When it came to hitting, no one compared to Tom Vantiger at Iowa State. The Mediapolis, Iowa, native posted the most prolific numbers at the plate in school history and ended his time at ISU (1988-91) as one of its most decorated baseball players.
Vantiger is the Cyclone all-time leader in hits (271), batting average (.385), runs (215), doubles (59) and RBI (180). On the ISU single-season charts, Vantiger has school records in the following categories: runs (66), hits (85), batting average (.463), doubles (22) and RBI (73).
The outfielder was a four-year starter for the Cyclones. During his sophomore season in 1989, Vantiger was a key member of ISU’s squad that tallied a school-record 36 wins and finished third in the Big Eight Conference. He batted .405 that year, a season clip which ranks as the fifth-best in school history.
As a senior in 1991, Vantiger earned first-team All-America and first-team all-Big Eight honors when he led the conference in batting at .463, earning the distinction as the only Cyclone hardballer to hit .400 in two different seasons. He was named one of nine finalists to the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, the Heisman Trophy of collegiate baseball, attending the award ceremony in New York City. He was an all-Region selection twice (1990, 1991) and was named to the Big Eight all-tournament team in 1990.
Vantiger’s senior season goes down as arguably the greatest in school history. He batted .463, smacked 22 doubles and drove in 73 runs, all school records, pacing ISU to a third place showing in the Big Eight. The Cyclones defeated nationally ranked and Big Eight champion Oklahoma State three of four times that season. Vantiger also recorded nine triples and 82 hits, which rank second on the ISU single-season charts. The top three single-season hit totals in school history are owned by Vantiger (85, 82, 77).
After his historical senior season was over, the professional scouts came knocking on Vantiger’s door. He was picked in the sixth round of the 1991 Major League Baseball draft by the Cleveland Indians, playing two seasons in the Indians farm system until hanging up his cleats.