Let’s take a look at the field as of this morning.
As I promised yesterday, let’s catch up on Alumni birthdays:
Here’s this week’s podcast. Kyle Lobner and I discuss his upcoming article from Brewers On Deck and some of the former Timber Rattlers players he interviewed.
There’s a lot more in there, too.
I will catch up with birthdays tomorrow. Promise.
The main Flashback is over at Timber Rattlers.com. It has the details on Dairy Night. It also promotes the exhibition game with the Ethiopian Clowns and Eddie Dancisak Night as part of a Day-Night Doubleheader.
The Supplemental Flashback has photos and the story on the doubleheader from the August 31, 1940 edition of The Post-Crescent, statistical information from the Wisconsin State League through games of August 30, and the boxscores of the doubleheader on August 30 between Appleton and Sheboygan.
Higgins and Borchart Star In Both Games
With big Jim Higgins doing double duty as a relief hurler and Buddy Borchart connecting for some timely blows, Appleton Papermakers downed the Sheboygan Indians 5 to 4 and 6 to 2 in two well-played Wisconsin State league games at Spencer street park last night. Higgins, who also turned in a good relief job the previous night, mopped up for Millimaki in the first game and helped McIntyre out of a hole in the second.
Borchart, youthful second baseman from Marion, committed some errors afield but more than made up for it at the plate. He smacked a double in the fourth inning of the initial tilt to drive in two runs and knot the score at 3-3, rolled a sacrifice in the sixth frame to advance what proved to be the winning run, and hammered a triple in the nightcap to plate two runners.
Millimaki was going along in good 4-hit style, but took sick on the mound in the sixth inning and it was decided he needed bed more than a victory. Higgins allowed but one safety the rest of the way and got credit for the win. Though he gave way to the giant Appleton hurler in the sixth after the bases were loaded and he had forced in a marker with a walk, McIntyre cut a victory notch in his belt in the aftermath.
Sheboygan Takes Lead
Sheboygan took a 1-run lead in the first frame of the opener when Oberlander was safe on Malewig’s error and Reiss reached first on a fielder’s choice, Oberlander being forced at second. Herich spanked a triple down the right field line to score Reiss. Millimaki fanned the next two batters and whiffed two more in the second frame.
The Indians collected two more markers in the fourth when Zydowsky drew a walk, took second on Pizzi’s grounder, and scored on Kushta’s hard triple to left field. Kushta plated when Malewig fumbled Firtko’s bouncer. Malewig later made up for these errors by turning in some beautiful stops and sparkling pegs to first.
Appleton knotted the count in the fourth when Dancisak singled and took third on Chell’s drive. Dancisak scored on Toraason’s hit to left center, Chell taking second. Borchart came through with his double to tally two more runs.
Both Teams Score
Both teams scored in the fifth with Herich smashing a long triple and scoring on Millimaki’s wild pitch. Malewig burned one into short right, took second on a wild pitch, third on Dancisak’s safety, and home on Clawson’s bad throw to first.
The Papermakers tallied the winning marker in the sixth when Toraason drew a walk, gained second on Borchart’s sacrifice, and went home on Kania’s hit. Kania, who tried his hand at Class D ball with Sheboygan earlier in the season was recruited from Kimberly to plug a hole at shortstop. Clawson started for Sheboygan and was relieved by Knowles.
Sheboygan started its ace hurler, Crowley, in the second game but he found the going a bit rough and retired in favor of Holtz in the fourth inning.
After two scoreless innings, Crowley doubled, took third on Oberlander’s sacrifice and scored on Herich’s single. Appleton evened the score in the fourth when Chell drew a walk, took second on Toraason’s sacrifice roller, third on a wild pitch by Crowley, and home on a wild pitch by Holtz. The Papermakers blasted out four runs in the fifth to put the game on ice. Malattia walked, stole second, and advanced when the Sheboygan catcher threw wild to second. Dancisak was given an intentional walk to fill the bases. Chell daisy-cut to left field to bring in two runs and Borchart followed with a lusty triple to left to bring in two more.
