Class "A" Men's Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame
CLASS OF 2018
(L-R) Tim Kiemel Jr, Scott Phiffer, Tess Rockwood, Shawn Vellek, Dave Youngren, and Don Roney
TIM KIEMEL, JR – EAST SIDE MERCHANTS (1981-2007) (ST. PAUL MUNICIPAL) - Presented by Tim Kiemel, Sr. - Outfield /1b/Pitcher
Proudly played for the East Side Merchants for 26 seasons. Playing between 40 -60 games per summer. Played high school ball at Woodbury High School and from there attended the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Was part of 5 Merchant teams that advanced to the Class A State Tournament. In 1991 finished runner up, and had a record of 57-30. 87 games in one season is a record that still stands to this day in the state of Minnesota. Was also a part of 7 St Paul All-Star teams which competed against the Park National League each year.
The only reason I am recognized for this award is due to one man and that is my father Tim Kiemel Sr. He ran the East Side Merchants for 40 plus seasons and gave me the opportunity to play amateur baseball. He believed in me and I learned so much from him, I followed him into the coaching ranks and have coached high school baseball for the last 30 years.
As far as my playing career is concerned, playing 60 games per season you are bound to improve. That is what happen to me, my offense and defense improved each season and turned out to be a solid player. That is what I most proud of being a reliable functional player.
Lastly, this would not be possible without my former teammates. Several are in the Hall of Fame; Joe Paatalo, Mike Vogel, Joe Ross, Mike Walseth, and of course my father Tim Kiemel Sr. These players helped me reach my fullest potential which I am extremely grateful. I owe a special thanks to my wife Heidi and daughters Megan and Jenna without their support none of this would be possible. Thank you !!!!!
SCOTT PHIFFER – ROSETOWN A’S (ST. PAUL MUNICIPAL) - Presented by Joe Anderson
Known as "Nails" to most of his teammates, Scott Played all 26 years of his amateur career with the Rosetown A's. Played in 11 of the A's 12 State Tournament appearances, winning a State title in 1995. He also has appeared in 15 All-Star games for the St. Paul League as well as being named to the St. Paul Leagues All-Decade team of the 90's.
Scott was well known for his outfield defense as he never shied away from running into outfield fences and diving all over the outfield robbing hitters of extra base hits. He holds the all-time career records for outfield putouts and assists. Scott also was a pretty good offensive player. He retired with a .360 avg. a .410 on base % and is also the career leader in games played, games started and is also the career leader in hits, walks, triples, stolen bases and runs scored.
I would like to thank longtime A's Manager Scott Rockwood who is not with us anymore for all the hard work to keep the A's going through the early years and for also being a good friend. I would also like to thank all my teammates through the years. I have played with a lot a great players and I truly believe that we all pushed each other to be a better ball player and person. And last but not least, I want to thank my wife Holly for putting up with all the late night games and road trips for all those years.
SCOTT ROCKWOOD’S BIOGRAPHICAL WRITTEN BY TESS ROCKWOOD
Scott “Rock” Rockwood was a pillar in the Minnesota Baseball scene for over 30 years. Starting with the American Legion Post 542 in Roseville, he was a catcher and a prized home-run hitter. His father Sam Rockwood coached the team for over 25 years where Scott started as a player and later transitioned to coach.
Late 1980’s Scott started the Rosetown A’s organization. He lived and breathed baseball and he managed all aspects of the team. He really loved the fundamentals of the game and meticulously thought about scenarios and processes trying to end up on top. Scott valued his players like sons, nurturing and guiding them, and helping them to achieve the brightest futures on and off the field.
Scott coached the Rosetown A’s for over two decades and they had many amazing times together. Whether it be Hayward’s 4th of July tournament, Miesville, or New Ulm trips, he was always thinking about the players and America’s favorite pastime. All the hard work was put into fruition in 1995 when the Rosetown A’s won the Class A State Championship. He also helped his team go on to three other top 3 finishes.
Scott was a very attentive father and coached girls softball and basketball for Eagan Athletic Association for over a decade. He cared so deeply for the game and most importantly the relationships with his teammates. Rock passed away in April of 2018 and is now in heaven watching from the coach’s box on third.
DON RONEY – SPORTING GOODS, INC. (RIVERVIEW) - Presented by Mark Roney
Don Roney played for Brooklyn Center Town Team sponsored by Sporting Goods Incorporated, in the highly competitive Riverview League for 18 seasons. During a 12 year span of time, Sporting Goods went to 9 State Tournaments, winning the State Championship in 1982. Don was an All-Conference Pitcher in College at the University of St. Thomas that was known for a having a good curve ball and loved competing on the field. Don was a team guy that was able to play many different positions when not pitching.
“The best part of town ball was playing many years with the same core group of guys, experiencing the ups and downs and working to be the best."
Don Roney has coached pitchers at the college and high school levels for 34 years. He coached at North Hennepin Community College with Steve Cohen, earning a Jr. College World Series berth in 1987. He then coached at St. Thomas with Steve Schmid and Dennis Denning. St. Thomas earned multiple World Series berths and Dennis Denning graciously gave Don a ring after the 2001 National Championship Season.
For 10 years, up until this past season, Don has coached the pitchers at Totino - Grace High School and put on off season pitching clinics. "A coaching highlight has been coaching my four boys Joe, Nate, Dan and Jake at Totino Grace High School.
