In a year that began with four Hart High of Newhall grads already in the big leagues, the call-ups continued late in the season and by September there were six. That’s an incredible total, but it has been matched it looks like at least twice by the same L.A. school that also probably has more MLB alums than any other in the nation.
With two Hart High grads pitching in this week’s World Series – Mike Montgomery for the Cubs and Trevor Bauer for the Indians – that just continued what already has been a phenomenal summer for the Newhall school’s baseball program.
Montgomery and Bauer aren’t the only frontline pitchers from Hart, either. James Shields, a longtime starting ace for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres, also is from the school.
Late last season, catcher Trevor Brown from Hart joined the party when he was called up by the San Francisco Giants. He became more of a regular for the Giants this season.
Then late this summer, two more Hart grads were called up by their major league teams – pitcher Tyler Glasnow of the Pittsburgh Pirates and infielder Pat Valaika of the Colorado Rockies. Amazingly, Pat’s brother, Chris, also has MLB experience but not for 2016.
Longtime high school editor Eric Sondheimer of the L.A. Times called last summer when Hart was going to have five in MLB at the same time and wondered if it was some kind of record.
At the time, our best guess was to check the histories of both Galileo of San Francisco (where the immortal Joe DiMaggio is from) and McClymonds of Oakland (where Hall of Famer Frank Robinson is from).
Both of those schools have had five at the same time, including one year (1961) when McClymonds grad Robinson and McClymonds grad Vada Pinson were the two top players on the National League champion Cincinnati Reds. Galileo’s one year with five looks like 1946 when two of DiMaggio’s brothers (Vince and Dom) also were in the big leagues.
Turns out the school that does match Hart’s total of six isn’t far from the L.A. Times. That would be Fremont of L.A. and according to research based on the baseball-resource.com site, the Pathfinders actually had six in the major leagues twice.
The first time Fremont had six was in 1948 and two of the six were well-known – future Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr and future MLB manager Gene Mauch. There also were six outfielders from Fremont in the majors in 1975 and all six were legit – Willie Crawford, Dan Ford, Chet Lemon, Bobby Tolan, Bob Watson and George Hendrick.
Washington of Los Angeles would have had six in 1948, but that came during a stint in which longtime catcher Mickey Owen was playing in a Mexican league.
With two different years of having six, you’d think that Fremont may also have a high total overall of the most MLB alums in the nation. We did not research the entire country, but looked at some of the most well-known schools, such as Sarasota, Fla., plus others in Texas and Florida and didn’t see another number close to the 25 that are from Fremont.
We also believe that several other California schools would be near the top of any national list, including Long Beach Poly with 19. The Jackrabbits already are well-known for having the most NFL alums of any school in the state and nation. They might be as high as No. 2 in the state and nation for baseball with a list led by the legendary Tony Gwynn.
Other high totals: Sacramento 16, Oakland Tech 15, Washington of L.A. 14, Bellarmine (San Jose) 14, Long Beach Wilson 14, Lakewood 14, Cordova (Rancho Cordova) 12, Compton 12, Chatsworth 12, Hart (Newhall) 12, McClymonds 11.
Note: The Baseball-Resource.com site is great, but there are mistakes. It lists Curt Flood as being from McClymonds, but Curt Flood Field is at Oakland Tech so we adjusted the totals for both schools. It also has Kevin Millar as from Hart, but he’s from University (Los Angeles). That’s why we’re listing the Indians with 12 and not 13.