Tony Schaaf

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Humble sponsor inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

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In 2009, the Bar on The Avenue Buzz of Appleton, Wisc. won the NAFA World Series AA championship. The team sponsored by Mark Miller, consisted of front row, Glen Nelson, Brett Kadlec, Tony Hall, Scott Gillmore, Randy Hartkopp, Chance Schmid, Tony Schaaf, and Bruce Pirkel. The back row, Matt Paulsen, Paul Skora, Todd Lubkeman, Jay Gilray, Wayne Gaura, Trevor Gaura, Jason Gerum, Bob Loshek, and Mark Nelson. Missing from photo are Mark Schroeder, Dale Horton, and Al Weidner. Contributed photo by Wisconsin NAFA Fastpitch.

APPLETON, Wisc. – You won’t find many fastpitch softball awards and trophies hanging on the walls of Mark Miller’s tavern, The Bar of Appleton. And that’s just fine with him. As a sponsor he isn’t in the sport for personal glory. In fact, Miller does everything possible to avoid the spotlight.

That’s Mark, agree two of his best fastpitch friends, Darren Derricks and Tony Schaaf.

“He’s extremely humble,” said Schaaf, who manages the Bar on The Avenue Buzz, one of Miller’s sponsored teams. “He would rather sit back in the stands and watch the game than have it be anything about himself. What he does for fastpitch has never been about him, but for the game.”

What Miller has done for fastpitch is both generous and remarkable in its scope. Now 51, he began playing fastpitch at 15 until he was 30 – not a long-playing career as an outfielder. But when he stepped off the field, he didn’t leave the game behind. He continued on as a sponsor.

SPREADING AROUND THE CAPITAL
But unlike most sponsors, Miller took a different route in passing out the bucks as the owner of The Bar in Appleton, says Schaaf.

“Mark believes that instead of combining teams and making one great team, why not take that money and create 12 teams instead of one,” he said. “He would rather sponsor a lot of grass root teams than one that wins titles.”

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