As a lifelong resident of Sheboygan and spending the 2015 summer as a communications intern for the Sheboygan A’s, I have made the short trip to Wildwood Baseball Park to watch the A’s play numerous times. I have had the pleasure of playing and interacting with multiple players on the A’s roster. As a member of the Marian University baseball team, I was honored to be able to play for A’s Hall of Famer Jason Bartelt. After an eventful summer with the A’s, I became aware of the rich history of this top-notch program. While sifting through record books and having “baseball talks” with A's General Manager Denny Moyer, I have compiled a list of the four heads that would make-up the Mount Rushmore of Sheboygan A’s baseball. All four of these historic players have cemented themselves in Sheboygan baseball galore and rightfully so with their leadership, athletic ability, and baseball IQ.
Lee Wetenkamp (Hall of Fame Class of 1996)
Wetenkamp was a first-ballot Hall of Famer for the A’s and
for good reason. He was elected as the Wisconsin State League MVP four times
(1981, 1985, 1988 and 1989). In addition, he was named Sheboygan A’s MVP eight
times throughout his 11 year career. Swinging for the fences was a strong suit
for Wetenkamp, he ended his career with 117 HR, 626 RBI and never ended a
season with a batting average lower than .357. One incredible statistic
Wetenkamp holds is his 100 % stolen base percentage. In his career, he stole 53
bases without being caught once.
Wetenkamp was selected in the 1979 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 20th round.
Gene Mand (Hall of Fame Class of 2000)
Gene “The Legend” Mand, had an incredible career, which saw him suit up in an A’s uniform for 25 seasons (1971-1995). Mand and his bat left quite the impression on baseball in Sheboygan. He collected 1,218 career hits, 850 RBI, and 849 runs scored. “The Legend” also added seven Sheboygan A’s Most Valuable Player awards to his name.
In 1985, Mand averaged one home run every 11 at-bats (18
home runs in 203 at-bats).
Randy Wilke (Hall of Fame Class of 2011)
For the better part of 17 seasons, Wilke was a mainstay in
the A’s line-up. He compiled a career batting average of .323 with 122 home
runs, 697 RBI and 939 hits. Following his senior campaign at Sheboygan
North/Legion, Wilke joined the A’s as a full-time player in 1988. In his rookie
year, he started to fill the stat books quickly with four home runs and a .302
batting average in 33 games. Wilke
always showcased his leadership whether it was in his playing days or as a
manager. As the skipper for the 2004 and 2005 seasons, he posted a 64-55
Jason Bartelt (Hall of Fame Class of 2006)
Bartelt lit up the stat book during his five-year career with the A’s and earned Wisconsin State League (WSL) Rookie of the Year in 1997 and was a five-time WSL all-star at shortstop. His career numbers through 275 total games are impressive with 419 hits, 34 home runs, 207 RBI and 113 stolen bases. The most amazing part is in his 1,196 plate appearances, Bartelt only struck out 99 times. In 2000, he had arguably the best single-season statistics in A’s history; in 57 games, he batted .425 with 9 HR, 60 RBI and 28 SB, with numbers like that it is no question that he won the WSL Most Valuable Player award.
What are your thoughts? Who are your top four Sheboygan A’s throughout their history?
The Sheboygan A's are members of the Wisconsin State League and Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League. The A's have helped develop more than 41 players that have reached professional baseball, including 2002 World Series Champion Jarrod Washburn (Anaheim Angels). All Sheboygan A's home games are played at Wildwood Baseball Park in Sheboygan. Connect with the A's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.comments powered by Disqus