"Hall of Fame" Capsules
An outstanding class of inductees in 2023 including two former major league stars will be enshrined in the 2023 edition of the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame. The event will be held in Beatrice on Sunday, November 19 at the Country Cookin" Restaurant, home of the HOF Museum, 8th and Court. (There is construction in the area...beware)DRUM ROLL....SPORTS FANS, YOUR 2023 NEBRASKA BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES ARE:
DARIN ERSTAD (player)
Was one of Nebraska's greatest players EVER. First Team All-American, and the 'First Pick in the First Round of the 1995 MLB Draft" of the Angels. Darin crafted a 14 year MLB career,, predominantly with the Angels, plus the White Sox, and Houston. His amazing career was shortened only by injuries caused by always playing with reckless abandon. He was a two time All-Star and received votes to be inducted in the Cooperstown Baseball HOF. Darin was a hero in the Angels 2002 World Series Championship year, and had a season for the ages in 2000. He smashed out 240 hits, banged 25 homers, and knocked in 100 runs, all while batting lead off. He was the only player in MLB history to win Gold Gloves from 2 different positions. Who does that? Out of the 20,533 players as of 10/11/2023 who have played MLB, yes there was only one...Darin Charles Erstad.
BRIAN DUENSING (player)
Brian enjoyed an outstanding high school career at Millard South garnering All-State honors his junior and senior years. .He was on his way to being one of the Huskers most dominating left handed pitchers ever after a strong freshman year and dominating during the early part of his sophomore year, when an elbow injury reared its ugly head. He had pitched in 3 games winning all 3 with a 2.42 ERA and had started the 4th when the injury occurred. The rehab failed, and Tommy John Surgery required him to miss his entire junior season. His 2005 season was a sparkling 8-0 campaign earning him a 3rd round draft pick by the Twins and a 10 year MLB career. (7 with the Twins,1 with the Orioles, and 2 with the Cubs) .He was 10-3 in 2010 with a .2.62 ERA, and finished his career with a positive 46-38 W/L record, a 55 win %, and a solid .4.19 ERA.
RENEE BRINKMANN (player)
PONCA, Univ.of Nebraska Administrative Assistant/ Office Manager for 0ver 40 years. During these 40 years she has been the backbone of the administrative part of the program serving 4 different head coaches. Renee received an Associates Degree from the Lincoln School of Commerce in 1983. Since then, she has been managing day to day office operations, involved with complicated and evolving travel arrangements, and coordinating for the Nebraska Baseball Academy. Perhaps her most important job has been providing TLC for the hundreds of players that have matriculated through the program during all these years as their mother (and now grandmother) away from home. Many have found a sympathetic ear and soothing advice from her. Some received a stern talking to when required. What she received in return was love and respect.
BRUCE REED (player)
Nebraska Wesleyan. Lincoln. Bruce began his career at Lincoln Northeast where he was a standout Legion player for Judd Brothers. Among other honors he was first team all state in 1976. At Wesleyan he was first team ALL CONFERENCE in 1976, 7, 8 and 9. Bruce also was named to the Division 3 District 5 first team during those same years. He graduated with 127 hits, 98 RBI's, and a .357 average. Bruce's Semi-Pro career ranged from 1977 until 1991 and included many teams including Owens Mobile (.442 average 1977),Johnny's (Leading Hitter in State Runner up and NBC Tourney Participant in 1978), He played in the Cornhusker League with the York Flyers in !979,1980, (The League Champs), and 1981. He played in the Independent League in 1982 with Waverly Falstaff and Lincoln Falstaff in '83, an All-Star selection both years.
JOHN BACUS (umpire)
Elkhorn, Umpire. John "touched all the bases" to become a great umpire. He was a good all-around athlete, playing football (All-State), basketball, and baseball in high school, and football and basketball for Kearney State University in college. He became a legendary football and basketball coach at Elkhorn HS, and surely coached baseball at some level during his illustrious career. Moreover, John was awarded NATIONAL HONORS for his teaching abilities. at Elkhorn HS. He has umpired baseball (and still does) for the past 51 years at levels ranging from Little League to D1. The proofs of his competence in umpiring are: 1.He is in constant demand. 2. There has been scant controversy regarding his work and demeanor over the years (he makes the game about the game, not himself). 3. He has a fervent love for his umpiring profession.
RICH SHEFTE (player)
Bellevue, UNO, Rich was proclaimed by many to be the best defensive shortstop in the history of UNO baseball, possessing a rocket arm, catlike movements, and quick hands. Shortstops aren't always great hitters, not so with Rich. He banged out a .447 career batting average for the Bob Gates' team and led in 5 offensive career categories. In 1978 he made the Alaskan League All-Star team, a top Collegiate Summer League. 1979 proved full of honors for Rich. He was named UNO athlete of the year, was First Team Division II All-American, and First Team McDonalds All-American. He was rewarded for his baseball skill by being selected in the 6th round of the 1979 Major League Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Rich then began a promising Professional Career with the Twins. Unfortunately, a potential Major League gig was lost due to injury.
JIM BOEVE (player)
Hastings, Hastings College: Jim could have been selected as a player or a manager. He was consistently named to All-State Semi-Pro Team Selections during his playing and player/coaching days. Jim played and starred in many Semi-Pro Tournaments. His 24 year Head Coach career at Hastings College won the toss. during his tenure from 1989-2013 Jim guided the Broncos to seven7 NIAC/GPAC Conference Championships, two NIAC/GPAC Tournament Championships and earned the respect and admiration of his peers across the nation. Boeve was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2010 for meritorious service to collegiate baseball. In 2012 he received the Robert E. Smith Achievement Award from the NAIA for his meritorious service to college baseball. There is no doubt that Jim Boeve deserves his picture on the wall of the HOF.
The doors will open just after 3pm for social hour in the Museum area which is in the lower level. (Enter through the north door under the HOF canopy, then proceed on through the restaurant) It will be necessary to navigate stairs to get to the banquet level, later, but fear not. Means will be provided to transport anyone needing assistance 'to and from' the various levels without any problems. Normally there are two cocktail bars available, provided for by the restaurant owner, to enhance the social experience. The social hour in the Museum area from 3pm to just prior to the meal and program beginning at 5pm has been highly successful in recent years. It allows new inductees, their fans and relatives the opportunity to view the Museum, see the "New Inductees" photos on the wall, visit, and take photos of their own. Also, it brings forth a host of 'Old Timers', many with wonderful memories in their hearts remembering those days of yore with the other old players/teammates they hardly recognize at first. Smiles, laughter, stories, and a few embellishments (perfectly acceptable), hugs, and some tears define the atmosphere. Yes, baseball runs deep in one's soul. (It's estimated 15-20% of the crowd attend for this reason.) Autographs from Darin and Brian should be available during the 'time envelope', after 4pm.and before the 5pm meal/event. The HOF will have baseballs or you can bring your own items. Reasonable charges (yet to be determined) will be administered for the baseballs and autographs, with the proceeds going directly to the HOF to cover our costs to rent the event center and other miscellaneous service charges. This year will feature another well balanced, delicious, multi choice, buffet meal. Unfortunately, the inflation curse that has crossed our nation over the past few years has bumped our prices up some. The costs for Adults is $ 35 per person and for HS students and under, $20 per person. It would be important to get your orders in early. For the Inductees, we will make every effort to accomodate enough seats on individual tables near the speaker stand for their family and guests. For everyone else, get your orders in early. Buying at the door may or may not be an option. Last year we came close to having to seat some in the rafters...ok, slight exaggeration, but not too far off!