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
|Boston Red Sox|
|Galen Cisco||1961-62, 1967|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Patrick McNulty||1922, 1924-27|
|Ron Nischwitz||1961-62, 1965|
|George Spencer||1958, 1960|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|New York Giants|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|San Diego Padres|
|San Francisco Giants|
|Dave Burba||1992-95, 2004|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
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.