Class of 2014 Hall of Fame inducted

Posted on Sept. 17, 2014 by CJ Siewert

Four individuals who have dedicated countless hours to the growth and promotion of Minnesota amateur baseball are set to enter the Hall of Fame Saturday.

Ken Bitzan, Mark Forsman, Dan Hoefs and Al “Sam” Stigman make up the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

Ken Bitzan – Parkers Prairie

Ken started playing baseball for the Millersville Millers in 1961 at the age of 13. Ken continued to play baseball for over 45 years. He played in high school, American Legion, town team and in an over 35 league.

Although he was an outstanding player with 98 career home runs, his biggest contributions to amateur baseball came off the field where he served as a league officer, vice president of the baseball association, a manager, an umpire, and helped with field maintenance and provided financial support for the Millerville Summer Recreation program.

Ken was passionate about small town baseball and believed that you won or lost with your own players. Ken was a member of Seven Dolor’s Catholic Church, a fireman for 34 years and Fire Chief for two years. Sadly, Ken became ill with a rare brian tumor and died in 2007.

Mark Forsman – Cokato

Mark started playing town team baseball for the Dassel-Cokato Saints at the age of 18 and became manager at the age of 19. He is still managing today.

During his time as manager, his team has won over 500 games, 12 league championships, 8 region championships with 13 state tournament appearances.

Mark served as a North Star League officer and is currently a member of the State Amateur Baseball Board. He helped in the building of the beautiful Dassel baseball field that hosted the 2005 State Tournament and the upcoming 2016 State Tournament.

Mark is very instrumental in keeping summer baseball alive and well in Dassel-Cokato with teams from preschool to high school. He helps to organize teams, equipment, coaches, umpires, and schedules for the youth baseball teams.

Dan Hoefs – Rochester/Arlington/Gaylord

Hoefs is a native of Gaylord and graduated from GHS in 1975. Dan played in the first ever Lion’s High School All-Star series in 1975. He attended Worthington Community College for one year from 1975-76. He was first team all-state as a pitcher/designated hitter in 1976.

Dan went to the University of Minnesota at Morris and graduated from there in 1979. He was an All-NIC (Northern Intercollegiate Conference) pitcher in both his junior and senior seasons. He led all pitchers with a 1.01 ERA in 1978.

Dan started his amateur baseball career at Gaylord and played there from 1973-79. He played at Arlington from 1980-91 and was inducted into the Arlington A’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

Dan played in 16 state tournaments. He was a drafted pitcher from Gaylord on Arlington’s 1979 state championship team. He was drafted as a pitcher from Arlington on New Ulm Kaiserhoff’s 1980 state championship team. He was a member of Arlington’s 1984 and 1985 back-to-back state championship teams. He was an assistant coach for the Rochester Royals from 200-04 and then the manager from 2005-10. The Royals made the state tournament in all 11 of those years. He managed the Royals to the 2006 Class B state championship.

Dan coached junior high baseball at Arlington-Green Isle from 1981-83. He started the baseball program at Hayfield High School in the late 1980s and coached varsity baseball there for three years. He was an assistant baseball coach at Rochester John Marshall from 199-2005. He has been head coach at Rochester Mayo since 2006. The 2010 and 2013 teams advanced to the Class AAA state tournaments as Section 1AAA champions. Dan coached Mayo’s VFW team from 2009 through 2013 with the 2012 team advancing to the state tournament.

Al “Sam” Stigman – Perham

Al Stigman hails from tiny Nimrod where he and his brothers Dave (Wadena) and Dick (Burnsville, along with a stellar professional career) dominated the pitching mound during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Al played amateur baseball for Nimrod, Calloway, New York Mills, Perham and a stint in the US Army at Stuttgart, Germany. Al led his Perham club to a state championship in 1966 and runner up in 1967; further he played in numerous state tournaments as a draftee. While most of Al’s notoriety is from his dominance on the mound, he was also a feared left-handed batter.

Following the 1966 Class B state title, Al was named the Most Valuable Player in the tournament. The hard throwing south paw continued to play baseball in the senior leagues until 1997 at age 62.

Al and his wife Bev live in Perham and have four children; Lyn, Luan, James and Sam. 

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