SHAWN VELLEK – COMMISSIONER OF RIVERVIEW LEAGUE AND UMPIRE - Presented by Andre Lanoue
My career in Amateur baseball began in 1987 with Northwest Umpires. I was a member for 28 years and a Board Member for 24 years, and 12 years as the Collegiate Chair.
I was fortunate enough to work College baseball for 20 years, 12 of those in the Big 10 Conference. During that time I was selected to work 18 Regionals, at the DI, DII, DIII, and NAIA levels. I was also fortune enough to work 5 National Championships at the DII, DIII and NAIA levels. After I was done on the field, I was the Supervisor of Officials for the NSIC Conference, and I am currently active as a CBUA Advisor/Evaluator.
This all would not have happened without my 28 years of experience with Minnesota Amateur Baseball. Over a 28 year career of umpiring MN Amateur Baseball I was fortunate enough to work over 1500 regular season games and over 100 Class A, B, and C State Tournament assignments. I also had the pleasure of overseeing the Riverview League as it's Commissioner for 19 years. The last 14 of those years I enjoyed working with the Class A Tournament Committee as its Tournament’s Chair.
I have also enjoyed the relationships I have made over the years with The MBA Board, Class A League Commissioners and Managers, and thank them for all their hard work in making the Class A Tournament as successful as it is.
Finally, I would also like to thank the Class A Hall of Fame Committee for considering me for this honor.
DAVE YOUNGREN – LAKONIAS (PARK NATIONAL) - Presented by Bart Murphy
Lakonias began playing in the Park National League in 1972. The schedule included playing a non-conference schedule of the best teams in the state. The team played for 14 years over which time we won 309 games, notched 6 city championships, and 2 state class A runner ups.
David played in over 500 games, all while "donning the tools of ignorance". Never missing a game due to injury. The only games off were the rare doubleheader in the heat. I am honored to be inducted into the hall but would be remiss not to mention every player who wore the orange and blue of Lakonias.
As time went on Coach Bart Murphy was able to add players not just to play baseball with, but rather players who you wanted to play baseball with. Bart was the reason that Lakonias came into being. His unending love of the game, meticulous organizational skills, and knowledge of the game made us a team that other managers were glad to put on their schedules. Bart was the glue that held the team together, and it was a joy to play for him.
Lastly, but not leastly, I want to thank my family, Nancy, my wife of almost 40 years, and my children Britta, Kjirsten, and Lars for having the patience, tolerance, and indulgence to make this all possible.
CLASS OF 2017
PAT CAREY – ROSETOWN A’S & ST. PAUL CAPITALS – PRESENTED BY PHIL MCDERMOTT
Pat Carey was one of the best two way players in Minnesota Class “A” Amateur Baseball. He played 18 years of Class “A” Amateur baseball, 15 years for the Rosetown A’s and 3 summers for the St. Paul Capitals.
Pat played in 10 state tournaments winning a State Championship in 1995 with the Rosetown A’s and helped his teams to three other top 3 finishes. He was also named to the All-Tournament team 4 times over his career.
Pat was an anchor on strong A’s and Capitals teams as middle of the order hitter and an ace on the mound. His outfield defense in right field and rifle arm were also a hallmark of his play throwing out many runners trying to take an extra base.
Although records of some of Pat’s career are incomplete it is safe to say that he hit well over 100 homeruns and recorded over 100 wins as a pitcher.
PAT FLANDERS - RICHFIELD
I played exclusively with the Richfield town team from 1981 - 1990...
Interestingly enough, I remember my last at bat...
It was July 24, 1990... I fouled off at least 8 pitches before drawing a walk...
I was greeted jogging down the foul line by a teammate that said - you need to go,
your wife is having a baby! I left, went home, grabbed my wife...
And my first son, John, was born in the car in the emergency room parking lot of St. Joseph's hospital!
Pat played high school baseball at Richfield High School as a catcher and 3rd baseman. Graduated in 1980 and played for the Richfield American Legion Blues and Reds from 1978-1980 where his 1980 Legion team were state champions.
Pat attended Normandale Community College from 1981 – 1982 where he was a catcher and 3rd baseman along with being the captain in 1982 and was All-Conference both years. He was the conference batting champion in 1981 and his 2 year composite average was .391. Pat moved on to catch, play 3rd base and pitch at Augsburg College in 1983-84. He was captain in 1984 and all MIAC in both years. His BA at Augsburg was .362 and 5-1 as a pitcher. He had not pitched since 9th grade.
Fun statistic – 1984 against Macalaster he was the winning pitcher and also ended up saving his game after others on the staff could not get the outs. He also struck out 4 batters in an inning because of a passed ball by the catcher.
Pat thanks all of his teammates and family for helping him be a successful player and person in life.
DICK (GHIZ) GHIZONI – MINNEAPOLIS LAKONIAS – PRESENTED BY BART MURPHY and DAVE YOUNGREN
Dick played shortstop for twelve years on six Park National Championship teams and two State Tournament teams. The 1981 team was state runner-up to Winona. He was selected to the State All-Tournament team in 1981, 1982 and the Minneapolis All Decades team of the 1980’s. He is the Lakonias leader in stolen bases, second in hits, runs scored, and doubles. Manager Bart Murphy said “our teams were built around pitching and defense and Dick was one of our unsung players.”
He was a volunteer baseball coach in Minneapolis and St. Paul for 12 years. He was the head baseball coach at St. Agnes for 20 years, leading the 1998 team to the school’s first state tournament and coached in the Lions All-Star game in 1999.
