Class of 2011
Jim Falls Mobile 1969-70; Jim Falls Saints 1971-87; Jim Falls Sturgeons 1988-91, 2002-03; Bloomer Merchants 1992;
Bloomer Fightin’ Woodticks 1993-2001
In a league career that spanned a remarkable 35 seasons, Russ Nelson rubber-armed his way to the likely insurmountable totals of 1,770.1 innings pitched and 1,163 strikeouts. A durable and inventive pitcher, Nelson is remembered as much for his longevity as he is the fiery competiveness that permitted him to cross five decades of play in the CRBL.
Naturally, Russ was a pace-setter in innings pitched during multiple years, doing so in 1985 with 96 innings, 79 innings in 1988, and 71 innings in 1992. Nelson’s personal best, workhorse mark of 104.1 innings pitched came in 1979, the only year in the Jim Falls Saints’ 17 season existence in which they qualified for the WBA tournament.
Nelson surpassed the 50 inning mark a league record 23 seasons, doing it for the first time with 52.1 innings in 1971 for the Saints at the age of 19. 25 years later, he notched his last such effort with 62 innings pitched in 1996 for the ‘Ticks when he checked in at 44 years young.
Russ’ one season as the top winner in league play came in 1988, when in his first year as a Sturgeon and 20th year in the CRBL, he set a career high with 9 wins to embroider his league best 79 innings hurled for the 14 and 2 Fish of Jim Falls. His stalwart performance and winning contributions earned him a well-deserved All-CRBL nod at pitcher.
Nelson also led the league in saves with 2 in 1984 and tied for the lead in shutouts with 1 in 1982, 1989, and 1991.
1989 found the righty chewing up 62.1 innings while going 5 and 2 in helping the North champ Sturgeons win their first division title since 1973 with a team won/loss record of 12 and 4. Fittingly, Russ hurled his last 4.2 innings for the 2003 Sturgeons in a part-time role.
From the batter’s box, Nelson hit over .300 in 5 of his 23 seasons as a regular in the line-up as he steadily built some healthy offensive totals. His season best average of .357 (15 for 42) came in 1982. His lone offensive leading total came in 1975 when he rapped 5 doubles.
Participated in seven All-Star games (1971, 1981, 1983-1986, 1988). In addition to his All-CRBL award in 1988, Russ was recognized with Honorable Mention All-CRBL in 2002.
Upon induction, Nelson is the all-time leader in innings pitched and strikeouts, ranks 3rd in wins and is tied for 15th in shutouts. Offensively, Russ is 5th all-time in games played, 7th in at-bats, and 10th in walks.