Butler County Times Gazette
  • Two Shocker greats, Meares and Wimmer, lead 2013 class

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  • Former Wichita State University greats Pat Meares and Chris Wimmer headline the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2013, along with the late Walter "Barney" Barnett, Jim Deckinger, Paul Roberts and the late John Weitzel. In addition, 2012 electee Lee Stevens will be inducted. The annual induction banquet will be held January 26 at Hillside Christian Church in Wichita, located at 8330 East Douglas.
    Barnett, from Baxter Springs, worked his days in the lead and zinc mines and spent the rest of his time coaching baseball. He founded the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids, a Ban Johnson League powerhouse in the 1940s-50s. Among his Whiz Kid players were future New York Yankee stars Mickey Mantle and Ralph Terry.
    Deckinger, from Wichita, was the most successful high school coach in Greater Wichita Athletic League history. His 1978 Southeast High team won a mythical national championship. His teams won ten GWAL titles and five state championships.
    Meares, from Salina, played nine seasons in the major leagues - six with Minnesota and three with Pittsburgh. He was drafted by the Twins out of Wichita State, where he helped lead the Shockers to the 1989 College World Series championship. Meares was named to the '89 All-CWS team. In 1990, he was an All-Missouri Valley Conference selection.
    Roberts was a fixture of Wichita baseball for more than seven decades.
    As a child in the 1930s, he sold peanuts and popcorn at Island Park and began working at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium when it opened in 1935.
    By the time he retired in 2008, Roberts served various capacities, but was best known for operating the front gate.
    Weitzel, from LaCrosse, sponsored teams in the Victory League in the 1950s and 1960s. The John Weitzel Cowboys won the 1958 state baseball tournament and became one of Weitzel's many teams that played in the National Baseball Congress World Series.
    Wimmer, from Wichita, was a member of the 1992 USA Olympic Team.
    At Wichita State, Wimmer was a two-time All-American who led the NCAA in hits and runs in the 1991 season.
    Wimmer was drafted by San Francisco and reached the AAA level.
    He currently works as a scout for the Detroit Tigers.
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