Germantown-born Bouldin was two-sport standout

2012-07-03T00:17:00Z 2012-07-04T18:18:27Z Germantown-born Bouldin was two-sport standoutCHUCK HAMILTON Ledger Independent

He was born in Mason County, played in three consecutive Final Fours, starred for the 1961 NCAA national championship basketball team and pitched in the major leagues.

Sounds like a pretty good trivia question for area sports fans, doesn't it?

The answer is Carl Bouldin, who was born in Germantown before his family moved to Norwood, Ohio when he was two years old.

He currently resides in Newport with his wife Ann and the 72-year-old enjoys keeping active by playing golf.

Bouldin, a 6-foot-2 guard, became the only athlete to lead his championship team in scoring at the Final Four and play major league baseball in the same year. He helped the University of Cincinnati win the NCAA title with a total of 37 points in two games before pitching in two games later that year for the Washington Senators.

Bouldin led Cincinnati with 21 points in the semifinal game in an 82-67 win over Utah in Kansas City to advance to its first title game in school history. Their opponent in the championship game was undefeated and defending national champion Ohio State, led by All-Americans Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek.

Not many pundits gave the Bearcats, who had a rookie head coach in Ed Jucker and had their best player, All-American Oscar Robertson, graduate the previous year, much of a chance against the Buckeyes. Cincinnati was playing in its third consecutive Final Four after finishing third in Robertson's junior and senior seasons.

Bouldin recalled his roommate Bob Wiesenhahn getting extra fired up before the game.

"We had to get dressed in the hotel before the game because the arena didn't have available locker rooms for us," said Bouldin. "We heard on the radio how most of the individual matchups were pretty even but when the announcer mentioned the great 'Hondo' Havlicek and how he was going to handle the 'Big Bear' and UC's hatchet man Wiesenhahn, he turned red in the face. Bob was always a very spirited guy and he said 'I'll kill him.' And he did. He wouldn't let Havlicek get the ball. He held him to four points.

Wiesenhahn, a bruising 6-4 forward who played at McNicholas High School in Cincinnati, finished with 17 points, while Bouldin poured in 16 of his own, to lead the Bearcats to a stunning 70-65 overtime win over the Buckeyes. It would be the first of UC's back-to-back national championships.

Bouldin jokes that he has told people through the years that the Bearcats "had the nerve to win it again without me" but he credits Jucker and assistant coach Tay Baker with turning the team's season around after a slow start in league play. Cincinnati was 5-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference after its first eight games and what happened after that was unexpected by even the most loyal Bearcat supporters. The team finished the season by winning 22 consecutive games to finish 27-3 and give UC its first national title.

"We were in a lot of close games and after losing those three in the league, most people thought we weren't going to go very far," he said. "But Jucker believed in playing hard and winning with defense and we started to do that. He had a heck of a game plan in the championship game too. Ohio State liked to get Lucas inside and get their shots close to the basket and if they missed, have Lucas rebound the ball and score. They also liked to run the fast break and get layups in transition but we were able to slow them down and not allow them to run and keep their offense farther away from the basket then they wanted. They still scored, but not like they had been scoring all season."

In an interview following the game, Jucker said, "We've got no all-Americans on this ball club. It would be hard to single out any individual, but Tony Yates did a tremendous defensive job. And Carl Bouldin did a great job, especially with those five straight from outside early in the second half. They were magnificent together."

Bouldin and Wiesenhahn were second and third in the all-tournament team balloting behind Lucas, who was voted the Final Four MVP.

The two former roommates got together again in March when they were invited to the first UC-OSU matchup since the 1962 championship game, when the teams met in Boston in a Sweet 16 contest in Boston.

"I talked Bob into going and we really enjoyed it," he said. "They treated us great while we were there."

Bouldin played with some outstanding players as a Bearcat, including Robertson, center Paul Hogue and Vanceburg's Ralph Davis.

"I played with Oscar for three years and he was so great that I'd be on the court watching him instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing," he said. "I remember Ralph being an outstanding player who was a very good shooter."

Bouldin credits his high school coach at Norwood, Dick Dallmer, with his assistance while playing for the Indians.

"Coach Dallmer played at UC, he was a three-time All-American and recently went into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame," said Bouldin. "He went to UC after serving in the Army and getting bigger and stronger after that experience."

