Santo, Meusel & Meyers Ride High at CT SABR Game Day


A great time was had on April 22 at CT SABR’s most recent Game Day.

In attendance were Jon Daly, Bryan Sovinsky, Larry Howard, Joe Runde, Stan Dziurgot, Ray Sikora,  myself and John Garcia of Strat-O-Matic.

Mr. Garcia spoke to the group before play and it was interesting to learn that media members provide input on player ratings.  John also spoke about how S-O-M captured performance info for the recently released 1949 season set.  We had a lively Q & A with John, too, and at the end of the playing session he generously gave away 2 complete S-O-M game sets and pairs of the 2016 WS Indians and Cubs teams.

Here are the wrap-ups on three of the four games played:

Game 1:  ‘11 NY Giants beat Athletics in 11


Game 2:  Santo’s Blow Decides It, ’69 Cubs Sink Mets 5-3

Co-Managers Joe Runde and Ray Sikora split a doubleheader with Co-Managers Stan Dziurgot and Larry Howard as they martialed nines from 1911 and 1969.

In Game 1, Stan and Larry (1911 New York Giants) defeated Joe and Ray (1911 Philadelphia Athletics) in a 7-6, 11 inning thriller at the Polo Grounds. After both teams scored a run in the 1st inning, Giants ace Christy Mathewson held the Athletics scoreless from the 2nd to the 6th inning on one-hit ball. The Giants scored single runs in the 3rd (Red Murray triple) and 4th (Chief Myers double). In the 5th they extended their lead to 5-1 by scoring two runs, including one on Red Murray’s sacrifice fly, his 2nd RBI of the day. In the top of the 7th, the Athletics finally got to Mathewson, who was relieved by Doc Crandell with 1 out. The Athletics scored 4 runs to tie the game, led by RBIs from Danny Murphy (2), Rube Oldring and Amos Strunk. Crandell got one back in the bottom of the 8th with a go-ahead RBI single to put the Giants on-top 6-5, but the Athletics tied the game in the ninth when Claud Derrick scored after a triple with 1 out. After each team was held scoreless in the 10th, the Giants struck in the bottom of the 11th. Art Fletcher reached base on an error by Frank “Home Run” Baker and later scored on Chief Meyers’ RBI single, propelling the Giants to victory.

-Ray Sikora

In the second game, Joe and Ray (1969 Cubs) defeated Stan and Larry (1969 Mets) at Wrigley Field by a score of 5-3. The Mets scored first in the top of the 3rd inning on a HR by Ken Boswell off of Ferguson Jenkins. The Cubs finally got on the board vs. Tom Seaver in the bottom of the 4th to take a 2-1 lead. The Cubs’ first run scored on an error by Boswell, and Jim Qualls later added an RBI single. The Mets tied the game 2-2 in the top of the 5th; Boswell atoned for his earlier error by getting his 2nd RBI of the game. Though the Mets regained the lead in the 7th on a HR by Art Shamsky, the Cubs went ahead for good in the bottom of the 8th on Ron Santo’s three-run homer. Santo drove in Glenn Beckert and Billy Williams, who reached base on an error and a single, respectively. Despite getting a hit in the top of the ninth, the Mets could not score and were defeated by a final score of 5-3.

-Ray Sikora

Game 3:  Meusel Trip(le)s Up Bucs, 1927 Yanks  6, Pirates 5.

Brian Sovinsky managed the 1927 Pirates against the Yankees & Karl Cicitto, a rematch of that year’s WS.  Played at Forbes Field, the Yankees line up 1-to-9 was Coombs, Koenig, Ruth, Gehrig, Meusel, Lazzeri, Dugan, Collins and Hoyt.  The Bucs countered with Lloyd Waner, Traynor, Paul Waner, Harris, Grantham, Wright, Gooch, Barnhart and Meadows.  A quick scan of both line-ups showed this was one team of very good hitters against nine exceptional stickmen with other-worldly power.  The scoring came quickly.  Ruth and Gehrig doubled for a run but Paul Waner stroked a HR with his brother on board & made it 2-1 at end of the 1st.  The Bombers proceeded to plate 5 runners in the next 4 innings on dingers by Coombs & Lazzeri and a pair of triples by Meusel .  That was all the scoring Mr. Hoyt would need for a CG 6-5 victory.  Buc second bagger George Grantham had made it a tight game with a 3 run blast in the 6th, but Hoyt silenced the Corsairs in the final 3 innings, stranding 2 runners in the 8th and  retiring Barnhart, Kremer and Cuyler in a quiet bottom of the 9th.  The Yanks whacked the egg around Forbes mercilessly, recording seven extra base hits to just three for the Bucs.

