Tilden withdrew from tournament and forfeited
Class of 2020
Lafayette 1946; Lafayette Badgers 1948; Lafayette Giants 1949-50; Hamilton Chevrolets 1955-56; Lake Hallie Lakers 1957; Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1958; Seymour 1959; Cadott Red Sox 1961
During a league career that spanned nearly forty years and touched five different decades, Ray McIlquham carved out his place in CRBL lore, first as a solid catcher for 10 seasons and then during a commendable 23 season run as a league umpire.
Breaking in to the Chippewa County League in 1946 with the Lafayette team, Ray played 10 seasons as a backstop for eight different teams, with his last year of competition coming with the Cadott Red Sox in 1961.
As a member of the successful Hamilton Chevrolets of Chippewa Falls during the 1950’s, Ray was a part-time player for the 1955 Chevrolet crew that went 11 and 1, securing the North Division before beating the Lake Hallie Lakers 12 to 9 in the C.V.L. championship game. The 1955 “Chevs” would go on to win their opening WBA contest before being eliminated. McIlquham’s other title experience came in 1959 when as a full-time player, he hit .318 (14 for 44) for the 10 and 2 Seymour club, as they claimed the South Division (there was no C.V.L championship in 1959) and qualified for the WBA tournament.
Playing well before the advent of All-CRBL recognition, Ray appeared in two All-Star games (1957 and 1959) and hit over .300 in three seasons (1948, 1958, 1959) with a high of .333 in 1958 (14 for 42).
Hanging up his spikes after 1961, McIlquham became a Chippewa Valley League umpire in 1962. Respected and well-liked by players, he admirably served in that capacity for 23 seasons, bridging an era that saw the 1968 evolution of the Chippewa Valley League in to the current day moniker of the Chippewa River Baseball League.
When Ray’s last year calling balls and strikes came in 1984, it concluded one of the longest tenures of involvement by any individual throughout the league’s storied existence. With his induction, McIlquham officially takes his place as one of the immortal legends in Chippewa River Baseball League history.
Class of 2020
Bloomer Merchants 1988; Tilden Tigers 1989-2012
One of the all-time greatest ballplayers to ever compete in the CRBL, Mitch Steinmetz was an athletically dynamic shortstop and lead-off hitter extraordinaire for the outstanding Tilden Tigers teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
After beginning his CRBL career with the Bloomer Merchants in 1988, the left-handed hitting shortstop became a Tiger in 1989. Combining agile feet with quick, soft hands, Steinmetz was a defensive wizard, lauded for his superior range, arm strength, and sure-handedness. From the middle of the Tilden diamond, Mitch teamed with fellow Tiger and CRBL Hall of Famer Todd Bresina to form the longest tenured and most productive double play combo in CRBL history.
Jump starting the Tigers’ attack, Steinmetz was the epitome of what a lead-off hitter should be – an on base dynamo possessing both speed and power. Hitting from the top of Tilden’s relentless line-up of the ‘90s and ‘00s, Mitch fueled the Tigers with a robust career on base percentage of .505, forged over 1,300 career at-bats. Adept at drawing a walk and controlling the strike zone, Steinmetz had 23 seasons of 10 or more walks and three seasons of 20 or more walks (1995, 2000, 2006), leading the league in free passes seven different seasons (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006). With his proficiency for getting on the bases, Mitch also led the league in runs scored three times (1992, 1996, 2006) with a career high of 35 runs in 1992.
Retiring as the CRBL’s all-time leader in stolen bases, the lead-off man led the league in swipes twice (1994 and 1997) and stole 10 or more bases in six seasons with a high of 20 in 1992. Steinmetz’s other season leading totals came in homeruns (9 in 1992), triples (tied with 2 in 1990) and doubles (10 in 1993).
In becoming only the fifth player to notch over 400 hits, Mitch had 20 or more knocks in 12 seasons, hit over .300 in 18 seasons, crossed the .400 barrier in seven seasons, and batted an even .500 once (25 for 50) in 1996.
During his 24 seasons wearing the marron and yellow, Steinmetz and the Tigers enjoyed incredible, unparalleled levels of success. Winning 16 North Division titles, six CRBL championships, securing 22 WBA appearances, and 10 Final 8’s, together they also captured two elusive WBA crowns (1995 and 2004).
