Class of 2020
Lafayette 1946; Lafayette Badgers 1948; Lafayette Giants 1949-50; Hamilton Chevrolets 1955-56; Lake Hallie Lakers 1957; Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1958; Seymour 1959; Cadott Red Sox 1961
During a league career that spanned nearly forty years and touched five different decades, Ray McIlquham carved out his place in CRBL lore, first as a solid catcher for 10 seasons and then during a commendable 23 season run as a league umpire.
Breaking in to the Chippewa County League in 1946 with the Lafayette team, Ray played 10 seasons as a backstop for eight different teams, with his last year of competition coming with the Cadott Red Sox in 1961.
As a member of the successful Hamilton Chevrolets of Chippewa Falls during the 1950’s, Ray was a part-time player for the 1955 Chevrolet crew that went 11 and 1, securing the North Division before beating the Lake Hallie Lakers 12 to 9 in the C.V.L. championship game. The 1955 “Chevs” would go on to win their opening WBA contest before being eliminated. McIlquham’s other title experience came in 1959 when as a full-time player, he hit .318 (14 for 44) for the 10 and 2 Seymour club, as they claimed the South Division (there was no C.V.L championship in 1959) and qualified for the WBA tournament.
Playing well before the advent of All-CRBL recognition, Ray appeared in two All-Star games (1957 and 1959) and hit over .300 in three seasons (1948, 1958, 1959) with a high of .333 in 1958 (14 for 42).
Hanging up his spikes after 1961, McIlquham became a Chippewa Valley League umpire in 1962. Respected and well-liked by players, he admirably served in that capacity for 23 seasons, bridging an era that saw the 1968 evolution of the Chippewa Valley League in to the current day moniker of the Chippewa River Baseball League.
When Ray’s last year calling balls and strikes came in 1984, it concluded one of the longest tenures of involvement by any individual throughout the league’s storied existence. With his induction, McIlquham officially takes his place as one of the immortal legends in Chippewa River Baseball League history.