Class of 2012
Bloomer Pines 1964-65; Tilden Tigers 1966-67, 70; Cooks Valley Hayshakers 1971-80
A powerful right-handed hitter for three teams during his 15 seasons of competition, Joe Prince’s induction to the CRBL Hall of Fame solidifies his place as one of the most potent offensive players to ever dig in to a Chippewa River Baseball League batter’s box.
Joe’s 1964 rookie season was as a part-time player for the Bloomer Pines. Prince became a perennial standout in 1965 when he hit .383 (18 for 47) with a Chippewa Valley League best 6 doubles for the Pines.
Moving south to Tilden in 1966, Joe hit .333 (14 for 42) and appeared in his second consecutive all-star game. It became apparent in 1967 that Prince was a figure to be reckoned with in league play. In year number two as a Tiger, Joe hit .397 (23 for 59) with 5 home runs and a C.V.L. leading 24 RBI’s in 14 league games. On Sunday, May 21st of that year, the wood bat swinging Joe had one of the best single games in league history when he went 5 for 5 with a grand slam, 8 RBI’s, and 6 runs scored in Tilden’s 23 to 11 thrashing of the Cadott Red Sox at Cadott.
After taking two years off from league play, Joe returned to Tilden and the rigors of the CRBL in 1970 by leading the nine-team circuit in base on balls with 14 and tying for the league lead in triples with 3.
With the Prince family forming the Hayshakers, Joe took his talents to Cooks Valley in 1971, gathering his 5th consecutive .300+ effort (.304, 17 for 56). Joe snagged his first home run belt in 1972 with the co-leading total of 3. In 1973, the Hayshaker Masher impressively led the CRBL with a .432 average (19 for 44) while simultaneously banging 4 home runs to lead the league again in that area as well.
Prince would cross the .400 barrier in two other seasons, doing it again in 1975 (.425, 20 for 47) and in his final season of 1980 (.405, 17 for 42).
Including the three seasons over .400, Joe was a .300 or better hitter in 13 of his 14 seasons as a regular. Additionally, Prince had 20 or more hits in five seasons, with a career high of 24 in 1977. In cracking 31 long balls, Joe hit 3 or more homers in six different seasons, reaching a peak of 5 in 1967 and 1977.
A participant in six all-star games, Joe was named MVP of the 1966 classic, when his 3-run bomb gave the West Division a 4-2 lead on their way to beating the East Division 5-3 at Jim Falls.
In joining brothers Pat and Stan as CRBL Hall of Famers, Productive Joe’s highest spots on the all-time ladder can be found in slugging percentage (12th), batting average (15th), and home runs (17th).