Further validating what an elite defender Mitch was at shortstop, he was named the WBA tournament’s Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1995, 2000 and 2004, becoming the first player in WBA history to be given the prestigious honor three times.
A participant in 15 CRBL All-Star games (1988 to 1998 [11 in a row], 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009), Steinmetz was recognized with Honorable Mention All-CRBL in five seasons (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2006) and named All-CRBL in five other seasons (1992, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2009).
Upon induction, the Tilden Legend’s numerous all-time rankings can be found in walks (1st), doubles (2nd), runs scored (2nd), total bases (3rd), on base percentage (4th), hits (tied for 4th), at-bats (6th), stolen bases (6th), home runs (tied for 6th), singles (7th), games played (9th), OPS (9th), RBI’s (9th), slugging percentage (12th), triples (tied for 20th) and batting average (21st).
Class of 2020
2nd Base, Pitcher, Manager
Tilden Tigers 1989-2014
Todd Bresina’s 26 seasons of competition in the CRBL were shaped as a sure-handed 2nd baseman and steady contact hitter, as well as manager of Tilden’s veteran teams of the late 2000s. More than any other attribute, however, “Breeze” will be remembered as one of the elite pitchers of his era, dominating opponents with pinpoint control and his signature, wipe out slider.
A valuable contributor in Tilden’s deep and accomplished line-up, the right-handed swinging Bresina sported a .300+ batting average in nine of his 24 full-time CRBL seasons on his way to rapping 348 career hits.
In adeptly manning the keystone position, Breeze teamed with fellow CRBL Hall of Famer Mitch Steinmetz for 24 seasons to form the longest running, most accomplished double play combo within the prism of CRBL history.
From the mound, Todd was a highly respected closer and spot starter for the Tilden dynasty. With a smothering arsenal of velocity, command and a jackknife slider, Breeze locked down game after game in becoming the CRBL’s all-time leader in saves with 27. Leading or tying for the CRBL lead in saves a record eight seasons (1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2012), Bresina diversely won 4 or more games seven times, with a high of 6 wins twice (2003 and 2004). The righty’s pitching superiority also enabled him to tie or lead the CRBL in shutouts three times (2000, 2003, 2004) and claim the ERA crown twice (1998 and 2008). His league leading mark of 0.58 (2 ER/30.2 IP) in 1998 is even more impressive when framed within that era’s fabric of “-5” aluminum bats wielded in many a cozy, hitter friendly parks.
Dutifully taking the reigns as manager of the Tilden Tigers in 2004, Todd led the Bengal crew through 2011. During those eight seasons, Bresina guided his veteran squad to five North Division titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011), two CRBL championships (2007, 2011), eight straight WBA appearances, three Final 8’s (2004, 2005, 2008), and a WBA crown in 2004. In winning the WBA tourney in 2004, it marked the storied franchise’s 2nd WBA title, with the first coming in 1995.
Recognition and awards were plentiful for Breeze throughout his stellar career. A participant in four All-Star games (1989, 1991, 2004, 2009), he was named Honorable Mention All-CRBL at 2nd base in 2012 and bestowed All-CRBL accolades in seven seasons: 1991 (2B), 1998 (P), 2003 (P), 2004 (P), 2005 (P), 2006 (P), and 2010 (utility). At the WBA level, Todd was named Most Valuable Pitcher of the Final 8 in 2002 after being drafted by the Augusta Athletics.
Upon induction, Bresina’s all-time rankings can be found across numerous categories. Offensively, Todd is (tied for) 9th in at-bats, 11th in singles, 12th in games played, (tied for) 19th in runs scored, 21st in hits, 23rd in walks, 31st in total bases, (tied for) 37th in RBI’s, (tied for) 42nd in doubles, and (tied for) 42nd in stolen bases.
Managerially, his tour as Tilden skipper finds him ranked all-time in division titles (tied for 3rd), Final 8 appearances (tied for 5th), WBA wins (6th), winning percentage (6th), WBA appearances (8th), CRBL titles (tied for 8th), and wins (tied for 12th). Moreover, Todd is one of only eight CRBL managers to win a WBA title.
Accordingly, the memorable righty’s excellence from the mound is illuminated in his lofty, all-time rankings. Categorially, Breeze ranks 1st in saves 7th in shutouts, 12th in wins, 17th in strikeouts, 19th in innings pitched, 20th in ERA, 22nd in decisions, 24th in winning percentage, and 44th in strikeouts per innings pitched.