Class of 2020
Bloomer Merchants 1988; Tilden Tigers 1989-2012
One of the all-time greatest ballplayers to ever compete in the CRBL, Mitch Steinmetz was an athletically dynamic shortstop and lead-off hitter extraordinaire for the outstanding Tilden Tigers teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
After beginning his CRBL career with the Bloomer Merchants in 1988, the left-handed hitting shortstop became a Tiger in 1989. Combining agile feet with quick, soft hands, Steinmetz was a defensive wizard, lauded for his superior range, arm strength, and sure-handedness. From the middle of the Tilden diamond, Mitch teamed with fellow Tiger and CRBL Hall of Famer Todd Bresina to form the longest tenured and most productive double play combo in CRBL history.
Jump starting the Tigers’ attack, Steinmetz was the epitome of what a lead-off hitter should be – an on base dynamo possessing both speed and power. Hitting from the top of Tilden’s relentless line-up of the ‘90s and ‘00s, Mitch fueled the Tigers with a robust career on base percentage of .505, forged over 1,300 career at-bats. Adept at drawing a walk and controlling the strike zone, Steinmetz had 23 seasons of 10 or more walks and three seasons of 20 or more walks (1995, 2000, 2006), leading the league in free passes seven different seasons (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006). With his proficiency for getting on the bases, Mitch also led the league in runs scored three times (1992, 1996, 2006) with a career high of 35 runs in 1992.
Retiring as the CRBL’s all-time leader in stolen bases, the lead-off man led the league in swipes twice (1994 and 1997) and stole 10 or more bases in six seasons with a high of 20 in 1992. Steinmetz’s other season leading totals came in homeruns (9 in 1992), triples (tied with 2 in 1990) and doubles (10 in 1993).
In becoming only the fifth player to notch over 400 hits, Mitch had 20 or more knocks in 12 seasons, hit over .300 in 18 seasons, crossed the .400 barrier in seven seasons, and batted an even .500 once (25 for 50) in 1996.
During his 24 seasons wearing the marron and yellow, Steinmetz and the Tigers enjoyed incredible, unparalleled levels of success. Winning 16 North Division titles, six CRBL championships, securing 22 WBA appearances, and 10 Final 8’s, together they also captured two elusive WBA crowns (1995 and 2004).
Further validating what an elite defender Mitch was at shortstop, he was named the WBA tournament’s Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1995, 2000 and 2004, becoming the first player in WBA history to be given the prestigious honor three times.
A participant in 15 CRBL All-Star games (1988 to 1998 [11 in a row], 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009), Steinmetz was recognized with Honorable Mention All-CRBL in five seasons (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2006) and named All-CRBL in five other seasons (1992, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2009).
Upon induction, the Tilden Legend’s numerous all-time rankings can be found in walks (1st), doubles (2nd), runs scored (2nd), total bases (3rd), on base percentage (4th), hits (tied for 4th), at-bats (6th), stolen bases (6th), home runs (tied for 6th), singles (7th), games played (9th), OPS (9th), RBI’s (9th), slugging percentage (12th), triples (tied for 20th) and batting average (21st).