Don Amundson

Class of 2015

Catcher

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

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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).

Joe Prince

Class of 2012
Catcher, Outfielder
Bloomer Pines 1964-65; Tilden Tigers 1966-67, 70; Cooks Valley Hayshakers 1971-80
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A powerful right-handed hitter for three teams during his 15 seasons of competition, Joe Prince’s induction to the CRBL Hall of Fame solidifies his place as one of the most potent offensive players to ever dig in to a Chippewa River Baseball League batter’s box.
Joe’s 1964 rookie season was as a part-time player for the Bloomer Pines. Prince became a perennial standout in 1965 when he hit .383 (18 for 47) with a Chippewa Valley League best 6 doubles for the Pines.
Moving south to Tilden in 1966, Joe hit .333 (14 for 42) and appeared in his second consecutive all-star game. It became apparent in 1967 that Prince was a figure to be reckoned with in league play. In year number two as a Tiger, Joe hit .397 (23 for 59) with 5 home runs and a C.V.L. leading 24 RBI’s in 14 league games. On Sunday, May 21st of that year, the wood bat swinging Joe had one of the best single games in league history when he went 5 for 5 with a grand slam, 8 RBI’s, and 6 runs scored in Tilden’s 23 to 11 thrashing of the Cadott Red Sox at Cadott.
After taking two years off from league play, Joe returned to Tilden and the rigors of the CRBL in 1970 by leading the nine-team circuit in base on balls with 14 and tying for the league lead in triples with 3.
With the Prince family forming the Hayshakers, Joe took his talents to Cooks Valley in 1971, gathering his 5th consecutive .300+ effort (.304, 17 for 56). Joe snagged his first home run belt in 1972 with the co-leading total of 3. In 1973, the Hayshaker Masher impressively led the CRBL with a .432 average (19 for 44) while simultaneously banging 4 home runs to lead the league again in that area as well.
Prince would cross the .400 barrier in two other seasons, doing it again in 1975 (.425, 20 for 47) and in his final season of 1980 (.405, 17 for 42).
Including the three seasons over .400, Joe was a .300 or better hitter in 13 of his 14 seasons as a regular. Additionally, Prince had 20 or more hits in five seasons, with a career high of 24 in 1977. In cracking 31 long balls, Joe hit 3 or more homers in six different seasons, reaching a peak of 5 in 1967 and 1977.
A participant in six all-star games, Joe was named MVP of the 1966 classic, when his 3-run bomb gave the West Division a 4-2 lead on their way to beating the East Division 5-3 at Jim Falls.
In joining brothers Pat and Stan as CRBL Hall of Famers, Productive Joe’s highest spots on the all-time ladder can be found in slugging percentage (12th), batting average (15th), and home runs (17th).

Barney Meinen

Class of 2012
Manager
Tilden Tigers 1967-77
Catcher
Tilden Tigers 1950-59, 65-68; Tilden Terrors 1960-64
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Roland “Barney” Meinen had a long and durable stay as a catcher, enjoying a 19-season career competing for Tilden. Meinen’s place in CRBL history was cemented, however, during his 11-year reign as the Tilden Tigers’ hard-driving and competitive manager.
With his playing career beginning in 1950, Meinen is on record as a full-time player and catcher until 1965 before finishing his career in spot duty through 1968. Along the way, he accumulated 185 hits in 784 at-bats while driving in 93 runs and scoring 119 tallies.
Acting as player/manager in 1967 and 1968, Meinen led the Big Cats from Tilden to a 15 and 3 record, a CRBL championship, and a spot in the WBA tourney during his second year at the helm. From 1968 to 1972, Meinen’s Tigers won a league record five consecutive league championships, winning the title outright in 1968 and 1970, while prevailing in championship games vs. the Cornell Hawks in 1969, the Bloomer Merchants in 1971, and the Lafayette Indians in 1972.
With divisional play returning to the CRBL in 1973 from a five year hiatus, Barney guided the Tigers to Northern Division crowns from 1974 to 1977, his last four seasons as the head man. During this time frame, two more championships were copped when Tilden beat the Lafayette Indians in 1974 and the Cadott Red Sox in 1977.
Meinen’s WBA resume concluded with nine appearances in his 11 years and four Final 8’s (1972, 1973, 1974, 1976). The one jewel missing from Barney’s crown was a WBA championship, although he did make it to a title bout in 1976, where Tilden lost to Merrill, 3-0.
Barney’s summative ranks among league managers are 1st for league championships, 1st in winning percentage, 4th in WBA appearances, 4th in WBA wins, tied for 4th in Finals 8’s, 5th in league wins, tied for 5th in division titles, and 10th in league games managed.

