|Baseball, Football, Track & Field|
Ray Fisher, a Middlebury, Vermont, native and member of the Class of 1910, excelled in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field while a student at Middlebury College.
As a first-year pitcher on the baseball team, Fisher accounted for all four of Middlebury’s victories in 1907, three of which came in shutout performances. In his debut game, the right-hander struck out 18 batters in a shutout win over Colgate. Away from the diamond, Fisher excelled as a halfback on the football team and set a school record for shot put while competing for the track and field team.
The summer after his sophomore year, Fisher signed a minor league contract with the Hartford Senators. During his summers away from college, Fisher excelled in baseball’s minor leagues, posting a pair of sterling seasons with the Senators, including a minor league record .923 winning percentage as a rookie—a mark that would stand for more 50 years. Though no longer eligible to play college baseball, Fisher coached the Panthers as a senior and graduated with his class that spring. His minor league success led to a major league contract with the New York Highlanders (a team that would become the Yankees three years later).
After seven seasons with the Yankees, Fisher was traded to the Reds in 1919. That year, Fisher had the best season of his professional career, posting a 14-5 record with a 2.17 earned run average (ERA), while helping to lead the Reds to its first-ever National League pennant and a scandal-marred World Series victory over the Chicago White Sox.
In 1921, Fisher retired from baseball with exactly 100 career wins and an ERA of 2.82. He accepted a coaching offer from the University of Michigan and coached the Wolverines for 38 years—re-integrating the team in 1923, nearly 40 years after African Americans last played baseball for Michigan. Fisher’s teams won 661 games, 15 Big Ten titles, and the 1953 national championship, after which Fisher was named NCAA Coach of the Year. Fisher is a member of the College Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Michigan Hall of Honor, and the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. In 1970 the University of Michigan baseball field was renamed Fisher Field.