Born: September 17, 1954
Died: October 16, 2018
Town: Ewing Township
Wayne Richard Krenchicki was born September 17, 1954 in Trenton and grew up in Ewing Township. His older brother, Tom, who tutored him in the finer points of the game, would later play minor-league ball in the Dodgers organization. He convinced his little brother to learn to hit left-handed. Wayne was the shortstop for the Ewing Babe Ruth League team that won the national championship in San Diego in 1970.
A hard-hitting, sure-handed infielder, Wayne was the star of the Ewing High School Blue Devils varsity and was picked in the eighth round of the 1972 draft by the Phillies. Wayne opted to accept a baseball scholarship from Ron Fraser at the University of Miami, and helped the school reach three NCAA tournaments in his three seasons with the Hurricanes—including the 1974 College World Series, where Miami lost to USC in the final, 7–3.
In three seasons at the U., Wayne batted .316 and distinguished himself as the best shortstop in program history. He played for Team USA in several major tournaments, including the 1973 World Cup and 1975 Pan American Games.
The Baltimore Orioles selected Wayne with the #7 pick in the January 1976 draft. He made it to the majors in 1979 and played in 58 games over three seasons before being sent down to create a roster spot for rookie Cal Ripken. Wayne was traded to the Reds in 1982. He spelled right-handed Johnny Bench, who had been moved to third base as his career drew to a close.
Wayne also played for the Tigers and Expos during the 1980s and signed a minor-league deal with the A’s in 1987. He did not make it back to the majors and called it quits after the 1988 season at age 33. During the early 1990s he managed in the minors for the Brewers organization. After that he managed several independent teams, including the Newark Bears, in 2007. Wayne led the Bears to the Atlantic League title that season. Among the players on the 2007 Bears were former prospects Ruben Mateo and Jose Herrera. Wayne also managed the Camden RiverSharks.
A head injury suffered in a 2014 staircase fall ended his baseball career but he continued to hunt, fish and play golf in retirement. He was also part owner of a popular sports bar in his adopted hometown of Beloit, WI. Wayne was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. He passed away at age 64 on his Illinois farm while watching the Brewers battle the Dodgers in the 2018 playoffs.