Play Ball | World Series Winners at Columbia

As the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves meet in this year’s World Series, we look to past World Series greats and their connections to Columbia. And just to keep things interesting, we are not even going to include “Columbia Lou,” aka Lou Gehrig (CC 1925), who appeared in 7 World Series and won 6 times.

Derek Jeter
7 World Series appearances
5 wins

Derek Jeter talking with children as part of Columbia’s Take Time for Health Day, with Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital looking on, May 2003. Photo by Eileen Barroso. Office of Public Affairs photograph collection, University Archives.

This Yankee great joined Columbia’s “Take Time for Health Day” on May 25, 2003. At the event, sponsored by Columbia University Health Sciences, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, Derek Jeter was presented with a Community Builders Award for his “outstanding contributions to New York communities.” Jeter was recognized for his work in providing healthy lifestyle programs for children and their families in Washington Heights through the collaborative efforts of his Turn 2 Foundation, the Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and P.S. 128. After receiving his award, Jeter answered questions from a group of children inside the Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion.


Joe DiMaggio
10 World Series appearances
9 wins

Joe DiMaggio receiving an honorary degree at Commencement 1990. Photo by Joe Pineiro. Scan 5014. Office of Public Affairs photograph collection, University Archives.

Joseph P. DiMaggio received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the Columbia Commencement in 1990. In his 2014 memoir, University President Michael Sovern captures his awe of the moment: As a child growing up in the Bronx, Sovern had watched “that extraordinarily graceful athlete from a bleacher seat I could barely afford … And here I was, president of Columbia University, the host of one of my boyhood idols.” He was not the only awed fan in attendance that day. During the ceremony, graduates sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in DiMaggio’s honor.


Yogi Berra
14 World Series appearances
10 wins – the current record holder for the most World Series wins

Yogi Berra with scholarship recipient Bill Bracciodietta in front of Low Library on February 11, 1964. Photo by Manny Warman. Scan 5012. Office of Public Affairs photograph collection, University Archives.

Lawrence Peter Berra established the Yogi Berra Scholarship Fund in the College in 1959. The scholarship, which was awarded to a freshman who had shown promise in baseball, was funded with money donated at Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. In 1959, this included a gift from then Vice-President Richard Nixon. Berra said he selected Columbia for the gift because it was “Lou Gehrig’s old school.” This scholarship was modeled on the Lou Gehrig Memorial Scholarship. Started in 1951, the Lou Gehrig scholarship was funded with the donations from Mel Allen Day at Yankee Stadium. The Yankee sportscaster gave a gift to Columbia for a non-athletic scholarship and a gift to his ownalma mater, the University of Alabama, for a Babe Ruth Scholarship.