He is the winningest Boys Basketball coach in the history of two High Schools, St. Agnes and Hill-Murray.
“This would not be possible without former teammates, especially Dave Youngren, Manager Bart Murphy, and organizers Pete Brown, Dick Berry. I owe special gratitude to my kids Pete, Charlie, Molly, and my wife of 39 years, Ann.”
DAN MILLER – STOCKMEN IRISH (C, OF) – PRESENTED BY BILL MCGUIRE
Played for the Stockmen Irish for 13 seasons. He is a graduate of So. St Paul High School. During his career he hit over .400 many seasons. In the Irish state tournament winning season of 2011 he hit over .425. Dan was named to the state tournament all-tournament team several times as an Irish member. His competitive nature was true in every game you were able to watch him play. He was said to be one of the best to ever wear the Irish uniform. Dan played college baseball at the University of Grandview (Des Moines, IA).
Dan wishes to thank his teammates for helping him become the player he has become and their hard work when they played together.
BILL MCGUIRE – STOCKMEN IRISH GENERAL MANAGER – PRESENTED BY ROBIN JOHNSON
The Stockmen's Irish founder graduated from Regina HS (Iowa City, IA) where he started 4 years in baseball and 3 years in football (all-state) and is a member of Regina HOF. He continued his career at Hastings (Neb) College where he started 4 years in BB & FB while earning all- conference in both sports.
Bill started playing town ball at 16 in Iowa and played 4 years in Minnesota, split between Prior Lake & Forest Lake, appeared in 3 state tourneys and was named all-tourney in 1971 while playing for Forest Lake.
He is proud to have brought lights to the SOUTH ST. PAUL ball field in 1995 and founding the Irish in 1996. He claims his main contribution to the Irish has been that he was smart enough to not coach the team himself. The Irish have appeared in 15 state tourneys; finishing 2nd in 2003 and taking the championship in 2011, while piling up over 500 wins.
He has been an active member of the board responsible for SOUTH ST. PAUL VFW and Legion teams for 20 years.
Bill thanks all Irish players and coaches over the years for their contributions to the team's success as well as opponents, fans and officials, but most importantly his wife, Melba, who allowed it all to happen.
GREG SCHILDGEN – LYON’S PUB - PRESENTED BY BROTHER DOUG SCHILDGEN AND SONS DENNIS AND ROBERT SCHILDGEN
De La Salle Islander Alum Class of “71. Played Shortstop on the Section 3 Champions and the 3rd Place 1971 Minnesota State High School Tournament Team. Played at Metropolitan Junior College in Minneapolis; winning the Minnesota State JCAA batting title with a .516 average in 1972. Went on to play at Yankton College in Yankton, SD. Competing in Tri State League against Concordia of St. Paul, Bethel College (MN), Northwestern (IA), and Sioux Falls College among others. Again, played shortstop on the 1975 NAIA Region 5 Champions; beating Mayville State (ND) in 1975.
Coached with my brother Doug Schildgen at North Hennepin Community College, Augsburg College and since 2000 to present at De La Salle High School with Doug and son, Dennis.
State amateur career began in 1972 and retired in 1997. Played /managed in Class A amateur baseball for 25 years, culminating in over 1000 games. All games with the Warriors. Many years scheduling 60 games a year. Played/managed in 8 Class A State Tournaments. In 1977, played 5 different positions (including catcher) on the Mr. Roberts Warriors State Championship team. Managed two Park National league champions. The accompanying duty of All Star Manager is another gratifying memory of amateur career.
The players and sponsors are my most enduring memories. When I began playing for the Warriors; we were sponsored by the Minneapolis American Indian Center. That team is indebted to Robert Javis and Eugene (Mooney) Green, who were my first managers. From 1976-79, Mr. Roberts Bar was the sponsor. Next Cato Shriners Club was our sponsor in the early 80’s. Mid 80’s we were mostly player sponsored as the Minneapolis Warriors. In 1989, Chris Rogers, manager of the Lyons Pub restaurant agreed to sponsor and after 27 years still strongly supports the Lyon’s Pub Warriors. Since 1972, the Warriors have qualified for 20 Minnesota State Class A State Tournaments.
Since 1972 to the present, there has always been a Schildgen on the Warriors. 45 years of blood, sweat and beers. I am deeply grateful for the support of my brother, Doug and my two sons Dennis and Rob who have all played on and managed the Warriors. Rob is the current player/manager, continuing the Warrior legacy. Without these three individuals, I would not have achieved HOF status. I am deeply honored to accept the HOF selection but, most of all, to be a part of an immediate family and a Warrior family that shares a passion and respect for the beautiful game of baseball.
Class of 2016
Joe Paatalo was known as one of the most prolific hitters in Minnesota amateur baseball. When asked about his nearly ten straight seasons of over 100 hits for the East Side Merchants he laughed. “I think that has more to do with the sheer number of games I played. I love the game of baseball, and the love for the game was nurtured from the likes of Mike Meyers, Dennis Denning and Tim Kiemel. I owe so much to them as the type of ballplayer I was, but more importantly the type of person I am today. I am also grateful I to have played with the likes of Mike Vogel, Mike Walseth, Joe Ross and Tony Gagliardi, all great players and truly great guys." Joe ended his playing days with the Fighting Fish of River Falls, helping them win the 2012 Wisconsin state championship. "This induction is quite an honor, but it's really about the guys I played with. That was always the greatest joy."
