Since its start in the late 19th century, the Rutgers baseball program has produced many notable players. Approximately 21 major-league players later, the Scarlet Knights have had at least one alumnus play in MLB every year since 2003. One of those 21 players is New Jersey native New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier. An alumnus since 2008, Frazier has played with six major league clubs, including both New York teams.
In his time at Rutgers, Frazier set records in home runs (42) and runs scored (210), while landing second on the leaderboards in walks (138) and total bases (434).
In the 2007 season, Frazier helped lead the Knights to their third Big East Championship. He was named the recipient of the Jack Kaiser Award after putting up a .377 batting average with 22 home runs, 65 runs batted in and a .757 slugging percentage.
A first-round draft pick in 2007, Frazier has become one of the most decorated Rutgers alumni. He is also a two-time all-star and the 2015 Home Run Derby champion. Frazier has played in 1,227 major league games as of Sept. 23, which places him just behind David DeJesus in MLB games played by a Knights alum.
A resident of Toms River, New Jersey, Frazier is active in his alumni life. He was seen at the Rutgers basketball team's Feb. 1 matchup with Michigan last season and frequently talks about the school’s athletic programs on Twitter. Frazier was also involved in the Knights' search for a new head baseball coach in 2019.
“There are a lot of expectations going to Rutgers now. We’ll get a good coach, we’ll bring him in and we have to start recruiting some New Jersey guys, and also some guys outside of New Jersey,” Frazier said.
Since then, the baseball team has hired head coach Steve Owens to run the program. Frazier and former Rutgers pitcher Bobby Brownlie spoke to Owens during his interview process and expressed the pride he holds for Knights baseball.
“(Frazier and Brownlie) want us to get it going again so the Jersey guys can stay home again,” Owens said.
The infielder is also active throughout baseball communities in New Jersey. In 2019, Frazier donated $50,000 to the Field of Dreams league in his home town.
“(Donating) was an easy decision for me and my family,” Frazier said during an interview with WOBM's Vin Ebenau. “I can’t wait for it to be finished.”
Frazier is in his 10th major league season and has recently returned to the Mets. The infielder was acquired from Texas in late August. Since returning to Queens, he has put up a .212 batting average, .235 on base percentage and .364 slugging percentage in 10 games.
This year’s annual Rutgers baseball alumni game was postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Frazier was set to be present for the game and for the retiring of former coach Glen Gardner’s number. Frazier remembers the coaching staff as a driving force to his decision to commit to the University.
“It was basically Freddy Hill at the end of the day because he would call me consistently,” Frazier said.
It came down to Frazier picking between playing for the Knights or Clemson, and he stuck with his Jersey roots.
“(Playing at Rutgers) was one of the biggest decisions I ever made, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Frazier said.