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Luke Bakula: The nephew also rises for KU baseball

Luke Bakula

Luke Bakula

His desire to become a student at the University of Kansas outweighed his thirst for continuing his baseball career, so Luke Bakula gave up the game and enrolled at KU.

“My dad went here,” Bakula said. “My brother went here. I’ve always been a Jayhawk guy.”

Not recruited by any school beyond the junior-college level, Bakula thought he was ready to give up the game. He quickly learned otherwise.

A shoulder injury wiped out most of his high school career, except his senior year.

“It was tough leaving the game,” Bakula said. “I missed it. I transferred to a junior college and I figured if I played well enough I’d be able to come back and play for KU. Luckily I did. It’s been awesome.”

Especially this past weekend.

In Thursday night’s game against Oklahoma, Bakula hit a two-run home run during a four-run rally in the ninth inning to tie a game James Cosentino won with a walk-off home run in the 10th. A senior reserve first baseman, Bakula went 3 for 5 in the first two games of the series and takes a .327 batting average into the postseason.

Bakula’s big hit Thursday night triggered a celebration in the Jayhawks’ dugout and in the stands. He received a big ovation, but he has a way to go to become the family’s most famous Bakula.

His uncle, Scott Bakula, made his name as an actor nearly 30 years ago in the TV series “Quantum Leap” from 1989-93. He now as a starring role in NCIS: New Orleans.

His nephew isn’t Scott Bakula’s only connection to baseball. In his first Broadway role, in 1976, he played Joe DiMaggio opposite Alyson Reed in “Marilyn: An American Fable.”

“He’s actually a Jayhawk himself,” Luke Bakula said of his uncle, a native of St. Louis. “He went here for about a year and a half, then went out to Hollywood to try his luck there and became really successful.”

Luke hasn’t taken any drama classes at KU, but if his uncle came calling, he’d answer.

“My brothers and I always joke about trying to get on a TV show with him, maybe some throw-back episodes where we can play him as a child or something,” he said. “He’s really good at what he does.”

Bakula and his teammates play Texas at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the opener of the double-elimination Big 12 tournament at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

Reply 2 comments from Marius7782 Longhawk1976

How Kansas baseball and football players measure up to beefy Yankees

New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals.

New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals.

Joe Reitz, founder of Family Promise of Lawrence and retired University of Kansas business professor, sent me a text from Tuesday night’s Yankees-Royals game, marveling at the size of the Yankees.

“If this were football, it would be a huge mismatch,” Reitz wrote.

He then watched a huge baseball mismatch won by the Yankees, 7-1.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to compare the size of the players in the Yankees’ lineup, including both the starting pitcher and designated hitter, to Saturday’s lineup fielded by the Kansas baseball team against Kansas State.

After fielding a bunt down the third base line, Kansas infielder Benjamin Sems throws to first base for an out during the Jayhawks game Saturday, May 13 against the Kansas State Wildcats.

After fielding a bunt down the third base line, Kansas infielder Benjamin Sems throws to first base for an out during the Jayhawks game Saturday, May 13 against the Kansas State Wildcats. by Mike Yoder

Yankees..............................................Kansas baseball

Brett Gardner LF, 5-11, 195………………Rudy Karre CF, 6-2, 180;

Gary Sanchez C, 6-2, 230………………..James Cosentino 2B, 5-10, 175;

Matt Holliday DH, 6-4, 240……………….Matt McLaughlin SS, 6-1, 190;

Starlin Castro 2B, 6-2, 230………………..Devin Foyle LF, 6-3, 185;

Aaron Judge RF, 6-7, 282……………..….Jaxx Groshans C, 6-0, 190;

Jacoby Ellsbury CF, 6-1, 195…………… Marcus Wheeler 1B, 6-0, 230;

Chase Headley 3B, 6-2, 215………………Brett Vosik RF, 6-4, 215;

Didi Gregorius SS, 6-3, 205………………. Benjamin Sems 3B, 6-2, 165;

Chris Carter 1B, 6-4, 245…………………..Tanner Gragg C, 6-1, 215;

C.C. Sabathia P, 6-6, 300…………………..Taylor Turski P, 5-9, 180;

Average Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 239………………………………………6-1, 193;

You would expect a major league baseball team stocked with older, stronger players, to outweigh a college lineup, but not by 46 pounds per man.

You wouldn’t expect the Yankees to come close to outweighing the most recent Kansas football team to take the field in a Big 12 game, so let’s look at the starting lineup for the Jayhawks against Kansas State in Manhattan last November and see how they measure up.

Kansas wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1) takes off up the field past Oklahoma State linebacker Chad Whitener (45) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1) takes off up the field past Oklahoma State linebacker Chad Whitener (45) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Kansas football 2016 offense

QB Carter Stanley, 6-2, 196;

RB Ke’aun Kinner, 5-9, 191;

LT Hakeem Adeniji 6-4, 265;

LG Jayson Rhodes 6-4, 307;

C Mesa Ribordy 6-4, 290;

RG Larry Hughes 6-7, 311;

RT D’Andre Banks 6-3, 305;

WR Luis Gonzalez 5-10, 176;

WR Tyler Patrick 6-0, 177;

WR Steven Sims 5-10, 176;

WR Shakier Barbel 6-3, 203.

Average Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 236.

The Yankees starting lineup from Tuesday night outweighed the Kansas starting 11 in the 2016 season finale by three pounds per man.

What does it all mean? It means the Kansas baseball team could benefit from a massive slugger and the football team could use bigger players. The Jayhawks have become faster on the football field and are working at becoming bigger in the weight room and on the recruiting trail.

Reply 5 comments from Len Shaffer Jim Stauffer Clara Westphal Brian Hosfelt