Welcome back to another edition of Husky History, the column that highlights a former UConn athlete and their accomplishments at the professional level and up to this day.
This week focuses on former UConn star Charles Nagy, the All-American pitcher who shined in his limited years as a Husky.
Born on May 5, 1967, Nagy attended Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, Connecticut where he starred in baseball and football. He ended up attending Cornell University for football, but found his way back home to UConn after a semester. The switch would prove to pay off well for Nagy.
In his first season with the Huskies in 1987, Nagy would earn Big East Pitcher of the Year honors, pitching his way to a 4-3 record. He put up a 2.91 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 52.2 innings of work. He would help lead UConn to a 23-16-0 record.
In the 1988 season, it was more of the same for Nagy. Going back-to-back with the Big East Pitcher of the Year honors, the Huskies would finish fourth in the Big East behind Nagy’s efforts. He would improve on his record going 6-4 with a 2.40 ERA. The sophomore tallied 113 strikeouts in 86.1 innings.
Two seasons in Storrs was all MLB organizations needed to see from Nagy. In the 1988 MLB amateur draft, Nagy was selected 17th overall by the Cleveland Indians. The pitcher was later signed by the team on June 9, 1988.
He began his professional career in the minors as a member of the Kinston Indians and Canton Indians from 1989-90. After the 1990 season with Canton that saw the 23 year old pitch his way to a 13-8 record, the Indians called him up for the remainder of the season. In limited appearances, Nagy struckout 26 batters in 45.2 innings. In his first full season in 1991, the starter would finish eighth in the Rookie of the Year race.
It did not take long for Nagy to break out. In his second full season in 1992, Nagy was selected to represent Cleveland in the annual MLB All-Star Game. The 1992 season was arguably the most productive for the young pitcher, submitting a 17-10 record with a career high 2.96 ERA. He was something of an ironman for the Indians as well, pitching 252 innings, also career high.
His second All-Star season came in 1996 when he finished fourth in the Cy Young Award Race. He struck out 167 batters in 222 innings of work, finishing with a 17-5 record. His 3.41 ERA on the season placed him fifth among pitchers in the American League.
During the 1990s, the Indians were in the middle of a World Series drought that has extended to this day. In 1995 and 1997, they had a chance to bring home the trophy, but came up short. In three appearances, Nagy posted a 0-1 record with a 6.43 ERA, unfortunately never earning himself a World Series title.
His third and final All-Star appearance came in 1999 with a 17-11 record and a 4.95 ERA. He would finish the season ranked fifth in hits allowed with only 238. Nagy would spend the next three seasons with Cleveland before signing with the San Diego Padres in 2003, his final stop.
Nagy finished his 14 year career with impressive numbers including 1242 strikeouts. Throughout his career, he strung together 31 complete games and 6 shutouts.
For his performances and dedication to the organization, Nagy was elected to the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2007. He joins the likes of baseball legends Cy Young, Tris Speaker and several more Hall of Famers.
Nagy embodies what UConn athletes are all about: hard work, excellence and dedication to the craft. UConn Nation is proud to call him one of their own as they continue to root on UConn baseball now and for generations to come.