Rick Goettl doesn’t like to lose.
So it’s no surprise the Cadott Red Sox standout pitcher was at his best during his team’s biggest games.
Goettl joins George Jackson, Steve Fetterly and Art Zwiefelhofer as inductees in the Chippewa River Baseball League’s Hall of Fame Class of 2019. The quartet will be honored throughout Sunday’s league all-star game at Cadott High School Field in Cadott.
The chance to earn hall of fame accolades and be recognized in front of his hometown’s fans was extra special for Goettl, who spent eight seasons with the Red Sox from 1977-84 after two seasons with the Jim Falls Sturgeons in 1975-76.
For his career, Goettl logged a 43-11 record with 395 strikeouts and a 3.70 earned run average in 423 innings pitched. Goettl had five shutouts and four saves as a key piece for the Red Sox as the team won three consecutive league championships from 1980-82.
Goettl grew up playing baseball and after graduating from Cadott High School wanted to continue with the game, leading him to the league.
“If you wanted to play more baseball, you went to the CRBL,” Goettl said.
Goettl threw 30.1 innings over two seasons with the Sturgeons before making the move to his hometown Red Sox. He posted a 5-1 record with a 2.72 earned run average with 43 strikeouts in 56.1 innings during Cadott’s 17-1 season in 1977 when the team won the South Division championship and qualified for the league title game.
A strong group of players who were also friends off the field, Goettl said that camaraderie as well as the strong leadership of manager Jeff Couey helped the team become a force.
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“He was very smart in baseball,” Goettl said of Couey. “He knew everything about baseball.”
Following a 2-2 record in 1978, Goettl was 4-0 with an 1.84 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 1979 in leading his team to a 16-1 record and another South Division championship. Goettl’s 1979-84 stretch on the mound was as good as any in league history with a 36-5 record, leading the league in wins in 1981-83. That run included seasons with an ERA under two in 1979 (1.84), 1981 (1.27, his career low) and 1982 (1.61), performances all the more impressive considering the league’s usage of metal bats and hitter friendly parks during the time.
“I don’t like losing. I don’t like losing in tidily winks,” Goettl said with a laugh. “You go out there and pitch. You’ve got to pitch your best or you’re not around very long. You get knocked out.”
Cadott won five straight South Division championships from 1979-83 and won the first of three consecutive CRBL titles in 1980. Goettl pitched in three South Division playoff games, posting a 0.42 ERA in 21.2 innings. Goettl had his number called on the hill in starts in five league championship games and won three of the five.
But perhaps his finest hour came in the 1982 title game against the mighty Tilden Tigers when Goettl tossed a seven-hit shutout, using stellar defense behind him to shut down a Tigers team had won nine titles since 1968 at that time. Cadott won 8-0.
“Tilden had one of the best baseball teams ever. They still do and if you shut Tilden out ... they don’t get shut out ever,” Goettl said of his 1982 title game performance. “It was just a good day.”
Goettl tossed the league’s 25th no-hitter in league history in 1984, blanking the Cornell Oilers and appeared in two all-star games (1981 and 1984) while earning two all-CRBL honors (1981 and 1984).
Upon induction, Goettl ranked 11th in league history in winning percentage (.796), 25th in victories (43), tied for 24th in saves (four), tied for 28th in shutouts (five) and 37th in total innings pitched (423).