Position: Shortstop

Hans Lyberg

Class of 2018

Infielder

Lafayette Indians 1985; Hallie Eagles 1986-99


Described by his peers as “your best teammate’s best teammate”, Hans Lyberg was the consummate amateur baseball player – versatile and sure-handed on defense, consistent and clutch with the bat, all while being a dedicated and respected competitor for his team.

Breaking in to the CRBL in 1985, Lyberg hit .316 (12 for 38) for the South Division champion Lafayette Indians. When he became a Hallie Eagle in 1986, Hans again hit above .300 (.309, 25 for 81), marking the second of 12 seasons (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998) in which he hit north of .300. His career high ledger occurred in 1997 when he topped .400 for the Eagles (.404, 21 for 52).

A cornerstone of Hallie’s formidable teams of the 1980s and 1990s, Hans and the Eagles soared to play in eight WBA tournaments (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) and survived to the Final 8 three times (1986, 1988, 1995). Within that era of success, the Eagles captured the CRBL title in 1996, vanquishing the mighty Tilden Tigers 11 to 7 at Hallie’s own Sippel Field.

A right-handed bat, Hans regularly hit from the lead-off spot or the two hole, leading the league in runs scored with 25 in 1991. Performing to the responsibilities of that role, Lyberg would have ten seasons of effectively drawing 10 or more walks with a career high of 18 in 1992 and 1997. In another nod to his consistency, the Eagle rapped 20 hits in six seasons (1986, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) and had 10 RBI’s in eight campaigns (1986, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998).

An All-CRBL pick at utility in 1994, the sure-handed defender was also named Honorable Mention All-CRBL in 1987 (second base), 1990 (second base), and 1996 (infield). A participant in three All-Star games (1987, 1996, 1998), Lyberg’s highest all-time rankings can be found in walks (29th), runs scored (34th), singles (38th) and hits (40th).

Art Zwiefelhofer

Class of 2019

Player: Howard Braves 1961-64; Tilden Tigers 1965-83

Player/Manager: Tilden Tigers 1980, 82-83

CRBL Umpire: 1984-2018


Recalled as an accomplished player and well known as a highly respected umpire, few people have done more for the betterment and stability of the Chippewa River Baseball League than one Art Zwiefelhofer.

Breaking in to the Chippewa Valley League in 1961, Art became known as a slick fielding and ultra-competitive shortstop for the Howard Braves. In 1965, Zwiefelhofer joined the Tigers of Tilden, where he became synonymous with the Tigers’ hard driving, winning style of baseball built on clutch hitting, outstanding pitching, and consistent defensive play.

In his 19 seasons in Tilden, Art was part of 9 division titles, 9 league championships, 14 WBA tournaments, and 5 WBA Final 8’s. A consistent and dedicated player, Zwiefelhofer led or tied for the league lead in walks four times (1973, 1974, 1980, 1981), with a career high of 23 in 1981. His other league pacing total came in runs scored (18 in 1970) and home runs (tied for the lead with 3 in 1976).

Toeing the rubber early in his playing career, the righty notched 46.1 innings for Howard in 1963. For the Tigers, he had 3 saves in 1968, a year after leading the league in saves with 1 in 1967.

Art also dutifully managed Tilden for three seasons (1980, 1982-83), winning two North Division titles and gaining entry to two WBA tournaments.

From his 23 seasons of league play, Art is ranked all-time in stolen bases (7th), walks (9th), at-bats (14th), seasons played (16th), runs scored (tied for 17th), games played (19th), singles (tied for 22nd), hits (28th), RBI’s (tied for 29th), total bases (33rd), and home runs (tied for 43rd). From his days as a pitcher, he is still ranked in saves (tied for 38th).

