Notable Mercer County Natives
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Bruno Betzel

Chattanooga

Professional Baseball Player and Manager

Betzel played professional baseball from 1912 to 1929, including five seasons (448 games) in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals (1914-1918). He had a career Big League batting average of .231. He was a teammate of Rogers Horsby. He began his managing career as a player-manager of the AA Indianapolis Indians in 1927. Betzel played an important role in the biography of Jackie Robinson. As Robinson's minor league manager (with the Montreal Royals in 1944) Betzel said,"I don't care if he is polka-dotted, he will be a big league player", and "I'd tuck him into bed at night if necessary to have him play for me in the big leagues."He continued to manage for various minor league teams until his retirement in 1956. He is a member of the International League Hall of Fame. He died at the age of 70 in 1965.

Chris Cron

[Note: Chris Cron is the son of Mercer County native Carl Cron (and Connie (Winner) Cron). Chris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

Professional Baseball Player and Manager

Cron played professional baseball for twelve years (1984-95), ending with 15 Major League at-bats (with the Angels and White Sox) and minor league totals of .267 batting average, 172 HR and 785 RBI in 1250 games. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player award at AAA Vancouver in 1992. He hit a pinch-hit home run in his final professional at bat for Class AAA Nashville on June 8, 1995 when he also announced his retirement and accepted a job as manager of the Advanced Rookie League team in Bristol, Virginia. He has held the following minor league coaching positions:

  • Bristol (Virginia) White Sox (Chicago White Sox Advanced Rookie League) in 1995
  • Hickory (North Carolina) Crawdads (Chicago White Sox Class A) in 1996 and 1997
  • Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Warthogs (Chicago White Sox Class A) in 1998
  • Birmingham (Alabama) Barons (Chicago White Sox Class AA) in 1999
  • Colorado Springs (Colorado) SkySox (Colorado Rockies Class AAA) in 2000, 2001 and 2002
  • Great Falls (Montana) White Sox (Chicago White Sox Advanced Rookie League) in 2003
  • Kannapolis (North Carolina) Intimidators (Chicago White Sox Class A) in 2004 and 2005
  • Birmingham (Alabama) Barons (Chicago White Sox AA) in 2006
  • Great Falls (Montana) White Sox (Chicago White Sox Advanced Rookie) in 2007 and 2008
  • White Sox RovingMinor League Infield Coach in 2009
  • Great Falls (Montana) White Sox (Chicago White Sox Advanced Rookie) in 2010
  • Erie (Pennsylvania) Sea Wolves (Tigers Class AA) from 2011 to 2013.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks Minor League Hitting Coordinator 2014.

Antoine Chene (Anthony Shane)

Rockford

Frontiersman

Antoine Chene (Anthony Davis) was born sometime between 1760 and 1780 to a French Canadian father and Ottawa Indian mother and he grew up among the Shawnee tribes. He was a friend of Tecumseh and fought with the Indians against military expeditions of General Josiah Harmar, General Arthur St. Clair, and General Anthony Wayne in the 1790's. He was present at the battle of Fort Recovery, also known as St. Clair's Defeat (1791). After the Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794), however, Chene switched sides and served as an interpreter (he knew 5 native languages as well as French and English) and scout for the US Army. He was commissioned as a Captain. He fought at the Battle of Ft. Meigs (June 1813) and The Battle of Thames (Oct. 1813). He helped identify the body of Tecumseh after the decisive battle. After the war he was granted 320 acres of land on the St. Mary's River and founded the town of Shanesville, later called Shane's Crossing, until finally being renamed Rockford in 1890. He operated a trading post and a tavern there. In 1828, Anthony Shane (as he was now known) moved to Kansas as part of a forced Indian relocation. He died in 1834. A log cabin believed to have been Shane's (pictured at left) has been restored and relocated to Shane Park in Rockford.


Dan Davis

Celina

Comic Book Artist

Dan Davis is a two time Eisner nominated comic artist specializing in inking. He served as an apprentice to New York comic book artist Dan Adkins for a brief period before returning to Ohio to finish college. He kept sending samples to the large comic companies and freelancing on the side to the small ones. In 1990 DC comics liked his inks enough to send him a Flash Annual and soon he was in the comics business full time. Since then he has worked on many popular characters such as Superman, Batman, Justice League, Superboy, Animaniacs, Flintstones, Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Simpsons, Alley Oop, and Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Davis currently co-pencils the Garfield comic strip.


