Inaugural Class of 2009
1st Basemen, Pitcher
Cadott Red Sox 1972-73, 78-83
Often recalled as the “Babe Ruth” of CRBL play, Jeff Couey was an imposing left-handed masher and a shut-down right-handed closer during his eight seasons for the Cadott Red Sox.
His first two years in the league were of modest beginnings, as he hit a combined .287 (25 for 87) with 1 homerun and 18 RBI’s. As a pitcher in 1972 he threw only 6 innings, but in 1973 he emerged as a #1, going 4 and 0 with a 2.80 ERA in 35.1 innings and striking out 52 of the opposition.
In Cadott‘s 5-4 championship game win vs. the Jim Falls Sturgeons in 1973, Couey hit a key two-run double and struck out 15 in a complete game effort that should have served as a warning shot for what was to come.
After spending several seasons with the Eau Claire Cavaliers, Couey returned in 1978 to wreak havoc on league competition. At the plate, he won the triple crown (.483 AVG, 6 HR, 26 RBI) and from the hill he was the ERA champ with a mark of 1.43 (5 ER/31.2 IP) while winning 4 games and losing 1. In 1979, Couey became the first person in league history to win two triple crowns — and still is the only batter to claim them back to back — leading hitters with a .420 AVG, 8 HR, and 31 RBI. He went on to lead the league in homeruns and RBI’s the next three years — 8 HR’s and a since broken league record of 38 RBI’s in 1980, 5 HR’s and 26 RBI’s in 1981, and 6 HR’s (tied) and 37 RBI’s in 1982. Out of this five season rampage, Couey set league marks for most seasons as a home run leader (5), RBI leader (5), and most consecutive seasons leading in each category (5).
Also led the league in hits with 29 in 1979, and runs scored twice with 24 in 1978 and 25 in 1979. The respect he was shown as a hitter was evident in that he led the league in walks four times — 18 in 1978, 20 in 1979, 18 (tied) in 1981, and 16 in 1982. Received over one walk per game in his career. Reportedly, he was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded.
From the bullpen, Couey acted as the late-inning hammer for the championship Cadott Red Sox teams. In addition to winning the ERA title in 1978, Couey did the same in 1982 at 1.02 (9 ER/26.2 IP). From his closing role, Jeff tied for the league lead in saves with 2 in 1979 and 1 in 1980, before setting a yet to be broken league record of 7 lockdowns in 1981.
During that 1978 to 1982 run, the Couey fueled Cadott Red Sox went an accumulative 81 and 9 in CRBL play, won four South Division crowns, three league championships, qualified for the WBA each year, and made the Final 8 in 1981. His legend began to grow when he clubbed 3 homers and knocked in 5 runs during Cadott’s 8-2 South Division playoff win against the Lafayette Lakers in 1979 . In Cadott’s 8-5 title loss vs. Tilden that year, he was walked 4 times, twice intentionally. He hit 2 bombs against the Lafayette Lakers in Cadott’s 5-3 Southern Divison playoff victory in 1980, propelling the Sox to their first of three consecutive championships. In five total championship games, he went 6 for 12 with a double, 2 homeruns, 10 base on balls, and 5 RBI’s while earning a save, a win, and whiffing 31 men in 18 innings of work with an ERA of 1.16.
Elected All-CRBL from 1978 to 1982. Participated in three All-Star games (1973, 1980, 1981). A full-time player in six of his eight league seasons, a longer stay would have enabled Couey to make even more immovable marks on the record books. As it stands, his 37 homeruns rank him tied for 10th all-time while his save total of 12 puts him alone in 5th place. Whatever his numbers may be, Jeff Couey indisputably etched his name as one of the more memorable players to ever don a uniform in the CRBL.