Beyond his enduring and successful playing career, Art is best known for his time as an umpire in the CRBL and the WBA. Sincere, knowledgeable, relatable and fair, Zwiefelhofer umpired over 800 CRBL and WBA games from 1984 to 2018, a span of 35 years. Exhibiting a unique “player’s perspective” as an umpire, Art was instrumental in formulating the CRBL Umpire Association in 1993, adding much needed stability and structure to the assignment and oversight of umpires across the league. Naturally, Art became the Head Umpire within the Association, a position he still proudly holds in to his Hall of Fame induction.

The Chippewa River Baseball League owes an immense debt of gratitude and thanks to Mr. Art Zwiefelhofer. It is with heartfelt respect that we proudly recognize him as one of the largest and most influential people the CRBL will ever know. Thank you Art!

Scott Wolfe

Class of 2017

Shortstop, 3rd Baseman, Closer

Augusta Athletics 1999; Eau Claire Bears 2000-10


Often referenced but rarely seen, a “five tool” player is the unique ball player that can hit for power, bat for a high average, run with speed, throw with velocity, and play defense with accuracy and flare.  In the world of amateur baseball in the CRBL and the state of Wisconsin, few individuals exhibited those skills better than the Eau Claire Bears’ Scott Wolfe.

After spending his rookie CRBL season of 1999 as a part-time player for the Augusta Athletics, the lanky infielder came back to his hometown of Eau Claire to play for the Bears in 2000.  After hitting .319 (14 for 44) that season, “Wolfie” emerged as a standout all-around player the next season for Eau Claire.  In the CRBL’s return to wood bats in 2001, Scott hit .362 (21 for 56) while leading the league in runs scored with 16.  He also appeared in his first All-Star game and was recognized as an All-CRBL third baseman, his first such award.

In total, the right-handed stick hit over .300 in nine of his twelve CRBL seasons, including .400+ marks in 2003 (.412, 28 for 68) and 2004 (.489, 22 for 45).  In addition to his leading 16 runs scored in 2001, Scott also paced the CRBL with 73 at-bats in 2006, 8 home runs in 2007, 6 doubles (tied) in 2010, and tied for the circuit lead in saves with 1 in 2002 and 2 in 2004.

Beyond the obvious quantifiable numbers, Wolfe had the immeasurable intangible of excelling in the clutch within all facets of the game.  Used primarily as a closer, Scott received a rare start in the 2002 South Division tie-breaker vs. the Augusta Athletics.  At Augusta, the righty twirled a 3-hit, 7 inning shutout while striking out 8 and walking just 1 in the Bears’ 11-0 win.  Two weeks later, Wolfie’s bottom of the 10th two-run homer put Eau Claire past Ellsworth 6-4 in the first game of the WBA tournament as the Bears were on their way to their first Final 8 appearance.

Earlier in the 2002 campaign, Scott had been named the MVP of the CRBL All-Star game at Hallie in the South’s 7-4 win over the North as he had the go ahead single in the bottom of the 7th inning to put the South ahead 3-2 in addition to being the winning pitcher in relief (4 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 HA, 0 BB, 2 K).

Further evidence of Scott’s clutch DNA are numerous.  In the 2006 CRBL championship at Carson Park, Wolfe was named game MVP by going 2-for-4 with 1 run, 2 RBI’s and a double.  Moreover, Wolfe was remarkably named the Most Valuable Defensive Player of the WBA tournament three times (2005, 2008, 2009) with each recognition coming for his play at the shortstop position.  As of 2016, Scott is one of only three players to have ever won the WBA Defensive MVP award more than once.

Of course, Scott shined in the regular CRBL season as well.  Perhaps his brightest day occurred on Sunday, July 15th, 2007 in the Bears’ doubleheader sweep vs. the Whitehall Wolves.  In the Bears game two, 11-0 six inning win, Wolfe drilled 3 home runs and drove in 5.  In the game one’s 9-1 victory, Scott hit one home run and drove in 2.  On the day, the big Wolfe was 5-for-6 with 4 home runs, 7 RBI’s, 5 runs scored, and a double.