Sheboygan started a rally which netted one run in the sixth but Higgins snubbed it effectively. With two out, Pizzi singled, went to second on Kushta’s single and Holtz walked to fill the bases. McIntyre then walked Oberlander to force in Pizzi. Higgins was called into action and Reiss grounded to Borchart who pegged to Malattia for the third out.
First, here are the two images that show the wrong linescore from late in the game. The first image is from the top of the ninth just after Harris gives up the double to Sazlo:
Here’s the win probability chart for the game. To see the biggest plays from the game, read the column.
To give you a hint of the play that affected the outcome of the game the most:
The main Flashback may be found over at TimberRattlers.com and it deals with some late-season promotions the 1940 Appleton Papermakers were trying as a way to entice fans to attend games. The Supplemental is about a Papermakers proposal that was shot down and the game that occurred on August 29, 1940.
Won’t Extend Season
Officials of the Wisconsin State league rejected a proposal to extend the season one week by a 5 to 1 vote during a meeting at Wisconsin Rapids last night for fear a dangerous precedent would be established. The Appleton Baseball club submitted the request because it has 12 unplayed games, most of them resulting from the recent unusual August rainy period. General league matters also were discussed. Clarence Baetz, president of the Appleton club, attended the meeting.
Papers Bow To Indians
Umpire’s Ruling Contributes to Appleton Downfall
Showing the effects of a prolonged layoff and playing with a makeshift lineup, Appleton Papermakers bowed to the Sheboygan Indians by a 7 to 3 count in a Wisconsin State league game at Spencer street park last night. Dick Williams, an Appleton castoff, mounded for the winners and confined the Papermakers to four scattered hits until the ninth inning when Appleton rallied with three hits and two runs. Sheboygan built up a 5-run lead before Appleton tallied in the fourth.
Both literally and figuratively, Manager Eddie Dancisak was the fall guy last night. Al Standaert had been doing a bang-up job at shortstop in place of Tommy Hawk, who is being groomed for an appendectomy, but is out for the season with an injured shoulder. Les Hoeffken, the only other man available to play the shortstop position is on the sick list so, rather than letting one of his boys take a beating, Eddie tried his hand at the post for the first time in his life and found himself biting off more than he could chew. He bobbled a grounder, threw wild to first base and went flat on his tokus while trying to field a slow roller on the wet grass.
One of the rankest decisions made at the park this season also contributed to the Appleton downfall. With two men down in the fourth inning, Borchart stopped Oberlander’s hard drive and threw to Malattia’s left at first base. Malattia was pulled off the base as he caught the ball but whirled and obviously tagged the runner coming into first. Apparently everybody except Umpire Anderson saw the play for he ruled Oberlander safe.
Sheboygan went on to score three runs in that inning as Reiss hammered a triple to score Oberlander, Henrich singled to plate Reiss, Gasper was sage on Dancisak’s bad throw to first with Henrich taking third and Henrich scoring on Zydowsky’s single.
The Indians pounded two Appleton hurlers for 14 hits. LaGrow started for Appleon and was touched for nine hits before giving way to big Jim Higgins after Zydowsky singled in the fourth. Higgins was touched for three safeties in the fifth which led to two runs but held Sheboygan scoreless the rest of the route. Williams pitched himself into several holes but got out of them with little damage. He was as wild as he was good, issuing eight walked and striking out nine, fanning four consecutively. At one time his control faded so much that he walked Higgins, second tallest man in organized baseball.
The Indians counted in the initial frame when Oberlander was safe on Dancisak’s error. He went to second on Henrich’s safety and both advanced on a blow by Gasper. Oberlander plated on Zydowsky’s long fly to left. Sheboygan added another marker in the third when Gasper was safe on a fielder’s choice and counted on Pizzi’s double. Three runs came in after the ruinous umpire’s decision in the fourth for a 5-0 lead. Sheboygan wound up its scoring for the night in the firth when Kushta led off with a right field line triple and scored on Firtko’s single. Oberlander was safe when Dancisak slipped while trying to field his roller and Firtko gained third. Firtko crossed the plate when Reiss grounded and Oberlander was forced at second.
