By Greg Bates
ASHWAUBENON – The numbers during Craig Glysch’s college baseball career speak volumes.
Even though he’s been removed from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh pitching rotation for two decades, he still ranks fifth in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in complete games (22) and earned-run average during a season (0.76).
He’s also ninth in innings pitched (261).
Glysch was a thoroughbred on the mound, helping the Titans go 137-25 during his four years and finishing in the top five twice in the NCAA Division III national championships.
He was also a part of four WIAC title teams.
For his eye-popping stats and his innate ability to be a leader, Glysch was selected to be enshrined in the UW-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame.
With eight members in this year’s class, the hall of fame will have 211 student-athletes and coaches.
“I was honored I was given the award,” said Glysch, who graduated from Ashwaubenon in 1995. “When it was first announced, I went back to the days I was playing and all the hard work that went into it. I also thought about my teammates who helped me get to this point.”
His former head coach at UW-Oshkosh, Tom Lechnir, is the first to back Glysch and reinforce how he deserves to be in the UW-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame.
“There’s a fair amount of people from successful programs who get into the hall of fame because of what their teams do,” Lechnir said. “All those players who get in, they don’t get in without the Craig Glysches of the world. Craig played with some really good guys, but he made really good guys great.”
After a strong high school career with the Jaguars, Glysch didn’t have a lot of expectations at Oshkosh – he wanted to play the game he loved.
“When I went to Oshkosh, I simply wanted to continue playing baseball,” Glysch said. “My parents always placed importance on my education. When I was playing baseball, I put a lot of effort into academics.”
After going a combined 9-6 in his first two seasons, Glysch stepped up his game as an upperclassman.
As a junior in 1998, he was a first-team All-American, posting an 8-1 record with a 2.35 ERA in 76 2/3 innings on the mound.
Oshkosh went to the Division III World Series that season and placed fifth.
It was the program’s best finish since taking fourth two years earlier in Glysch’s freshman year.
In his final season in a Titans uniform, Glysch was 7-1 with a 0.76 ERA in 71 innings.
He allowed six earned runs all year and struck out 56.
For his stellar senior campaign, Glysch was named a third-team All-American and the WIAC Pitcher of the Year.
Playing at Oshkosh and learning under Lechnir made all the difference in Glysch’s career.
“Initially when I got there, I was a thrower, and coach Lechnir taught me how to be a pitcher – there’s a big difference,” Glysch said. “Kids nowadays don’t understand this – they think you throw as hard as you can and you’ll be fine. I wanted the other team to remember me and who they faced. I wanted to be the best, and I didn’t give in. At the same time, it wasn’t only me – it was all my teammates around me.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander was selected in the 35th round, pick No. 1,061 overall, in the 1999 MLB Draft by the Anaheim Angels.
Glysch was assigned to the Boise Hawks in the Northwest League.
He finished his first professional season with a 3-4 record and a 3.62 ERA, coming out of the bullpen in all 22 of his appearances.
That’s when Glysch’s career took a turn in the wrong direction.
“When I tried to get ready for spring training, my arm wasn’t there,” Glysch said. “I’d already had arm problems in college I worked through.”
He was forced to retire from baseball at 23 years old.
“I put everything on the field and that’s where I left it,” said Glysch, who now resides in Muskego and is a production manager at Graham Packaging. “I have zero regrets with everything I did.”
After putting baseball on the backburner 19 years ago, Glysch is ready to relive his glory years on the diamond during the UW-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame induction weekend.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, the induction class will be recognized at halftime of the UW-Oshkosh/UW-Stevens Point football game at Titan Stadium at 1 p.m.
The next day, a ceremony will be held at the Culver Family Welcome Center beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Glysch’s old college teammate and roommate Kevin Grater will provide an introduction, and Glysch will follow with a speech.
“It’s humbling,” Glysch said. “I’d put it at the top with the day I got drafted. It was the same type of reaction – surprised and of out of the blue. From a sports standpoint, it’s one of the better accomplishments for sure.”
Editor’s note: If you have a suggestion for “Where they are now,” contact sports editor Rich Palzewic at [email protected].