Inaugural Class of 2009
Chippewa Prides 1975-77; Lafayette Lakers 1978-83; Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 1983-97
A right-handed pitcher, Jim Hoepner used pinpoint control, a sharp curveball, and an unrepentant competitive nature to capture a league record 109 wins during a long and very successful 23-year career.
Despite facing batters swinging metal bats in the hitter friendly parks of Lafayette and Chippewa’s Cardinal Field, Hoepner carved out eight seasons with an ERA of under 3.00. His low water mark came in 1984, when he led the league with a stifling 1.13 in 55.2 innings. Set the pace two other years with a 1.73 ERA in 1979 (73 innings) and a 1.98 mark in 1983 (72.1 innings). In addition to leading the league in ERA three times, he was a strikeout champ twice with totals of 77 in 1985 and 60 in 1991. Also posted sub-2.00 ERA’s in 1980 (1.94 in 55.2 innings) and 1981 (1.98 in 54.2 innings). His total of five seasons with an ERA beneath 2.00 is an unmatched league record.
From 1978 to 1991, his seasonal averages were 7 wins, 70 innings thrown, 58 strikeouts, and an accumulative ERA of 2.88. These totals would have made for a great season, let alone for a 14-year period of being a depended upon ace.
Holds the all-time record for shutouts with 19, leading the league or tying for the league lead in shutouts during seven seasons. His career high of 4 shutouts in 1984 is tied for the single season mark.
In becoming one of only two pitchers to break the 1,000 inning barrier, Hoepner led the CRBL in this area in 1986 with 80 innings, 1987 with 69 frames, and in 1991 when he notched 78 innings.
On his way to a seemingly unbreakable mark of 109 league wins, Jim was the leader in that category during four years. His career high of 10 wins against just 1 loss in 1987 tied for the league high. Also tied for the lead with 6 wins in 1985. Led the loop outright in 1984 with 8 victories and in 1991 with 7 wins.
Made a habit of helping himself at the plate, gathering 230 hits in 786 at-bats for a career batting average of .293. Popped out 16 homeruns (high of 4 in 1986) and 51 doubles (high of 6 in 1985). As a regular, Jim hit .300 or better twelve times, hitting a peak of .432 in 1984 (19 for 44).
A member of six division winners, five league champions, 18 WBA qualifiers, and five Final 8 teams, Hoepner was the unquestioned big game pitcher for the Prides, Lakers, and Lumberjacks. In his six championship game appearances for the ‘Jacks, Jim was 4 and 1 in 42 innings with 14 strikeouts, 6 walks, 1 save, and an ERA of 4.50. His complete game shutout in the Lumberjacks’ 12-0 victory over Hallie in the 1987 CRBL title game was an example of his determined pitching style. In that performance, Jim scattered 10 hits, struck out 1, and did not walk an Eagle batter.
One of only three pitchers in CRBL history to throw two no-hitters, Hopener claimed the 17th and 18th in league play while pitching for Lafayette. Notched his first as a Laker in a 9-inning, 12-0 decision in 1979 vs. the Jim Falls Sturgeons. His second came against Tilden in a 1-0, 7-inning gem in 1980. Combined with fellow Lumberjack Steve Nelson in 1986 to throw one of the four shared no-hitters in league history with a 6-inning, 12-0 win vs. the Cadott Red Sox.
Elected All-CRBL as a pitcher eight times (1979, 1981, 1983-1985, 1987, 1991, 1995) and Honorable Mention three times (1986,1988,1989). Participated in five All-Star games (1980,1983,1987,1994,1995).