Class of 2012
Tilden Tigers 1990-2003
A dedicated and intelligent baseball man, Rick Ruf’s understanding of the game and adept handling of his players enabled him to steer Tilden through 14 seasons of dominant play in the storied Chippewa River Baseball League. Beginning as a player for the Tigers in 1986, Rick took on full-time managerial responsibilities in 1990, leading Tilden to a 10 and 5 record and an appearance in the WBA’s Final 8. The maroon and yellow clad Tigers won their first of 11 division titles and four CRBL championships under Ruf in 1991. Tilden’s 7 to 5 victory over the Augusta Athletics that season began an unprecedented run of nine championship game appearances in 10 seasons (1991 to 1994, 1996 to 2000). The Tilden squad of 1991 also made the franchise’s third appearance in a WBA title game, losing a tough 7 to 6 decision against the Merrill Giants.
Tilden’s other CRBL title belts under Ruf took place in 1994 and 1997 vs. Augusta, and in 2002 vs. the Eau Claire Bears. Rick would bring the Tigers back to the WBA title fight in 1995, where they would prevail over Wausau 10 to 6 at Haugen, becoming only the third CRBL team at that time to win a WBA crown. In total, Ruf and the Tigers made an appearance in the WBA during every one of his 14 seasons as manager, surviving to prowl in seven Final 8’s in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2000, and 2003. Amidst all the championships and titles, the simplest and best barometer of Rick’s managerial skills may be found in the fact that Tilden never had a losing record with him at the controls. The Tigers’ shining 16 and 1 mark in 1992 was the best regular season with Ruf as they also won the North and made the Final 8 in that noteworthy campaign.
Rick should also be acknowledged for his service to the CRBL, acting as the storied organization’s president for four years, holding the post from 1994 to 1997. Through the yearly harnessing of a competitive and hard playing group of ballplayers, Mr. Ruf currently ranks 2nd in managerial wins, 4th in winning percentage, 1st in division titles, tied for 3rd in league championships, 1st in WBA wins, 2nd in WBA tourney appearances, and 1st in Final 8 appearances.