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Official website of the Wisconsin State League

Five Selected to WSL Hall of Fame

January 5, 2020

Five more players were added to the Wisconsin State Baseball League Hall of Fame and will formally be inducted at the league’s annual Awards Dinner on Saturday night, Jan. 25, in Sheboygan.

2019-wsl-hof-class

Five more players were added to the Wisconsin State Baseball League Hall of Fame and will formally be inducted at the league’s annual Awards Dinner on Saturday night, Jan. 25, in Sheboygan.

Elected by the League’s Hall of Fame committee were Al Albert, Sheboygan, 1985-1991; Tom Bennett, Madison 1973-1979; Mike Brooks, Janesville, 1987-1992; Mike Ruechel, Green Bay 1983, 1988-1992; Marshfield, 1987; and Steve Ryder, Addison, 1995, 1998, 2000-2005.

Albert joined the A’s in 1985 and made an immediate impact.  He hit .338 that year, followed it with an even .300 the next year and then tore up the league in 1987 with his .470 league-leading average in 1987. He finished with a .312 career average which ranks 22nd all-time among State League players with .700 or more plate appearances. He was an impact player on Sheboygan’s 1991 championship team.

Bennett was a player and manager for the Madison Leske Supper Club and Howard Johnson franchises from 1973 through 1978. Named Manager of the Year in 1974 and 1978, he piloted Madison to divisional titles in 1973, 1974 and a league title in 1978. An accomplished infielder, Bennett finished his 7-year playing career with a .296 batting average, .952 fielding percentage and as a “help-out” pitcher, he was 4-0 with a 0.84 earned run average.  

An infielder for the Janesville Aces, Brooks finished his 6-season career with a .315 batting average and .946 fielding percentage. He was a key player in Janesville’s championship teams of 1989 and 1990 and was the league’s co-MVP (along with teammate Tom Imhoff) in 1990. His best years were his .379 season in 1988 and his .373 year in 1990.

Always a long-ball threat, Ruechel hit .348 with a .702 slugging percentage and a rousing 1.124 career OPS, helping Green Bay to championships in 1985, 1989 and 1992. He was named to the league’s initial all-league team in 1989 when he had his best year for average, .393. His career .348 average ranks him 24th all-time among players with 400 or more plate appearance and his 32 career home runs rank him 10th overall.

The fleet Ryder was a mainstay at the top of the Addison Braves’ line-up for eight seasons and finished with a career .420 on-base percentage and 78 stolen bases, third on the all-time list. He won the league batting title with a .419 average in 2002 and stole 21 bases that year. He finished his career with a .312 average. He was an all-league selection in 2002 and again in 2003.

The five new Hall of Famers will be inducted at the league’s annual awards dinner on Saturday, Jan. 25 (reception 4:30 p.m., dinner 6 p.m.), at Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sheboygan. It is open to public; cost is $30.  Reservations should be sent to Wisconsin State Baseball League, P. O. Box 32, Sheboygan, WI  53082-0032 and must include check and names of all attendees. Deadline is January 18.

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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