Without a doubt, Mike Birkbeck is The University of Akron's most successful professional baseball player. A native of Orrville, Birkbeck joined the Milwaukee Brewer's organization in 1983 after completing four outstanding seasons for UA. The right-handed pitcher was called up to the parent club in 1986. His best of the four seasons with the Brewers was in 1988 when he compiled a 10-8 win-loss mark. Despite being plagued by various injuries, Birkbeck's professional career, which included a brief pitching assignment with the New York Mets in 1992 and stops with the Cleveland and Atlanta organizations, did not end until September 1996. At UA from 1980-83, Birkbeck, who also played first base, hit .367, 25 home runs, had a .496 on base average and compiled 24 pitching wins during his career. The latter two marks are, through 2001, still the standards to beat. In 1982 Birkbeck had a 9-2 pitching mark and blasted 10 home runs to earn Player of the Year honors in the Ohio Valley Conference, first team All-East and became the first and only UA player to make All-America with a third team berth. A year later he would hit for a career high .413 average to repeat as the OVC's Player of the Year. Birkbeck was voted onto the OVC's All-Time Baseball Team in 1989, inducted into the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2001. Currently the pitching coach at Kent State, Birkbeck resides in Canton, OH with his wife, Suzanne, and son, John.