batted.323 in his three years with the Buckeyes, batting in 156 runs with 35 home runs. He had a .613 slugging percentage and a .452 on-base percentage while at Ohio State and was a starter in 166 of the 169 games in which he played. During his junior season, Swisher batted .348 with a team-best 52 RBI and 10 home runs. The switch hitter reached base safely in all but one of his 54 games as a junior and at one point rode a 19-game hit streak, which was within four games of the school’s all-time record. Swisher, a First Team All-Big Ten selection both as a sophomore and junior, had 64 hits, including 14 doubles and three triples to go with his 10 homers in 2002. He was a freshman All-American and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2000.

Swisher becomes the first non-pitcher from Ohio State to reach the majors since Barry Bonnell played the first of his three seasons for the Atlanta Braves in 1977. Bonnell went on to play 10 years in the majors, playing for Toronto (1980-83) and Seattle (1984-86). Swisher joins Dave Burba, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, as the only active Buckeyes in Major League Baseball.

Oakland, which has a one and a half game lead over the Anaheim Angels in the American League West, begin a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians Friday at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland.

Former Buckeyes in Major League Baseball

Atlanta Braves
Barry Bonnell 1977-79
 
Baltimore Orioles
Scott Klingenbeck 1994-95
Scott Meadows 1988
 
Boston Braves
John Dagenhard 1943
 
Boston Red Sox
Galen Cisco 1961-62, 1967
Marty Karow 1927
Willie Tarbert 1927-28
Harry Workman 1924
 
Chicago White Sox
Chuck Brinkman 1969-74
James Geddes 1972-73
William Sharp 1973-75
 
Cincinnati Reds
Dave Burba 1995-97
John Edwards 1961-67
Ollie Klee 1925
Scott Klingenbeck 1998
 
Cleveland Indians
Steve Arlin 1974
Dave Burba 1998-2002
Patrick McNulty 1922, 1924-27
Russ Nagelson 1968-70
Ron Nischwitz 1963
Bill Wertz 1993-94
 
Detroit Tigers
Frank Howard 1972-73
Russ Nagelson 1970
Ron Nischwitz 1961-62, 1965
Joe Sparma 1964-69
George Spencer 1958, 1960
 
Houston Astros
John Edwards 1969-74
 
Kansas City Royals
Galen Cisco 1969
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
Frank Howard 1958-64
 
Milwaukee Brewers
William Sharp 1975-76
Dave Burba 2003-04
 
Minnesota Twins
Mike Durant 1996
Scott Klingenbeck 1995-96
Warren Renick 1968-72
 
Montreal Expos
Joe Sparma 1970
 
New York Giants
George Spencer 1950-55
 
Oakland Athletics
Nick Swisher 2004
 
Philadelphia Phillies
Donald Grate 1945-46
Russell Miller 1927-28
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chuck Brinkman 1974
 
St. Louis Cardinals
John Edwards 1968
Harold Kime 1920
 
San Diego Padres
Steve Arlin 1969-74
 
San Francisco Giants
Dave Burba 1992-95, 2004
Mark Dempsey 1982
 
Seattle Mariners
Barry Bonnell 1984-86
Dave Burba 1990-91
Doug Swearingen 1983
 
Texas Rangers
Frank Howard 1972
Dave Burba 2002
 
Toronto Blue Jays
Barry Bonnell 1980-83
 
Washington Senators
Frank Howard 1965-71
Fred Taylor 1950-52

The players listed are Ohio State student-athletes who have participated in one or more official Major League Baseball games from 1901 through 2004. This information was researched out of the Baseball Almanac.