Notes from Induction Night
Harry Heskamp is a member of the class of 1935 and played sports in an era in which the games were played differently and the terms associated with those sports seem by today's standards, quaint. But make no mistake about, this man played those sports with vigor and at the highest level.
A two-sport star in basketball and baseball, he started playing as a freshman on something called the minim basketball team. As a sophomore, he played on both the intermediate and reserve basketball teams and practiced with the varsity (which is still probably less time than the average 10 year old CYO player puts in today). With his ascendancy to upperclassman, he was elevated to varsity in both sports.
He started both years, respectively, as a guard and shortstop. Statistics were not extensively kept as they are today, but the yearbooks were laudatory in their descriptions of him in both sports. His senior year, he was captain of both teams and was the player-coach of the baseball team. He was also chosen a member of the "X Club", which was an organization of varsity letterman who excelled in classroom achievement and leadership abilities in all aspects of school life.
After St. X. he attended Xavier University and fought in World War II. While running the Heskamp Printing Company, he played for and managed a semi-pro baseball team in the area. He was also a long-time knothole coach who received many awards from his knothole district. He is also a fine bowler and golfer. In addition, he raised five sons who graduated from and contributed to athletics at St. X and now is seeing a third generation matriculating at St. X.
Heskamp has been a loyal and exemplary St. Xavier man for over 60 years.
Paul Hove is a member of the Class of 1973 and, until recently, was considered the best high school swimmer in St. Xavier history. He was one of the few athletes whose reputation preceded his entrance into St. X. and whose performance exceeded that reputation as he led X to its first state and national championship.
His list of accomplishments are so numerous that they cannot be reasonably grouped by academic year. Starting from his freshman year, he won six state championships in various free-style events and never finished lower than 2nd in any state championship event. He set school records every year he swam. He set state records in his sophomore and senior year and set the Ohio State University pool record for the 200 freestyle in 1973.
He was a two-time Most Valuable Swimmer and four-time All-American high school swimmer. His arrival, not coincidentally, marked the beginning of the St. X. swimming dynasty, which 25 years later, is still going strong. He led St. X to its first four Ohio championships, a national ranking of 3rd in 1972 and the 1973 National Championship on a team that was so strong that it could have split in four and swept the 1st four places in Ohio.
After graduation he attended Southern Methodist where he was a three-time NCAA All-American and set school records in seven different events. Internationally he was a member of the 1973 through 76 US National Team that competed at the World Championships and a member of the 1976 800 meter Freestyle Relay Team that set an American Record. He barely missed making the 1976 Olympic Team. Finally and most impressively, he was ranked as one of the top 25 swimmers in the world from 1970 through 1975.
After college he continued swimming competitively and successfully in the Masters Program. He passed away in 1988.
Bill Wolff is a member of the class of 1961, who excelled in baseball at many levels.
He was a three-year letterman in both basketball and baseball, and although he was good enough in basketball to be offered a college scholarship, his accomplishments in baseball are his hallmark. As a pitcher/third baseman he led the Bombers his junior and senior years in both pitching and batting. The highlight of these two years was his shutout of Elder, then multiple state champions. Led by our inductee, the Bombers advanced to the District Finals in 1961 only to be frustrated by the same Elder team, on its way to the state semi-finals.
After graduation from X, he declined an offer and bonus from the St. Louis Cardinals (there was no draft yet), and instead accepted a scholarship to UC. At UC he was a two-year MVP, captain his senior year, all Missouri Valley Conference 3 years and in his senior year, after leading the nation with a .779 slugging percentage he was named first team All-America.
In 1965, after graduating from UC, in the same draft with Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan, the Cardinals made him 39th player selected. However, after 6 1/2 years in the minors mostly in AAA, our inductee left professional baseball and took the head coaching position at XU which he held until 1979.
Wolff has been a member of the U.C. Hall of Fame since 1987.