Schwartz inducted into A’s Hall of Fame today

July 21, 2012

Clay Schwartz, the Sheboygan A's iron-man, rifle-armed catcher for 11 seasons and two championships, will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame today between games of the A's-Lombard Orioles DH.

Wisconsin State League

Clay Schwartz, the Sheboygan A’s iron-man, rifle-armed catcher for 11 seasons and two championships, will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame today between games of the A’s-Lombard Orioles doubleheader.

The induction will highlight tonight’s activities in the A’s 50th anniversary celebration weekend. Saturday’s festivities begin at noon with an afternoon-long tailgate party. The Little Blues Machine will provide entertainment. Food and beverages will be available beginning at noon.

The doubleheader begins at 5 p.m.

All former A’s players are asked to attend Sunday when the A’s play the Genoa City Red Dogs. Players will be introduced on the field between games. Action starts Sunday at 1 p.m.

Schwartz, who played in 509 games, hit .288 with 99 doubles, 64 home runs and 289 runs batted in, and played critical roles in the 1997 and 2000 championship seasons.

He had pop in his bat, but also in his arm. Before hurting his arm in 2003, Schwartz recorded eight straight seasons of 20 or more assists from behind the plate.

Despite all his attributes, what he is most remembered for is getting hit by pitches. After holding the NCAA record while at UW-Milwaukee, Schwartz was drilled 154 times, or nearly once every three games with the A’s.

His license plate reads HBP and the beanballs helped him to a .418 career on-base percentage.

Schwartz had many good years, but he enjoyed three particularly outstanding seasons. In 1996 he hit .355 with 16 extra base hits and 39 RBI; in 1999 he hit .344 with 22 extra base hits and 38 RBI, and in 1997 he hit .326 with 27 extra base hits and 41 RBI.

He was the A’s Most Valuable Player in 1999 and the club’s Most Valuable Defensive player six times. At one time or another he led the team in games played, plate appearances, home runs, slugging percentage, put outs, total chances, fielding percentage, and was the perennial leader in hit by pitch.

Schwartz came to the A’s from Fond du Lac, via UW-Milwaukee. At Fond du Lac St. Mary Springs, he was all-conference in baseball, basketball and football; quarterbacked two state championship football teams, and was an all-state quarterback.

But it was his baseball ability that earned him his scholarship at UW-Milwaukee. Schwartz finished his UW-M career with a .251 average with 17 home runs and 97 RBI in 487 at-bats. His 68 career hit-by-pitches were an NCAA Division I record when he graduated and is still a UW-M record.

Schwartz now lives in Oshkosh with his wife Andrea, children Logan, Tahlia and Cooper, and operates a floor-covering business.

Story by: The Sheboygan Press

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