Make-up event will feature 2017 and ’18 classes, softball game honoring area emergency personnel

The Burlington Baseball Hall of Fame Committee poses at Beaumont Field in 2013. The annual summer event started in 2010 and recognizes the best baseball players with Burlington ties. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

After last year’s devastating flood wiped out just about everything in Burlington, one local sports tradition is back.

The Burlington Baseball Hall of Fame will hold its seventh annual induction ceremony Sunday, July 8 at 2:45 p.m. at Beaumont Field in downtown Burlington.

Last July, the baseball diamond resembled a lake for the mid-summer tradition, after more than 8 inches of rain fell in 12 hours and rose the Fox River to record levels.

The ceremony will be held immediately following the Burlington Barons vs. East Troy Express Land O’Lakes game, which will begin at noon.

In addition to this year’s ceremony, the committee will also hold the 2017 Hall of Fame         Induction.

The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees are Ken Busch, Aaron DeGrave, Joe Milroy, and Tom Uhen.

Their biographies were printed last year and will be featured in this year’s fan program on the day of the ceremony.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees are Mike Smetana and Dave Tymus.

In addition to the Hall of Fame ceremony, the Committee would like to include a short program honoring the City and Town of Burlington fire departments, the Burlington Rescue Squad, any city EMT’s, the Burlington Police Department, the Racine County Sheriff’s Department and the Burlington Department of Public Works employees, all of which protected our city during the flooding issues       last year.

Immediately following the short tribute ceremony, there will be a three-inning slow-pitch softball game pitting people from the aforementioned agencies.

The concession stand will be open and will serve food, soda, Gatorade, popcorn, beer and candy.

“All ages are welcome,” said Burlington Baseball HOF Committee Chairman Bill Milatz. “We hope to see the community well-represented.”

 

Mike Smetana

Mike was born and raised in Burlington where he began playing baseball with other neighborhood kids in the town’s “sandlots,” or neighborhood ball diamonds that featured pick-up games.

Mike’s first opportunity to play organized baseball on a team was in the Lyons/Springfield area Pony League prior to entering high school.

Smetana attended and graduated from St. Mary’s Grade School and High School ( which is now Catholic Central High School), playing high school basketball and baseball.

After graduating from high school in 1962, Mike played amateur baseball with the Burlington Merchants from 1962 thru 1969, dazzling at second base and shortstop.

After completing his amateur baseball career in 1969, Mike continued playing in recreational softball and basketball leagues through 1972.

Mike played recreational softball for Hap and Beanie’s in downtown Burlington and for Towne & Country Lanes. His recreational basketball days were played with Hap and Beanie’s and Citgo Gas, which was located across from what is now Bubba’s Brickyard.

Mike continued his love and passion for baseball and softball by becoming a certified umpire in both sports in the local area.

Smetana continued his love for sports by becoming a coach in the basketball program for 30 years at St. Mary’s and Catholic Central High School, with a four-year stint as head basketball coach.

In addition to his coaching career at St. Mary’s High School, Mike was a member of the St. Mary’s Athletic Association. Mike and his best friend, John Weithaus, ran a Men’s Slow-Pitch Softball tournament for 11 years.

Mike and John also started the St. Mary’s Athletic Association golf outing, which is still being held today.

Smetana started his employment career in the grocery business working at Sentry and National Tea Foods. He then worked for 30 years at the United Parcel Service before retiring.

Now, Mike enjoys spending time with his family, especially his eight grandchildren.

Mike works part-time at Grand Geneva and Geneva National Golf Courses and is never too far away from a sporting event as he attends grade school, high school, college, and pro baseball, softball, basketball and football. He recently returned from the NCAA College World Series in Omaha.

Mike married Dianne Wolf in 1965. They have three daughters, Michelle, Lisa, and Sara.

Dave Tymus           

Dave was born and raised in Waterford and graduated from Waterford High School in 1960. He received 10 letters while in high school, playing football, basketball, and baseball.

After high school, he turned down at least eight offers from Major League teams to sign a major league contract, which in those days were called “ bonus babies.”

While rejecting these Major League offers, Dave was offered an athletic scholarship to play football and baseball at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He chose Wisconsin over offers from Iowa State and the Air Force Academy.

While at Wisconsin, Dave sustained a serious back and shoulder injury playing on the Badgers freshman team.

Due to these injuries, Dave could play football or baseball while rehabbing these injuries. He could not pitch, but in 1962 he played first base for the Badgers.

Dave was on the 1962 Wisconsin football team as a reserve quarterback, and that team won the Big 10 Championship and the 1963 Rose Bowl Championship.

Tymus continued his Badger baseball career, obtaining a letter at UW in baseball in 1962, 1963, and 1964. He was the Captain of the Badger baseball team in 1964 and started at first base when not pitching.

He carried a career batting average of .315 and led the Big 10 in fielding in 1962 as a first baseman.

He was the No. 2 pitcher for UW in 1963 and the ace in 1964. His career highlight of five shutouts is high on his list of Badger accomplishments.

Also, Tymus has the fourth-lowest ERA in Badger baseball history.

As an amateur baseball player in 1960, a 17-year-old Tymus pitched for the West Allis Highway Beers, who won the Semi-Pro Baseball Championship at Milwaukee County Stadium, the former home stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers.

During the summers after 1960, Dave played for the Burlington Merchants. The Merchants played in a Semi-Pro tournament back in those days, defeating teams from Twin Lakes and Kenosha to advance to the State Semi-Pro tournament again at Milwaukee County Stadium.

Shortly after his college career ended, the football injury returned and forced the end of his baseball playing career.

Dave endured one shoulder and four back surgeries, which ended his playing days.

Tymus retired in 2002 after 36 years in education, highlighted by eight years as the head football coach at Whitnall High School and high school administrator at four different school districts, the last as District Administrator in Reedsville.

Dave and his wife now reside in Greenleaf, Wis. He is the proud parent of son Nick and daughter Traci, and he has four fantastic grandchildren.

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