NY          6   10   2

PITT       5    8    0

-Karl Cicitto


Game 4:  Dom & Joe have nice day, 1941 Yanks over Sox 7-5 in 12


Jon Daily and John Garcia faced off in a thriller between the 1941 Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway, the Bombers scoring 2 in the twelfth to register a 7-5 win.  The NY nine line-up was Rizzuto, Gordon, Joe DiMaggio, Keller, Henrich, Dickey, Rolfe, Sturnweiss and Russo on the mound. The BoSox batting order was D. DiMaggio, Doerr, Williams, Foxx, Cronin, Tabor, Finey, Pytlak with Harris hurling.   All 5 of the Red Sox runs came in just 2 innings.  Two runs came on back-to-back solo home runs by DiMaggio and Doerr in the 6th.  The other 3 Boston runs were scored in the 7th as Russo yielded 4 hits and 2 walks and was hurt by a Rizzuto error.   Joe DiMaggio started all the day’s scoring with a 3rd inning homer with Gordon aboard.  Sturnweiss singled in Henrich in the 4th.  Joe D. plated Russo with a double in the 7th.  Scooter drove in Snuffy in the top of the 9th, tying the game at 5-5, and the Bombers left the winning run on 3rd  base as Gordon, DiMaggio and Keller were foiled by the Sox bullpen.  The Yanks broke the tie in the 12th when Henrich drove in Joe D., who had reached on a Cronin error.  Dickey then singled in Henrich for an insurance run that would not be needed as the Sox could do nothing with the Yankee relievers in their half of the 12th inning.  The final was Yankees 7, Red Sox 5.      Mrs. DiMaggio could be proud of both of her boys in this one.  Joe D. came up with a double and home run in 6 AB’s.  Dominick had a fine day, too, with three hits in six AB’s including his home run.




-Karl Cicitto


Looking Back at Litwhiler


In a recent article, CT SABR Member George Pawlush looks back at Danny Litwhiler, whose centennial occurred in Summer 2016.  Dubbed the Edison of Baseball by author Dan Gutman, Danny’s inventions led to 100 innovations.   He also played for 11 MLB seasons while hitting .282 with 107 HR, making one AS team and earning a World Series ring.  A longtime collegiate coach in his post-player years, Litwhiler coached Kirk Gibson and Steve Garvey at Michigan State.

George’s article on the amazing Litwhiler appears in SABR Collegiate Research Committee Newsletter, which you can open and read at the below link:


Bagwell Panel at Q.U. on March 25

Bagwell Hartford

On Sat., March 25, CT SABR will hold its Spring Training Meeting at Quinnipiac University.  The gathering will celebrate the local roots of 2017 Hall Of Fame Inductee Jeff Bagwell with a panel discussion featuring people who played important roles on Jeff’s journey to the majors.

Panelists will include Jeff’s University of Hartford Coach Dan Gooley,  U of H team mate Brian Crowley, Broadcaster & iconic HOF host George Grande,  Xavier High School soccer team mate David Sizemore and the 1990 New Britain Red Sox G.M. Gerry Berthiaume.  Other panelists or special guests may be added.

Also on the agenda are Mark Kanter, who who will speak on his BB trip to Cuba; Joe Runde who will review his All Time Great Cubs Team; and Mark Stoler who will talk about the SABR Analytics Conference.

The event is free and open to the public.  A donation of $5 per person to offset expenses is suggested.

Date:  Sat., March 25, 2017

Time:  12:30 PM

Place:  Quinnipiac University, College of Liberal Arts, building #1, Hamden, CT.

Some Notes on our Panelists:

Dan Gooley coached Jeff Bagwell when he was at the University of Hartford.  Dan coached the Hawks from 1988 to 1992.   He coached 28 years at Quinnipiac and sent twirler Turk Wendell to the MLB, too.

George Grande is a New Haven native.  He has covered BB for 47 years on-air.  He anchored the first broadcast of ESPN’s Sport Center in 1979.  George followed Bagwell’s career closely.  He is well known to attendees of past HOF Inductions, having hosted the ceremonies from 1980 to 2010.

