TOPPENISH — One of the American Hop Museum’s major fundraisers of the year is its annual golf tournament at Mt. Adams Country Club.
Last Wednesday, July 10, golfers from throughout the region took part in the benefit, getting a chance to rub elbows and tease Bill Krueger, former Mariners pitcher.
After rounding all 18 holes and sitting down for burgers, Krueger spoke about his ties to the Yakima Valley and relationships with the locals like museum board member and owner of Growers Supply Company, Tom Sauve.
The baseball player got his start in the sport as a youngster, living in McMinnville, Ore. When he was a teen, the American Legion team he played for competed against teams in the valley.
“I played against Mel Stotlemyre Jr.,” Krueger said, noting the two became better acquainted as professionals later in life.
The baseball player, however, was awarded a basketball scholarship when he went to college. So, he stopped playing a couple years before dusting off his mitt and trying out for a minor league team his junior year.
Krueger was signed to play for the Medford A’s in Oregon, and he moved up to the big leagues in 1983, playing for the Oakland A’s.
“I was rewarded, and it’s still rewarding me,” he said to the golfers.
Krueger played for many teams, and it was in 1990 he was signed to the Mariners the first time. His second stint with the team was in 1995.
“I quit playing because my daughter has autism — she’s my hero,” he said, noting his daughter has gone to law school and is currently studying for the bar exam.
“Today, I ‘hacked it up’,” Krueger quipped regarding his golf game, noting he enjoyed himself because everyone he met was gracious to the baseball player who’s not the best golfer.
Speaking about the current Mariners team, as a senior analyst on ROOT Sports for the team, he said, “Stability in the bullpen would make the Mariners a winning team.
“Times for the club are exciting.”
Sauve spoke to those gathered, telling them their support of the museum allows it to remain open for school groups and others seeking to learn about hops and the history of the Yakima Valley homesteaders.
“We’re here to remind people about agriculture and its importance,” Sauve said.
Results of the tournament are:
• Gross winners with a 57 are Conrad Besel, Mike Chambers, Jerry Besel and Jeremy Champoux; the No. 2 team consisted of Terry McEntire, Jon Mauch, Jay Castle and Justin Bos with a score of 58; No. 3 included Mel Brink, Mike Broadhead, Jeff Loudon and Tim Macke with a score of 60.
• Net winners with a score of 34.5 are Paul Dickman, Jacob Roy, Mack Sechseer and Hunter Van de Graaf; net No. 2 teammates are Dave Tobin, Ed St. Maay, Paul Merritt and Eric Holden, scoring 29; and No. 3 team members with a 40 are James Kelsh, Drew Puterbaugh, Dany Hallman and Chris McCabe.