The string of success that the Bears enjoyed throughout the 2000’s was unquestionably tied to the presence of Wolfe in their line-up.  In Scott’s eleven seasons playing for the Bears, Eau Claire won eight South Division titles (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), five league titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009), made it to seven Final 8’s (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and captured three WBA state crowns (2005, 2008, 2009).

Individually, Wolfe played in five All-Star games (2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) and received six All-CRBL awards (2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010), with his first three at third base and his last three coming at shortstop.

Upon induction, Scott can be found amidst the all-time CRBL leaders in saves (tied for 8th), batting average (26th), slugging percentage (tied for 32nd), and doubles (32nd).

Butch Pitsch

Class of 2013

Outfielder, Shortstop

Jim Falls Sturgeons 1981-96, 98-2000


Left-handed power hitters as well as Pitsch family members are synonymous with Jim Falls baseball.  One of the best from this group to ever play for the small hamlet along the Chippewa River was shortstop and outfielder, Dale “Butch” Pitsch.

Butch’s .315 average (17 for 54) in his first CRBL season of 1981 signaled the addition of another tough, hard-hitting lefty to the Sturgeons improved school of hitters, evident in the organization’s first WBA appearance that year since 1975.  Hitting .321 (18 for 56) two years later, Pitsch and the Crew of Big Fish in 1983 enjoyed their first winning record since the 1975 squad in addition to securing another birth in the WBA.

The quick wristed lefty had his first CRBL leading total in 1985 when he was in front of the 10-team circuit with 3 triples.  Butch’s other league leading total came in long balls when he and the Eau Claire Pioneers’ Jon Bowe tied for the CRBL lead with 7 clouts in 1989.  Along with a .395 average (17 for 43) and 23 RBI’s in that season of 1989, Pitsch and the power-laden line-up of the Sturgeons captured their first North Division since 1973 with a won/loss mark of 12 and 4 and qualified for their fourth WBA tournament in a row.

Returning to the WBA in 1991 with an 11 and 5 league record, Jim Falls swam to their first Final 8 appearance since the memorable 1975 team.  Pitch did his part by hurdling the .400 mark for the first time, hitting .413 (19 for 46) with 2 homers and 11 RBI’s in CRBL conflicts.  Butch’s second consecutive .400 season in 1992 (.417, 25 for 60) also came with 6 home runs, 19 ribbies, and a personal best 22 runs scored as the Prehistoric Fish made it back to the WBA dance.

In completing a seven season run of hitting .300 or better (1987 to 1993) Pitsch’s .509 effort in 1993 was a career best, thanks to a personal high of 28 hits coming in 55 at-bats.  In total, Butch’s .338 lifetime average was bolted on 10 campaigns of hitting .300 or better in 14 years as a regular for the Fish in Jim Town.

Starting his career at Jim Falls’ famous school yard diamond and concluding his playing days at plush Sturgeon Stadium at Gruden Field, Butch lashed out 267 CRBL hits from the left side of the plate.  A selective batter, Pitsch also walked 164 times on the strength of 10+ base on balls in nine CRBL seasons.

Considered to be an underrated player, Mr. Pitsch participated in two All-Star games (1985 and 1989), was named All-CRBL outfielder twice (1992 and 1993), and was recognized as an Honorable Mention All-CRBL pick as an outfielder three times (1987, 1989, and 1991).

Don Ash

Class of 2013

Shortstop

Lake Hallie Lakers 1952-55, 57; Eau Claire Leif’s Conoco Oilers 1953; Hamilton Chevrolets 1956; Seymour 1958-59;

Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1958


One of only seven hitters in league history to win a triple crown, Don Ash was a remarkably productive shortstop who tore up Chippewa Valley League pitching during his eight seasons of competition for five circuit teams.

In his rookie campaign of 1952, Don hit .381 (16 for 42) for the up and coming Lake Hallie Lakers of the Northern Division.  In 1954, Lake Hallie began one of the most dominant stretches of team play in CRBL lore.  Riding a high octane offense, the Lakers rolled to a perfect 10 and 0 record, an American Division championship, and a spot in the WBA tournament.  Priming the offense was Don’s .413 average ( 19 for 46) and his league leading totals of 19 hits, 16 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases.

