Will Madson

Will Madson Selected to Sheboygan A’s Hall of Fame

Posted: May 1, 2024

Will Madson, who overcame odds that would have been insurmountable for even the toughest of the tough, has been elected to the Sheboygan A’s Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, June 29, 2024 between games of the Sheboygan A’s-Addison Braves doubleheader at Wildwood Baseball Park, approximately 6:15 PM.

Highly decorated as a high school pitcher, Madson went on to excel at Carthage College, was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and sent to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was preparing to battle for a spot on the Tigers roster.

That didn’t work out. There was fear for a while that nothing would work out . . . but we are ahead of the story.

The first baseman-pitcher was the conference’s Player of the Year in his senior year at South High School, helping the Redwings to a third-place finish in the State Tournament.

He went on to Carthage College where he:

  • pitched in two College World Series (1995, 1997)
  • posted 22-6 record with four shutouts
  • recorded a Carthage record 235 strikeouts in 222.1 innings
  • was a 2-time All-CCIW selection
  • won Carthage’s Mark A. Larson Pitcher of the Year Award in 1998

He was throwing hard; he was drafted in the 23rd round by the Detroit Tigers; things were going well for Madson.

The summer of 1998 found him in Jamestown, NY, where he continued to put up solid numbers: 55.2 innings, 47 hits, only 17 walks compared to 41 strikeouts. Things, indeed, were going well for Madson, who was now awaiting assignment to the Grand Rapids White Caps, Detroit’s Long A ball club.

Photo: Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

That was where Will Madson’s dream ended.

He was plagued with stomach issues and in the winter of 1998-99 was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Abdominal surgery followed. That, and the loss of 50 pounds, sapped too much strength and endurance and “The Dream” ended.

But not baseball. The game continued for Madson: if he could compete against Crohn’s, he could certainly compete against hitters. And he did. He returned to the A’s on a full time basis in 2002. All he did for Manager Mike Steed was complete nine of 11 starts, rack up a gaudy 12-0 record* with four shutouts** and 82 strikeouts in 79 innings and carved out a 1.69 earned run average.

Arm problems early in his career and of course Crohn’s recovery limited his appearances but he did play parts of 14 seasons with the A’s and ran up a 36-24 record with 11 saves, six shutouts, a 3.89 ERA and 388 strikeouts in 370 innings.

After his bout with Crohn’s, Madison could have been a bitter young man and nobody would have blamed him for turning away from the game, but he didn’t. He continued to passionately embrace the game, signing on with South High School as a coach for 15 years and building two pitching mounds in his backyard so he could share the game with young pictures and teach them how to throw the baseball.

On June 29th, 2024, Madson will become the 36th member of the prestigious Sheboygan A’s Hall of Fame.

“I dreamed of playing at Wildwood as a young kid chasing foul balls and watching Wetenkamp, Gehr, Gardner, Wilke, Eckhardt and Mand, and I felt extremely lucky to play at Wildwood throughout high school, during summers in college and after. But my best memory is coming back here to pitch and having my best year after recovering from surgery and having my best year.”

*12-0 is the club single-season winning percentage record: Geoff Lefeber (12-0, 1.000, in 2000), Will Madson (12-0, 1.000, in 2022).
** 4 is the club single season shutouts record: Bob Sauger (4, 1974), Will Madson (4, 2002), Jared Reklaitis (4, 2022)

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.