Sept. 25, 2011
Danny Litwhiler passes away
Michigan State and Florida State head coach and major league
all-star Danny Litwhiler died on Friday, Sept. 23, in
Clearwater, Fla., at the age of 95.
In 28 seasons at Florida State and Michigan
State, he posted a record of 678-445-9 (.603) with 10 NCAA
Tournament appearances. Litwhiler was inducted into the American
Association of College Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1980.
While in Tallahassee, Litwhiler had a record of
190-83-1 (.695) in nine seasons from 1955-63. He took the
Seminoles to seven NCAA Tournaments and three times reached the
College World Series (1957, 1962, 1963) before heading to East
In 19 years with the Spartans, Litwhiler was
488-362-9 (.573) with Big Ten titles in 1971 and 1979. He led
MSU to three NCAA Tournaments (1971, 1978, 1979).
One of the greatest innovators of the game, he
developed the radar speed gun. The first prototype which was
used at Michigan State is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Litwhiler made an unbreakable mirror for pitchers to watch their
deliveries and used a bat sawed in half to teach bunting. While
at Florida State, he developed “diamond dust”, which was used to
dry baseballs, and “diamond grit”, used to dry wet spots in the
infield. Letwhiler came up with more than 100 inventions for
Litwhiler played for 11 years in the major
leagues from 1940-51 with the Phillies, Cardinals, Braves and
Reds. He was an all-star for the Phillies in 1942 and was a
member of the Cardinals’ 1944 World Championship team. Litwhiler
was thee first major leaguer to play a full season without
committing an error (317 chances in 151 games in 1942) and set a
record with 187 consecutive errorless games, putting his glove
in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Litwhiler was a 1939 graduate of Bloomsburg (Pa.)
University and the baseball facility there is named in his honor
(Danny Litwhiler Field).
(photo courtesy of MSU Media Relations Office)