Class of 2020
Ryan O’Hearn, first base, MLB
Bob Townsend, Foresters founder and first manager
Delwyn Young, infield, MLB
Class of 2019
Pat Burns, longtime coach and GM
Aaron Gordnier, outfield
Jeff McNeil, second base/third base, MLB
Class of 2018
Bill Oakley, Sr., original Forester
Jim Buckley, longtime volunteer and PA announcer
Class of 2017
Foresters’ Championship Team of 2006
Class of 2016
Cameron Rupp, catcher, MLB
Fred Warrecker, original Forester, community leader
Class of 2015
Virgil Vasquez, pitcher, MLB
Neil Medchill, first base
Mike Pearl, board/volunteer
Class of 2014
Mike Kenney, pitcher
Dylan Axelrod, pitcher, MLB
Class of 2013
Andre Miller, outfield/infield/board/coach
Ryan Church, outfield, MLB
Class of 2012
Morgan Ensberg, infielder, MLB
Sean Luft, infield
Chris Messier, Hugs for Cubs
Class of 2011
Kevin Frandsen, infielder, MLB
James Shields, pitcher, MLB
Vaughn Wipf, fomer player, board member
Class of 2010
Chris Koeper, outfielder, board member
Ryan Spilborghs, outfielder, MLB
Eric Pintard, pitcher, coach, Hugs for Cubs co-founder
Class of 2011
Vaughn Wipf – Outfield/Board Member
Kevin Frandsen – Infield
James Shields – Pitcher
Class of 2010
Chris Koeper – Outfield
Ryan Spilborghs – Outfield
Eric Pintard – Pitcher/Coach/Hugs For Cubs Founder
Few people have as long a history with the Foresters as Vaughn Wipf. As a player, supporter, board member, and fan, Vaughn’s history with the team goes back more than 50 years.
Vaughn was a great youth player recruited for the early version of the Foresters in 1956. He played in the outfield for Tim Badillo and Elmo Ferrari, as well as for another local baseball legend, Caesar Uyesaka. Vaughn also played at UCSB as a star outfielder from 1956–60.
As his family and dental practice grew, Vaughn remained closely allied with local sports, coaching, sponsoring, and supporting baseball teams and other community groups. In 1991, when Bob Townsend got the Foresters started again, Vaughn was one of the first people he called. “I was thrilled to be back,” Vaughn says. “I was always very proud to have been a Forester.”
As the new version of the team grew, Vaughn joined the board of directors. After Bill Pintard took over in 1995, Vaughn was one of a handful of solid, if silent, supporters who worked behind the scenes to make sure the dream of the Foresters continued. He even provided the team with a record-setting home-run hitter—his son Mark!
Vaughn’s impact on the Foresters started on the field, continued off the field, and remains today one of the all-time great local baseball lives. We’re proud to induct him into Hall of Fame in 2011.
Kevin used his successful two-year Foresters career as a springboard to a caree in the Major Leagues. His spirit, talent, and love of the Foresters’ mission have made him a big-league ambassador of the ‘Sters Spirit! “This is a great honor,” Kevin said at the induction ceremony. “It’s an honor just to be a Forester, to say nothing of making it into the team’s Hall of Fame. This means the world to me.”
A native of San Jose, Kevin was all-state in high school and later set an all-time record with 246 career hits at San Jose State, while batting better than .310 all four seasons. While he was with the Spartans, Kevin spent 2002 and 2003 with the Foresters. His best season was 2003, when he was named the Foresters’ Most Valuable Player after leading the team with a .397 average. (In testament to his scrappy, anything-to-win style, Kevin also set a still-standing record that season, being hit by a pitch 13 times!) In Santa Barbara, Kevin and Eric Pintard, founder
of the Hugs for Cubs, developed a special relationship. Kevin’s brother D.J. was a cancer victim and in the Hugs for Cubs, Kevin found a way to share his experiences and help others at the same time.