Rick Derringer

Celina

Rock Guitarist and Song Writer

Born Richard Zehringer in Celina, Derringer, became a well known rock guitarist and song writer best known for his hit songs "Rock & Roll Hoochie-Coo" and "Hang On Sloopy." He wrote and recorded "Hang On Sloopy" while a member of The McCoys in 1965. That song has become the Official Rock & Roll Song of the state of Ohio and the unofficial theme song of The Ohio State University. Derringer has recorded dozens of albums as part of other rock bands, as a solo artist, and as the leader of his own band. His discography includes eight albums with the McCoys, seven with blues legend Johnny Winter, 11 with Johnny's brother Edgar Winter, 14 solo and compilation albums, and six with his band Derringer. He has also contributed songs to 11 different motion picture soundtracks. In addition to the Winter brothers, he has performed with numerous notable musicians throughout his career including: Alice Cooper, Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren, Michael Stanley, Steely Dan, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Meatloaf, Savatage, Kiss, Barbra Streisand, Carmine Appice and Kenny Aaronson. Derringer continues to record and produce music today.


Jane (Stelzer) Dippold

Coldwater

Artist & Illustrator

Jane (Stelzer) Dippold is an artist and illustrator of children's books and greeting cards. She has illustated more than a dozen children's books. Her work includes: Silver Bells (written by Jay Livingston), Princess Jeweliana and the Sparkling Rainbow Ball (by Allia Zobel), Barney's Neighborhood (by Guy Davis), and Sleepy Time Dance (by Katherine Grace Bond).


Shane Franzer

Coldwater

College and Professional Football Player

Franzer was a Quarterback for the Ohio Northern University football team. Franzer holds numerous school records including: passing yards in a game (452) and season (2,362), completions in a game (29), and TDs in a season (27) and a career (58). Franzer has played with the National Indoor Football League's Ohio Valley Greyhounds (02-04), the AF2's Memphis Xplorers (05), and the Port Huron Pirates of the Continental Indoor Football League (06-07). Along with fellow Coldwater native Steve Vagedes, he led the Greyhounds to a perfect 17-0 season and the 2003 NIFL Championship. He was the MVP of the 2003 NIFL Bowl Game, he was on the NIFL All-Conference team in 2003 and 2004, and he was a CIFL All-Pro in 2006 and 2007.


Jeff Hartings

St. Henry

College and Professional Football Player

Hartings was a two time NCAA Division 1A All-American Offensive Gaurd at Penn State in 1994 and 1995. He was drafted in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He has played for the Lions (1996-2000) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-2006). He was an NFL All-Rookie team selection in 1996 and an NFL Pro Bowl alternate in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2005. He was the starting Center for the Super Bowl XL Champions.


David Hoelscher

Coldwater

College and Professional Football Player

David Hoelscher, a 6'6" 280 lb. Defensive End, was born in Coldwater but moved to and graduated from High School in Versailles. He was a four year starter at Eastern Kentucky University where he had 201 tackles, 17 sacks and 1 interception. He signed a pro contract with the Packers in 1998 but was waived and later claimed by the Redskins where he appeared in 1 game in the 1998 season. He was allocated to NFL Europe by the Redskins and played two games for the Frankfurt Galaxy before a shoulder injury sidelined him. In 1999 He appeared in seven games for the Redskins where he had 18 tackles and 1 sack while he was again limited by the shoulder injury. He was released and signed by the Dolphins in 2000 and again he was allocated to the Galaxy, this time collecting 22 tackles and 4 sacks. He was released by the Dolphins prior to the 2001 season.


Michael "Mickey" Hole

Celina

Professional Football Player

Hole had a brief professional football career playing for the Muncie Flyers. The Flyers were an original NFL team but only played 1 game in 1920 and 2 games in 1921. Hole played in all three games. He was a 5'9", 180 lb. running back. In a non-league game (November 25, 1920 against the Gas City Tigers) he scored on a 45-yard run. He was born February 28, 1892.


