Burlington, News

Burlington Baseball to enshrine three new members to Hall of Fame

By Jason Arndt

The Burlington Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome three new members on Sunday when the Burlington Barons host Racine Kiwanis for a doubleheader at Beaumont Field.

The three inductees consist of Mike Meyer, Jim Pankratz and Bob Schilz with the ceremony set for 11 a.m., one hour before game time, according to a news release.

The Burlington chapters of the American Legion and the VFW will present the colors along with a trumpet player performance during the National Anthem.

As for the three eventual members, all three inductees have strong local ties, either playing for St. Mary’s High School, now known as Catholic Central, or Burlington High School.

Here is a look at three inductees listed in the alphabetical order and their contributions to the Burlington baseball community:

Mike Meyer
Meyer has spent more than 50 years as a player, coach, and umpire in the Burlington and Waterford areas.

Before Meyer enrolled at St. Mary’s, now known as Catholic Central, he played four years of Little League Baseball and became a Frank Roth Little League All-Star when he was 12 years old.

He also played two years of Babe Ruth baseball, according to the biography, adding Meyer was named as an All-Star at 14 years old.

A four-year letter winner at St. Mary’s, now Catholic Central, Meyer played football, basketball and baseball.

In 1973, while playing for St. Mary’s as a shortstop, he won the Midwest Prep Conference batting title with a .444 batting average.

An all-conference player, Meyer led Catholic Central to its first ever WISAA state championship, according to the biography submitted by the Hall of Fame committee.

The Hilltoppers also made an appearance in 1975 with Meyer as a member.

After the 1975 season, Meyer earned selection to play in American Legion All-Star game at Milwaukee County Stadium, the former home of the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers.

In football, meanwhile, Meyer was known for his speed, playing wide receiver under coach Dennis Maikowski.

Once his baseball playing days concluded, Meyer became a certified WIAA baseball umpire, now completing about 20 years as an umpire. He served as umpire in the 2013 American Legion All-Star game at Miller Park, which became American Family Field.

Meyer coached American Legion baseball in Waterford for 12 years and also served as an umpire in Waterford Youth baseball for four years.

Jim Pankratz
Pankratz started his baseball career playing Burlington Little League baseball for the team known as the “Bucks” in the Frank Roth Division, which no longer exists.

He also played after Little League, participating in the Babe Ruth/Pony League from 1979 until 1983.

Pankratz primarily played catcher for Burlington High School, where he began as a student in 1981, and also participated in American Legion baseball from 1983 until 1985.

While playing American Legion Baseball under coach Dick Imrie, he was selected to participate in the American Legion All-Star game at Milwaukee County Stadium.

After graduating high school, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he played for two years with the Rangers.

He then transferred to Texas Christian University and eventually graduated.

However, during his tenure at TCU, he saw his Division 1 plans come to an end when he broke his hand.

Meanwhile, he made a short return to Wisconsin, earning another degree in architecture.

Panktratz played amateur baseball for the Burlington Brewers from 1986 through 1989, before continuing his career for the Mukwonago Indians from 1989 through 1990.

He took a job in Rochester, Minnesota, where he played amateur baseball until he was 39, before coming back to his hometown of Burlington

For many years, Panktratz has played for a senior league team called the Racine Blues.

Pankratz, meanwhile, now coaches for the 14U Burlington Junior Demons baseball team.

In total, Pankratz has played 14 years for various leagues in Burlington, and also has been an active coach in the community since 2005.

Bob Schilz
Schilz, who joins his father, Gerry, in the Burlington Baseball Hall of Fame, played baseball at St. Mary’s for four years.

He and fellow inductee Meyer were members of the 1973 St. Mary’s state championship team.

Schilz, meanwhile, earned selection as an American Legion All-Star in 1977 and played at Milwaukee County Stadium.

After finishing high school in 1977, Schilz played Land O’ Lakes baseball in East Troy for the East Troy Express for 15 years.

He was voted the Land O’Lakes All-Star games nine times during his career.

Schilz, meanwhile, also earned Most Valuable Player in All-Star game played in Cedarburg and achieved the league batting title on one occasion with a robust .407 batting average.

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