Pat Fix was a model of consistency for 26 town ball seasons. After playing one year with the East Side Merchants, he became a charter member of the newly formed Saint Louis Park town team and would go on to play the next 25 seasons on that squad. Pat was a huge part of that team’s success. As a member of the Park team Pat competed in 19 Class A state tournaments and was an integral part of both state championship teams in 2002 and 2008. Anchoring the middle infield and hitting third in a potent line-up, Pat was a regular on the All-Tournament team and the All-Star team. Pat played the first ten years of his career when the league used aluminum bats where he averaged 70 hits a season. He added another 662 hits and a .326 batting average with a wood bat giving him right around 1300 hits in his career. Pat is a member of the Saint Louis Park All-1990’s and All-2000 teams.
Jack Peterson was a player and manager for 30 years in the Minneapolis Park National League with the Columbia Heights/Dick’s Place Team. Jack was a perennial .350+ hitter every year he played and his teams won 7 state championships as both a player and manager. Jack took over for Gary Demars when he stepped down as manager. Jack’s tenure lasted from 1967 through 1996 when Jack suffered a career ending injury when a basketball backboard fell and broke his right wrist, nose and causing 3 herniated disc’s in his neck. No one else was willing to take over the team and therefore, the team folded. Jack was also a versatile player as he played all positions but shortstop and catcher. Jack as a pitcher had a variety of ways to get hitters out. His pitching record for his time on the mound was 45-3.
Larry Norder was more than just the sponsor of Air Freight Unlimited baseball. Larry was the team’s biggest fan. He looked forward to every game and would always be on the bench cheering on the team. He wanted to make sure that after every game, win or lose; every player would go home happy and had enough food and drinks before they left. He would also make sure to invite each player’s family and even the opposing teams over for the post game get-togethers. Air Freight Unlimited baseball misses him at every game and now honors him with his signature on their hats and jerseys.
"Nick Bjerken (LHP/1B/OF), a native of South Saint Paul, played for his hometown team Stockmen’s Irish of the St. Paul and Skyline Leagues for 16 years (1998-2013). During that time, he helped lead the Irish to 391 wins, 13 state tournaments, a runner-up finish in 2003 and a State Championship in 2011. Nick played his college baseball at the College of St. Scholastica where he was an All-American and is a member of their baseball HOF. As a dual threat for the Irish, Nick was able to compile over 100 wins on the mound and over 100 HR’s with a .386 career average making him one of the best two way players in Irish and Class A history."
Class of 2015
“The toughest player I ever played against” was the best way to describe Joe on the field according to other members of the Hall of Fame from St. Paul. Joe had a 22 year career in Amateur Baseball including 5 years with J. Thomas Athletics and 17 years with the Rosetown A’s. Joe made 15 State Tournament appearances during his career and was named MVP of the Stat Championship Game in 1995 when he led Rosetown to the State Championship. Joe batted .362 during his career and hit well over 125 home runs, however Joe’s best memories are of the friendships he formed with both teammates and opponents during his career. Joe’s wife Mindy and his children, Alexa and Haley provided a great support system that allowed him to play for many years.
Presenter: Scott Phiffer
Kevin Hoy - Minntonka Millers
Known as a hard nosed, gritty and competitive player, Kevin left everything on the field every night. As the second baseman for Minnetonka High School he was a key part of the Skippers State AA Runners Up season his senior year. A four year starter and Senior Captain for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, Hoy received All-Northern Intercollegiate Conference honors on two occasions and Convers All- District honors his senior year. Hoy played 12 seasons with the Minnetonka Millers where he led off and hit .339. In 1985 he became player/coach for the Millers and in 1992 full-time manager and general manager of the club. While managing the Millers the team has amassed over 1200 wins with a winning percentage of .828 while collecting 23 Riverview Titles. Kevin has led the Millers to a Minnesota record of 11 State Championships. Kevin is passionate about his family: Barbara, Alayna and Grace, his friends from the game of Baseball, everything Millers related, and most of all his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Presenters: Mark Young and Sean Goldsworthy
Steve Nayman played 25 seasons with the St. Paul Highland Park Amateur club. Steve joined the team in 1979 the summber before his first year at Augsburg College where he played three sports and is in the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame as well as his Highland Park Senior High School Hall of Fame. Nayman played on many fantastic Higland Park Amateur teams that went to the State Tournament year after year with two State titles in 1993 and 1996 under the guidance of another Hall of Famer, Player/Manager, Jim Lawton. He was named to two St. Paull All-Decade teams for the 1980’s and 1990’s, proving to be a lasting force in right field for a long time. Nayman played his last season at the age of 45 in 2004 finishing with a career batting average of .375 with over 350 stolen bases. He is the cousin of Minnesota Twins manager, Paul Molitor and Steve’s biggest fans were his parents, Marg and Frank Nayman of St. Paul. Steve is married to the love of his life Melissa and has two sons, Lance and Vince.
Presenter: Jim Lawton
The soul of the Highland Park Amateur Teams of the 1980's and 1990's, Brian was a member of 12 State Tournament Teams, and two State Championships in 1993 and 1996. Brian, a member of the Highland Park High School Hall of Fame, started for the Highland Park Amateur Baseball Team at the age of 16 and played for 18 years. He was a defensive force at both third base and shortstop. A lifetime .351 hitter and savvy baserunner. Brian could be depended upon to make the big play in the field or at bat. Opponents respected Brain and his teammates love him. Brian met his wife Sandy through baseball and they have 4 children: Tyler, Reid, Nate and Brice and two grandchildren.
