Baumholtz, only Bobcat athlete with retired number, dies at 78

The Ohio University community was saddened to learn of the passing in December of one of its most famous athletes. Frank C. Baumholtz, BSED '41, considered by most as the c ampus' most-accomplished two-sport athlete and the only Ohio University athlete to have a number retired, died Dec. 14 in Oviendo, Fla. He was 78.

Frank Baumholtz, BSED '41, 1919-1997

File photo

Baumholtz' No. 54 jersey hangs from the rafters of the Convocation Center. It was retired on Feb. 4, 1995, which was declared "Frank Baumholtz Day" in the city of Athens and on campus.

Baumholtz was a first-team All-American in basketball his senior year, leading the Bobcats to the finals of the National Invitation Tournament, the most prestigious tournament in the country at the time. He was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Baumholtz played nine seasons of Major League Baseball with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. As a Cub in 1952, he hit .325, second only to Stan Musial in the National League. Before retiring in 1957, he finished his big league career with 1,010 hits and a lifetime batting average of .291.

While with the Reds, he also played two seasons of professional basketball with the Youngstown Bears of the National Basketball League and the Cleveland Rebels of the Basketball Association of America.

In 1965, Baumholtz was among eight former standouts who became the inaugural class of the Bobcat Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1979, he was appointed to the university's Board of Tr ustees, which he served on for 11 years, and he was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 1988. He was an emeritus member of the Ohio University Foundation Board.

Baumholtz retired as vice president of merchandising for Marquardt Brothers Inc. of Cleveland. He was preceded in death in 1980 by his wife, Bettie Bell Baumholtz, whom he met at OU. He is survived by three children, Frank, BS '68; Bettie, BSED '74; and Karen, BSED '77.

The Board of Trustees approved naming the VIP seating section an d lounge of the new Bob Wren Stadium The Baumholtz Club in early February. A memorial service for Baumholtz was held in Galbreath Chapel on campus Feb. 13.

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