Tom Zoch of the Oshkosh Giants going into WSL Hall

January 22, 2012

Now known as Dr. Tom Zoch as the Associate Medical Director of Network Health Plan, Zoch will earn another baseball honor years after he traded in his spikes for a stethoscope for good.

Wisconsin State League

As a high school athlete in North Fond du Lac, Tom Zoch excelled in football, basketball, track and baseball.

The Orioles won the 1972 and ’73 Flyway football championship with Zoch at quarterback, won the basketball league title and went to state in summer baseball after he earned all-conference honors for the second consecutive season.

Now known as Dr. Tom Zoch as the Associate Medical Director of Network Health Plan, Zoch will earn another baseball honor years after he traded in his spikes for a stethoscope for good.

Zoch will be inducted into the Wisconsin State League Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“I have to call this a tremendous honor,” Zoch said. “And I have to say I’m very humbled. I’ve looked at the list of individuals who have been inducted and I consider many of them as cherished teammates and opponents.”

After graduating from Horace Mann in ’74, Zoch completed his undergraduate studies at UW-Oshkosh at which he played baseball and earned a bachelor of science in biology, graduating in ’79.

He played for the Oshkosh Giants in the State League (WSL), earning rookie of the year honors after hitting .436 for the Giants.

Zoch batted over .400 five times in his WSL career, including a .500 season in 1986 while playing for the Marshfield Chaparrals. After a couple of seasons with the Giants, Zoch played for the Green Bay Blue Ribbons before he moved to Marshfield for his residency at the Marshfield Clinic. He played first base and then designated hitter later in his career. He also helped coach in Marshfield until his final season in 1993.

“In my years in baseball, I’ve never played with or against anybody who hit the ball with such power and consistency,” said former Marshfield manager Tom Kraus in a WSL release announcing this year’s Hall inductees. “I feel that if he hadn’t gone to medical school he would have been knocking on big league doors.”

He certainly had power, cracking 54 home runs in his career, which is fourth on the WSL’s all-time list. He also set a single-season record for slugging percentage. He never hit less than .300 and ended with a career .401 average.

With all the homers, hits and games, what Zoch remembers most are the relationships he forged.

“Looking back, it’s certainly my teammates,” he said. “Also, the relationship with our fans; not only in Marshfield where I developed lifelong friends that I cherish, but in Green Bay and Oshkosh as well. It’s

those relationships and camaraderie that you really remember.”

Zoch credited his teammates who surrounded him in the batting order for helping him to be a good hitter. When asked to break it down further as to why he was able to hit so well, Zoch said good eyesight helped, along with trying to stay in top shape.

“And I think I had a passion for the game,” he said. “Of all the sports I was involved in, baseball was the most challenging and the most enjoyable. So I think it takes some passion.”

Zoch, his wife Suzanne and their three children were involved in Little Legaue baseball and softball as the kids grew up. Zoch was even an assistant softball coach at St. Mary Central while his daughter played.

He also stayed involved in the game while he was the team physician for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in Appleton. Currently, he is an associate director on the Rattlers’ board.

Although his career path was into the field of medicine, Zoch’s heart remains on the baseball field, and his career in the State League will be immortalized as he will forever be remembered as a WSL Hall of Famer.

Story by The Fond du Lac Reporter

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. | #WSL