Back row from left: Randy Steffen, Bob Hintgen, Jim Boffeli, Dale Till, Don Till, Mike “Chops” Healy …. Front row from left: Jerome Simon, Scott Harris, Pat Moran, Paul Scherrman, Phil Sheehy, Dean Steffen
Very cool photo shared on Facebook by my good friend Cyndi McDermott this week. The 1980 Farley Hawks.
What a neat bunch of guys. And look at that (approximately) 30-year-old Paul Scherrman (front row, third from right) — the best catcher to ever come out of Dubuque County, and my childhood idol.
Two of my all-time favorite people are in the back row. Mike “Chops” Healy (far right) and Don Till (second from right). They were my junior-high social studies teachers and baseball/life mentors. Really miss Chops, who died in about 1998; he was one of the most likable people I’ve ever known.
I really like this photo.
Farley was on the verge of becoming a Dubuque County dynasty when this photo was taken.
Scott Harris (front row, second from left) was about 18 and turning into one of the area’s best pure hitters.
The Steffen boys (Randy, back row far left; and Dean, front row far right; and Terry, not pictured) were young then and terrific players. Dean was the best defensive center fielder in eastern Iowa for about 20 years. Terry (aka Geek) was a feared power hitter. Randy was dependable with the bat and glove.
Marty Till (not pictured) was about 16 when this photo was taken. A few years later, he was a home run hitter for the Hawks and EASILY the best defensive first baseman in Dubuque County. By a mile.
Paul Scherrman was, well, Paul Scherrman. Outstanding hitter, terrific catcher, strategy wizard, born leader. He played professional baseball in the 1970s and was a great player for the Hawks well into the 1990s. A member of the Dubuque County Baseball Hall of Fame.
In the years to come, Farley would add baseball lifer Loras Simon (a line-drive hitter with no fear), all-around star Mark Pins and John Ackerman (who pitched professionally). The Hawks had everything they needed.
Any team would have loved to have Ackerman. But he made a wise choice to play for Farley, where he could have Scherrman as a battery-mate.
With the flame-throwing Ackerman on board — and Paul Boffeli as a more-than-capable No. 2 — Farley was nearly unbeatable. In 1987, the Hawks went something like 45-5, and Ack was 20-1 on the mound. They won almost every tournament in the area. I was 10 years old and in awe of their talent.