Five Selected to WSL Hall of Fame
December 1, 2020
Ricky Angell, Steve Kostichka, Jared Koutnik, Jon Olson and Jeff Schmitz will join the Wisconsin State League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2020.
Five more outstanding players were selected for the Wisconsin State Baseball League Hall of Fame, and barring complications from the pandemic, will be inducted at the League’s Annual Awards Dinner in Sheboygan on January 29, 2020.
Selected were: Ricky Angell (INF/OF – Lombard Orioles), Steve Kostichka (P – Green Bay Blue Ribbons), Jared Koutnik (INF – Lombard Orioles), Jon Olson (P – Kenosha Kings), and Jeff Schmitz (OF – Janesville Aces).
Angell is one of the reasons the Lombard Orioles have been the dominant force in the Wisconsin State League. He began with Chicago Prairie Gravel in 1999, but then a 4-year stint with the Texas Rangers interrupted his WSL career.
He joined the Orioles in 2008 and played 12 seasons with them on a full-time or part-time basis. The Orioles won the championship in every one of his seasons. His best year was 2012 when he hit .512 in 14 games.
He led the league in stolen bases in 2003 and again in 2009. For his career, Angell stole 67 bases to rank 6th on the all- time list. He finished with a .301 career average in 174 games.
Kostichka joined the Blue Ribbons in 1985, spent 1987 and 1988 in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system, returned in 1989, and in the next six years ran up a 33-3 record. He led the league in strikeouts 1992 with 79, and ran up a 9-1 record in leading the Ribbons to a championship.
In all, he helped the Ribbons to three championships and was twice named to the all-league team. He finished his 8-year career with a 37-7 record, 31 complete games in 51 starts, 299 strikeouts in 348 innings, and a 3.05 earned run average.
He was dominant in his last four years. From 1991-94 he was 28-2 with a 1.55 earned run average.
Koutnik was picked off the Lombard Orioles roster by the New York Yankees. After spending three years in their organization and getting as high as AA, he returned to the Orioles in 2005 and hit .441 that season. His career average is .329, ranking him 25th among players with 500 or more appearances.
He helped Lombard to four championships, hit over .400 three times, and was named to the all-league team twice.
Olson ranks as one of the league’s most dominating pitchers, posting a 37-10 record with 15 shutouts and a 1.64 earned run average in his 11-year career. He enjoyed two 6-0 seasons – in 2006 when he had four shutouts and a 1.21 earned run average, and 2009 when he had three shutouts and a 0.66 earned run average.
Twice named the league’s Most Valuable Pitcher and three times to the all-league team, his career 1.64 earned run average is the best compiled by a pitcher with 300 or more innings pitched and his 15 career shutouts rank second only to the 21 recorded by Janesville’s’ Tom Klawitter.
A consistent force for the Aces in Janesville’s heyday, Schmitz finished a 10-year career with an even .300 average that ranks him 12th among all players with 900 or more appearances. He is ranked in home runs (11th with 31) and runs batted in (15th with 171).
The 3-time all-league pick enjoyed his best seasons in 1997, .357 (10 doubles, 5 home runs, 32 RBI), 2003, .354; and 1998, .351.
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 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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