Six inducted to Hall of Fame

Posted on Sep 19, 2011

Six dedicated baseball men were inducted into the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday night, September 17, 2011. Duane Gaulke, Terry Geiser, Don Goracke, John Hanowski, Ken Kuck and Wendell Stuewe all talked of the relationships and great satisfaction that have come from a lifetime of baseball involvement.

Gaulke summed it all up when he told the overflow audience of more than 400 what his mother always said. “The only game that means much to me is amateur baseball,” she said. You can keep your professional baseball, I want to see the locals play.”

Terry Geiser knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep it together emotionally, so he had his son, Cody, give his speech. Cody told of how his father was still producing and batting leadoff at 41. He hit a home run to lead off Bluffton’s first game in the 1995 State Tournament. He also hit a double in his last at-bat at age 56. “At Bluffton, things are done the right way—Dad is proud of that,” said Cody.

Goracke and Hanowski both talked of the friendships and experiences over the years. Goracke telling of the time commitments that baseball takes, commented to his wife, Shirley, that “this is going to count as a night out this year.” Hanowski said that he hadn’t realized “how great an honor it was (to be inducted into the HOF) until I heard other speakers tonight.”

Wendell Stuewe said that kids came from town almost every day to play on his farm baseball field as he was growing up. He has been the treasurer for the Hamburg Hawks since he hung up his spikes in 1971. He also has been responsible for loads of improvements at the Hamburg ballpark. He told of the Twin’s commercial featuring “Dreams of Town Ball.” “I hope I contributed to those dreams,” he concluded.

Ken Kuck of New Ulm explained that “I loved baseball all my life and this is the climax of it all.” He told of playing a State game in Alexandria and how his dad travelled up to watch the game. His dad didn’t travel much from Searles and the Alex trip was a big deal. Ken got a couple of hits and after the game his dad looked at him with pride and just said, “Let’s have a beer.”

“If my dad was here tonight, he’d say ‘let’s have a beer,’ ” said Kuck.

The Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary at their next banquet on Sept. 15, 2012 in St. Cloud, which is also the site of the 2012 Class B-C State Amateur Baseball Tournaments.

For more information on The Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, or to nominate someone in your community for next year’s induction ceremony, go online to www.mnamateurbaseballhof.com.

Click here for more pictures of Hall of Fame night.

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