Riding the high tide into 1955, Don and the Lakers surged to another 10 and 0 record, a Southern Division title, and a second straight trip to the WBA.  Ash again contributed mightily, hitting .377 (20 for 53) and tying for the CVL lead in triples with 2 and runs scored with 23 while leading outright in stolen bases with 11.

After losing in the CVL championship to the Hamilton Chevrolets of Chippewa Falls in 1954 and 1955, Ash joined the Chevs in 1956.  Playing in 10 games that season, Don posted gaudy numbers in spearing the Chippewa Valley League’s triple crown.  With a league tops .431 batting average (22 for 51), Ash tied the Lafayette Braves’ Bob Wolfe for the lead in homers with 3 and led outright with 21 RBI’s.  He also was the best in 1956 within the categories of hits (22), triples (2), runs scored (23), and stolen bases (9).

After returning to Lake Hallie for one season in 1957, Don moved to the fledgling Seymour squad in 1958 where he had another stellar effort, hitting .351 (20 for 57) while also serving spot duty with the Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports.

Don concluded his run through CVL/CRBL history in 1959 as player/manager for the 10 and 2, South Division champion and WBA qualifying Seymour club.  Smoking the ball at a career best .458 average (24 for 54), the agile shortstop led the Chippewa Valley League in at-bats with 54, hits with 24, runs scored with 18, and walks with 12.

In playing nearly 30 years before the institution of All-CRBL awards, Don’s stature in the Chippewa Valley League was illuminated through his participation in six all-star games during his eight season career.  The most noteworthy of Ash’s all-star game performances came on June 27th, 1954.  Playing shortstop for the American Division, Don was described in the next day’s edition of the Chippewa-Herald as the “brightest star”.  In recounting his defensive play, the Herald articulated that Ash “played ball as though he were paid for it.”  At the plate that day, Don was 4 for 7 with a home run, a double, 3 runs scored, and 4 RBI’s as the American Division prevailed 18 to 17 verse the National Division in a contest that still stands as containing the most runs scored in a CRBL all-star game exhibition.  Although no game MVP was officially named on that Sunday afternoon, Ash’s shining day would have made him the clear choice.

With his league at-bats unavoidably limited by the short regular seasons of that era (the 18 games he played in 1957 was the only time he was part of a CVL schedule consisting of more than 12 games), Don’s best all-time rankings can be found in triples where he is tied for 27th and stolen bases where he shares a spot at 28th.

 

Pat Prince

Class of 2012
Infielder
Cooks Valley Hayshakers 1971-82; Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 1983-86


A strong right-handed hitter with prodigious power, Pat Prince tore up league pitching for 16 seasons as a member of Coon Valley Hayshakers and Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks.
With the baseball rich Prince family jump-starting the Hayshakers in 1971, brothers and fellow CRBL Hall of Famers Pat, Joe, and Stan provided plenty of offensive force for Cooks Valley’s line-up during the organizations 13 seasons of existence.
Beginning in 1974, Pat had a string of 12 consecutive campaigns in which he hit better than .300. The bright spot for this streak occurred when he hit over .400 in consecutive years, doing so in 1979 (.407, 24 for 59) and 1980 (.423, 22 for 52).
With his plenteous for power, the long-ball hitting Prince tied for the league lead in that category in 1975 with 2. He hit a career best of 6 homers in 1980 and 1984, while also driving in a personal best 22 runs during those seasons as well.
The firepower of the Prince family and the Hayshakers line-up never quite reached the .500 mark or the WBA tournament. That changed for Pat and brother Stan when they joined the fledgling Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks in 1983 after the Hayshakers disbanded. Pat’s big bat (.380 avg., 3 homers, 17 RBI’s) and veteran play helped the ‘Jacks to a 14 and 6 record, a North Division title, a 13-7 win over Cadott in the CRBL title game, and a spot in the WBA tournament. In the league championship vs. Cadott, Pat stayed true to form by knocking a solo homer in a 1 for 4 day with 3 runs scored.
Prince followed up with another power packed year in 1984 (.333 avg., 6 homers, 22 RBI’s) helping Chippewa Falls to another winning record of 13 and 5 and a second consecutive WBA birth. 1985 was Pat’s last full-time effort, checking in with a .300 ledger, 3 homeruns and 10 RBI’s for the Woodcutter’s 11 and 2 crew that won the North Division for the second time, made their third consecutive WBA tourney, and tamed the Lafayette Indians 8-7 in the CRBL title game. In that victory vs. the Tribe, Pat hit a pivotal 5th inning 3-run homer, knotting the game at 6 runs a piece.
Along his road to 286 career hits, Pat topped the 20 hit barrier seven times, with his 1983 total of 27 being a personal best. Joining brothers Joe and Stan as CRBL Hall of Famers, Pat is ranked all-time between 20th and 29th place in nearly every hitting category.
During his league career, the slugging Prince participated in four all-star games (1971, 1972, 1983, 1985), and was recognized as an All-CRBL pick twice (1974 and 1980).

