Dec 15

Tom Niederkorn Hall of Fame Bio

Tom “Weed” Niederkorn

Player, Hastings

From Day One, Tom “Weed” Niederkorn was a force to be reckoned with. With his jack-rabbit speed and hard-nosed attitude, Niederkorn was a standout athlete at Hastings High School, and was regularly named to All-Conference teams in baseball, football and basketball. After deciding college football at Mankato State wasn’t the right fit for him, Tom returned to Hastings and found the right fit on the softball field. Tom ranged between catching, pitching, and playing second base, but truly stood out while patrolling center field.

Playing for the Loesch’s Bar team in the Hastings City League, Tom, along with fellow inductee Walt Nelson, won back-to-back Class A State Championships in 1964 and 1965; the team was also a State Runner-Up in 1962 and 1966. Tom also was named to the State All Tournament Team five times. He would then play for the Whitaker Buick team, who would play in three ASA National tournaments, finishing second in 1971 and third in 1972. Additionally, in 1965, Loesch’s Bar, a Class A team, beat a Class AA team to win the State Championship, capping off the season with a 41-9 record.

Defensively, Tom was a rangy centerfielder. His speed let him chase down a long fly ball into the gap, or hustle to make a shoestring catch. That, of course was when he wasn’t baffling opposing hitters at the plate, or turning a clutch double play at second base.

At the plate, Tom was a “triple-threat,” with the ability to drive a ball over the fence, hit a screaming line-drive into the gap, or lay down a clutch bunt to get on base or advance a runner. One of Tom’s teammates, Gene Hageman, recalled: “Tom would hit a single to right field, and he would go halfway to second and stop. The outfielder would throw behind him and Tom would waltz into second.” In a truly memorable season with the Viking Bar team, Tom had an astounding .458 batting average, leading Viking Bar to a Class A State Title as well. Tom hung up the cleats in 1974 after a 20 year career.

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