Basketball and Baseball
John Verby grew up in St. Paul. An outstanding young athlete, he was an exceptional baseball pitcher, helping carry his Johnson High School team to the first Minnesota high school tournament, and through the tourney to the state title with a 23-0 record. He pitched two no-hitters and five one-hitters that year.
At Carleton, Verby excelled in both basketball and baseball. In his senior year, he set two basketball scoring records: a 14.1 points-per-game average during the 1943-44 season, and the single-game high point record with 32 vs. Simpson College.
In 1943, Verby’s pitching beat Luther College for Carleton’s first win ever in that series. The following year, he pitched a full 18 innings against Luther in a 5-3 losing cause. Carleton’s male population dwindled to 40 during the war years, and Verby was one of only 10 varsity baseball players. In one game against St. Olaf, a team chosen from over 250 Navy V-12 students, he struck out 25 men in nine innings, then fanned five more in the 10th, only to lose on dropped third strikes and infield miscues. From the early ’40s through the early ’50s, he pitched in the Southern Minny League, for the Great Lakes Navy team, one year as the number one hurler for the University of Minnesota (as a first-year medical student), for the state amateur runner-up Honeywell team, for New Ulm in the Western Minnesota League, for Cannon Falls and for Litchfield. A distance runner since 1952, he still continued his involvement in baseball as one of the developers and the first president of the Rochester Youth Baseball Association.