- United States
Class of 2015
CRBL: Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1959; Eau Claire Tommy Millers 1960; Howard Braves 1966-68
ECCBL: Eau Claire Tommy Millers 1960-63; Eau Claire Twin City Sports 1965
The best hitter in the six-season run of the Eau Claire Classic Baseball League (1960-65), Don Amundson should eternally be viewed as one of the best offensive and defensive catchers to ever be associated with the Chippewa River Baseball League.
In his first season of amateur baseball in 1959, Amundson won a Chippewa Valley League batting title with a .469 average (15 for 32) for the Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports. In 1960, Don played for the Eau Claire Tommy Millers. For that season only, the Millers competed in both the CVL and ECCBL, enjoying considerable success across both circuits. In CVL play, Amundson clouted a league leading total of 3 home runs while scoring a league high total of 17 runs. In the ECCBL, Don won the league’s inaugural batting crown with a .403 mark (25 for 62), tied for the lead in RBI’s with 18, and notched the unusual feat of leading the league in stolen bases with 8 while excelling at the demanding position of catcher. His composite totals from both leagues in 1960 are impressive in both quality and quantity: 26 games played, 120 at-bats, 41 hits, 6 doubles, 5 home runs, 31 RBI’s 36 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 11 walks, and a .342 average.
Competing exclusively in the ECCBL in 1961, Amundson captured his third consecutive batting title, pacing the Eau Claire centered league with a .482 ledger (27 for 56) to go along with 8 doubles, 3 long balls, 17 RBI’s, and 20 runs scored all in just 14 games.
Don’s performance in 1962 permanently etched his spot as one of the best offensive catchers to ever strap on the gear for a Chippewa Falls/Eau Claire area baseball team. In 11 games for the Tommy Millers, the prolific hitting catcher remarkably won his fourth batting title in a row with a scathing .500 average (19 for 38) to go along with ECCBL high marks in hits (19), home runs (4), RBI’s (12), stolen bases (6), and walks (12).
Amundson’s last full season of play in the ECCBL came in 1963. Continuing with his heavy hitting ways, Don tied for the league lead in doubles with 4 and homeruns with 5 while leading outright in runs batted in with 19, all during a 15 game league season.
The right-handed slugger returned to the CRBL landscape in 1966 as a Howard Brave, where he hit .324 (22 for 68) with a home run and 16 RBI’s in 16 league games. Playing two more seasons on a part-time basis, Amundson concluded his run in CRBL history in 1968 with Howard, hitting .333 (8 for 24).
The exemplarily outstanding level of Amundson’s play coincided directly with the great success his teams experienced. During Don’s five seasons in the Chippewa Valley League, he was part of four division winners, three WBA qualifiers, and one CVL champion. In five Eau Claire Classic Baseball League campaigns, Amundson notably played on the ECCBL champ each year in addition to five WBA tournament teams, and one WBA champion in the 1961 Eau Claire Tommy Millers.
Individually, the accolades were plentiful for the slugging catcher. In total, Amundson was a participant in four ECCBL All-Star games, three CVL All-Star contests, was a unanimous selection twice as an All-ECCBL catcher in the only two years the award was given (1960 and 1961), and was also one of 22 players selected to the 1963 WBA All-Tournament Team as a member of the Millers. Additionally, Don was named as a catcher to the 1962 Wisconsin Semi-Pro Baseball All-Tournament Team.
Upon induction, Don will forever be the Eau Claire Classic Baseball League’s leader in batting average (.414, 87 for 210), hits (87), doubles (18), home runs (14), RBI’s (68), runs scored (65), stolen bases (19), total bases (151), and slugging percentage (.719).