Presenter: Mark Herzog
Bob was a sportswriter for the St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press for 38 years. He championed Amateur Baseball in St. Paul as well as all over the State. He was truly the one sports writer that the Baseball Community could count on. Bob to get scores, statistics and standings in the paper and helped to keep alive the Amateur Spirit in Baseball as well as other sports including Bowling, Softball and Small College Football. Bob has been inducted into an astounding Nine other Hall of Fames for his service and dedication to Amateur Athletics. He is sorely missed on the fields and press boxes all over the State of Minnesota. To receive this award on behalf of Bob is his daughter, Nancy Steele.
Presenter: Jim Lawton
CHRIS URBAIN - MINNETONKA MILLERS
Chris was an incredible 5 tool player whose offensive talents could only be matched by the incredible way in which he played centerfield. He played High School ball for Owatonna where he starred and led the Indians to the 1998 State Championship. A four year starter for Mankato State University, Urbie was Captain of the Mavericks his senior year and 2 time Academic All-American. Chris came to the Minnetonka Millers in 1993 and spent the following 19 seasons patrolling centerfield and setting about every conceivable offensive record for the ball club. He is the Millers career leader in hits 2ith 1007, Home Runs with 178 and finished with a .348 career batting average. Chris was the Millers Captain, leader and a key part of 10 State Championships with the team. He was named to the All State Tournament Team an MBA record 8 times. Chris feels blessed to have been able to play the game he loves with such longevity and success.
Presenter, Kerm Urbain
Class of 2014
Described by many as the absolute best hitter in St. Paul for 20 years, Augsburg graduate Mark Herzog set a Standard of Excellence that may never again be equaled in amateur baseball. As the number 3 hitter in a great Highland Park lineup Mark was the acknowledged leader on two State Championship Teams and 15 State Tournament appearances. Over his career, Mark was a .417 batter and hit over 200 home runs while playing flawless second base. Mark's best memories of his career are not those of his on field accomplishments, but of the life-long friendships he made with his teammates. Mark did not retire from playing but left at the "top of his game" so that he and his wife Angie could raise their four daughters: Claire, Rachel, Emily and Olivia. Mark continues his involvement as Girls Hockey Director and Board Member for the Tartan Area Youth Hockey Association. A fellow Hall of Fame member summarized Mark's career by stating, "He was simply the best." Presenters: Ron Petrich, Jim Lawton, Member of the Hall of Fame.
Known for his hitting prowess and catching skills for 23 years, Iowa State University graduate, Chris Johnson managed St. Louis Park to 16 State Tournaments and two State Championships and an overall team record of 518-246. Chris had a career batting average of .406 and hit more than 150 home runs. Besides all of his hitting skills Chris possessed "a rocket arm" and was able to throw out many a would be runner. His reputation was so strong that players would not dare to attempt to steal when he was behind the plate. Chris' 23 year career as a catcher was no east task. However, his dedication and work ethic allowed him to compete at the most difficult position at the highest level, made him a role model for all his teammates. Chris continues his baseball career as a coach to his children as well as an active Board Member of the Golden Valley Little League. Presenter: Pat Fix.
What a career, Bob Klepperich has bean a teacher in St. Paul for 36 years before his retirement in 1999 yet still found time to be involved in Baseball. Since 1956, as an equipment manager for the "old' St. Paul Saints, stadium manager for the original Midway Stadium and finally as chief operations at the present Midway Stadium since 1982. Along the way Bob has raised two children, Dave and Katie and has been married to his wife Judi for over 47 years. Besides his family, Bob is most proud of the fact that for almost two generations he has taught, hired, supervised and mentored countless young people and provided them with the steady hand of friendship. Always known for his easy manner and a friend to all players, coaches and fans that crossed his path. Bob has know the greats: Roger Maris, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Gibson, Jim Bunning, to name a few, and as he walked through the base paths of life he has always had time for a kind word for an amateur player because he realized the true meaning of the word friendship. Bob is the person who provided the care needed for all players to have their "field of dreams" become a reality, if only for a moment in time. Presenters: Katie Klecan and Dave Klepperich, his children.
A dual threat as both a left handed pitcher and a first baseman/outfielder, Joe and his three brothers led the Minneapolis Angels to three State Championships and seven State Tournament appearances during his career. Joe was selected to the All State Tournament Team four times and was the Most Valuable Player in the 1992 Tournament. From 1991 through 1994 Joe was the winning pitcher in 8 state tournament games. The University of St. Thomas graduate was a MIAC All-Conference selection for two years and the Conference Most Valuable Player in 1986. Joe was known for his fastball and his slider that "buckled" many a left handed batter. Joe is remembered as a great teammate and a respected competitor by all. Presenter: Kevin Begman.
One of the most feared left handed power hitters for over a decade, All Big Ten First Baseman and a Purdue graduate, Mike Rothstein set a Standard of Excellence that can be matched by few others in Minnesota Baseball history. During his career Mike hit over 10 home runs every year and led the Irish in home runs and RBI each season. In 1998, while playing for Stockaman's Irish, Mike hit an astounding 27 home runs and hit nearly .400. Mike's glove work at first base for his entire career was outstanding and save many a run for the Irish. Besides all of his on field accomplishments, Mike has always been a mentor and friend to his teammates and now is the Co-Head Baseball Coach at the Academy of Holy Angels where he will continue to share his baseball knowledge and life lessons with another generation of young people. Presenter: Jim Page, Member of the Hall of Fame.
