- United States
Class of 2011
Cadott Club 1908-09
The CRBL’s embryonic beginnings found nine teams and roughly 200 players marking the rudimentary existence of the “Chippewa Valley League” in 1908 and 1909. From this era, right-hander Williams Manke of the Cadott Club will be remembered as the lone Hall of Famer.
Manke’s induction is due largely to his trailblazing pitching feats, but also in part to his conspicuous existence in league play. On July 9th of 1908, the Eau Claire Leader reported that Manske had been “signed” by the Cadott Club from the Eau Claire Tigers of the amateur Western Wisconsin League. In his first recorded start for Cadott, Williams lost a tough 1-0 contest to the league rival Eau Claire Badgers in which he allowed just 2 hits. One week later, he shutout the same Badgers 2-0 on a 6-hitter. The righty finished the 1908 CVL season with a 4 and 3 record in 61 innings with a 2.07 ERA, 1 shutout, and 46 strikeouts.
In what would turn out to be the CRBL/CVL’s last go around until 1927, Manke shined in the controversial season of 1909. A reported spitball artist, Williams used his specialty to garner the league’s first pitching triple crown, leading the young circuit with marks of 10 wins, 117 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.56. His totals of 123 innings, a .714 winning percentage, and 2 shutouts were also CVL leading totals.
On July 18th of 1909, Manke spun the first no-hitter in CRBL history, doing it against the Colfax Skidoos in Cadott. Described as the “best twirler in the league” (Eau Claire Leader, Aug. 29, 1909) this gem highlighted the spitballer’s dominant year in which he accounted for every one of his team’s 10 wins and 4 losses. The strength of Manke’s effort propelled the Cadott Club to a disputed Chippewa Valley League championship. Managed by Doc Cunnigham, a well known baseball promoter of that day, Manke and his teammates were accused of being on a payroll as well as counting a Manke pitched 3-1 loss to the Eau Claire Giants simply as an exhibition, thus allowing them to capture the flag by a half game over the 10 and 5 Menomonie Blue Caps. Over 100 years later, the “famous Cadott team” (Eau Claire Leader, Aug. 4, 1909) is still viewed as the 1909 Chippewa Valley League champ.
Any chance Manke had of making a deeper mark on the league record book was eliminated with the inexplicable disappearance of the CVL from 1910 to 1926. Nonetheless, the spitballing righty did enough to be remembered as the biggest star of 1908 and 1909, as well as one of the greats in CRBL history.