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Cape Baseball League Hall of Fame to Add Eight Members

06/05/2011 6:48 PM

Article By: John Garner Jr.

Cape Baseball League Hall of Fame to Add Eight Members 
In Ceremony Saturday, Nov. 19, at Chatham Bars Inn
Lowell, Wedge, Bush, Kamieniecki, Smith Give 12th Induction Class MLB Flavor

WEST YARMOUTH, Mass. – Eight men, including a present-day Texas Rangers pitcher and a World Series MVP for the Boston Red Sox, will comprise the 12th Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame class, scheduled for induction on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Mass. Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Jim Higgins made the announcement Sunday, June 5, during the league’s annual First Pitch Brunch at the 99 Restaurant here. 

     Two former Chatham players head the list, which brings total membership in the Cape League Hall of Fame to 116. Five inductees used their time in the Cape League as a springboard to the major leagues, including one who is currently pitching for Texas.

     Inductees include former Boston Red Sox third baseman and 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell (Chatham, 1994), former Red Sox catcher and current Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge (Yarmouth-Dennis, 1988), former major league hurler Scott Kamieniecki (Harwich, 1984), former MLB outfielder Mark Smith (Wareham, 1990) and Rangers pitcher David Bush (Chatham, 2000-01). 

     Also slated for induction are league batting champions Paul O’Neil (Cotuit, 1974 & 1975) and power-hitting first baseman Doug Fisher (Falmouth, 1984 & 1985) and two-time outstanding pitcher Bill Wissler (Bourne, 1990 & 1991). 

     In alphabetical order, here is the Class of 2011: 

David Bush (Chatham, 2000 & 2001) 
     The hard-throwing Wake Forest right-hander posted impressive-back-to-back seasons in the A’s bullpen, posting a 0-1 record with a league-leading 11 saves and 0.84 ERA in 2000 and returning with a 1-1 mark, a microscopic 0.34 ERA and one save in ’01. A native of Berwyn, Pa., Bush was drafted by Toronto in the second round in 2002 and played two seasons with the Blue Jays, compiling a 10-14 record with a 4.15 ERA, before being traded to Milwaukee, where he pitched from 2006-2010. He signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers during the offseason.

Doug Fisher (Falmouth, 1984 & 1985)
     “It’s about time,” said one longtime CCBL observer when told that this Commodore first baseman had been elected to the league’s Hall of Fame. Fisher, out of Central Michigan, put together one of the most spectacular seasons in modern-era league history in 1984 as he tied the RBI record (54) while also leading the league in total bases (119) and extra-base hits (31). He was second in slugging percentage (.692) and home runs (14) and tied for second in hits (60) and doubles (17) while batting .349 and earning All-League honors. In 1984, Fisher used an aluminum bat, but when the league switched to wood in 1985 he saw his offensive production dip a bit. Nevertheless, he was voted to the CCBL’s 1980s All-Decade Team and was drafted in the 17th round (420 overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. The Bridgeport High School product was named to Central Michigan’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Scott Kamieniecki (Harwich, 1984) 
     The University of Michigan pitcher produced a 4-1 record and a 2.14 ERA with the Mariners in 1984, the last year the CCBL permitted the use of aluminum bats, which produced better offensive numbers for most players. The Mount Clemens, Mich., native appeared in nine games, including eight starts, three complete games and one shutout. He struck out 54 batters in 67.1 innings pitched and was named to the CCBL All-Star Team. Scott was drafted in the 14th round by the Yankees in 1986 and pitched 10 seasons in the major leagues with New York, Baltimore, Cleveland and Atlanta.

Mike Lowell (Chatham, 1994)
     A .307 hitter with a fifth-in-the-league total of 51 hits, this Florida International product was a standout performer in 1994 on an also-ran Chatham team that finished nine games under .500 and 10-1/2 games out of first place. A fine defensive second baseman, Mike was chosen for the CCBL All-Star Team, showing the potential that prompted the Yankees to make him their 20th-round draft choice the following spring. After three impressive minor league seasons, Mike was called up by New York in September 1998, beginning a 13-year MLB career, the last five as the Red Sox’s regular third baseman. Mike made four All-Star teams and was the 2007 World Series MVP. He also was the Sox’s MVP and Good Guy Award winner that year. Mike is a native of San Juan, PR. 

Paul O’Neil (Cotuit, 1974 & 1975)
     The hard-hitting third baseman from Boston College led the Kettleers to back-to-back CCBL titles in 1974 and ’75. After struggling at the plate during his initial season on the Cape, O’Neil won the Pat Sorenti MVP Award the following summer as he captured the batting title with a .358 average, added five home runs and 22 RBI and was named to the All-Star Game and final All-League Team. O’Neil also produced a .511 slugging percentage and stole nine bases in ’75. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres.

Mark E. Smith (Wareham, 1990)
     The sweet-swinging, right-handed hitting outfielder from Southern Cal became the last player in the Cape League to hit over .400 when he finished the 1990 season by capturing the batting title with a .408 average. His six homers, 14 doubles and 33 RBI also earned him league MVP honors and he led the Gatemen to the CCBL championship game against Y-D. The Pasadena, Calif., native signed with the Orioles after making him a first-round pick in the 1991 amateur draft. Smith played from 1994 to 2003 in the major leagues, with a .243 career batting average for the Orioles, Pirates, Marlins, Expos and Brewers. In 2001, Smith received the Steve Palermo Award for heroism, after rescuing a man from a car crash.

Eric Wedge (Yarmouth-Dennis, 1988)
     Currently managing the Seattle Mariners, this former Wichita State catcher originally entered professional baseball as a Boston Red Sox draft choice. Wedge was chosen by the Red Sox in the third round in 1989 after an impressive 1988 campaign with Yarmouth-Dennis. He hit .279, was a defensive standout and was chosen for the final All-League Team. After the CCBL campaign concluded, the Fort Wayne, Ind., product helped an all-star team from the Cape League win the Summer Collegiate League Shootout, a four-team tournament held at the now-defunct Boardwalk & Baseball complex near Orlando, Fla. In an 11-1 blowout of the Central Illinois Collegiate League, Wedge had four hits and three RBI to lead the Cape squad into the finals. Wedge was elected to the Wichita State Shockers Hall of Fame in 1999, 10 years after earning first-team All-America honors and being named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year for hitting .380 with 23 homers and 99 RBI and setting an NCAA record by walking 88 times. 

Bill Wissler (Bourne, 1990 & 1991)
     The tall right-handed hurler from the University of Pennsylvania became only the fourth pitcher in Cape League history to win the B.F.C. Whitehouse Outstanding Pitcher Award in successive seasons. He went 8-2 with a 1.56 ERA for the Braves in 1990, when he tied for the league lead in wins and games started (11), and following with a 6-4 mark and a 1.96 ERA in ’91, when he led the league in innings pitched (92), complete games (7) and shutouts (3). He is the last CCBL pitcher to throw more than 90 innings in a season. The Harrisburg, Pa., native signed with Minnesota in 1992 and played four seasons in the Twins’ organization, posting a 25-30 record. 

Photos are available on the Cape League website

John Garner, Jr.
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