The Polarizing Career of Tony Koch
GRANGER- Eight-Year Veteran and 2-Time MVP Tony Koch retires after 8 ORWBL Seasons:
Tony Koch, the all-time ORWBL leader in both Batting Average and Hits, has officially retired from the Old Republic Wiffleball League. Koch’s announcement came shortly after his 2018 season with the Granger Panthers came to an end after a World Series loss to the Maple City Magic.
Despite a disappointing end to Koch’s eight-year ORWBL career, he finishes with a list of accomplishments that can be matched by few in league history. Tony retires with his name written all over the ORWBL record books, as his all-time leading batting average is accompanied by the second most Home Runs in league history (trailing only Scott Soos) and the third most RBIs (behind only Koby Keck and the aforementioned Soos).
Koch will finish his career with a staggering 761 hits, 352 Home Runs, and 502 RBIs. Placing in the top ten in any category in ORWBL history is impressive in its own right, but to finish in the top three in every major hitting category truly speaks to Koch’s longevity, durability, and ability to hit a wiffleball.
Koch’s accomplishments at the plate resulted in his fair share of hardware over the years as Tony will finish his career as a 4-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, and 1-time Cy Young award winner. Perhaps more impressive than winning both an MVP and a Cy Young throughout his career is the fact that he did so in the same 2011 season (something done by just three players in league history).
Koch amassed an incredible .672 average, 46 Home Runs, and 85 RBIs at the plate to go along with a perfect 7-0 record on the mound in route to winning both major awards with the Wills Township Federalists. The dual threat Koch added on the mound in that 2011 season is one not often seen throughout ORWBL history.
Despite all of Koch’s statistical accomplishments throughout his career, he has been met with his fair share of criticism over the years. Between his polarizing personality and his lack of championships, Koch will always be one of the biggest what-ifs in ORWBL history.
For every Michael Jordan-type player you have in sports, you’ll always have your Karl Malone, Charles Barkley-type players. Koch closes out his career with three trips to the ORWBL World Series, and not a single championship. In fact, Koch’s teams didn’t manage to win a single game in those three trips as his all-time World Series record will finish at 0-12. Although not winning a single World Series game cannot be completely attributed to Koch, that mark will forever be a stain on an otherwise incredible statistical career.
For all the talk of Koch’s statistical records and accolades, perhaps the aspect of Tony’s career that will be remembered most were his antics on the field itself. Koch had a unique way of socializing with opposing teams, and he did so in ways that cannot be properly explained in a single article.
The best way to describe Tony’s style of play is this; if Tony Koch was playing on the opposing team and you had no idea who he was, you could figure out which one he was right away. Between his goofy, oftentimes nonsensical sayings and mannerisms (“Bangin Em”, “Ya Got To,” and “SWOOSH,” are a few that come to mind off the top of my head) and his neon attire, Tony was a player that was hard to miss.
Say what you will about Tony Koch, but there is no doubt he left his mark both on both the ORWBL record books, and the various teams he played with. Whether it was with the first stint of his career posting monster stats with the Wills Township Federalists, then with latter portion of his career helping lead an upstart Jet City Junkballers squad and finally chasing that ever-so-close championship ring with the Granger Panthers, there is no doubt that the league will never again see a player quite like Tony Koch.