The Papermakers had many chanced to score but couldn’t quite turn the trick their batting eyes seeming to be a bit rusty as the result of the wet weather which kept them inactive for nearly a week. Malattia and Malewig walked and Dancisak bunted safely to load the bases in the first frame. Chell was out on an infield fly and Malattia was forced when Toraason dribbled. Millimaki went down swinging to leave three men on base.
Appleton left two men on in the third frame. The Papermakers got into the payoff column in the fourth when Aranson doubled and Borchart and Higgins walked to load the bags. Malattia socked a hard grounder to score Aranson and forced Higgins at second. Malewig fanned for the third out leaving two men high and dry. The locals rallied in the ninth and scored two runs after two were out. Anderson made another disputed decision in the ninth when he declared a batted ball hit pinch hitter Nowak when he was going down to second. Those in a good vantage point said the ball “missed him by two feet.” Malattia singled, Malewig drew a free trip and Dancisak singled to fill the bases. Chell got hold of one to bring in two runners. Toraason fanned to end the threat.
One of the highlights of the game was Aranson’s brilliant work in left field. He caught one fly on the dead run to his right and backed up on another to spear what looked like a sure triple.
MLB Pipeline is working their way up to their top 100 prospects by releasing the top 10 prospects at each position. Last night they unveiled their Top 10 Shortstop Prospects and former Timber Rattler Orlando Arcia is rated #3.
From Jim Callis:
[Arcia] had established himself as one of the premier defenders in the Minors entering 2015, and now he’s considered one of the game’s very best prospects after batting .307/.347/.453 in Double-A at age 20. Arcia is a potential Gold Glover and .300 hitter with some developing pop. He’s yet another player on this list with baseball bloodlines, as his brother Oswaldo plays for the Twins.
There is video at the link, but you will have to go there to watch it.
It is mentioned in the video that Arcia has improved the “quality of his contact” and that he led the Southern League in doubles with 37 is proof of that.
Timber Rattlers fans will remember that he always made contact. As an 18-year-old for most of the 2013 season with Wisconsin, Arcia struck out just 40 times in 486 plate appearances. That was just 8.2% of the time. That went up a bit in his Southern League season as a 20-year-old during 2015, Arcia struck out 73 times in 552 plate appearances, just 13.2% of the time. Still, pretty impressive contact rate.
He struck out twice or more in a game just five times in 2013. There was an eight-game stretch (August 2-9) where he went 32 straight plate appearances without striking out. He also had at least one hit in the first seven of those games and was 9-for-29 (.310) during the stretch. By the way, he turned 19 on August 4, 2013. That would be right near the start of that impressive streak.
Appleton Pro Baseball Birthday – January 28:
Don Ruzek – 58
This is the view from my window today. It didn’t look like this when Kyle Lobner and I recorded the podcast yesterday.
We discuss his upcoming Frosty Microbrew article about Tom Flanagan, the new farm director of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Brewers model, MLB Blackouts and how STUPID they are, and various other items.
Recorded tomorrow’s podcast with Kyle Lobner today. Also, working on a revised Mehring Monday and a few other things for this week. Apologies for the sparse Monday post on the blog. I’ll make it up to you….somehow.
This week’s main Flashback is on the main website and it deals with Bill Veeck being Bill Veeck at the 1976 Welcome, Foxes Banquet.
The Foxes of this era held their welcome banquet on an off day after the season had started. Appleton lost the opening game on April 17 at home to Wisconsin Rapids. Their game at Wisconsin Rapids on April 18 was rained out.
The banquet was held on April 19 at Country Aire, which was located at 2311 W. Spencer Street in Appleton. Monarch Gardens Banquet is at that address now.
For the supplemental to the Flashback, here is the story from Roger Pitt that appeared in the April 20, 1976 edition of The Post-Crescent that is about the kind of team manager Jim Napier thought the Foxes would be for that season.
Napier likes Foxes’ pitching
“He who hesitates is lost.”
That old proverb is one which new Appleton Foxes Manager Jim Napier believes in.