Howie Prince

Class of 2011

2nd Baseman, Shortstop

Chippewa Falls Centralites 1949-50; Hamilton Chevrolets 1951-55


The premier league slugger of his day, Howie Prince was a hard-hitting middle infielder whose prowess with a wood bat enabled him to become one of only seven hitters in CRBL history to win a triple crown.

In his rookie season of 1949, Howie slammed 3 home runs in just 12 games for the Chippewa Falls Centralites.  His powerful stick helped fuel the Centralites to a 10 and 4 record and the Chippewa Valley League championship game, where they whipped Tilden 9 to 1 for the title.

1950 was Prince’s breakout year, as he banged league high totals of 23 hits and 19 RBI’s to accentuate a .371 average for the 9 and 5 Centralites.  The aforementioned triple crown was accomplished in 1951.  At that time, Prince was only the third hitter in league play to lay claim to such a distinction.  In 18 games during the 1951 season, Howie pounded out a Chippewa Valley League topping .371 average (29 for 50) to go along with other CVL bests of 4 homeruns, 23 RBI’s, 29 hits, and 7 doubles.  With Howie’s hammer in the middle of the line-up, the first-year Hamilton Chevrolets rolled to a 13 and 5 record and a 4-3 championship game victory over the Tigers of Tilden.

In 1952, Prince laced a .471 average and a league best 5 doubles, but lost out in the batting race to Rick Jaenstch of Leif’s Conoco Oilers and his .524 (22 for 42) tally.

The Hamilton Chevrolets captured another CVL crown in 1954, with Howie’s .304 (17 for 56) average and league pacing 5 doubles contributing on a path to beating the Lake Hallie Lakers 9 to 4 in the title bout.

1955 saw Prince and Hamilton in even better form.  In his last year of league battles, Howie hit .349 with 5 doubles, 3 home runs, 21 RBI’s, and 21 runs scored as the powerful Chevs shined with an 11 and 1 league record and a repeat championship game victory over the same Lake Hallie Lakers, this time by an 11 to 1 score

Clearly, Prince’s time in CRBL history was one thick with individual and team success.  In addition to the triple crown and other statistical high points, the slugging middle infielder played in five All-Star games, nearly two decades before the advent of the annual All-CRBL team.  The two organizations he suited up for won a total of four league championships and posted a .610 regular season winning percentage by winning 61 games and losing only 30.

With the CRBL finishing its 31st year of play in 1955, Howie stepped away as the circuit’s all-time home run king.  Although no longer found on any Top 50 list, Prince’s seven year career shines on a comparative level with today’s wood bat wielding hitters of the CRBL.

In being elected to the CRBL Hall of Fame, Howie joins his father and league pitching great Jim Prince who was inducted in the Inaugural Class of 2009.

