Oshkosh Giants Baseball

The Oshkosh Giants Baseball Club made its return to amateur baseball in 1971, Jack Schneider brought the team back and was the sponsor. In 1973, Steve Reimer took over as owner/general manager/coach and guided the team for seven years. During the span the Giants wer NBC District champs twice and runners-up in the Wisconsin State League wice. Also, during this time lights were put up at E.J. Schneider Field and in 1976 the Giants began playing under them. It was during the 1976 season that the Giants played a total of 55 games.

In 1980 the Giants re-organized to become the Oshkosh Giants, Inc. Its mission would be to provide baseball playing opportunities for young adults who are at least 18 years of age and to competitive in the WL. A board of directors was formed, headed by Bryan Purchatzke ans President, Don Erickson was named manager of the team. In 1981 Erickson and David Tyriver served as co-managers and in 1982 Tyriver took over the reins. During these three years the Giants won two NBC District titles and were AABC state runners-up in 1982.

Former Giants and UW-Oshkosh standout Tom Lechnir was named manager in 1983. During Lechnir’s four years at the helm, the Giants were Stat AABC champions in 1984, and runners-up in 1983 and 1986. They finished in the top three places in the Wisconsin State League three of the four years. Tony Gerharz took the reins in 1987 and 1988 and took the team to consecutive State AABC Championships. He also managed the Giants to their first Wisconsin state League title in 1988. Stand-out player Brian Neveau took the managerial duties in 1989 after the NCAA ruled that UW-O assistant coach and Giant player/manager Kevin Reichardt could not fulfill his duties. Pat McDonald, former UW-O All-American managed the Club in 1990 and John Skolaski took over the managerial duties in 1991. Former major league hurler, Bill Gogolewski, skippered the 1992 and 1993 team. Jim Paulick, an assistant coach previously took over as manager in 1994. The 1995 Giants went to the NABF College World Series in Cincinnati, OHio and in 1996 hosted the NABF College World Series at E.J. Schneider Field and finished in 5gh place. Paulick resigned as field manager after the 1998 season to coach the Oshkosh Legion Team. Gerharz was named interim manager for the 1999 season and former Oshkosh West/Legion Standout Kevin Schamens took over the management duties in 2000. 2001 was a season of of upheaval as former UW-Whitewater player and assistant coach Chris Spiers started the season but had to move to Milwaukee for job reason and players Mike Flanigan, Cory Ruhl, and Matt Lisbeth managed and played. Current Ripon College Heach Coach Eric Cruise took over in 2002-03 and former UWO Standout Lucas Lechnir manage the team in 2004. Bryan Burgert and Bryan Schwebke were co-managers during the 2005 season and Phil Glinski took over for 2006-2007 and led the team to a top five finish in the WSL. Former Giants pitcher Brian Gerl led the team to their highest finish in 20 years (WSL 3rd place) in 2008. State League MVP Brad Demmin was named manager in 209 and for the 2nd year in a row finished in 3rd place in the WSL. In 2010, again skippered by Brad Demmin, the Giants were very young and struggled to a 12-24 finish. Outstanding pitcher Luke Westphal was a player/manager in 2011 until he had the opportunity to play in the Northwoods League and pitch for the Eau Claire Express, leaving the Giants to be managed by a couple of different players. Westphal returned to manage in 2012 and led the Giants to a NEWBL regular season 1st place tie and a WSL 4th place finish. Trey Demler took over as player/manager in 2013 and 2014 and did a fine job. In 2015 the Giants were fortunate to acquire the services of former NEWBL Manager of the Year (with the Manitowoc Bandits) Alex Brewer as manager. He did an outstanding job leading the Giants to their first postseason victory in franchise history in the opening round of the 2015 NEWBL Playoffs with a win over the Green Bay Storm. However job obligations resulted in a move to the Milwaukee area.

In 1988 David Tyriver headed the Oshkosh Giants organization. His sudden death was a shock to the whole community and all baseball organizations. His enthusiasm and dedication has been greatly missed by the Giants. Jim Richards succeeded Dave Tyriver as president of the Oshkosh Giants in 1989. Former manager Tony Gerharz took over as president in 1991 and Jim Richards moved to the position of secretary, where he stayed until his sudden death in December of 2007.

The Oshkosh Giants, Inc, is a non-profit organization which depends entirely on revenue earned through ads in the program books, gate receipts, and donations. Neither the players, coaches, nor the board members are paid for their service.

The Giant Organization is always looking for new members who feel that amateur baseball is a plus for the community and are willing to volunteer their services. The board of directors meets once a month all year long.