Kevin was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2004, and made his Major League debut in 2006. A versatile infielder, he saw time at second and third, showing excellent glovework and a knack for the timely hit. On his way to a starting spot by 2008, he was sidetracked by an Achilles’ tendon injury that knocked him out for a year. Showing the fighting spirit that he had used to inspire those fighting cancer, he battled back to “The Show.” After a brief stop in the Red Sox organization, he was signed by the Angels in 2009. He appeared in 54 games for the club in 2010 as well.
In 2011, he was signed by the Padres but released in March. We’re all expecting him to join another Major League team soon. Wherever he lands, he’ll be sure to continue the work of his own Forever 19 group, dedicated to helping those with cancer fight to win.
One of the great joys of the Foresters coaches and staff is watching young athletes mature not only into outstanding players, but fine young men. Such was the case with James Shields, a 2011 inductee into the Foresters Hall of Fame. “I am honored and humbled to be able to be a part of this family of greatness,” he said at the induction ceremony.
James was a star in high school, earning CIF Player of the Year honors as a junior. After his senior year, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays, but came to Santa Barbara to play with the Foresters in 2001. Though he had been drafted, he had not signed, so the Foresters were going to be a learning experience on his way to the pros. He got more than he bargained for, gaining not only
pitching experience but lessons he still values today. “I really grewup in my year here,” he said at the induction ceremony. “I didn’t realize until I got here that there was so much more to life, and that what I have is a gift. What the Foresters does is make boys into men.” Even after he was offered a contract by the Rays, James chose to stay with the Foresters and help the team as it played at the NBC World Series in Wichita. He joined the Rays’ minor-league system later in 2001.
James’ gifts and new-won maturity carried him on a path that has led to six-season Major League career, an American League championship ring, and a reputation as “Big Game James,” a reliable, hard-throwing, batter-battling starter. James has reached double digits in each of his full seasons with the Rays and topped 200 innings every year from 2007–2010.
In 2006, he was one of the top rookie pitchers in baseball. In 2007, he was in the A.L. top 10 in strikeouts while allowing only 1.5 walks per game. Teaming with fellow former Foresters pitcher Matt Garza, Shields was dominant in 2008. His power pitching helped the Rays win the American League East for the first time. He won the first postseason game in Rays history, defeating the White Sox in the ALDS. In the World Series, he was the winning pitcher in Game 2, the only win for Tampa in their series loss to the Phillies. He became the first Foresters player to win a World Series game as well.
That success has made him the Rays’ Opening Day starter three times (2008, 2009, and 2010). His success off the field has been just as impressive. James and his wife Ryane work with Tampa-area foster-family organizations. They host family reunifications at Rays’ games, helping foster kids reconnect with their families, while also honoring families who help such children. “They’ve created ‘forever families,'” says Bill Pintard. “We could not be more proud of what James and Ryane are doing.” Welcome then, James, to a place in our forever family—the Foresters Hall of Fame.
Year in and year out, the Foresters exhibit a certain style on the playing field . . . it’s a work ethic and determination to play at your highest level possible, a physical and mental toughness, a desire to “come to the field every day to give your all.” The Foresters exude a swagger that opposing teams recognize as a team motto: “The Foresters bust theirs to kick yours!”
The first inductee in the Foresters Hall of Fame is the player that set the standard for that “Forester Way.”
Chris Koeper led by example—he came to the field every time with purpose, passion, confidence, and intensity. Ask any coach or any player that played along Cape, this one player set the standard for Foresters excellence year in and year out. Teammates and opponents alike were in awe of his power, speed, and competitive nature. He was the team leader and set the bar high over eight seasons from 1993 to 2001. He played baseball for the love of the game—he
wasn’t about playing to get to the next level or to hone his skills foranother year at college.
Of course, he also played the game very, very well. He was easily the Foresters’ first five-tool player when he began playing for the Foresters under then-head coach Bobby Townsend in 1993. Chris consistently ranked as one of the top offensive and defensive players in every statistical category and he was the Foresters’ team MVP in 1994 and 1996. Cape has also been a teammate to 15 players who have gone on to play Major League Baseball, and he had an impact on all of them.
