Today’s alumni report features a fan favorite and possibly the Chinooks’ most well known pitcher over their first two seasons, Joe Greenfield. From Orland Park, Illinois, Greenfield attended and played baseball for Carl Sandburg High School. During his high school career, Joe was named to the All-State team in Illinois.
In 2011, Greenfield began his college career pitching for Eastern Illinois University. He made nine appearances for the Panthers during his freshman year, six of which were starts. After 29.1 innings of work, he posted a 5.52 ERA and a 0-2 record.
Greenfield would then spend one season with South Suburban Community College where he became a workhorse for the team. He put in 82 innings of work (15 appearances) for South Suburban and led the team in strikeouts with 95. He ended his 2012 season with a 4.28 ERA and a 3-6 record.
Thanks to his productive spring with South Suburban, Greenfield caught the eye of the Chinooks coaching staff and was given a roster spot on Lakeshore’s inaugural season roster. Joe will go down in the record books as the first pitcher to take the mound, as he was named the starting pitcher for the Chinooks first ever game against the Bullfrogs in Green Bay. In his debut, Joe pitched 5 scoreless innings and led the team to pick up their first win in franchise history.
Just like at South Suburban, Greenfield was a workhorse for the Chinooks. He appeared in 13 games (7 starts) and ended with a 2.29 ERA and a 5-1 record. In 55 innings of work, Greenfield struck out 52 batters while walking 21. Greenfield’s best performance in 2012 came against the Rafters at Kapco Park on July 29th when he pitched a complete game, giving up only one run. He was the first-ever recipient of the Chinooks’ Pitcher of the Year Award due to his solid performance on the mound in 2012.
Also in 2012, Joe was selected in the 22nd round (691 overall) by the Boston Red Sox. Greenfield chose to not yet take the next step into the minor league and opted to return to Eastern Illinois for his junior year.
Greenfield would continue to take on a big workload as he pitched 93 innings for the Panthers in 2013. He made 18 appearances, 14 of which were starts. He even record two saves on the season. During his second season as a Panther, Joe ended with a 3.66 ERA and a 3-6 record.
The Chinooks organization and fans received good news in the spring of 2013 when they learned Joe Greenfield would be returning for a second season with the Chinooks. He was named the starter for the Chinooks home opener on May 30th and would make 11 starts throughout the season. In 62 innings of work, Joe struck out 58 batters while walking 21. He would end his season with a 2.84 ERA and a 3-3 record. It was a memorable season for the Chinooks as the team posted a 46-26 record and was crowned the Northwoods League South Division Second Half Champions. On the final day of the regular season, Lakeshore clinched their first ever playoff berth. They would face Madison less than 24 hours later in their first playoff appearance.
On short notice, the Chinooks gave the nod to Joe Greenfield to take the mound in game 1 of the Divisional Series against Madison. In front of a crowd of 1,500 diehard fans, Greenfield pitched a gem. He went seven strong innings without giving up a run and picked up the win. The offense also contributed to Lakeshore’s first playoff win as they defeated Madison 15-0. Game 1 would be the last time Joe Greenfield would take the mound for the Lakeshore Chinooks. Whether it was his sprinting to and from the mound each inning or his leadership skills on the team, Joe Greenfield is a name many Chinooks fans will remember for years to come!
For the second year in a row, Greenfield was selected in the MLB Draft; this time by the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round (1070th overall). Once again, Joe Greenfield postponed the opportunity to head to the minors to instead return to Eastern Illinois University for his senior year. The Panthers expect big things from their ace next spring and Chinooks fans wish Joe the best of luck during his senior season and his quest to be drafted a third time and make that next step to the minor league level.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized summer collegiate baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including MLB All-Stars Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit lakeshorechinooks.com.