Ross Homan

Coldwater

College and Professional Football Player

Homan was an All-Big Ten linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He played college football from 2006 through 2010 and led the Buckeyes in tackles during his Junior and Senior seasons. He was selected in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.


Bobby Hoying

St. Henry

College and Professional Football Player

Hoying was the starting Quarterback at Ohio State and was named first team All-Big 10 in 1995. He is OSU's all-time leader in completions, completion % and TDs. He has a 30-7-1 record as a college starter. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1996 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders prior to the 1999 season. He has passed for 2,544 yards and 11 TDs while seeing action in 19 professional games.


Frank Le Blond Kloeb

Celina

Politician and Judge

Kloeb was born in Celina on June 16, 1890. He attended Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin. He was graduated from the College of Law of Ohio State University in 1917. During World War I, he enlisted as a seaman in the Navy where he served from September 1917 to March 1919. He was admitted to the bar and practiced in Celina. He served as prosecuting attorney of Mercer County from 1921 through 1925. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1933 and he was reelected to two succeeding terms. He was appointed as a United States district judge by President Franklin Roosevelt for the northern district of Ohio, in 1937 where he served until 1964, when he retired to the status of senior United States district judge and continued to sit by assignment on criminal and civil matters until July 1974. He died in 1976.


John Kramer

Maria Stein

Inventor

Kramer owned and operated a grain elevator, machine shop and lumber yard in Maria Stein. He was the inventor of, and held patents on, a number of items: a windmill regulator, a feed cooker, an Automatic Boiler Leveling Apparatus, an iron cutter, and most importantly a manure spreader. He manufactured the manure spreaders under the brand name "Champion." In 1896 a fire destroyed his machine shop and he was without insurance. In order to raise funds to rebuild his machine shop, he sold the manure spreader patent to Joseph Oppenheim. In 1898 Kramer started the Marion Telephone Company, the first phone company in Mercer County.


Jim Lachey

St. Henry

College and Professional Football Player

Lachey was one of the NFL's most celebrated offensive linemen. An OSU graduate, Jim earned All-American and All-Big Ten honors his senior year (1984). Lachey was selected by San Diego as the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft. He spent three seasons with the Chargers, making the AFC Pro Bowl team in his final year with the team. After joining the Washington Redskins, Lachey made the Pro Bowl after the 1987, 1990 and 1991 seasons, and helped lead the team to a 1992 Super Bowl victory. He currently serves as a color commentator for the Ohio State Buckeyes Radio Sports Network.


Corey Luebke

Maria Stein

College and Professional Baseball Player

Luebke is from Maria Stein and is a graduate of Marion Local High School. He played college baseball for Ohio State University and was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 1st round of the 2007 draft. He made his major league debut in September of 2010. Through the 2013 season, he has a major league record of 10-12 with a 3.25 ERA. He also pitched for Team USA in the 2009 Baseball World Cup.


James Grover McDonald

Coldwater

Diplomat

McDonald was born in Coldwater on November 29, 1886. He grew up in West Chester County, New York and served as chairman of the Foreign Policy Association, 1919-1933, High Commissioner for Refugees Coming from Germany, 1933-1935, chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees, 1938-1945, member of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, 1946, U.S. Rep. and Ambassador to Israel, 1948-1951, and chairman of the Advisory Council for the Development Corp. for Israel, 1951-1961.


Chad Moeller

[Note: Chad Moeller is the son of Mercer County native Jim Moeller (& Linda (Winner) Moeller). Chad was born in Upland, CA.]

College and Professional Baseball Player

Moeller, a Catcher, played collegiately at the University of Southern California, winning varsity letters in 1994, 1995 and 1996. He has played on the Major League level with the Minnesota Twins (2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2001-03), Milwaukee Brewers (2004-2006), Cincinnati Reds (2007),Los Angeles Dodgers (2007), Baltimore Orioles (2009), and New York Yankees (2008 & 2010). He has a .226 career batting average in 498 games played with 29 HR, 132 RBI, 314 hits and 146 runs scored.

He was was 2 for 5 with one start and 2 pinch-hit at bats in the 2002 playoffs. On April 27, 2004 (while with the Brewers) he went 4 for 5 with 4 RBI while hitting for the cycle against the Reds.