George Gannon

Inaugural Class of 2009

Shortstop, 3rd Baseman, Umpire

Lafayette Badgers 1948; Lafayette Braves 1951-55,57-59; Bloomer Pines 1956; Lafayette Generals 1962-64;

Lafayette Indians 1965-70; CRBL Umpire 1970-95


One of the most well-known, well-liked, and well-respected figures in league history, the knowledgeable and personable Gannon was a fixture in league play for nearly fifty years.

Forgotten by many is that Gannon was a hard-nosed and formidable player for 19 seasons.  Upon retiring in 1970, he was the league’s all-time leader in games played, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles, RBI’s, runs scored, stolen bases, walks, and total bases.

Hitting primarily out of the lead-off spot, Gannon led the league in runs scored with 20 in 1963, 18 in 1964, 15 in 1966, and 16 in 1968.  Led the league with 16 walks in 1965 and 12 free passes in 1966.  His hit totals of 24 in 1964 and 25 in 1965 both set the pace among league hitters for those seasons.  Had over 20 hits in a season four times, with his career high of 25 in 1965.  Won two batting titles, hitting .414 in 1964 (24 for 58) and .397 in 1965 (25 for 63).  Hit over .300 eight times, with his .414 mark in 1964 being a personal high.

A key figure on the highly competitive Lafayette teams of the 1950’s and 1960’s, he helped the Generals win a division title, qualify for the WBA, and make the Final 8 in 1963.  In 1966, he hit .300 for an Indians team that won their first Eastern Division title and qualified for their first WBA tournament.

A participant in eight All-Star games, (1951, 1952, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1963, 1964, 1965) George played in the era before the All-CRBL awards became a yearly institution.

A highly respected official, George umpired admirably in league play for over 25 years, capping off an involvement in the CRBL that stretched across seven decades.

Frank Atkinson

Inaugural Class of 2009

Shortstop, Pitcher

Jim Falls Nosal 1958; Jim Falls Dairymen 1960; Jim Falls Cadets 1961-64; Jim Falls Sturgeons 1965-69, 71-77;

Jim Falls Mobile 1970


A standout shortstop and a reliable relief pitcher, Atkinson spent his entire 19-year league career playing for five different teams in Jim Falls.

The bulk of his time and greatest success came with the Sturgeons, as he helped them win division crowns in 1967 and 1973, and qualify for the WBA in 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, and 1975.

Hit .300 or better in 10 seasons, doing so consecutively in his last seven years of play, during which he averaged 20 hits a year and hit an accumulative .374. Won back to back batting titles in 1975 at .462 (24 for 52) and 1976 at .438 (21 for 48).  Led the league in hits with 24 in 1975, doubles with 5 in 1974, and tied for the league lead in triples with 2 three times (1963,1967,1975).  Still tied for 2nd all-time in triples with 11.

Led the league in runs scored with 16 in 1974 and 14 in 1975, stolen bases with 10 in 1968, and tied for the league lead or led the league in walks three times (1969,1971,1975) with a high of 19 free passes in 1971.  Ranks 5th all-time in stolen bases with 77, leading the league with 10 bags in 1968.  Topped the 20 hit mark a total of five times.

From the slab, knuckleballing Atkinson led the league with a career high 4 saves in 1975, tying for the league lead in that category five times previously.  Captured an ERA title in 1965 with a mark of 2.22 (7 ER in 28.1 IP) and again in 1973 with a miniscule 0.52 ERA (1 ER in 17.1 IP).  His career total of 15 saves currently ranks 3rd all-time.

A participant in 10 All-Star games (1961,1963-1968,1971-1973), Frank was named the game’s MVP in 1965 when he went 2-for-2 with a double, RBI, and some flashy defensive plays in the East’s 4-0 win over the West.  Playing in the era before yearly All-CRBL teams, the right-handed swinging Atkinson was the first league player to collect over 300 hits and compile over 200 innings pitched. Undoubtedly, Frank will be remembered as one of the best players to ever represent Jim Falls in league competition.