Reusse: Backers going to bat for town-ball hero Driscoll

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2013 - 6:22 AM

Joe Driscoll pitched and hit on more than 100 Minnesota ball fields, from his teenage years until age 50.

hide

Joe Driscoll, amateur baseball legend, shares a laugh in 2001.

Photo: Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There is a campaign afoot to get Joe Driscoll inducted into the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. This would be the equivalent of suggesting there was a campaign afoot to get Bob Gibson inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In other words, most followers of town-team baseball in Minnesota would assume it was unnecessary to campaign to get this honor for a dominant pitcher and outstanding hitter of Driscoll’s long standing.

Sadly, that’s not the way it works with the MAB Hall in St. Cloud.

This was started in 1963 by St. Cloud Sports, Inc. I came to know most of the folks behind St. Cloud Sports. They were energetic and of good intention. They also wrote these guidelines for admission to the MAB Hall:

“The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor those who have dedicated their lives … to keep amateur baseball alive and kicking. Members are not chosen by their statistics as a player, but also by their contributions to the game through volunteerism, fundraising, promotion and general community involvement.”

For a half-century, the hall’s board of directors and its selection committees have taken these words beyond literally — inducting the men who kept baseball going in the small towns of Minnesota, who served as administrators, regional commissioners and on the state baseball board.

The Hall even has been liberal in its induction of sportswriters, including my late pal Mike Augustin. I’m sure it didn’t hurt Augie’s candidacy to have consumed numerous beers back in the 1960s with the movers from St. Cloud Sports, Inc.

What the MAB Hall’s selection committee ignored for 50 years are those whose main contribution to town-team baseball has been as great players. Driscoll pitched and hit on more than 100 Minnesota ball fields, from his teenage years until age 50, and no matter if it was playing for Arlington, or Prior Lake, or Red Wing, or his hometown of LeSueur, Driscoll never failed to keep amateur baseball alive and kicking in that town.

Bill Nelson was inducted into the MAB Hall in 2007. He is most known as a pitcher, a manager and an organizer for the Dundas Dukes. He strongly endorses Driscoll’s candidacy.

“Who has done more to involve people in amateur baseball than Joe Driscoll?” Nelson said. “There isn’t anyone. When Joe’s around, everyone gets involved.”

As it starts a new half-century of existence, the MAB Hall and its selection committee could make friends by taking a new path. Rather than emphasizing administrators, the selectors could start adding outstanding players who showed equal dedication by playing for decades.

The guideline says, “Members are not chosen by their statistics as a player, but also by their contributions to the game …”

There’s a word in there open in interpretation: “also.”

To me, that means you can make it as a great player of long standing, and other involvement is merely an add-on to the résumé.

It would be an overwhelming political mess to induct players who had a meteoric run of 10, 12 years of greatness. But the guys who played for 30 years or more? They were as much contributors as any administrator.

There’s no better place for this change to start than with Driscoll. He was an ace pitcher and a .350-plus hitter. He played for six state champions. He played in 21 consecutive state tournaments (1978-98), either with his town team or as a drafted pitcher.

Joe was the MVP of the 1979 tournament for the mighty Arlington A's. That run to the Class B title started with Driscoll’s winning, bottom-of-the-ninth home run against Maple Lake in the tournament opener.

Jim Bartels, doing play-by-play for KNUJ, then New Ulm’s polka station of the nation, watched Driscoll’s blast leave the yard and bellowed: “Holy-ta-moley.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 6:00 PM
Orlando
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Washington 6:30 PM
Miami
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:30 PM
Detroit
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Ottawa
NY Islanders 6:30 PM
Detroit
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 29 2nd Half
Radford 38
Stillman 6:00 PM
Alabama
Case Western Reserve 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Niagara 6:00 PM
Buffalo
SD Christian 3 1st Half 17:39
UC Santa Barbara 6
Concordia (MI) 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida A&M
Hiwassee 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Kent State
Central Penn College 6:00 PM
Liberty
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
Mercer
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Morehead State
Northern Ariz 6:00 PM
Norfolk State
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
St Marys-CA 0 1st Half 18:55
St Johns 3
Clemson 0 1st Half 20:00
South Carolina 0
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Tennessee
Washington-MD 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Furman 6:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
South Dakota St 6:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 64 2nd Half 1:01
Winthrop 54
Portland State 32 2nd Half 4:19
Princeton 100
UCLA 33 2nd Half 20:00
Samford 30
Mobile 9 2nd Half 20:00
Alabama State 39
Nicholls 20 1st Half 4:15
Texas Tech 32
Toledo 20 1st Half 3:30
Nevada 22
UMass Lowell 12 1st Half 6:43
(13) Duke 37
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
Virginia
McNeese State 6:00 PM
Rice
NJIT 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
(6) North Carolina 6:00 PM
Maine
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Siena 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Longwood 6:00 PM
Clemson
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Florida State
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
La Salle
Canisius 6:00 PM
Michigan
Davidson 6:00 PM
NC State
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Delaware
McMurry 4 1st Half 18:18
Houston Baptist 4
(19) Syracuse 3 1st Half 17:28
(9) Baylor 3
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Austin Peay
(25) DePaul 6:30 PM
(2) Connecticut
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close