Class of 2013
George “Butch” Fisher
Hailed by his peers for over 25 years, Butch was the premier baseball umpire in the State of Minnesota. Butch retired from umpiring in the late 1960s and returned to Minnesota to continue to do what he loved best, umpiring. Working all divisions of college baseball, Butch held a special place in his heart for summer amateur baseball. Most summer nights you could find him at Dunning working “a game”, however, his biggest talent was mentoring young umpires in his craft. Butch was not the show during games, yet umpires came to watch him. Butch spent countless hours after games talking about technique, position and hustle with aspiring umpires including three who became major league umpires. Some players say that long after the lights go dark at Dunning, after a baseball game, the echo of Butch’s voice can be heard to say, “Strike three on a beauty.”
A three sport All Conference high school performer in football, basketball and baseball at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, John, with a school record .571 average and First Team All American status lead Normandale Jr. College to a berth in the Junior College World Series in 1980. In 1981 and 1982 he was a proud member of the Big Ten Championship teams at the University of Minnesota. John spent his entire 17 year amateur career with the Minneapolis Warriors where he compiled a career batting average of .434 with 196 home runs and 550 RBIs. In his career season of 1988 John batted .607 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs. John will be remembered as a team player who always led by example.
An intense, right handed pitcher and a demanding manager, Jack was on the mound when his team clinched five of their nine state tournament berths. Starting in 1983 Jacky played for and managed the JTs, a team that transitioned into J. Thomas, Liberty O’Gara’s and today’s Sport and Spine. The durable right hander’s career year was 1991 when he compiled a 15-4 record in leading his team to the State Tournament. Frequently logging over 100 innings in a season, Jack wanted the ball every 4 days and over the course of his 23 year career posted 22 shutouts among his 185 wins. His team won the St. Paul League’s City Championship 4 times, including the 1999 Tournament of Champions. Jack’s favorite memories of the game are of the many friendships he made with teammates and opponents and the fierce competition in the St. Paul League highlighted by the intense rivalries over the years with Steichen’s, Highland Park and Rose Town.
A 1978 all conference pitcher and graduate of St. Olaf College with over 200 amateur pitching victories and over 300 amateur managing victories, numerous State Tournament appearances, and a few state championships, lefty Jim Page has set a standard of excellence that few have equaled. His amateur career included stops at Woodbury, Dundas, Burnsville, Highland Park, Wasau, Wisconsin, Stockman’s Irish and back to Highland Park where he is mentor, coach and friend to another generation of players. Jim has been the Head Baseball Coach at the Academy of Holy angels in Richfield for over 20 years and has over 225 high school coaching victories. Jim wishes to express his special thanks to Bob Wasco (high school coach), Jim Dimick (college coach) and Jim Lawton (longtime friend) for proving him with the inspiration during his Amateur Career for over 40 years.
The heart and soul of the Minnetonka Millers teams that captured five state championships from 2000 through 2010, Tony was named to the All State Tournament Team six times and was the State Tournament MVP in 2003 and 2006. From “behind the dish,” Tony, a North Dakota State graduate, played in the professional ranks with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations before joining the Millers. Tony was a career .393 hitter who stroked 119 home runs and drove in 448 runs, but is best remembered as a clutch hitter and great teammate with a big heart and true love of the game
A 1980 graduate, Most Valuable Player and All Conference selection at River Falls, Joe founded the JT’s team in 1979 which still competes today in the St. Paul League as Sport and Spine. A team leader in home runs and RBIs, a slick fielding first baseman with a life-time batting average of .385, Joe was the focal point of the JTs during his 13 year career. A leader on and off the field, Joe led the team to two city championships and seven state tournaments from 1979 to 1991. Joe loved the camaraderie that existed both on and off the field during his playing career and the life long bonds of friendship forged on the playing field. After retiring from Class A baseball, Joe started a team in the over-35 league playing for 10 years and winning two State Championships.
A standout left handed pitcher at the University of Minnesota from 1964-1967 and Yankee farmhand for three seasons, Jerry began his amateur career with Dick’s Place in Columbia Heights in 1971. Numerous State Tournament appearances followed, with Jerry leading Columbia Heights to State Titles in 1972, 1978, and 1986. Voted MVP in the 1972 State Tournament. Jerry tossed a no-hitter in the 1973 State Tournament and was elected to the All-Tournament Team. Jerry retired from amateur baseball at the age of 40 with a lifetime record of 84-17 and an ERA or 1.28 and a lifetime of memories from his years as a dominating pitcher and great teammate. Jerry also played all outfield positions and 1st base when he did not pitch along with being a very fast base-runner and among his team leaders in stolen bases.
