Wirz a NE HOF’er!


C-O-N-G-R-A-T-S to CT SABR member Bob Wirz who will be inducted with Sam Wahoo Crawford and 6 others into the Nebraska BB HOF next month.  Read the press release here….



Four players, two coach/managers, a distinguished service recipient, and a media giant will be honored at the 2017 Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame banquet to be held in Beatrice on Sunday, February 12.  The event will take place at Aunt Mary’s Event Center, 8th and Court St., the site of the Hall of Fame Museum.  Doors will open at 4:00 pm for socializing, and the dinner will be served at 5:00 pm. The speaker will be Bob Wirz, one of the inductees. His credentials along with the other honorees are listed below.


Bob Wirz, (Media) Halsey native, began his media career in radio and TV at KHAS in Hastings. He moved on to sports writing at The Lincoln Journal, the Wichita Eagle and the Denver Post.  He became the Public Information/Relations Director of the Kansas City Royals from 1969-1974.  He served as Chief Spokesman for Major League Baseball from 1974-85, and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn’s right hand man in New York City. He also worked under MLB commissioner, Peter Ueberroth, before moving into private business. His successful companies have been involved in sports consulting, management, and advertising/promotion. Further, he has owned an Independent Professional Baseball team and written a riveting baseball book, appropriately titled, The Passion of Baseball.


Wahoo Sam Crawford, Wahoo,( player), and was he ever a player. Sam was enshrined in the major league Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957. His lifetime average of .309 ties his major league career record of 309 triples. He had 51 inside the park homers and a total of 97 homers in the dead ball era. He came up just 39 hits shy of the coveted 3000 mark.  The Gray Ink Test method of rating hitters has him rated as 9th best all time ahead of Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams.  As a teenager, Sam would tour the Wahoo area in the summers with his friends in a hay wagon beating up on such teams as Valparaiso, Raymond, Touhy, and Ceresco. No wonder he hit .307 in his rookie year with Cincinnati after just turning 19.  He was extremely fast, and legend has it that he would run down rabbits for dinner while on their hay wagon tours.  He said he was proud of his hometown and wanted Wahoo Sam as his moniker.


Steve Cavlovic, (Distinguished Service) Omaha, was an excellent player/manager in his own right who gave back to the game far more than he took from it. His 1947, 48 Metz Legion teams were ranked 8th and 4th respectively.  He was named to the Omaha Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and to the Omaha South High Sports Greats Hall of Fame in 2008.  Because of his countless community contributions, his name appears prominently on the Corrigan Senior Housing Complex, the HP Smith Sports Training Complex, and the South High Scholarship Program.  He was instrumental in honoring Veterans at Brown Park in Omaha.


Roger Pollman, (Player) Wymore, punched his ticket to the Hall with dominant play for Lone Elm (on the Ks/Ne border) in the early 50s.  He led the tough GLM (Gage, Lancaster, Marshall) League with a .435 average.  He was versatile as a pitcher and a good fielding first sacker, but was mostly known for swinging a mean stick.  Roger missed a chance to play professional baseball for the White Sox by making the gut wrenching, but family loyal decision to remain on the farm due to the illness of his father.  Check out the video on the NEBBHOF website.  The Emmy Award winning video features, you guessed it, Roger Pollman.


Bob Neesen, West Point, (Player), played for 14 seasons in the competitive Dodge County League and made the All Star Team 11 times.  Bob could do it all as a pitcher, a solid outfielder, and a prolific hitter.  Perhaps, 1976 was his best year where he went 8-2 on the bump with a 1.16 ERA (how did he lose 2?) and hit .417.  He played his college ball at Chadron State where he still holds records for season and career strikeouts.  Bob backed down from no one and was at his best when playing the best.  He was known as the heart and soul of whatever team he played for and was respected by teammates and opponents alike.  Sadly, Bob passed away this past September 27, but thankfully had been notified of his impending induction.


Ron Cullison, Beatrice (Coach/Manager), retired in 2013 after 35 years of successful coaching/managing.  Ron started the Southeast Community College program from the ground up.  His Beatrice Eagle Juniors accumulated 5 state championships, 12 area championships, and over 750 victories from 1989-2007.  He has since worked for Hall of Famers, Bob Steinkamp and Mark Mancuso with the Beatrice Bruins and Wesleyan University respectively, and coached the Nebraska Select Baseball team.  Ron was known to be a tireless worker developing players in all phases of the game.  Perhaps, his most enjoyable stint was helping his son to win championships at Norris.


Paul Eaton, Wakefield (Coach/Manager), guided his teams to 25 state tourney appearances and 18 championships from 1969-2010.  Paul has been selected the USBF/Topps Amateur Baseball Coach of the Year and also presented with the AK-SAR-BEN Good Neighbor Award for Youth Baseball.  He has also coached many state all-star teams.  In 1984 the city of Wakefield designated the baseball park to be named EATON FIELD.  Coach Eaton not only taught the game to his players, but also life skills such as sportsmanship, good behavior, respect for others and gratitude.  Congratulations, Paul.  You have left a great legacy for many people

Jeff Breeling, Omaha (Player), has played baseball for 45 years and played it well.  He played on state championship teams in 1979 and 80.  In 1983 Jeff hit .454 for Northwest High and was awarded the MVP on a team that was named the BEST HIGH SCHOOL IN THE NATION.  He was a three year starter for Iowa State as an infielder and played summer ball in the MINK League (Omaha), the JAYHAWK League plus the NBC Wichita Tournament (Beatrice).  He kept on going playing in Senior Leagues and Over 30 Leagues which included World Championship Tournaments in the Senior Men’s League in Arizona, and the Roy Hobbs League in Florida. This totaled overall, 25 world championship events.


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