Class of 2010
Bloomer Blackhawks 1968-78; Bloomer Merchants 1980
The path of Mike Meindel’s 12 seasons in league play saw him roar on to the amateur baseball landscape as an iron-armed strikeout machine before developing into an efficient part-time starter. At the plate, he remained an extra base threat and run producer throughout his career.
In his rookie summer of 1968, Meindel went 3 and 4 while striking out 54 batters in 57 innings to go along with a 3.00 ERA. These solid but uneventful numbers gave little indication of what was soon to follow. In 1969, the right-handed Meindel would log a league high 145 innings with a 9 and 6 record, a 3.10 ERA, and the mammoth, still unbroken season record of 180 strikeouts. In accumulating this staggering total, Meindel pitched in 18 of the Bloomer Blackhawks’ 19 games that season, notching 9 games of double digit strikeouts with a game high of 19 punch-outs verse the Wheaton Warhawks in an 11-inning, 4-3 Bloomer win.
This began a prodigious four year period in which Mike would lead the league in innings pitched (145 IP in 1969, 87 IP in 1970, 125.1 IP in 1971, and 130 IP in 1972) and strikeouts (180 K’s in 1969, 99 K’s in 1970, 141 K’s in 1971, and 137 K’s in 1972). During this time frame, Mike would also lead the league in wins with 9 in 1970, winning percentage at .900 in 1972, shutouts with 2 in 1971, and tie for the league lead in wins with 10 in 1971. A summative look at 1969 to 1972 shows Meindel averaging 121.2 innings pitched, 9 wins, and 139 strikeouts with an accumulative ERA of 3.12. The righty would then win 10 games in 1972, coinciding with his first sub-3.00 ERA mark of a 2.77.
For the remainder of Meindel’s career, his workload would be diminished but not his effectiveness. A 4 and 2 mark in 1973 came with a career low 2.28 ERA during 47.1 innings pitched with 68 strikeouts and 2 saves. In weaving a streak of five consecutive seasons with a sub 3.00 ERA, Meindel capped it off with a 2.91 ERA in 21.1 IP in 1974, a 2.83 ERA during 28.2 innings in 1975, and a 2.79 ERA in 42 innings worked in 1976.
Meindel’s dominance during those years coincided with the Blackhawks lone WBA appearance, as Bloomer made the tourney in 1970. In 1971, Meindel’s 10 and 4 season and 141 whiffs launched the Bloomer Blackhawks to their lone championship game bout, where they lost a tough 2-0 decision to Tilden despite Mike’s complete game effort in which he allowed 5 hits and K’d 5 Tigers.
As a regular in the Bloomer line-up, Meindel was a consistent threat to reach a gap or hit a long ball, as shown by his career total of 10 triples which is currently tied for 4th all-time. Offensively, his best year came in 1971 when he hit on career highs of 3 triples, 3 home runs, and 13 RBI’s.
An All-Star game participant in 1970, 1971, and 1972, Meindel was named All-CRBL as a pitcher in 1972, one of just two years the league gave such an honor before it became a yearly tradition in 1978.
Upon induction, Mike ranks 7th in ERA, 8th in strikeouts, 9th in innings pitched, 13th in K’s per 9 innings pitched, and tied for 11th in wins.