Class of 2012
Harold “Hap” Holmgren
Hap was a catcher for the Al Mergen’s team in the St. Paul Amateur Baseball League in the 1940s and early 1950s before becoming Jerry Flathman’s assistant in the City of St. Paul’s Municipal Athletics Program. He later took over the program and among his many responsibilities ran the Men’s Amateur Baseball league for over 30 years. His leadership guided the league through some challenging times and produced many State Amateur Baseball champions and several State American Legion Champions. It also was a program under his leadership that produced two Major League Baseball Hall of Fame players, Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor, along with three MLB umpires, Tim Tschida, Jeff Nelson and Mark Wegner. Because of his leadership in both baseball and softball he was inducted into the Minnesota ASA Softball Hall of Fame
as an “Exceptional” Administrator in 1986. Hap has passed away and is survived by his wife
Phyllis, six daughters and many grandchildren
Mark played for the West St. Paul Americans from 1967-1979 He was an integral component on on a perinial state tournament team during the one class era. Mark batted 3rd, played centerfield and was considered the powerhouse team’s best all around player. 2011 Class A Baseball inductee, Jerry Sevlie said, “Mark was as good a centerfielder as there was during the 1970’s.” Mark recorded the highest batting average on the team, hit for power, ran well and had a canon for an arm throwing out baserunners with ease. Mark played college baseball at Mankato State and was a teammate of fellow 2012 inductee, Mike Vogel, Sr. Mark retired prematurely after being diagnosed with cancer in 1979. His cancer in remission, Mark is semi-retired after 25 years as a teacher and now coaches T-Ball.
A righthander, Randy combined a crackling fast ball with a sharp curve and great location to be the dominant pitcher of his era. Randy played his college baseball at the University of Minnesota with MLB Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. He started his Class A Amateur Baseball career with Columbia Heights of the Park National League. While pitching for Columbia Heights, Randy was an instrumental part of Class A State Tournament championship teams in 1978, 1986, and 1989. In the 1986 and 1989 tournaments Randy recorded 4 wins, 1 save, allowed only 2 runs, and struck out 36 batters to earn Most Valuable Player honors. Randy has appeared in an incredible 28 State Tournaments, placing him 2nd all-time in the history of Minnesota Amateur Baseball. Randy vividly remembers one summer day in which he became a dad, and then pitched in a game that propelled his Columbia Heights team to a state tournament berth. “A new son, a wife
that would let me go play and a championship. That was a great day.”
Matt spent 19 years roaming the outfield or anchoring first base for the Minnetonka
Millers. A leader both on and off the field Matt helped lead the Millers to six MBA
Class A State Championships. Matt was selected to the Class A All-State Tournament
team four times and was Tournament MVP in 2001 going 16 for 32 with 15 runs and 12
RBI. Matt played the game with passion and he played until his body would let him play
no more. Matt was the first Minnetonka Miller to have his number retired in 2006 and is a
member of the Minnetonka Millers Hall of Fame.
Mike Vogel, Sr.
Mike was a competitive, intense ballplayer who always took pride in running on and off
the field. No matter how tired and hurt he was he always played the game the right way throughout his career.. Mike played for Fitzgeralds Sporting Goods, Grain Belt, Hamm’s and the Eastside Merchants where he played with fellow 2012 Class A Hall of Fame inductee, Mike
Walseth. He was a natural 3rd baseman but with the Merchants moved over to shortstop to make room for 2011 Class A Hall of Fame inductee, Tim Kiemel, Sr. a baseball marriage that lasted for 40 years. Mike was one of the smartest hitters of his generation and could play any position on the diamond.
Mike played in four state tournaments and is proud he had the opportunity to play along side his two sons, Mike and Luke, with the Eastside Merchants. He fondly remembers the Merchant’s infamous bus trips accompanied by a variety of characters and is amazed that he played 40 years with Tim Kiemel, Sr. and never got into an argument with him.
Upon retirement Mike switched over to “The Dark Side” as an umpire for VFW, Legion, Men’s Amateur and 35 and over baseball. Mike is the first to tell people that he could not have played all those years without the continued love and support from his wife Sandy.
A power hitting first baseman Mike was a no nonsense, solid and dependable ballplayer that played the game with unmatched intensity. Mike played college baseball at the University of Minnesota and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and in 1969 was voted 1st Team All-American by college baseball coaches, finishing ahead of future major leaguer Dave Kingman. After his college baseball career he spent 10 years in the minor leagues, five in the Braves organization and five years playing in Mexico. After professional baseball, he played 15
years of Town Ball starting with the West St. Paul Americans where he was the clean up hitter on the state championship team in 1979 combining with fellow 2012 Class A Hall of Fame inductee Mark Johnson and 2011 inductees Steve Winfield and Jerry Sevley to form the core of the dominant team of that era. A left handed hitter, Mike punished pitchers with long homeruns and was the last hitter they wanted to see at the plate with the game on the line. Mike also played briefly with Cottage Grove before finishing his amateur career with the Eastside Merchants, where he was a teammate of fellow 2012 Class A Hall of Fame inductee Mike Vogel, Sr. and 2011 Class A Hall of Fame inductee Tim Kiemel, Sr.
Class of 2011
The Minneapolis Park National League will never have another player like Jim Botten. Jim was known to all as “Botts” during the 41 years he played in the league. A .340 lifetime hitter Jim was renowned for his prodigious home runs that struck houses and broke windows considered safely out of reach of the baseball diamond. Opponents respected Botts competitive fire and love for the game. Year after year Jim would schedule upwards of 70 games and take his team throughout the state to play all comers. Teammates, opponents, and umpires remember Jim for pulling up to games on his motorcycle and his commanding presence on the field. When Jim batted there was always that anticipation that you might see him hit a ball 500 feet.
