Al Albert Elected to Wisconsin State League Hall of Fame
Posted: January 14, 2020
Sheboygan A’s stalwart outfielder Al Albert, who led the Wisconsin State Baseball League in hitting with a robust .470 average in 1987, was elected to the League’s Hall of Fame.
Albert and the others in the class of 2019 will be inducted on January 25 when the league’s annual awards dinner will be held at Sheboygan’s Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center.
The others elected were Tom Bennett of Madison, Mike Brooks of Janesville, Mike Ruechel of Green Bay and Steve Ryder of Addison.
Albert joined the A’s in 1985 and made an immediate impact. He hit .338 that year, followed it with an even .300 the next year and then tore up the league in 1987 with his .470 league-leading average.
He finished with a .312 career average which ranks 22nd all-time among State League players with .700 or more plate appearances.
Albert’s close friend and teammate Gene Mand, who holds just about every Sheboygan A’s and Wisconsin State League career hitting record, will present Albert at the dinner.
Albert is the 14th Sheboygan A’s player to be picked for the hall. Others are: Mand, Denny Moyer, Lee Wetenkamp, Randy Wilke, Chuck Zeichert, Dave Gehr, Michael Casper, Tom Eckhardt, Tom Gardner, Jason Bartelt, Dave Kober, Bob Sauger and Clay Schwartz.
Bennett was a player and manager for the Madison Leske Supper Club and Howard Johnson franchises from 1973 through 1978.
Manager of the Year in 1974 and 1978, he piloted Madison to divisional titles in 1973, 1974 and a league title in 1978. An accomplished infielder, Bennett finished his 7-year playing career with a .296 batting average, .952 fielding percentage and as a “help-out” pitcher, he was 4-0 with a 0.84 earned run average.
An infielder for the Janesville Aces, Brooks finished his 6-season career with a .315 batting average and .946 fielding percentage. He was a key player in Janesville’s championship teams of 1989 and 1990 and was the league’s co-MVP (along with teammate Tom Imhoff) in 1990. His best years were his .379 season in 1988 and his .373 year in 1990.
Always a long ball threat, Ruechel hit .348 with a .702 slugging percentage and a rousing 1.124 career OPS, helping Green Bay to championships in 1985, 1989 and 1992. He was named to the league’s initial all-league team in 1989 when he had his best year for average, .393. His career .348 average ranks him 24th all-time among players with 400 or more plate appearance and his 32 career home runs rank him 10th overall.
The fleet Ryder was a mainstay at the top of the Addison Braves’ line-up for eight seasons and finished with a career .420 on base percentage and 78 stolen bases, third on the all-time list. He won the league batting title with a .419 average in 2002 and stole 21 bases that year. He finished his career with a .312 average. He was an all-league selection in 2002 and again in 2003.
The five new Hall of Famers will be inducted at the league’s annual awards dinner on Saturday, Jan. 25 (reception 4:30 p.m., dinner 6 p.m.) at Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sheboygan. It is open to public; cost is $30. Reservations should be sent to Wisconsin State Baseball League, P. O. Box 32, Sheboygan, WI 53082 and must include check and names of all attendees. Deadline is January 18.
The Sheboygan A's are members of the Wisconsin State League and Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League. The A's have helped develop more than 43 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.