GREATEST MOMENTS | Miami pitcher Buddy Schultz turned up the fan for 26 strikeouts in 1971


Miami-greatest-1Lost to time and memory is the 27th out in Buddy Schultz’s historic performance on April 3, 1971.

Not forgotten are Schultz’s 26 strikeouts in a 4-0 victory against Wright State that 40-degree day. He set an NCAA strikeout record for a nine-inning game, surpassing LSU’s Butch Mixon’s 24 strikeouts against Louisiana Lafayette in 1959. One newspaper writer referred to him as Buddy “Electric Fan” Schultz.

It’s the sports moment judged the greatest in the school’s storied history, which includes Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and coach John Harbaugh and NBA champion Ron Harper.

And Schultz said it didn’t sink in until about 10 years ago. “And I thought, ‘That’s pretty cool,'” he told The Arizona Republic’s Paola Boivin in 2012.

During the game, he told Boivin, “I wasn’t even thinking about it until after five innings. Then I thought, ‘Crap, this is pretty good!'” Boivin’s story continued:

After fanning the first batter in the sixth, a Wright State player hit a ball to the outfield, which bounced in front of right fielder Dennis Smith.

“What happened?” Schultz asked him later.

“To be perfectly honest,” Smith said, “I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy watching you strike out people.”

Schultz’s milestone likely will withstand the test of time. Neal Heaton of Miami (Fla.) in 1981 against Indiana State and San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg in 2008 against Utah came closest, each fanning 23.

It’s difficult to imagine a college pitcher topping the record by throwing the bowling equivalent of a 300 game. That makes Schultz’s feat — 26 of 27 outs in nine innings on strikeouts — all the more astounding.

“I was on baseball cards, I played in five different countries, I’ve pitched with and against Hall of Famers, but, in this age where statistics have become so prominent, 26 strikeouts seems to be what I’m remembered for,” he said in Miami’s Graduating Champions series“It’s all good. What could possibly be bad when you were able to live your childhood dream?”

Buddy SchultzAfter finishing his Miami career with 240 strikeouts and a 1.77 earned-run average, the two-time All-MAC player signed with the Chicago Cubs for $6,000. He was called up in 1975 and retired 22 consecutive Pittsburgh Pirates, one of his career highlightsHe pitched five seasons for the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, and had the National League’s third-lowest ERA in 1977. 

Today, the ball from Schultz’s historic game rests weathered and yellowed by age in Miami’s Jay Hayden Baseball Center. Schultz was instrumental in its building.

“I attended Miami because I could play baseball,” he said. “I graduated from Miami because I like to win. I give back to Miami because others deserve a chance.

I’d like someone to be able to experience a little bit of what I did — to learn the things I was able to learn through baseball.”

• Miami Athletics Hall of Fame

• Timeline of Miami’s greatest moments

Middle: Miami’s Buddy Schultz. (Courtesy University of Miami Archives) 

Monday: Maine and Marshall
Tuesday: Massachusetts (UMass) and Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell)
Wednesday: McNeese and Memphis
Thursday: Mercer and Merrimack
Friday: Miami (Ohio) and Michigan Tech

Mike Bambach

Mike Bambach is senior web producer for ASN.