Chris’s offensive statistics as the team’s starting centerfielder and cleanup hitter from 1993 to 2001 are amazing. He is the Foresters’ all time leader in home runs, RBI, hits, total bases, and stolen bases. Cape continues his dedication to Foresters today, serving on board of director of the Foresters and Hugs for Cubs. He and his wife Cathy and children Kylie and Jacob have also been a host family for several summers. Congratulations, Chris. Keep ‘Sterring it up!
Ryan is the ultimate “hometown boy made good” story. He crushed at Goleta Valley Little League, winning all sorts of all-star honors. At Santa Barbara High, he made the varsity as a freshman and hit .489. By the time he was a senior, he was the County MVP. Moving on to UCSB, he bounced back from a hand injury to post a record 35-game hitting streak as a junior.
. He crushed at Goleta Valley Little League, winning all sorts of all-star honors. At Santa Barbara High, he made the varsity as a freshman and hit .489. By the time he was a senior, he was the County MVP. Moving on to UCSB, he bounced back from a hand injury to post a record 35-game hitting streak as a junior.
After UCSB, he joined the Foresters. He was just outstanding, batting better than .300 and patrolling centerfield with style.
In 2002, the entire Santa Barbara baseball community celebrated when Ryan was signed by the Colorado Rockies. He made his big-league debut in 2005, and became a regular part of their outfield in 2006. He helped the
Rockies win the 2007 N.L. pennant with his solid bat, great speed, and fine defensive work.
As good as his baseball skills are, it’s his character that makes him stand out. Ryan was very active in the Hugs for Cubs when he was with the Foresters, and he continues to share his spirit and love of the game with young people in Santa Barbara and Colorado. In 2009, he made a special effort to connect with young Trent Gehrke, a Hugs for Cubs kid who was in the terminal stages of a brutal cancer. Ryan and Trent talked and texted all summer long . . . Trent even sent along some batting tips to the big leaguer! Ryan didn’t make a big deal out of this, he just did it because he knew it was the right thing to do. And he was there at Trent’s memorial service, carrying on a family tradition of caring and service.
Doing the right things on and off the field has made Ryan Spilborghs a winner. We’re very proud of him and very pleased to honor him as a member of the Foresters Hall of Fame.
Eric Pintard left an indelible imprint on all of those that came to know him during his lifetime for his caring attitude, strength of character, courage, leadership and friendship; he was an individual whose care for others radiated throughout his lifetime, which ended in 2004.
He came to the Foresters under then-head coach Bobby Townsend as a pitcher in 1993 and immediately had an impact on his teammates for his raw humor, athletic ability, and his loyal devotion as a meaningful friend. He loved playing the game of baseball, but what he really loved was playing a game alongside his teammates.
In the winter of 1994, after his second season with the Foresters, at the age of 21, Eric was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of brain cancer, one which medical science said gave him of a life expectancy of 6 months. So, how do you handle the news—how about with a “Hey Dad, there’s not a cancer support group for kids in Santa Barbara. If I got six months, we’d better get busy!” Eric handled his setback by wanting to be a positive role model for younger kids battling cancer—and the Hugs for Cubs was born!
E.P. 19 was determined to beat cancer with a positive, optimistic attitude and to live life rather than contemplate death. Bound to a wheelchair, he set his goals for the road to recovery that included pitching in a Foresters game, surfing in Costa Rica, and fishing for the big one in Alaska. When many would question his ability to actually do those things again, his answer would be “Why not?”
Every day, he would remind us “Z’all Good!” He coined the phrase “Summer’s an attitude, not a season!” During the 11 years Eric battled the cancer, he never succumbed to self-pity or despair, never a “why me.” He would be so honored that Foresters Ryan Church, Kevin Frandsen, Ryan Spilborghs, Devin Shepherd, Mike Kenney, and Richie Robnett wore his Foresters number 19 during their pro careers. Additionally, the National Baseball Congress renamed an annual trophy at World Series as the Eric Pintard Most Inspirational Player Award. The Hugs for Cubs has had a profound impact on the lives of many young boys and girls that have had to battle cancer and other serious illnesses.
He’s not with us anymore in person, but his spirit lives forever. He would be very humbled by this honor. He’d give credit to the ‘Sters players, past and present, and to all those in the Santa Barbara community that supported his noble cause.