Jim played in 12 state tournaments winning the championship in 1988 with the J. Botten team that he sponsored for 25 years. His love for the game was so strong that he played until he was 60 and his knees were bone on bone. Upon retirement Jim moved to Arizona.
A man for all seasons Larry has excelled as a player and an umpire. In the late 60s and 70s Larry managed and played for several amateur teams scoring his most notable achievements with Dick’s Place in the Minneapolis Park National League. A wiry catcher with keen instincts and a strong bat Larry led Dick’s Place to preeminence in the league with several state tournament appearances.
Upon his retirement as a player/manager Larry turned his interest to umpiring and established a reputation as a skilled, hard working arbiter with a comprehensive understanding of the rule book. His performance and reputation earned him an opportunity to umpire in the Major Leagues for 7 glorious games in 1979 and the 2008 NCAA Division III Regional Tournament in Oskosh, Wisconsin
For 44 years Tim Kimmel was the embodiment of St. Paul amateur baseball and remains a baseball legend throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. After 3 years with the Union Printers Tim took over 3B for the East Side Merchants and became the face of the enduring franchise for 41 years. With an unmatched passion for baseball Tim soon took over the managerial reigns and the team would play any place at any time consistently playing more than 70 games per year. He would pile his players into vans and station wagons creating memories and stories for a lifetime.
Upon graduating high school Tim played in the Chicago Cubs minor league system and had a brief tenure in the major leagues. Upon returning to Minnesota Tim embarked in a career that included 2,241 hits, a .328 batting average, 169 homeruns, and 1,165 RBIs. He also belted 16 grand slams including 2 in a game against Pepin in 1975. Tim led the Merchants to 8 state tournaments and had the opportunity to play 20 years along side his son Tim Jr. He continues to play today in the over 35 league.
Since 1968 Jim and his Highland Park team have been St. Paul Amateur baseball institutions. Leading the way with a .384 lifetime average Jim managed his team to 24 state tournament appearances culminating in championships in 1993 and 1996. A crafty left handed hitter Jim conjured up visions of Tony Gwynn slapping and blooping base hits into left field tormenting pitchers with his ability to make contact.
Jim established a standard of excellence throughout the end of the 20th century leading to his selection to the all Decade team as a player for the 1970s and 1980s and a manager for the 1990s. In 2011 Jim participated in his 30th all-star game as either a player or manager.
A fierce competitor on the field and a lawyer by trade, Jim was always generous in helping his players and opponents with various problems off the field asking nothing in return. He continues to manage the Highland team teaching a new generation of players how to play the game the right way.
A University Minnesota graduate, Jeff was known for his hard work and dedication to the game of baseball. He burst into the amateur scene in 1987 batting clean-up and leading the Bloomington Bulldogs of the Riverview League to the State Championship. His contributions to that title team earned him the honor of being named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
Jeff was an All-Big Ten selection in 1991 and went on to manage and play for the Edina Buckshots in the Riverview League from 1996-2003. He returned to lead the Bulldogs in 2004 taking the team to two more state tournaments.
After playing on the University of Minnesota to a national championship in 1964 Jerry Sevlie established himself as the preeminent big game pitcher in Minnesota amateur baseball in the 1970s. With a blazing fastball and knee buckling curve Jerry was the ace of the dominant team of the decade, the West St. Paul Americans in the St. Paul league. Jerry led the team to 10 state tournaments winning the title in 1979 and finishing runner-up in 1974, 1980, and 1982. In 1974 Jerry was named to the All-State team.
Jerry managed the team for 8 years recruiting and leading a roster that included fellow Hall of Famers Steve Winfield, Mark Johnson, and Mike Walseth. After hanging up his spikes Jerry umpired in the St. Paul league for 12 years capping a four decade involvement in St. Paul baseball.
A fleet footed outfielder in the St. Paul league for 35 years Steve combined speed, power, and plate discipline with charm and grace and left an everlasting impression on all who played with and against him. With tremendous range and uncanny instincts Steve patrolled CF like his hero, Willie Mays, robbing opponents of sure base hits. On offense, as the lead-off hitter, he intimidated opposing pitchers who were knew that once he reached base Steve would use his speed to turn a walk into a double or triple.
Steve was a integral member of the 1979 State Champion West St. Paul Americans. Blessed with superior genes Steve performed like a youngster even after turning 50. At the age of 51 in the Osceola Tournament he soared above the fence to make a running, leaping grab to rob a homerun away from a stunned hitter. Steve culminated his career in the 2005 state tournament where at age 55 he got a base hit in his last at bat and stole his last base. One of the most recognized players across the state Steve was gracious to all and a friend to many and remains actively involved in the Minnesota Twins RBI program to revive baseball in the inner cities.
An incredible athlete Mark led the Minnetonka Millers to the teams first 4 State Championships and was a key component in building the Millers into an amateur baseball powerhouse. Renowned for his intensity on the field and his drive to excel Mark was admired for his humility and respect for the game. His .373 lifetime average ranks third in Miller history but was only one facet of an excellent overall game that was recognized with his selection to the All State Tournament team five times.
Mark’s 17 year career was highlighted in 1999 when he was voted the “Miller Player of the Quarter Century” commemorating the teams first 25 years of existence. The honors continued after Mark hung up his spikes with retirement of his number by the team, one of only two numbers retired by the Millers. His standing in Minnetonka Miller baseball history was further immortalized when he was named a charter member of the Minnetonka Millers Hall of Fame.