Ron Muhlenkamp

Coldwater

Financial Manager

Muhlenkamp is the founder and president of Muhlenkamp & Company, Inc. and portfolio manager of the nationally ranked Muhlenkamp Fund. He writes a quarterly investment newsletter, The Muhlenkamp Memorandum, which is distributed to 50,000 households worldwide. He is frequently asked to discuss his investment philosophy on television and radio investments shows such as CNBC's morning program "Squawk Box," the Joyce Kaufman radio show, and Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. He has been a featured speaker or panelist at several investment shows around the country including: LA Times Investment Strategies Conference, The Boston Globe Money Matters Show, The Orlando and Las Vegas Money Shows, The Cleveland Plain Dealer Money Watch Conference, and The CNBC Investment Conference. Mutual Funds Magazine and Investor's Business Daily have also published his essays on investing. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from M.I.T. in 1966 and a Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1968. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).


Joseph Oppenheim

Maria Stein

Educator and Entrepreneur

Oppenheim was a teacher in Maria Stein at turn of the century. He was chagrinned to find many of his male students leaving the classroom to work in the fields. He purchased the manure spreader patent owned by John Kramer and founded the New Idea Manufacturing Company to manufacture farm equipment. The mass-produced mechanized manure spreader greatly improved the efficiency of fertilizing fields. He eventually moved his factory to Coldwater and New Idea grew to become the largest manufacturer of farm machinery in Ohio. As an educator, he became the first teacher in the area to receive a Lifetime State Teachers Certificate.


Jim Otis

Celina

College and Professional Football Player

Otis played Running Back and Fullback for Ohio State and in the NFL. He was an All-American in 1969 and he was part of the 1968 OSU National Championship team. He gained 2,542 rushing yards at OSU. He was drafted in the 9th round of the 1970 draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played for the Saints (1970), the Kansas City Chiefs (1971-1972) and the St. Louis Cardinals (1973-1978). He lead the NFC in rushing in 1975 with 1,076 yards. He gained a total of 4,350 career yards and scored 19 TDs rushing. He also caught 90 passes for 549 yards and scored 3 TDs receiving.


Wally Post

St. Henry

Professional Baseball Player

Post was an Outfielder who played for the Cincinnati Reds (1949-1957, 1960-1963), the Philadelphia Phillies (1958-1960), the Minnesota Twins (1963) and Cleveland Indians (1964). He was voted to the 1957 National League All-Star Team. He has a career .266 batting average, 210 HR and 699 RBI. He hit 40 HR with 109 RBI in 1955 and 36 HR in 1956. He was part of the 1956 Reds outfield (along with Frank Robinson and Gus Bell) that is only the second outfield in history in which all three players hit at least 25 home runs. He played in the 1961 World Series and hit .333, leading the Reds. He is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.


Harry Romer

St. Henry

Politician

Romer ran for Vice-President of the United States on the America First Party ticket along with presidential candidate Gerald L.K. Smith In 1944. The America's First Party was founded by aviator Charles Lindberg and was supported by Huey P. Long. The party espoused nationalists, isolationist, anti-Semitic and borderline fascist views. The Smith-Romer ticket finished sixth behind the Democrat (Franklin D. Roosevelt), the Republican Party, the Prohibition Party, the Socialist Party and the Socialist-Labor Party candidates.


Maurice Romer

St. Henry

Model Train Designer

Romer was the designer of the American Flyer collectible model train. American Flyer S Gauge trains were made from 1946 to 1966 by the A.C. Gilbert Company in New Haven, Connecticut. These electric toy trains were known as tinplate from the days before plastics when toys were tinplated in factories. The American Flyer line of toy trains reached their market peak in the mid to late 1950s but are still among the most prized model trains by collectors.


