By Alexis Williams
Very few athletes have been able to successfully master two contrasting sports, winning professional championships and honors in both. However, Washington State University’s alumnus Gene Conley is one of them.
The Milwaukee Brewers and the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association inducted Conley, a retired professional baseball player and basketball player, into the Milwaukee Braves Honor Roll, May 6, 2013. His outstanding baseball skills have joined him with several other all-stars who have made a positive impact for Milwaukee baseball.
Conley’s recent recognition is especially significant for Washington State University as Conley contributed to past triumphant Cougar baseball and basketball seasons. Conley was a member of Washington State’s basketball team and baseball team, playing center for coach Jack Friel’s championship basketball team of 1950, and pitching for coach Buck Bailey’s1950 baseball team that finished second in the College World Series. Conley took the Washington State campus by storm with his remarkable skill set in both sport teams.
After Conley’s time at Washington State, he continued to pursue both sports on a professional level. Conley was a pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves from 1954 to 1958. He pitched on the 1957 Braves World Series championship team and was a three-time MLB All-Star. Conley was not only a powerhouse in baseball; he brought the same drive and amazing skills to the basketball court. He began playing for the Boston Celtics soon after his time playing with the Milwaukee Braves, and helped the Boston Celtics reach three-consecutive NBA World Championships from 1959 to 1961.
In 2005, Washington State inducted Conley into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor for his incredible contributions to the school’s sport teams.