Door County League baseball has a special place in peninsula culture, with roots dating back to the late 1800s. In this special section of the Pulse we celebrate the league, its great players and its history as its annual All-Star game approaches.
Though statistics are hard to come by, we did track down most of the leagues champions, leading hitters, and greatest pitchers dating as far back as 1951 with the generous help of league secretary/treasurer Jocko Rader.
We also assembled a panel of 10, longtime, league observers to create a list of the league’s all-time greats. It was no easy task – there’s no film, few stats, and little documentation pre-1951 – and for their sake, we’ve kept our survey participants anonymous. Certainly some deserving players have been omitted, especially those whose days came before our panelists memories were made, and there’s no way to fit all that history on just four pages. (Editor’s Note: Harold “Lefty” Johnson, the legendary Washington Island pitcher, was inadvertently left off the list of other players receiving mention for our all-time team, but was certainly deserving of mention.)
But here we give a nod to many of the men who made the league what it is, a Door County tradition. Give it a look, make your own list, or start an argument.
Pitcher: Mark Woerfel
This was easy. Forty years of dominance, drawers full of championships for Woerfel.
Catcher: Mark Sawyer
One of several Sawyers to make their mark in the league, Mark earned the nod over Dean DeFere and brother John Sawyer.
First Base: Bob VanDuyse
Second Base: Dennis Krishka
A member of some early great Sister Bay teams, Krishka was a storied Gibraltar High School athlete before moving on to coach college basketball in Minnesota.
Shortstop: Steve Ehlers
3rd Base: Bud Schopf
Outfield: Chuck Kroll, John Geitner, Roy “Decker” Woldt
We had never heard about Roy Woldt, but several old timers swore by his greatness, so we checked him out. The old-timers were right – he’s a legend.
Manager: Dick Staver
Tough to match the run he had as manager of the Sister Bay Bays dynasty in the 1980s and ’90s.