Harold Schoen

Ft. Recovery

Mathematician, Educator and College Basketball Player

Dr. Schoen is Professor of Mathematics and Education at The University of Iowa. He received his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1971. His professional work has focused on teaching mathematics and mathematics curriculum. Dr. Schoen has authored over 80 scholarly publications as well as 15 textbooks. He played basketball at the University of Dayton from 1961 to 1963. He appeared in 70 games, scored 448 career points (6.4 avg.), and had 352 rebounds. He played on the 1962 NIT Champion Flyers team that finished 24-6,


Henry Schwartz

Fort Recovery

Politician

Schwartz was born on a farm near Fort Recovery on May 18, 1869. He was educated in the public schools of Mercer County and Cincinnati, Ohio. He started his career in the newspaper business in Fort Recovery. He studied law at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was admitted to the bar in 1895 and practiced in Sioux Falls. He was elected to the South Dakota house of representatives in 1896. He was chief of the field division of the United States General Land Office, at Spokane, Wash., and Helena, Mont., 1897-1907; special assistant to the Attorney General in 1907; chief of field service, General Land Office, Washington, D.C., 1907-1910. He was elected to the Wyoming State senate in 1933-1935. And he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1936 and served until 1943. He was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the National Mediation Board 1943-1947; resumed the practice of law in Casper, Wyo., until his death in 1955.


Craig Stammen Craig Stammen

Coldwater / North Star

Professional Baseball Player

Stammen was born in Coldwater and grew up in North Star. He graduated from Versailles High School and the University of Dayton. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 12th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. He made is Major League debut in May 2009 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Through the 2013 season, Stammen appeared in 177 games with a 22-19 record and an Earned Run Average of 3.96.


Jackie Tavener

Celina

Professional Baseball Player

Tavener was Shortstop in the Major Leagues in the 1920s. Tavener was a fielding whiz with a strong arm whose career was hurt by his size (5'5", 138 lb.). Detroit manager Ty Cobb dismissed him at a glance in 1921, and Tavener did not become the Tigers' regular shortstop until 1925. He started in Detroit from 1925 through 1928 and started for the Cleveland Indians in 1929. He holds a .255 lifetime batting average with 243 RBI and 46 stolen bases. He was a left-handed batter and was nick-named "Rabbit" by his teammates because of his speed. He was a teammate of: Charlie Gehringer & Ty Cobb.


Steve Vagedes

Coldwater

College and Professional Football Player

Vagedes was a Punter and Wide Receiver for the Ohio Northern University football team. He was named to the NCAA Division III All-American team at both positions in 1998 and 1999. Vagedes is ONU's all-time leader in pass receptions (145), receiving yardage (3,036) and receiving touchdowns (43). His career punting average of 44.5 yards and his 88-yard punt against Capital in 1999 are school and Ohio Athletic Conference records. He set an NCAA III record with a 46.2 yard punting average in 1999 and currently holds no less than 20 school records. He also was an All-American long jumper on the ONU Track team. Vagedes has signed professional contracts with the Atlanta Falcons (2000), Green Bay Packers (2001), Philadelphia Eagles (2001) and Oakland Raiders (2002). He has played for NFL Europe's Barcelona Dragons (2001-2002), the Arena Football League's Detroit Fury (2002), the NIFL Ohio Valley Greyhounds (2003), and the CIFL Port Huron Pirates (06-07). Along with fellow Coldwater native Shane Franzer, he led the Greyhounds to a perfect 17-0 season and the 2003 NIFL Championship.


Ralph Weigel

Coldwater

Professional Baseball Player

Weigel, a catcher, played in the Major Leagues for the Cleveland Indians (1946), the Chicago White Sox (1948) and the Washington Senators (1949). He had a .230 career batting average and played in a total of 106 games with 235 at bats.


Jeff Wiley

Celina

College Football Player

Wiley played Quarterback for Holy Cross from 1985 to 1988. He was an NCAA Division 1-AA All-American in 1987, and he threw for 9,877 career yards.


Earl Wilson

Rockford

Syndicated and New York Post/Los Angeles Times Show Business Columnist

Wilson was a nationally recognized show business and gossip columnists until his death in 1987. He also appeared in six movies: Copacabana (1947 with Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda), A face in the crowd (1957 with Andy Griffith, Walter Mathau and Patricia Neal), College Confidential (1960 with Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows and Walter Winchell), Night of Evil (1962), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965 with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello), and Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968 with Dorris Day). He appeared mainly playing the role of himself. At one time he hosted his own television variety show and is the author of at least four books. He was also a judge of the 1969 Miss. Universe Pagent. Wilson was the author of several memorable quotes:

  • "Nowadays, people can be divided into three classes - the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-Not-Paid-for-What-They-Haves."
  • "Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure."
  • "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared."


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