Arnie Bowe

Class of 2012
Catcher
Tilden Tigers 1972-86
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One of the best hitting catchers in CRBL history, Arnie Bowe’s offensive production and strong defensive presence were game changing attributes during his 15 seasons of baseball for the Tigers of Tilden.
A hard-swinging left-handed batter, Bowe was a model of consistency at the plate. In crafting a .338 lifetime average, Arnie batted over .300 in 11 seasons, including the last 10 of his CRBL career. Within that streak, Bowe eclipsed .400 twice, hitting a career high .481 (25 for 52) in 1980, and .448 (26 for 58) in 1982.
The portside catcher was also a regular with the long ball, popping 2 or more homeruns in seven different seasons, with his career high of 5 attained in three different years (1979, 1982, 1984)). Accordingly, Arnie was a consistent run producer in the middle of Tilden’s line-up, driving in 10 or more runs in nine seasons, with his personal high of 23 coming in 1982. From the base paths, Arnie was able to top 10 or more runs scored in 11 seasons, crossing the plate a career best 20 times in 1977. Within his superlative 1982 campaign during which he hit .448 with 5 home runs, 5 doubles, 23 RBI’s, and 15 runs scored, the slugging catcher struck out a grand total of one time.
Bowe’s relentless production helped the Tigers bolster its place as the most successful franchise in CRBL history. During Arnie’s time on the squad, Tilden won 11 North Division titles, including nine in a row from 1974 to 1982, claimed six CRBL crowns (1972, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986), played in the WBA each season except 1983, appeared in seven Final 8’s (1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1984, 1986), and lost to Schofield 7-6 at Abbotsford in the 1984 WBA championship. In total, Bowe had the pleasure of playing in 12 CRBL championship games within his 15 years of competition.
A respected defensive receiver who was known for his adept handling of pitchers as well his stonewall approach to blocking home plate, Bowe played in three all-star games (1980, 1981, 1985) and was named All-CRBL catcher in three seasons (1979, 1980, 1982).
Upon induction, the catcher’s highest offensive rankings can be found in slugging percentage (25th), batting average (28th), and homeruns (31st).

Paul McIlquham

Class of 2011

Catcher, Outfielder, 2nd Baseman

Jim Falls Sturgeons 1981-96

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A versatile run-producing utility man, Paul McIlquham used a strong right-handed stroke to pound his way through 16 productive seasons of competition in the Chippewa River Baseball League.

In molding a balanced offensive and defensive career, McIlquham was named ALL-CRBL twice at 2nd base (1985, 1992) and three times as a catcher (1987, 1988, 1989).  In 1990, he was recognized as a catcher again, this time as an honorable mention pick.  In all-star game play, he appeared in eight contests through three different positions – 2nd base, catcher, and outfield.

In 12 of McIlquham’s 16 seasons he hit over .300 with his career high coming in 1988 when he stung the ball to the tune of .533 (24 for 45).  His 24 hits that year matched a career high, while his 6 doubles, 26 RBI’s, and 19 walks were also career peaks while batting for the high scoring, 14 and 2 Sturgeons.

The diversity of Paul’s offensive skills is evident in both his career and yearly outputs.  In five seasons, he notched 20 or more hits.  He drove in 20 or more runs in four seasons, doing so consecutively from 1988 to 1991.  Five seasons saw him hit 4 or more home runs, with his 1987 total of 7 dingers being a personal best.  His league leading 13 stolen bases in 1983 was the best of nine years in which he swiped 5 or more bags.  Showing a discerning eye at the plate, McIlquham gathered 10 or more walks in a season 13 times, doing so nine seasons in a row (1988 to 1996) after pacing the league with 15 free passes in 1985.  Paul also led the “River League” in runs scored in 1985 with 24. His other league leading mark came in 1983 when he tied for the CRBL lead in at-bats with 72.

McIlquham’s potent contributions were a major factor in Jim Falls’ emergence as an offensively explosive and tough league foe during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  This was evident in the Big Fish claiming a North Division crown in 1989, qualifying for the WBA eight times (1983, 1986-1992), and surviving to a Final 8 in 1991.

Upon becoming a CRBL Hall of Famer, Paul is tied for 7th all-time in stolen bases, 8th in homeruns, 9th in RBI’s, 15th in runs scored, and 10th in slugging percentage.

Jim Stuckert

Class of 2010

Catcher

Bloomer Pines 1959-64; Bloomer Blackhawks 1975-78

Manager

Bloomer Merchants 1979-89

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A strong-armed catcher, consistent hitter, and long-time manager, Jim Stuckert’s contributions to the CRBL and to Bloomer baseball might be better measured by the fondness and the esteem in which he is remembered rather than the numbers he amassed on the baseball diamond.

The first stage of Jim’s career was spent with the Bloomer Pines, where he participated in four straight All-Star games (1961-64).  His rise to league standout coincided with the Pines capturing division crowns and qualifying for the WBA in both 1961 and 1963.

After a departure from league competition for 11 seasons, Stuck and his stick returned in 1975, hitting .372 (16 for 43) for the Bloomer Blackhawks.  His encore average of .326 (15 for 46) in 1976 was the fourth of six seasons in which he would hit .300+ as a regular.  His career high notably came as a player/manager for the Bloomer Merchants in 1980, when at the age of 39, Jim hit .500 (16 for 32) with 2 round trippers and 10 RBI’s.

During his 11 season tour as skipper of the Merchants, Stuck led the Bloomer bunch to five WBA tournaments (1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987) and the franchises’ lone Final 8 birth in 1987.

Off the field, Jim was one of the driving forces behind the construction of Bloomer’s community baseball field, which opened to the Merchants sweeping the Cadott Red Sox in a doubleheader on Sunday, June 17th, 1984.

Just over fifteen years later — on July 3rd, 1999 — Jim’s legacy and many contributions were rightfully recognized by the city of Bloomer.  Prior to that day’s CRBL All-Star game, the field that now acts as home to the Bloomer Fightin’ Woodticks, Bloomer high school, and several area youth baseball organizations fittingly was renamed “Stuckert Memorial Park”.