Napier isn’t one to wait around for something to happen. Fans can expect to see a lot of old-style baseball at Goodland Field this season – stealing, bunting, and hit-and-run.
“A player is only out on the field 2-1/2 to 3 hours,” Napier, a former catcher, said. “There is no reason for him to give less than 100 per cent while he is out there.”
“We expect there are going to be physical errors and we’re going to try to cut the mental errors to a minimum,” he said, “but I won’t tolerate a lack of hustle. Anyone who doesn’t give the effort will find himself out of the lineup.”
How well does he know his team? How long will it take to put the best team together?
Although the Foxes were the last of the White Sox three minor league teams to be finalized, Napier said, “I know the personnel quite well. We (he and White Sox farm system people) have known for 2-1/2 or 3 weeks who would be playing here. Although they weren’t on the same team in practice games in Sarasota, I knew who I was going to have and watched them pretty close. I have a good idea of their capabilities.”
“The team on the field for the first game should be the one which we go with. There may be some changes but the best team will come as the players develop confidence in their ability,” the affable manager, who gives the impression of being a hard-nosed player who learned his lessons well behind the plate, said.
One of the lessons he learned was the style of ball he favors on offense.
“I learned from playing against the Dodgers,” Napier said, “that it exerts a lot of pressure on the defense, particularly the catcher, when you are continually challenging the opponent.”
“This team should have good speed on the base paths. We should have a good defense and, most of all, the club has pretty good pitching.”
Napier, expounding on his offense, said, “We’re going to run every chance we get and we’ll use the bunt and hit-and-run.” This go-go style of play resulted in a pair of first inning runs in the opener Saturday without the benefit of a hit.
“If you have a power team you can probably sit back and wait for somebody to jack the ball out of the park. We won’t be doing that. I consider a legitimate power hitter as a player who is going to hit 20 or more home runs. Most everyone in the starting lineup has average or above average speed,” Napier analyzed.
Pitching is the main factor in baseball and Napier thinks he has some excellent arms on this year’s staff. He currently has 12 pitchers, a rather large number, but has a few “young arms” who he will not put on the line until he thinks they are ready. “We have some veterans back,” he said, “who should form the nucleus of the staff. There were a lot of young kids on this team last year and many are back. A year’s experience should be beneficial to them.
Napier plans on a four-man rotation to start. Three of the names are familiar to Foxes followers: Jay Attardi, Roy Coulter, and Bill Kautzer. Attardi started the season here last year with a 4-2 record but was sent to Sarasota.
Later, Mike Farrell or Steve Nored is expected to move into the rotation as a fifth starter. The short relief assignment will fall on Bill “Popeye” Lehman, a favorite of Foxes fans. Lehman touched base with all White Sox farm operations last year.
On a whole, Napier is “very happy with the personnel on the team.”
“We have the kind of balance it takes to win. Defense, speed, and pitching.”
“We expect to provide an exciting brand of baseball. If everything jells, we can have a good team. My job is to get these kids to know that they can do it.
Dave Leonhard played for the Foxes in 1963. His SABR Biography starts off with this:
Dave Leonhard had a mediocre high-school and college pitching career. He refused a scout’s first offer to sign him, then changed his mind and signed for a $9 bonus. From that humble start, he carved out a six-year career as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles.
At the time Dave was teaching 11th grade history at Sparrows Point High School in Sparrows Point, Maryland, outside Baltimore. Believing that he was just a mediocre pitcher, Dave refused the offer. “I had a contract to teach through June and I didn’t want to leave,” he told the writer of a profile on him in a Johns Hopkins alumni magazine.4 Youse persisted and offered Leonhard $450 a month to play rookie ball after the school year. Leonhard accepted Youse’s offer, figuring it was a much better summer job than anything else he’d find, but said that he “had no intentions of being a professional ballplayer.” Meanwhile, since professional teams got a 30 percent discount at the store, Youse got Leonhard a $9 discount on the shoes. Leonhard joked, “My bonus amounted to the discount I got when I paid for the shoes.”5