Illini legends, lists and lore: Big Ten players on MLB's career hits list

Illini legends, lists and lore: Big Ten players on MLB's career hits list

Among former players who once wore the baseball uniform of a Big Ten institution, who collected the most major league hits? It's an interesting list, but the top 10 doesn't include some pretty big names in big league history.

Darrin Fletcher, a former great at the University of Illinois and a 14-year MLB veteran, produced a total of 1,048 hits, but is more than 700 away from qualifying for this grouping.

Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), famous for his dramatic home run against Oakland in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, had a fine career in compiling 1,553 hits, but he was 213 shy of making the top 10 among Big Ten alumni. Bill Freehan was an 11-time All-Star with the Detroit Tigers, but the former Michigan catcher had "just" 1,591 hits in the majors.

So who is on the list of Big Ten players with the most career hits in the bigs? One familiar Illini Hall of Famer is included, but overall it's a list that will surprise you.

Career MLB hits Player (School)

1. 3,319 Paul Molitor (Minnesota)

2. 3,110 Dave Winfield (Minnesota)

3. 2,839 Charlie Gehringer (Michigan)

4. 2,812 George Sisler (Michigan)

5. 2,599 Steve Garvey (Michigan St.)

6. 2,340 Barry Larkin (Michigan)

7. 2,092 Harvey Kuenn (Wisconsin)

8. 1,779 Lou Boudreau (Illinois)

9. 1,774 Frank Howard (Ohio St.)

10. 1,766 Ted Kluszewski (Indiana)


Illini birthdays

Sunday: Derek Dimke, football (27)

Monday: Aron Hiltzik, tennis (21)

Tuesday: Don Ohl, basketball (81)

Wednesday: Jeff George Jr., football (21)

Thursday: Antonio Steele, football (31)

Friday: Nick Allegretti, football (21)

Saturday: Brandon Jones, football (19)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore. Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter at @B1GLLL. His new website is and the third edition of his book debuts this coming August.

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