Mike McNair had a 1.43 ERA for the Minnesota Gophers in 1966. The last accounting I can find places that as third all-time for the Gophers, for qualified pitchers (40 innings or more) in a single season.
McNair sent me an e-mail, not to draw attention to himself but to add more insight to last Sunday’s piece on Archie Clark as a baseball player, as well as a basketball star, for the Gophers.
“I enjoyed the piece about Archie and baseball. I was in the Chief’s [coach Dick Siebert] rotation in 1966 when Archie was a senior.
“With the caveat that all memory is fiction, I recall pitching a 2-0 game, at home vs. Iowa and Archie had seven putouts in center, at least one of which was a home run take away. I led the Big 10 in ERA that year thanks to that catch.
“He also scored the second run on a bunt single, a steal of second, a steal of third and yes, a steal of home -- with a beautiful head-first slide and a left hand slap of home plate avoiding the catcher’s attempted tag.
“You had to be there.
“I have followed baseball all of my life and have never seen a better center fielder.
“The year before, 1965,when we went to Texas, Archie was the target of the most-racist taunts imaginable at UT [ University of Texas] in Austin. To this day, I do not understand how he suffered them with dignity. He truly was a man among boys.’’