For immediate release: 4 May, 2001
CCBL names class for second Hall of Fame induction
CHATHAM, MA -- The Cape Cod Baseball League, nationally recognized as the premier collegiate baseball league in the nation, has announced the members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2001. Those honored include current major leaguers Darin Erstad, Chuck Knoblauch and Robin Ventura along with former major leaguer Terry Steinbach, former league Commissioner Fred Ebbett and Cape League era standouts Tony Plansky and Cal Burlingame. The induction ceremony will take place on January 19, 2002 at Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham.
Steinbach, a native of Minnesota, played for the Cotuit Kettleers in 1982 and made an immediate impact. The hard-hitting first basemen led the league in hitting at .431 (earning him the Thurman Munson Award) and set the record for hits (75), RBI (54) and doubles (18). Not surprisingly, he was named to the regular and post-season All-Star teams. Steinbach, who is still the league leader in hits and RBI (tie) and is among the leaders in the other categories, went on to play major league ball for the Oakland Athletics and the Minnesota Twins. He was taken in the 9th round by the Athletics in the June '83 draft.
Erstad, who was the first pick overall in the 1995 draft by the Anaheim Angels, played two years for the Falmouth Commodores. A fan favorite, Erstad hit .302 with 11 doubles, 29 RBI (T2nd) and 11 stolen bases in '93. He was even more impressive in his second season when he hit .340 with 3 HR and 22 RBI and was presented with the Pat Sorenti Award as the league's Most Valuable Player.
Ventura came to the Cape via Oklahoma State in 1987. In 40 games for Hyannis, he hit .370 (3rd overall) with a league leading 37 RBI and a .568 slugging percentage. He scored 41 runs (2nd), was third in walks (37) was a year-end All-Star selection and received the Robert A. McNeese Award plaque as the league's Outstanding Pro Prospect. The White Sox drafted him in the first round, 10th overall in 1988. Currently playing for the New York Mets, he came up to the big leagues with the White Sox.
A true workhorse for the Wareham Gatemen in '88, Chuck Knoblauch saw action in 44 games, while leading the league in hitting (.361). During the team's championship season, he had 29 RBI, 38 runs (1st), 23 stolen bases (4th) and 17 doubles (2nd). He was also named to the league's final as well as regular season All-Star teams. That same season, he was named the Tournament MVP at the Boardwalk in Baseball Tournament, which pitted the CCBL against other summer leagues. Knoblauch, recently signed by the Kansas City Royals and a former member of the NY Yankees, was the 25th player taken in the 1989 draft, by the Minnesota Twins.
Representing the best of his time, Tony Plansky was one of those athletes that come along just so often. Born and raised in South Boston, Plansky was named #67 in the Boston Globe's 100 Greatest New England Athletes of the 20th century. In 1928, he played for Hyannis, while at the same time playing for the Giants of the NFL - where he was an All Pro. The next year, he played for the Braves organization where he hit .375, finishing out his major league career with the Phillies in 1930. He returned to the Cape in 1932 when he joined Bourne in its first full year back in the league. From 1933-1939, he was an All-Star each season, led the league in batting one year and was named the league's MVP for one year as well. After his playing days was over, he headed to Williams where he coached track for over 30 years. In 1988 Williams named the track after him. He passed away in 1979 at the age of 78.
Cal Burlingame was a Cape League All-Star in the 50s. During his time in the league he played with Cotuit, the Barnstable Barons, Yarmouth and Orleans. In '54 he was a player on the Orleans' team which traveled to Wichita for the NBC tournament. He could play at any position, but was a standout in the outfield and as a pitcher. In 1946, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox. After his playing days was over, he umpired in the Cape League for six seasons.
Fred Ebbett, who served as commissioner of the Cape league from 1984-1996, was also longtime baseball coach and athletic director of Harwich High School. During his tenure, he was instrumental in league expansion and the switch to wooden bats. The change to wood made the Cape League the only summer league to do so for several years. Prior to his switch to administration, he served as field manager for the Harwich Mariners from 1971-72 and 1975-76. He is currently serving as Executive Director of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball. He was inducted into the Mass. Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1984.
-- Missy Ilg Alaimo, publicist