Class of 2015
CRBL: Leif’s Conoco Oilers 1952; Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1959; Eau Claire Tommy Millers 1960
ECCBL: Eau Claire Tommy Millers 1960-63; Strum Merchants 1964
Throughout the Chippewa Valley, Harv Tomter is known as the legendary manager of the Eau Claire Cavaliers. It should never be forgotten, however, that Harv Tomter the baseball player was a clutch performer, professional prospect, and game changing talent from both the mound and the batter’s box.
A right-handed thrower and left-handed hitter, Tomter broke in to amateur baseball in 1952 with Leif’s Conoco Oilers of Eau Claire. In just two appearances, he tied for the league lead in shutouts with 1, going 1 and 1 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings.
Signed by the New York Giants organization in 1953, he split time that season between their Class D (Single A) affiliates Oshkosh, WI Giants and Mayfield, KY Clothiers. In total, the righty went 6 and 8 with a 5.52 ERA in 137 innings through 12 starts and 33 appearances.
In 1954, Harv switched to the Baltimore Orioles organization where he again pitched at the Class D level, this time for the Americus-Cordele, GA Orioles. Making 26 starts and 34 appearances, Tomter commendably logged 205.1 innings with a 5.00 ERA and a 6 and 17 won/loss record.
Playing in surrounding amateur circuits from 1955 to 1958, Tomter returned to the CRBL in 1959 with the Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports. On the hill, Tomter went 4 and 3 in 46 innings with a 4.70 ERA and tied for the CVL lead in saves with 1. With the stick, the Sport hit 2 homers and drove in 8 RBI’s in 9 games.
In 1960, Tomter emerged as one of the Chippewa Valley’s dominant amateur players, competing in both the CVL and ECCBL for the Eau Claire Tommy Millers. Going 3 and 0 in the CVL and 7 and 0 in the ECCBL, he led both circuits in winning percentage at 1.000. Harv’s 1960 pitching totals were a sterling 10 and 0 in 79.1 innings with 84 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.72. As a hitter; Tomter bombed 2 long balls and had 5 doubles in 19 games.
Tomter rose to legendary status in 1961. During the regular season, Harv was named All-ECCBL at utility for hitting .377 (20 for 53) with 5 doubles while going 1 and 0 in 15 innings of pitching for the Tommy Millers. In the WBA, the righty’s ironman heroics from the mound led the Eau Claire squad to a state title in New Richmond. In the double-elimination Final 8 format, Tomter hurled back-to-back nine inning complete games in the same day, beating Pepin 4-1 in the first game and Pepin again in the championship match, this time by a 9-3 ledger. Accordingly, Tomter was named the tournament’s most valuable pitcher.
Hitting .372 (16 for 43) in 1962, Harv tied for the ECCBL lead in doubles with 3 while posting a 2 and 1 record with a 1.52 ERA in 23.2 innings for the league champion Millers. Continuing his stellar play in the WBA, he was named to the 1962 All-Tournament Team as a pitcher/1st baseman for the Eau Claire squad that lost in the WBA championship, 6-5 in a rematch with Pepin at Cushing.
In no uncertain terms, Harv was a one man gang in 1963. With his Millers going 10 and 5 and winning their fourth ECCBL championship in a row, the curve balling righty claimed all 10 of his team’s victories, going 10 and 2 in 103 ECCBL innings with a 2.53 ERA, 83 strikeouts and 1 shutout. His 10 wins paced the ECCBL during the season in which he made his lone ECCBL All-Star appearance. In WBA play, Harv and the Millers were bumped before making the finals.
Fittingly, Tomter’s last full year of amateur baseball was his best. Playing with the Strum Merchants in 1964, Harv led ECCBL pitchers with 93.1 innings and tied for the lead in wins with 5 while posting a 2.53 ERA augmented by 75 strikeouts. From the plate, the portside swinger cracked a league leading 3 homers and 21 RBI’s while tying for the lead in hits with 25 within a healthy.385 average in 62 at-bats.
Drafted by the ECCBL champ Eau Claire Twin City Sports from Strum in 1964, Tomter incredibly shined in the post-season again. In the double-elimination WBA semi-finals, Harv crafted a 6 to 2 victory with 10 K’s and 4 walks verse a familiar foe, the Pepin Lakers. In the next game, again vs. Pepin, the curve ball specialist threw 7.1 innings of relief with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks in the 9 to 3 title bout victory. Winning the WBA’s most valuable pitcher award for the second time, Harv still remains one of only seven individuals to be bestowed the prestigious honor multiple times.
With the closure of the ECCBL in 1965, Harv finished as the all-time leader in pitching wins (21), and is second in winning percentage (.778, 21 wins and 6 losses) and base hits (83).
Of course, Tomter went on to legendary accomplishments with the powerhouse Eau Claire Cavaliers baseball teams. From 1979 to 2005, Coach Tomter compiled a striking 1,595 and 437 won-loss record (.785 winning pct.), including 5 Continental Amateur Baseball Association World Series titles. Upon induction, Harv Tomter takes his rightful place as one of the largest baseball giants to ever be a part of the Chippewa River Baseball League.