Spirit Of Baseball thrives on BRS Induction Day

Spirit Of Baseball thrives on BRS Induction Day

by Kyle Herschelman

Only 10 percent of the players who make it to the smaller leagues continue to play in the big ones. On Saturday, November 13 in Nokomis, seven of the lucky few from Central Illinois were honored for their contributions to the baseball game by the Bottomley-Ruffing-Schalk Baseball Museum.

Jayson Werth, Dennis Werth, Eric Weaver, Stan Royer, Kevin Koslofski, Kevin Seitzer and Ken Oberkfell were introduced as the latest honors to the BRS Museum, along with many years Statens Journal-Register writer Dave Kane, who became the museum’s second media outlet.

“You can tell from all these stories what it meant for them to get to the big leagues,” said University of Illinois play-by-play man Brian Barnhart, who supported the event. “And you can tell what baseball means to central Illinois and this community.”

Kane was the first inmate after the meal served by Milan Catering from Hillsboro and talked about his time covering Nokomis for the Springfield-based newspaper.

“I love baseball, I love small towns and Nokomis is one of my favorite sports towns,” said Kane. “Whether it’s basketball or baseball or football, they supported the Redskins.”

Kane also talked about covering two honorary acquaintances of the museum, Kris Detmers, a native of Weaver and Nokomis, and then having the honor of covering their children as well, Tristan and Nicole Weaver and Reid Detmers. The gradient from Southeast High School thanked his wife, Lori, and children, Tim and Charlotte, who were all present along with Kane’s grandson, and his late wife, Abigail, who he said kept the family going while he was at play throughout the three – more decades of career.

Koslofski, who played in parts of four seasons for Kansas City and Milwaukee, talked about five moments that helped define his professional career: when he was called up, his first game, his biggest moments, when he was sent down and his last fight.

The Decatur-born outfielder said his call came on the heels of a series of eight strikeouts that reached eight straight and caused the destruction of a bat stand in the Omaha Royals dugout. That same night he was called up to the big leagues, and two games later he made his debut and got three hits in his first game.

Koslofski also talked about hitting his first home run by legend Nolan Ryan, his biggest moment, and breaking up in the field at Yankee Stadium in 1996. It was with then-teammate Mike Matheny when he was told he was being sent back to the club. minors. His career was to last another year, where he was a teammate with Kris Detmers in Louisville.

While he is no longer in the professional ranks, Koslofski is still active in the sport as part of the baseball club Decatur Commodores, the travel team of former Nokomis players Reid Detmers and Ryan Janssen.

Olney-born Stan Royer, who now works in the financial industry in St. Louis, told about his journey and how the coaches and friends he met along the way drove him forward and shaped his journey. Royer, who played for St. Louis and Boston for four seasons, also talked about having his father, Harold Royer, who coaches and encourages young athletes to play any sport they can.

“Apart from my beliefs, it’s sports that shaped me as a person,” Royer said. “I encourage children to do all sports. It makes you a better player, but it also makes you a better person. “

Weaver talked about his journey from the Illiopolis and Tri-City High School co-op baseball teams to the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of three teams he played for over three years, along with Seattle and Anaheim.

Not drafted out of high school, Weaver said he was ready to go to Bradley University when given the opportunity to play in a qualifying match for the Junior Olympics in Los Angeles, thanks to his high school coach Bill Lamkey. After what he called the week of his life, Weaver joined the junior Olympic team and met a number of scouts, including those from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who flew his girlfriend (now wife) and mother to South Dakota for the junior Olympics.

After signing with the Dodgers in 1992, Weaver worked his way through the minors before being called in 1998. It was during that time that he said he went from a 17-year-old boy to an adult.

“I’m kidding with the kids that I finally figured out how to pitch as a 21- or 22-year-old,” said Weaver, who now lives in Auburn and gives lessons to players in the area.

Weaver also talked about the call and the lessons he has passed on to his son Tristan, who plays for the baseball team at the University of Cincinnati after stops in Lincoln Land and Indiana State.

“I was lucky enough to play 13 years of professional ball,” said Weaver. “I told him you would never burn a bridge, because you never know who will be able to help in the future.”

Jayson Werth, a former all-star and World Series winner, is the third member of his family to be honored by the BRS Mueseum, along with grandfather Dick Schofield and uncle Dick Schofield, Jr., with stepfather Dennis Werth as the fourth minute later .

Werth and the other honorary visitors visited the museum before the ceremony, and the former Glenwood production was hit by one name in particular: Springfield’s Robin Roberts.

During his time with the Philadelphia Phillies, Werth got the chance to meet Roberts several times, and the hall of famer told stories about playing with Werth’s great-grandfather, Ducky Schofield. The two had played on the same semi-pro team when Roberts was 17 and Schofield was 43.

When Roberts passed away, Werth was in St. Louis with the Phillies. While the family watched the match, Robert’s son predicted that Werth would hit a home run for Roberts, which he did, a three-run shot to help beat the Cardinals.

“We had a real bond. It’s pretty cool to be part of the same club as him,” Werth said of his and Roberts’ connection to the BRS Museum.

“For such a small town to have such a wonderful museum, it’s amazing,” Werth said. “I’m proud of everything I achieved and proud to be here tonight.”

Dennis Werth’s career was a little shorter than his stepson’s, but was not short at special moments when he joined a New York Yankee clubhouse that featured players such as Reggie Jackson, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph and Bucky Dent.

“My first baseball game was three tennis balls and a bat,” Werth said of his humble beginnings in Cornland, his hometown before moving to Mt. Pulaski. “I collected Crane potato chips to get my first baseball glove.”

Werth said some of his best memories are of training Jayson.

“I was a better teacher and mentor than a player,” said Elder Werth. “It was more fun to see his success than my own.”

Barnhart, who spent several years as a commentator in the minor leagues and two years with the Anaheim Angels before returning to the Champaign area to be Illini’s voice, also talked about Oberkfell and Seitzer, who were unable to attend. Saturday.

With the new inductions, the museum now honors more than 120 individuals, all within 60 miles of Nokomis, who have contributed significantly to the game of baseball.

While the crowd of more than 100 walked around afterwards, talked to the inmates and received photos and autographs, it seemed that the words from Koslofski sounded true to all those present.

“Thanks to the BRS Museum for keeping the history of baseball in Central Illinois alive,” Koslofski said.

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