RHP. Jeff Samardzija
Most Notre Dame fans will probably most remember Samardzija for his feats on the gridiron, but for as good he was at football he was just as good as a pitcher. Over his three seasons on the ND baseball team, Samardzija compiled a record of 21-6. Over 240.1 career innings Samardzija had an ERA of 3.81 with 159 strikeouts.
While Samardzija had a first round arm, he fell all the way to the 5th round of the 2006 MLB Draft because there were questions about whether he would play football or not. He ultimately took the money the Chicago Cubs offered him and chose baseball.
Over 8 big league seasons Samardzija has amassed a record of only 47-61. Part of that is due to how many bad teams he’s been on. He’s had his bright spots though, such as his 2011,’12 and ’14 seasons. 2014 was his best as a professional. That year he split time between the Cubs and Oakland A’s. He was named an All-Star and helped the A’s grab a Wild Card spot. He finished 2014, 7-13 with an ERA of 2.99.
After that year he was shipped to the Chicago White Sox where he really struggled. Although he struggled for the Sox he was able to work out a 5 year, $90 million deal from the San Francisco Giants.
OF. A.J. Pollock
Pollock played for the Irish from 2007-2009. As a freshman he named an All-American. Pollock is also the only player in the program’s history to lead the team in batting average three straight seasons. After his junior year, Pollock was drafted in the first round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pollock rose through the DBacks system and made his MLB debut in 2012. In his first two seasons in the show Pollock split time with center fielder Adam Eaton, but after the 2013 season Arizona shipped Eaton off to the White Sox and Pollock has been manning centerfield ever since.
He was poised for a breakout year in 2014, but fractured his hand early in the season. His breakout year was just delayed because in 2015 he burst on the scene. He, along with teammate Paul Goldschmidt, were named to the National League All-Star Team as the DBacks’ lone representatives. Pollock was also named a Gold Glove winner last season. He finished 2015 with a .315 average, 20 home runs and 76 RBIs. This offseason MLB Network named him the second best centerfielder in the game only behind Mike Trout.
RHP Brad Lidge
Lidge pitched for the Irish from 1996 to 1998. During his three seasons at ND he split time as a reliever and a starter. His best season came in 1998 when he became a full time starter. That seasons he led the Big East with an 8-2 record and 93 strikeouts over 80.1 innings. In that same season he was named Big East Pitcher of the Year. After his junior season Lidge was drafted in the 1st round by the Houston Astros.
Outside of Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, Lidge was probably one of the best closers of the 2000s. Over his 11 big league seasons Lidge amassed 225 saves, 799 strikeouts over 603.1 innings and an ERA of 3.54. His best season was in 2008 while serving as the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies. That year Lidge coverted on 41 of 41 save opportunities and was named an All-Star. He also converted on every save opportunity in the postseason as well as the Phillies went on to win the World Series. Lidge finished the World Series by striking out Eric Hinske swinging on a devastating split finger.