Wisconsin State League Adds Five to Hall of Fame

The father-son team of Boyd and Matt Rohde head the list of five new inductees into the Wisconsin State Baseball League Hall of Fame. The Horicon duo will be joined by Matt Fredricks of Janesville, Steve Ploetz Madison and Bob Sauger of Sheboygan.

The father-son team of Boyd and Matt Rohde head the list of five new inductees into the Wisconsin State Baseball League Hall of Fame. The Horicon duo will be joined by Matt Fredricks of Janesville, Steve Ploetz Madison and Bob Sauger of Sheboygan.

The five will be inducted at the League’s Annual Awards and Hall Fame Dinner at Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sheboygan on Saturday night Jan. 27. The dinner is open to the public.

Boyd Rohde managed the Horicon Hurricanes, one of the league’s charter members, during Horicon’s 10year stay in the league, and served as the league’s commissioner from 1971 to 1979. Horicon’s best year in the league was 1979 when Rohde’s club shared the league championship with Green Bay.

Matt Rohde, who started in the league as a teenager, was Horicon’s ace pitcher in those years. Running up 553 innings and maintaining a career 3.68 earned run average, he had a 32-41 record for a Horicon team that was 74127 in those 10 years.

His best years were 1975, 1978 and 1979. He won five games in each year and posted earned run averages of 2.13, 1.78, and 1.30.

One of the top pitchers in the league’s history, Rohde left the league nearly 40 years ago and still ranks among the league’s leaders in nearly every career pitching category. He is listed in the top 10 in starts with 70, 8th all time; complete games, 77 (4th); innings pitched, 553 (7th), and strikeouts 503. He joins Tom Klawitter and Bill McQueen (both Janesville) and Rich Capparelli (Lombard) as the only pitchers in league history with more than 500 strikeouts.

Mark Rohde, Matt’s older brother, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. It makes the Rohdes the second entry of a father and two sons into the Hall of Fame. Father Dick and sons Mark and Dan Zeratsky who played for the Green Bay Blue Ribbons are already in the Hall of Fame.

Tom Fredericks, the most versatile player in Janesville’s heyday years of the late 1980s through the ‘90s, hit .277 in an even 1,000 plate appearances. He is the only player to rank the career top 10 in put outs, assists, errors, total chances, and double plays converted. He finished with a career .960 fielding percentage despite playing virtually every position on the field.

Janesville was the league’s small ball champion in those years and Fredericks contributed mightily with 30 sacrifice bunts to rank behind only teammate Jim Coulter and Dave Gehr of Sheboygan. Despite the dominance of Green Bay, Madison and Lombard in those years, Fredricks helped Janesville to three championships.

No stranger to championships, Steve Ploetz, who had an eight year career, helped Madison to three divisional championships and a league championship. He finished with a .318 career average including big years of .457 in 1975 and .387 in 1978. He was the league’s MVP 1975 and his .457 average and 42 hits led the league.

Bob Sauger’s left arm held the Sheboygan A’s together in his 11-year career. He appeared in 100 games, starting 64 of them and completing 32. It was not unusual for him to pitch in both games of doubleheaders. He led the league in innings pitched, 113.2, and in wins, seven, in 1974 and still ranks among the all-time leaders in most pitching categories. He finished with a 29-40 record. Sauger managed the A’s from 1985 to 1990 and led the team to 83 State League wins in that time.

Persons interested in attending the dinner can make reservations by sending $35 per person to the Wisconsin State Baseball League PO Box 32, Sheboygan, WI 53082-0032. Reservations must be postmarked by Jan. 15.

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 which features many of the mid-west'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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