Dallmer graduated from Hamilton High School in 1942 before serving in World War II and was among the soldiers who landed on Normandy in France in 1944. He was invited to try out for the Bearcats after returning home and finished his career with over 1,000 points, becoming only the second UC player to achieve that mark when he graduated in 1950.

Bouldin added that he grew up as a fan of the University of Kentucky.

"I used to play on the back yard and pretend I was part of the Fabulous Five at UK," he recalled. "My granddad even took me to see Coach Adolph Rupp and asked him if he would be interested in me going to school there. But Coach Rupp already had his roster set, so I went to UC. But it was special for me to meet one of the greatest coaches of all time."

Bouldin also remembers Norwood as "a very good place to grow up and I also received a great education at Norwood High School. I've developed a lot of close relationships with many people there and been to the last three or four class reunions we've had and I've also been on the reunion committee."

Bouldin's younger brothers Jack, Dick and Jim were also excellent athletes at Norwood High. Jack and Dick went on to coach the Indians basketball teams for many years as well. Jack starred at Mississippi State after graduating from Norwood in 1968, where he earned All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1971 and 1972.

After graduating from UC, Bouldin had a decision to make, whether to pursue basketball or baseball as a professional career.

"I just felt like, at my size, I had a better chance in baseball," he said. "I know a lot of people don't like to watch a pitcher's duel, but that's the biggest part of the game to me, the battle between the pitcher and the batter, all the strategy that goes into what the pitcher is going to throw and where. Pitching's a tough job but I just loved to pitch."

The Washington Senators recalled Bouldin from the minor leagues late in the 1961 season and he appeared in a couple of games as a 21-year-old, starting one and relieving in another.

He appeared in a total of 27 games from 1961-1964 for the Senators and finished with a 3-8 record, making 10 starts and also had one complete game to his credit.

Bouldin said he played for an interesting group of managers during his professional career, including former Reds lefty Johnny Vander Meer and future Reds skipper Sparky Anderson in the minors and Mickey Vernon and Gil Hodges while playing in Washington.

"Johnny was a very interesting guy who helped me with my pitching," Bouldin said about the only pitcher in major league history to toss consecutive no-hitters. "I played against Sparky when I was at Syracuse and then played for him in Toronto. He was establishing himself as a tough guy at that time and Gil was a deep thinker type of manager for the Senators."

He was also a minor league teammate of Dave DeBusschere, who was a member of the Detroit Pistons at the time and went on to an illustrious NBA career, playing on a pair of championship teams with the New York Knicks in 1970 and 1973. An eight-time NBA All-Star, he was named to the 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.

DeBusschere pitched for the Chicago White Sox before meeting Bouldin when both were pitching for Indianapolis.

"Dave was a good pitcher but he was a great basketball player," said Bouldin. "He invited me to come and play for the Pistons in 1964 but I told him I hadn't played basketball in three years but it was an honor just to be asked."

Bouldin received some unexpected news about his brief big league career a little over a year ago.

On April 21, 2011 both Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association made a joint announcement that inactive, non-vested men who played the game between 1947 and 1979 will receive up to $10,000 per year, depending on their length of service credit, as compensation for their contributions to the national pastime.

Douglas J. Gladstone, the author of A Bitter Cup of Coffee; How MLB & The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees A Curve, called the agreement "only a partial victory.

"We don't live in a perfect world, and this is far from a perfect solution to this problem," said Gladstone, who is widely credited with spurring the league and union into action. I am, however, elated that these men are at long last finally going to receive some type of payment for their time in the game. This was a wrong that should have been righted years ago."

The book, which was published in 2010, tells the story about a group of former big-league ballplayers denied pensions as a result of the failure of both the league and the union to retroactively amend the vesting requirement change that granted instant pension eligibility to ballplayers in 1980. Prior to that year, players had to have four years service credit to earn an annuity and medical benefits. Since 1980, however, all you have needed is one day of service credit for health insurance and 43 days of service credit for a pension.

Bouldin said that the pension payments have been talked for "years and years but I never expected anything to come from Major League Baseball but they finally did it. I was just glad to have the experience of playing in the big leagues and I wouldn't give that up for anything."

He added that he has read the book and recommends it highly.

"It's a very good book, a quick read and very interesting," Bouldin added. "I spoke with Doug (the author) a few weeks ago and I'm sure many former players for very grateful for all of the hard work and research he put into writing it."

Copyright 2015 Ledger Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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