November 14, 2012 - Midwest League (MWL) - Cedar Rapids Kernels
Cedar Rapids, IA - Five individuals have been selected for induction into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame at the 17th Annual Hot Stove Banquet on Thursday, January 17, 2013. They are Alex Monchak, Pat Harmon, Casey Kotchman, Trevor Hoffman and Jim Curran.
Alex Monchak managed the 1958 Cedar Rapids Braves to a 77-53 record and a Three-I League Championship. He returned to manage the Braves in 1959 and the team finished with a 53-73 record. Monchak is the ninth oldest living Major League player (born March 5, 1917, age 95), playing 19 games with the 1940 Philadelphia Phillies and seeing his Major League playing career cut short due to military service in World War II and an injury in 1947. He continued to play and mange in the minors through 1962 and served as a scout and instructor with the California Angels (1962-70) and coached under Chuck Tanner with the White Sox, Athletics, Pirates and Braves through 1988, and was a member of the 1979 Pittsburg Pirates World Series team.
Pat Harmon worked as a writer for the Cedar Rapids Gazette from 1947-51. He was instrumental in getting professional baseball re-established in Cedar Rapids after World War II when the minor leagues resumed play in 1949. Harmon began his career in 1933 covering events at age 17 for the Freeport (Ill.) Journal Standard during the Depression era. He would hitchhike to games, sleep on wrestling mats in gyms of teams he covered, and break into the food lines of teams. He later found a home in Cincinnati and served as a sports editor and columnist for the Cincinnati Post for over 34 years, starting in 1951. After retiring in 1986, he started his 20-year tenure as historian of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. Born in 1916, he is the father of 11 children and retired as the NFF Historian in 2005.
Casey Kotchman played for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2002, batting .281 with five HR and 50 RBI in 81 games. He was the first round selection (13th overall) of the Anaheim Angels in 2001 and in nine Major League seasons, he has a career .262 average with 71 HR and 387 RBI. He made his MLB debut on May 9, 2004 with the Angels and has played for Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Cleveland and is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Trevor Hoffman retired from the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 as Major League Baseball's all-time save leader with 601. He was originally drafted by Cincinnati in the 11th round of the 1989 Free Agent Draft and pitched for the Cedar Rapids Reds in 1991, making 27 appearances with a 1-1 record, 1.87 ERA and 12 saves before being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga in July, 1991. He made his MLB debut on April 6, 1993 with the Florida Marlins and was a six time All-Star (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2007). He led the National League twice in saves with 53 in 1998 and 46 in 2006 and appeared in four post-season series including the 2006 World Series. He is second all-time in games finished (856) and saves (601) and is currently a Special Assistant to the President for the San Diego Padres.
Jim Curran is the son of legendary groundskeeper, Bud Curran, and grew up working around Old Veterans Memorial Stadium as a member of his father's grounds crew. He is a member of the Cedar Rapids Ball Club's Board of Directors and still works on game days on the current grounds crew on Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Jim is instrumental in the day-to-day maintenance of the current stadium after his retirement from the City of Cedar Rapids. His sister, Nancy Cram, handled the souvenir store duties in both stadiums. Jim resides in Cedar Rapids and has two daughters, Jamie and Marsha, and six grandchildren.
The 17th Annual Hot Stove Banquet will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2013, starting at 5:30 pm at the Cedar Rapids Marriott Hotel and features: a silent auction; the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan (players TBA); and dinner. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Corporate tables of ten are available for $275. Tickets will go on sale Monday, November 26 and are available by calling (319) 363-3887, in person at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, or on-line at www.kernels.com .
The mission of the Cedar Rapids Ball Club Hall of Fame is to honor those individuals who, through extraordinary personal effort, have furthered the existence, quality or preservation of professional baseball in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Hall of Fame is located in the Bimm Ridder Diamond Shop and a Hall of Fame Timeline is located on the suite level at Veterans Memorial Stadium and is open during all Kernel home games, normal store hours, or by special appointment.