Tom Forsterling came to play.
He could pitch. He could throw hard. He struck people out. He had good numbers.
And like brother Fred, he was competitive. Indeed. He was a battler, a bulldog.
He has Hall of Fame numbers and it was those numbers that got him nominated for the Sheboygan A’s Hall of Fame. But it was the recollection of his fiery nature, his “give me the ball,” “fourth and goal” mentality that assured his election was imminent.
The A’s Hall of Fame Committee elected Forsterling to become the 29th member of the club’s Hall of Fame. He will be inducted next summer at a game of his choice. When inducted he will become half of the first brother combination in the hall. Brother Fred Forsterling, a four-time Most Valuable Pitcher, joined the Hall of Fame in 2004.
Tom Forsterling pitched for the A’s for seven years, joining the club following the completion of his 1976 Legion season. He won 31 games for the A’s and posted 373 strikeouts in 489 innings.
He was the first A’s pitcher to post 100 strikeouts in a season, getting 110 in 1977. He followed that with 101 in 1978. That wouldn’t happen again until Tom Eckhardt got 120 in 1988. In the 55 years of A’s baseball, Forsterling, Eckhardt, Brian Binversie, Jason Bunton, Michael Casper and Brandon Magee are the only A’s pitchers who have K’d 100 or more in a season.
His best strikeout night was 16 against Appleton in a 15-3 win in 1978.
He is ranked in the top 10 in just about every one-season and career pitching category. He won the club’s Most Valuable Pitcher award twice, 1977 and 1982; led the club in wins three times; in appearances, innings pitched and strikeouts twice and in earned run average once.
His value to the team is illustrated by a Sunday in Madison in 1978. Madison went 22-3 that year to win the league title. He was the only pitcher the A’s had left on that Sunday and took the ball for both games – the first against Clyde Carpenter who won the ERA title that year and the second against George O’Brien who went 5-0 that year. The A’s managed only five hits in the first game (Gene Mand got three of them), one in the second (Brian Free got it), and they made six errors in the doubleheader. Still, Forsterling kept his team in both games, but took two losses that day, 7-4, and 5-1.
“Those are the things you remember about Tom Forsterling,” A’s general manager Denny Moyer said. “Those losses might be in the record book, but Tom is in the Hall of Fame.”
One of many talented Sheboygan kids who missed the opportunity to compete in high school baseball, UW Parkside liked what they saw of the Sheboygan Legion player and offered him a scholarship. He won his first collegiate game on his birthday, beating ranked Georgia Valdosta State 4-1. He left Parkside for Mesa Community College but found the competition extremely fierce at the Arizona State “feeder” juco.
Forsterling got into Superbike racing late in his A’s career and had a severe crash in a national race at Daytona. The resulting broken socket and shoulder blade ended his pitching career.
He now resides in Random Lake with his wife, Chris. Their daughter Jackie, son-in-law Patrick Guenther and grandchildren Alayna, Landen and Aiden reside in Sun Prairie.
He is employed at Watry Industries as a Power Coating Technical Sales Manager. He is also a self-employed professional photographer.
“Every year you wonder if they will consider you,” he said. “I really appreciate it and I am especially happy to be in the Hall of Fame with my brother Fred. We were fortunate to inherit our father’s talent.”
Their father is Roger Forsterling, who in 1948 signed with the Sheboygan Indians, a Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate.
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