Chad Pleiness - Inductee - 2008
Chad is the only Mason County athlete to earn first-team All-West Michigan Conference, All-Area and All-State honors in football, baseball and basketball in the same season. In 1998, he made the Associated Press All-State football team as a punter in the fall. During the winter season, he was the leading scorer and rebounder and a consensus first-team All-Stater on a 26-1 team whose only loss was to Detroit dePorres in the Class C state finals. In the spring, he won 14 games in baseball and was chosen to the coaches’ All-State team as Central finished 28-2, losing in the state quarterfinals. In 1997, Pleiness was also All-State in basketball helping his Spartans reach the state semifinals. In basketball, Central was 76-8 during his three varsity seasons and he owns the school’s single-season scoring mark of 597 points and his 1,284 career points is third behind Jeremy Holmes and Mike Hankwitz. Pleiness attended Central Michigan University initially to play football. He played football for one year, baseball for four years and basketball for three years. In baseball, Pleiness was 6-3 in 2002, his senior year, and was a unanimous first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection. With a fastball that topped out at 94 miles per hour, he led the nation in strikeouts per innings pitched, fanning 100 batters in 68 innings a ratio of 1.47 whiffs per innings. As a basketball player, the 6-foot, 6-inch Pleiness made the MAC’s All-Freshman team and was an All-MAC honorable mention selection in 2001 as a sophomore, averaging 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game while helping the Chippewas win the league championship. He was Central Michigan’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2002. In 2001, he led Central and was among the nation’s leaders in free-throw shooting percentage. He is CMU’s career leader in free-throw shooting percentage, making 185 of 223 attempts, an 83 percent ratio. Drafted in the fifth round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002, Pleiness was the pitcher of the year for the champion Auburn Doubledays of the New York/Penn league. He was 8-3 with a 2.42 earned run average, allowing 48 hits in 74 innings while striking out 70 hitters. The next year, he was a Florida State League all-star pitching for the Dunedin Blue Jays.