West Allis native named to UW-Whitewater Hall of Fame
Tobiasz holds several school baseball records
Everywhere Pat Tobiasz turns, he has people applauding him for being named to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
That's because Tobiasz grew up in West Allis, attended Marquette University High School, lives in New Berlin and plays baseball for the Brookfield Blue Sox of the Land O' Lakes Western Division.
Tobiasz will join Brad Arnett, Stephanie Everett-Hernesman, Holly Haas, Jodi Huber, Derrick LeVake, Mike Mikkelsen, Pat Rudnick and Sue Schroeder Huddock and will be honored at halftime of the Whitewater-UW-Platteville football game on Nov. 2 and take part in a banquet that evening.
It was a day of emotional up-and-downs for Tobiasz when he got the call with the good news. His wife, Tammy, was with him on a business trip, and the call from the Hall of Fame was the second he received in the early morning hours.
"Doc Collopy (good friend and former Brookfield coach) had passed away," Tobiasz recalled. "Then I got the call on the Hall of Fame. It was a big range of emotions. I was surprised by the timing.
"Tammy was screaming and jumping up and down and I had to think about my other family members who I wanted to tell — my mom, Rosemary, and dad, Jack.
"They were really proud, really happy when I called them. I was especially happy after talking to them."
State titles and more
Success was nothing new to Tobiasz.
He won back-to-back state titles (1992-93) his junior and senior seasons for Marquette of the old Metro Conference under coach Rick Bridich.
"I was kind of a utility guy," he said. "I pitched, played second base, right field and left field."
Tobiasz wanted to play college ball so he looked around and selected Whitewater, whose baseball program was run by the legendary Jim Miller.
"I was lanky and skinny, underdeveloped," Tobiasz recalled. "I made improvement. Whitewater had a good baseball program, it's a great school and the location was right."
Tobiasz remembered his freshman year. Miller knew what he had in Tobiasz.
"I was a third baseman, a pretty good pitcher," Tobiasz said. "In fall practice I was doing mostly pitcher reps, a little bit of hitting.
"Suddenly he put me in my first game, batting cleanup! I was scared out of my mind. In the first at bat I had a feeling and lined a hit into left field."
And Tobiasz, who played third base all four years, was off and running.
"Jim had a lot of confidence in me," he said. "I don't know why. But I always tried to make myself better."
Tobiasz took apart the Warhawks record book the way he did opposing pitchers. At graduation (1998) he held 13 school offensive records and still at the time of his election to the Hall of Fame, 15 years after he finished playing, he held most of the significant records in the book.
That list includes career records for average (.407) and home runs (47), and the season mark for average (.458 in 1998). On March 22, 1998 Tobiasz clubbed four home runs, drove in 12 runs and collected 16 total bases, all Warhawks records.
He was first-team All-WIAC all four years, adding Player of the Year recognition in 1998. He was named American Baseball Coaches Association first-team All-Midwest Region in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and topped that off with ABCA second-team All-America honors in 1998.
Tobiasz said his only regret was not beating UW-Oshkosh for the league championship while he was in school.
Tobiasz was also a standout in the classroom. He was the WIAC Max Sparger Scholar Athlete for Baseball in 1998, a UW-Whitewater Chancellor's Scholar Athlete and a College Sports Information Directors of America second-team Academic All-American.
He received his degree from UW-Whitewater in 1998, and is now a senior portfolio manager for GE Healthcare Financial Services.
"The administration, coach Miller, the faculty, everyone was fantastic," Tobiasz said. "I owe them all a lot. It was a wonderful experience."
Tobiasz still loves the game and he is a member of the Brookfield Blue Sox, having switched from third base to rightfield because of a labrum problem the last few years.
"I love it. It's good exercise," Tobiasz said. "I played since I was 3."
Looking back, Tobiasz emphasized this was not about him. He couldn't have done it without the support he got.
"All the folks who helped me growing up and playing," he said. "My father and mother helped. I met my wife when I was 18 and she supported me through the years. My coaches, coach Miller, coach Bridich and my teammates.
"I met a lot of good people along the way. Those are the things that stick with me."
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