Wisconsin State League Adds Five to Hall of Fame

November 24, 2010

The Wisconsin State Baseball League will add five players to its Hall of Fame on Saturday January 29, 2011 at the league's Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner.

Wisconsin State League

The Wisconsin State Baseball League will add five players to its Hall of Fame on Saturday January 29, 2011 at the league’s Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner.

Joining the hall of the state’s prestigious semi-pro league are Pat Campbell, Janesville Aces; Dave Gehr, Sheboygan A’s; Mark Hinske, Menasha Macs and Green Bay Blue Ribbons; Mark Rohde, Horicon Hurricanes, and Dick Zeratsky, Green Bay Blue Ribbons.

Campbell enjoyed a 15-year career with the Janesville Aces. He hit .320 in 380 games over those 15 seasons and ranks in the career top 10 in 13 categories including hits and doubles (sixth) and runs scored and runs batted in (seventh). He had a number of great years, but his best was 1997 when he hit .438 with 39 runs batted in, 14 doubles and five home runs in 35 games. He made the all league team seven times and led the league in fielding twice, including 1996 when he handled 1,270 chances without an error. In addition to all his individual achievements, he was the field general for the Aces. With Campbell behind the plate, the Aces posted a .632 winning percentage over 15 years with two championships, 10 finishes in the top three and only one sub .500 season. Always contributing to a win, Campbell ranks high on both the career sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly lists. Campbell resides in Janesville and is employed by Bliss Communications – WCLO radio.

Gehr played 16 seasons with Sheboygan and was rightfully known as Mr. Second Base and Mr. Second Hitter. A competitor more interested in winning than in numbers, Gehr was a magician with the bat, moving runners with bunts and ground balls behind them, enabling them to steal by taking pitches and scoring them with fly balls and infield outs. His 31 sacrifice bunts rank second all time and his incredible ability to foul off pitches helped him to 228 walks in his career, third on the career list. His best year was in 1984 when he hit .413 in 25 games. He led the league in assists four times and turned 141 double plays, the most for a middle infielder. Despite the pitch-taking and runner-moving, Gehr hit .278 in his career. Gehr resides in Sheboygan and is a retired teacher.

Hinske was one of the league’s charter players as a center-fielder with the Menasha MACs in 1970, the first year of the league. The league’s Most Valuable Player in 1977, Hinske played 11 seasons with Menasha and Green Bay. He hit .416 in that MVP season with 32 hits in 22 games and a league high 17 stolen bases. He rapped nine doubles, a triple and four home runs that year. Teams that score the most runs win, and scoring runs was Hinske’s strong suit. He led the league four times and his 207 career runs scored still rank 11th all-time even though his career ended nearly 30 years ago and fewer games were played when he was active. As his runs scored total reflects, he was an outstanding base-runner and led the league in stolen bases twice. He played on championship Green Bay teams in 1980 and 1981. Hinske resides in Menasha and is retired from his teaching position at Neenah High School.

An outstanding hitter for both average and power, Mark Rohde was the pillar of the 10-year run for Horicon in the State League. Despite other teams’ efforts to pitch around him, he hit over .400 four times, never hit under .359, and finished with a .398 career batting average and a .603 slugging percentage. His .398 average ranks 3rd all time for players with more than 700 plate appearances. He was the league MVP in 1976, a year that saw him hit a league high .471. He had a double and five home runs that year despite being walked 25 times in 21 games. His 28 career home runs still rank him 13th on the all-time list. A catcher, Rohde still ranks seventh in all-time career putouts and 12th in total chances. Rohde, who resides in Brookfield, is a retired teacher and coach at Milwaukee Lutheran High School.

Dick Zeratsky joins Gehr, Hinske and Rohde as another charter player in the league to enter the Hall of Fame this year. That 1970 season marked the first of 23 that would see Zeratsky on the field for Green Bay. His experience, consistency and demeanor contributed to 11 championships during his tenure as player and coach. He hit over .300 12 times and finished with a .286 career average. His 23 active years rank him third behind only Tom Klawitter and Gene Mand. His best season was in 1972 when he hit .403. Zeratsky, who played for the Wausau Lumberjacks in the old Northern League before joining the Ribbons, resides in Ashwaubenon. He is retired from Northwest Airlines.

This year’s five inductees bring to 25 the number enshrined by the League. Previously enshrined were charter members Jim Coulter, Dan Davis and Tom Klawitter of the Janesville; Greg Howell and Dennis Ruh of Green Bay; Greg Iavarone of Lombard; and Gene Mand, Denny Moyer, Lee Wetenkamp and Randy Wilke of Sheboygan.

They have been joined by Mark Miller, Terry Young, Dan Miller and Troy Cota of Green Bay; Rich Capparelli, Jeff Vukovich and Tim Richardson of Lombard; Steve Rothenbach of Oshkosh, Phil Plamann of Appleton and Green Bay, and Chuck Zeichert of Sheboygan.

The Wisconsin State League’s Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner will be held at City Streets Riverside Restaurant in Sheboygan, WI. It is open to the public. Cost is $25. Persons wishing to attend can make reservations by sending their check payable to Wisconsin State League and sending it to the league at P.O. Box 32, Sheboygan, WI 53082-0032 so that it is received no later than January 21, 2011.

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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