Brian Crowley was Jeff Bagwell’s team mate at the University of Hartford.  Crowley and Bagwell, along with Hawk team mates Chris Peterson and Pat Hedge, were known as The Crunch Bunch.  The foursome combined in 1988 for 188 runs, 245 hits, 44 doubles, 40 homers and 184 RBI in just 41 games.  Brian is an educator and has coached high school teams in New Britain and Southington.

David Sizemore was the goalkeeper on the Xavier H.S. soccer team, a team for which center-forward Jeff Bagwell scored 32 goals in his senior year.  Jeff was an All State and All New England selection that year.  David is a career educator.  He and his wife are devoted fans of the Chicago Cubs.

Gerry Berthiaume was the GM of the New Britain Red Sox from 1983 to 1994, including Jeff’s 1990 Eastern League MVP season.  Gerry was actively involved in the scrum that followed the trade of Jeff from the Red Sox to the Astros on August 30, 1990.

For more information contact Karl Cicitto at

MLB to push forward with process for rule changes

The AP Story…….

MLB to push forward with process for rule changes

By JANIE MCCAULEY | The Associated Press

February 21, 2017 at 11:31 pm



PHOENIX — Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher’s mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport’s labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union — unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

“Unfortunately it now appears that there really won’t be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA,” Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. “I’ve tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game’s unique place in American culture.”

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level — at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play — they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union’s agreement— such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

“Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don’t think it would have been a major adjustment for us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule “beneficial in developmental leagues.”

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a “viable market for us.”

“I don’t think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city,” Manfred said.

Courant’s George Smith on young Jeff Bagwell

bagwell(Courant photo, Cloe Poisson)

George W. Smith, former Courant Sportswriter, passed on Feb. 9 at age 76.  He covered many subjects in the CT sporting world over 25 years including a Xavier H.S. kid who has a date in Cooperstown this summer.


By George Smith; Courant Staff Writer

When the baseball scouts would come around to watch Jeff Bagwell at Xavier-Middletown High School, they weren’t impressed.Too short, they said of the 6-foot shortstop.

“Mickey Mantle was only 5-11,” retired Xavier coach Terry Gartska said. “Stupid them.”

Gartska, who coached 26 years before retiring last year, knew they were missing a good one. Gartska was right. Thursday the Astros first baseman was named National League Most Valuable Player.

“From day one I knew he had something special,” Gartska said. “He played every position except catcher for me, and the only reason he didn’t catch was because I had a very good catcher. He was also my best pitcher.”

Bagwell batted .403 as a junior and .396 as a senior. He also went 6- 4 as a pitcher his senior year and was named All-State. He also was All-New England and All-State in soccer, scoring 56 goals in his career, a Xavier record.

The scouts may have left, but Middletown native Bill Denehy kept coming back. Denehy, who had pitched for the Mets, Senators and Tigers, was the new baseball coach at the University of Hartford.

“I saw him as a junior for the first time and the thing that impressed me the most was that he had an awful lot of power to the opposite field,” said Denehy, who lives in Florida.

Denehy wanted Bagwell badly. So did Hartford’s soccer coach, Allan Wilson.

“Wilson came to me and asked if I’d like to share a scholarship on him,” Denehy said. “I told him no way. I wanted Bagwell full time.”

Denehy had Bagwell almost a year before the coach was fired after an ugly brawl in a game against UConn.

“A lot of coaches like to take credit for developing a player,” Denehy said. “I feel very fortunate that I didn’t screw him up. Jeff always had a tremendous work ethic. You never had to get on his case. I never had to tell him twice. When other kids might have doubted your methods, he never did. He was very structured as a young person.”

Still, Denehy and Bagwell had their moments. Bagwell’s boyhood ambition growing up in Killingworth was to play shortstop for the Red Sox. He was Hartford’s starting shortstop when the Hawks opened his freshman season in 1987 in Florida. He hit for the cycle his first game and had four hits in the second. He played one more game at short before Denehy, seeing his power, decided he belonged at third.

“If you think I’m too slow to play short, why don’t you tell me to my face?” Bagwell asked Denehy.

Denehy looked Bagwell straight in the eye and slowly said: “You are too [expletive] slow.”

The dirt on the MVP

At Hartford, Bagwell was the leader of the Crunch Bunch, the Hawks’3, 4, 5 and 6 hitters in the late 1980s. He also was a charter member of the Hogs, a number of teammates known for their rugged style.

