November 26, 2011

Eau Claire, WI Baseball Hall Of Fame

The town I was born in, Eau Claire, WI, has a pretty interesting baseball history.  Hank Aaron played his first professional baseball game in Eau Claire when the Milwaukee Braves had a farm team there in the 50's.  The center of Eau Claire baseball is Carson Park, the baseball stadium located in the town's largest park in the middle of town.  Back in March, I stopped by the park to get some photos of the old building and see the newly installed Eau Claire Baseball Hall of Fame.


Baseball as been played at Carson Park since 1935 and is currently home to the Eau Claire Express of the Northwoods League.  There most notable former player is Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.


In 1994, the city built a statue to commemorate Hank's first professional game in Eau Claire.  They went with the younger looking Hank as he would have been when he played in Eau Claire rather than the 755 home run hitting Hank that we all think of in our minds.


Along with Hammerin' Hank's statue, they also have a series of plaques that honor each of the region's baseball legends.  Here are a few of my favorites.

First and foremost being my all-time favorite, Andy Pafko


Tom Poquette played for the Royals and was included in Fred Lynn's 1975 rookie card.  In the 1977 set, Topps even gave him the Topps All-Star Rookie Cup award


Vic Johnson is another local player that made it to the majors with the Red Sox and Indians in the 40's.  Unfortunately, he doesn't have any baseball cards that I could obsess over.


Harv Tomter was the long time coach of the Eau Claire Cavs which was only semi-professional team in Eau Claire for decades before the Express came along.  I've got his autograph on my Cavs programs through the years.  


1 comment:

Jason Christopherson said...

Wait, you were in town and didn't say hello? I think I could have scored you a complete stadium tour for this kind of coverage. :)

Don't hate me, but I didn't immediately vote for Andy Pafko for the ECBBHOF. I had my own candidate who was involved in Eau Claire baseball for over 50 years. I felt that should have more weight than someone who played here 20 games and hit .200. I changed my mind, though, because Andy is such a nice guy.