Do-it-all-player Lutz to be enshrined Sunday
Hall of Fame inductee played many seasons with Lannon in LOL
By CHRIS SCHUCK
Posted: Living Sussex Sun. Nov. 3, 2009
Following in your father's footsteps isn't easy. Especially when your father is in the Old Time Ball Players Association Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame, and your father pitched a no-hitter in the state amateur tournament championship game.
But in this family, the son can play, too.
John Lutz, son of Bill Lutz Sr., was one of three sons (Bill Jr. and Bob) who lived and breathed baseball.
John, a longtime member of the Lannon Stonemen and a key cog in the Langsdorf League in Milwaukee for Wolf's Cleaners, is one of the latest inductees into the Hall of Fame. On Sunday at Serb Hall in Milwaukee, his name will be alongside some of the best baseball players, coaches and pioneers of America's Pastime from the Badger State.
Those who played with and against John Lutz knew his ability to do it all. Drafted right out of Milwaukee Thomas More High School in 1983 by the Kansas City Royals, the sweet-swinging left-handed hitter could play virtually anywhere on the field.
"John Lutz could beat you many ways," said Greg Ebbert, the longtime player and head coach of the Milwaukee Orioles in the Langsdorf League and a player-manager for the Thiensville-Mequon Twins (Land O' Lakes Northern Division). "He'd beat you with his bat, his speed, his defensive ability, and on top of it, he could pitch. He was quite a player."
Lutz played for Milwaukee Wolf's Cleaner's for 15 years. He was one of the top hitters in the Langsdorf and with LOL Western Division powerhouse Lannon. In 1994, Lutz flirted with the Triple Crown. He led the Western Division in home runs with 10 and was second to teammate Ron Kozlowski for the league lead in RBIs with 33. His .494 batting average ranked third in the league.
Lutz hit 9 homers, tops in the league in 1990, for the Stonemen. That year in the Langsdorf, Lutz won the batting title by hitting .505, and he sported a hefty lifetime batting mark of .415 in the top Milwaukee amateur league.
"I played with some outstanding ball players that were even better guys," Lutz said. "We had tons of fun. Everyone knew how to play and everyone knew their roles. They just came to the ballpark and did their jobs."
During Lutz's days on Wolf's Cleaners, the team captured 13 Langsdorf League championships.
"We'd often have different lineups, but we played together so well, it didn't matter who could show up on a given night," Lutz said. "We always seemed to be competitive."
Former teammate Dan Wnuk agreed versatility was what Lutz was all about.
"He always showed up ready to go for the big games, and he usually always produced," Wnuk said. "He came to every game with the gun loaded. I remember him playing right field, and I remember him pitching some big games for us, too."
Lutz loved playing ball with his brothers.
"That was always great, playing with Billy and Bobby meant a lot to me, and Senior," he said.
The Lutz baseball itch figures to continue. John's son, Jack, 3, bats left and throws right, leaving himself open to play anywhere on the field, just like dad.
"My son already mashes the ball," Lutz said. "Going into the hall of fame is such an honor. Hopefully, someday, Jack will be in there, too."
Class of 2009
John Lutz joins a talented Class of 2009 in the Old Timers Ball Players Association Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, tickets $20 per person
• Tom O'Connell
Current head coach at Burlington Catholic Central. Former coach of Milwaukee Pulaski authored three books on baseball.
• Bill Tarrolly
Former Minnesota Twins farmhand played in Langsdorf League, among other places
• Jim Cleary
University of Wisconsin Board of Directors, member of UWM Hall of Fame
• Bob Lee
Former Milwaukee Braves minor league player and owner of Kenosha Twins.
• Addie Joss
Major League Hall of Famer, owner of perfect game and no-hitter in Major Leagues. Pitched for Cleveland Naps in early 1900s. Native of Woodland.
• Kevin James
High School Player of the Year Award, from Whitefish Bay. Drafted in the ninth round of the MLB draft by Tampa Bay.