“Jeff was a no-nonsense, hard- working, let-it-hit-you-in-the-teeth ballplayer,”former teammate Brian Crowley said. “He wasn’t flamboyant, but he always shined.”

Crowley was a member of the Crunch Bunch along with Bagwell, Chris Petersen and Pat Hedge. Crowley batted third, followed by Bagwell, Petersen and Hedge. The career statistics of the four: Crowley, 115 RBI, 29 home runs; Petersen, 79 RBI, 10 home runs; Hedge, 107 RBI, 26 home runs; and Bagwell, 126 RBI, 29 home runs, in three seasons.

Still, his teammates couldn’t have imagined Bagwell would someday become one of the best players in the major leagues.

“No way,” Crowley said, “but I couldn’t be happier for him. It’s good to see someone from the Northeast win the award. It’s good for the University of Hartford and our region to let people know we play good baseball here, too.”

Petersen said consistency is a Bagwell trait.

“He always seemed to hit, no matter who was pitching,” said Petersen, a manager for Enterprise Rent- A-Car in Elizabeth, N.J.

Hedge, who, like Crowley, played a couple years in the minors, knew Bagwell was special.

“Anyone that really knew him shouldn’t be surprised,” said Hedge, who works as a strength and conditioning coach for the Orioles. “He always had that drive. He always loved to play and practice the game. There was no stopping him once he put his mind to something.”

Appetite for the game

The thing that separated Bagwell from other hitters was his concentration.

“I think Jeff could hit .300 in a hurricane,” Denehy said.

“He could wait longer on a breaking ball that is going out of the strike zone and then take the pitch,” Petersen said.

“He had that [fraction] of a second better read on a pitch. That’s why he could hit a pitcher who threw slow or fast,” said Crowley, a special education teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in New Britain.

Petersen, a fellow Hogger, was Bagwell’s soulmate on the team. Crowley and Hedge were part of a group called the “F Troop,” players who didn’t get their uniforms dirty. Hedge was Bagwell’s weightlifting partner.

“Jeff was a true Hogger, you know, the kind of player who would spit, swear and chew,” Hedge said. “Crowley and me stayed pretty clean.”

Bagwell’s love for the game was hard to miss.

“He always had a strong resolve. He wasn’t afraid of anything,” Crowley said. “He would stand in there against anybody and he always had that look in his eye that said, `Sooner or later I’m going to get you.’ ”

Petersen roomed with Bagwell when Jeff played for the New Britain Red Sox in 1990. He and Crowley remember how Bagwell took the news he had been traded to Houston just before the Eastern League playoffs.

“He came over to my house a couple of days later and was still down over the trade,” Crowley said. “I told him it would probably work out for the best. It certainly has.”

“There are two things that haven’t changed about Jeff,” Petersen said. “He still hits the [heck] out of the ball and he still thinks about other people before himself.”

Bagwell invited Petersen to be a member of his wedding party in Houstonand also arranged a couple of golf dates. Petersen said he didn’t have any golf clubs so Bagwell bought him a set and sent them to his home.

“On the day of his wedding, we got up early and he decided to go out for breakfast,” said Petersen of the wedding two years ago. “Being the Hogger he is, we went to McDonald’s.

“There we are at 8 o’clock in the morning, in our tuxedos at a McDonald’s and little kids are running up to him for autographs. It’s his wedding day and there he is in his tux, signing autographs on Big Mac wrappers.’

Game Day Winners: ’61 Yanks, ’05 Giants, ’69 Padres, HOF Pilots, ’16 Cubs


A great time was had this past Saturday as eleven CT SABR members played vintage teams in the timeless BB sim game, Strat-O-Matic.


In attendance were Larry Howard, Joe Runde, Alan Cohen, Tom and Matt Monitto, David Wilk, Gary Gold, Stan Dziurgot, Steve Krevisky, Jon Daly and Karl Cicitto.


Here are the game summaries….


The seventh game of the 2016 WS was replayed — without the late season acquisitions Chapman and Crisp – and the simulation conjured thrills. Indians starter Corey Kluber went eight innings and give up two runs.  The Cubs started Kyle Kendrick. The Tribe took a 4-2 lead into the ninth whereupon Cody Allen came in to close the game out and promptly gave up a two run home run to tie the game.  The managers agreed that the ninth would be the last inning no matter the score. The Indians came up to bat hoping to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. With two runners on base and two outs, rookie Tyler Naquin blasted a three run homer to win the game and send the crowd home (mostly) happy.

