The History of Baseball

Ohio Wesleyan organized its first intercollegiate baseball team in 1889. Ohio Wesleyan students had played home exhibition games against other schools as far back as the late 1870s, but away games had been prohibited by a faculty rule barring road trips for athletic purposes. After signing a professional baseball contract and thus becoming ineligible to continue his collegiate playing career, Branch Rickey became Ohio Wesleyan’s athletics director and baseball coach in 1903. Rickey’s baseball team won 14 games in 1904, a school record that would stand for 81 years.

In 1958, the baseball team posted a 12-0 record, won the Ohio Athletic Conference championship, and was the only undefeated team in the nation. The OWU baseball team won the OAC championship in 1961 and made its first NCAA College Division playoff appearance. In 1969, the Bishops won the OAC championship.

Les Michael retired in 1980 after 29 seasons as OWU’s baseball coach. The baseball team won its first NCAC championship in 1986, the Bishops’ first conference title since 1969. In 1998, the baseball team led the NCAA Division III schools in batting (.397), slugging and scoring. The Bishops became the first team in NCAC history to finish the season undefeated in conference play in 2000, and they went on to win a school record of 42 games.

In 2003, the baseball team won its fourth consecutive NCAC West Division title. The Bishops also won the NCAC tournament and hosted the NCAA Division III regional tournament at Ohio Wesleyan’s Littick Field for the first time. Ohio Wesleyan won its first two regional tournament games and advanced to the regional championship game. In 2007, the baseball team won the NCAC’s West Division with a 13-3 record, and then took the NCAC title by defeating No. 1-ranked Wooster in a best-of-three series. The NCAC crown sent the Bishops on to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Ohio Wesleyan defeated defending national champion Marietta to force a winner-take-all showdown for the regional championship, but Marietta returned the favor with a win in the championship game. The Bishops repeated as NCAC champion the following year, again advancing to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Named after Clay Littick ’15, Littick Field became the Bishops’ home field in 1969. The facility has seen considerable improvements in the past 10 years, including new dugouts, a new wood outfield fence, a fully enclosed perimeter, windscreen completely surrounding the field, and a state-of-the-art automatic irrigation system.

In the fall of 2007, Littick Field received a 2-story press box. The press box includes a media area and office space on the second floor, as well as a concession area, a storage area and restrooms on the ground floor. Littick Field has played host to numerous NCAC baseball tournaments and was the site of the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional tournament in 2003.