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Iowa Time Machine: UNI Baseball - May 16, 2009

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On May 16, 2009, the University of Northern Iowa beat Bradley 3-2 at Riverfront Stadium in the school’s last baseball game. Started in 1893, the bats went quiet as the lights went out on the Panthers following the 2009 season.

Started back when UNI existed as the Iowa State Normal School, the Panthers steadily grew into the school’s most successful athletic program. Legendary skippers L.W. Whitford and J.D. Anderson led the program from 1926 through 1984, racking up an impressive 569 victories over decades of steady stewardship. 

During the 1990s, Coach Dave Schrage helped lead the program into the Missouri Valley Conference, while also helping guide the program to an unprecedented 32 victory season in 1997. By the late 1990s, eighteen Panthers had gone on to play professional baseball. The hiring of Rick Heller in 1999 ushered in the final era of UNI baseball. Under Heller’s leadership the program continued to grow, and saw eleven players drafted by Major League clubs over ten seasons. In 2001, UNI went on a run to the NCAA tournament which stands as the all-time highwater mark for Panther hardball wins.

Despite the success, the university voted to shut down the 103-year-old program in February of 2009 due to budget constraints. Although the ring of metal bats swung by Panther sluggers faded long ago, many across the state still fondly remember the great UNI baseball teams of days gone by. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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