-David Wilk


The ‘61 Yanks out-slugged the ‘38 Yanks 7-4 as Ford kept some of the 1938 mainstays off balance. He fanned Bill Dickey twice. Homering for the 1961 squad were John Blanchard, Mickey Mantle, and Bobby Richardson. Joe DiMaggio took Ford downtown with Henrich on base to tie the game at 3-3. Otherwise, the ‘38 team found runs hard to produce. They scored their first when Gehrig grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and none out. For the ‘61 squad, Kubek was injured in the fourth, and while the Yankee infield was compromised as Boyer moved to short and Gardner came in to play third, neither missed a play. Richardson at second proved a virtuoso, turning three tough plays into outs, including the pivotal Gehrig double play. Arroyo pitched the seventh and eighth in relief of Ford, fanning three to record the six-out save. WP: Ford; LP: Ruffing

–Joe Runde



Padre hurler Clay Kirby had a red letter day on the mound and at the plate as the Friars thrashed the Expos at Jarry Park, 10 – 1.  Kirby registered a complete game, allowing 4 hits.  Aided by two double plays and a strong armed backstop, Kirby faced just 30 batters, retiring 11 in a row at one point.  Kirby singled in the second and ninth and homered in the eighth, notching a 3-for-5 day with the war club.

The Padres drove Montreal’s  Jerry Robertson to the showers in the second inning with 4 runs on 6 hits, capped by Chris Cannizzaro’s 3-run homer.  CC also helped by snuffing an attempted Expo rally in the first, nailing leadoff man Ty Cline on a steal attempt.

The Gomez men drubbed relievers McGinn, Reed and Jaster.  17 Padre hits included homers by Kirby, Cannizzaro and Ollie Brown.  Kirby scattered 4 singles and 3 walks.  The Expo batters would have been shut out if not for Ron Fairly’s solo blast in the 6th.

–Karl Cicitto



In a match between two of the earliest World Series contenders, right fielder George Browne proved an unlikely hero, hitting a home run and driving in all three New York runs as the 1905 Giants defeated the 1906 Cubs 3-2.
Christy Mathewson out dueled Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown on his home diamond, as the Polo Grounds crowd saw both starting pitchers go the distance. Brown gave up five hits to Mathewson’s seven, but Browne’s two hits proved decisive.
Browne’s two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the second opened the scoring. The Cubs got a run back in the next half-inning when Harry Steinfeldt singled, stole second and scored on Frank Schulte’s single, then tied the game in the sixth when Jimmy Slagle drove in Johnny Kling. But Browne’s single to score Bill Dahlen in the bottom of the seventh supplied the deciding run.

–Matt Monitto



Before this Hall of Fame All-Stars matchup, the question was if the pitching battle between Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax or the power-loaded lineups would prove decisive. While Koufax took an early edge, the opposing batters claimed victory in the end, as Koufax’s HOF-Pilots lost to the HOF-Browns 7-5.
The Pilots knocked Gibson out of the game after three innings, scoring five runs over the first third of the game to take a 5-2 lead. Stan Musial drove in three of those runs on a triple and double, and ended the game a home run short of the cycle.

However, the Browns fought back, scoring a run in the fourth on a Cool Papa Bell single, then knotting the score in the seventh. After Juan Marichal relieved Koufax with two on, Roberto Clemente hit a fly ball just out of reach of Reggie Jackson for a game-tying double. The Browns would score two more runs on a Bell sacrifice fly and an Orlando Cepeda single before Old Hoss Radbourn closed the game. Rollie Fingers was credited with the win, throwing two innings of relief, while Marichal took the loss.

Despite the star-filled lineups, a two-run Josh Gibson home run to open the scoring for the Browns was the only four-bagger of the game.

–Matt Monitto




Next Game Day Slated For Jan. 21


The next Game Day gathering is coming up fast!

Attendees will “manage” baseball teams of the past against other long-gone teams in a well known board game named Strat-O-Matic. ‘Managers’ have the opportunity to lead, for example, the 1927 Yankees versus the 1967 Red Sox, or the 1948 Braves versus the 1955 Dodgers.

No experience required.  Newbies welcome.  Public welcome.  Anyone interested in participating need not own Strat-O-Matic and should contact Karl at

When:  10 am, Sat. Jan. 21

Where: Hubbard Room, Russell Library, 123 Broad St., Middletown, CT 06457

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.