Transactions from Wednesday – December 18, 2014

The Brewers made a pair of transactions on Wednesday that involved former Timber Rattlers.

The Brewers announced Wednesday they have released minor-league pitchers Kyle Heckathorn and Andy Moye.

The Heckathorn release is noteworthy because it continues the exodus of top picks from the Brewers’ 2009 draft.

Tom Haudricourt has that list of 2009 draft picks and what has happened to them at the link.

Heckathorn was a Timber Rattler in 2010.  Moye was a Rattler in 2012 and came back for a brief rehabilitation stint in 2014.

Heckathorn from the 2010 Star Wars Night.

Heckathorn from the 2010 Star Wars Night.

Andy Moye on a Brewers Sunday in 2012.

Andy Moye on a Brewers Sunday in 2012.

Planet of Hats – Day 4:  In honor of Paul Chryst becoming the new head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers football team, here is my 1994 Badgers Rose Bowl hat:

If you aren't from Wisconsin, you have no idea how unlikely the probability that this hat would come into being was in the 70s and 80s. Growing up, I thought we would have flying cars - not a Badgers Rose Bowl - by 1994.

If you aren’t from Wisconsin, you have no idea how unlikely the probability that this hat would come into being was in the 70s and 80s. Growing up, I thought we would have flying cars – not a Badgers Rose Bowl – by 1994.

Alumni Birthdays for December 18:
Trevor Lawhorn (’07) – 32
Joe Randa (’92) – 45
Brian Harrison (’92) – 46
Dave White (’85) – 53
Gary Cortopassi (’71) – 68
Zoilo Versalles (’59) – Would have been 75
Gary Johnson (Manager, ’68) – Would have been 75

Joe Randa as an Appleton Fox in 1992.

Joe Randa as an Appleton Fox in 1992.

From the 1995 New York Times obituary of Zoilo Versalles:

Zoilo Versalles, the slick-fielding, Cuban-born shortstop who led the Minnesota Twins to their first American League pennant in 1965 and became the first Latin American player to be named most valuable player, was found dead at his home in suburban Bloomington, Minn., on Friday. He was 55.

After an inconclusive autopsy Saturday, a spokesman for the county medical examiners office in Minneapolis said lab tests had been ordered to determine the cause of death.

Versalles, a native of Havana, joined the Washington Senators organization as a teen-ager, followed the team to Minneapolis in 1961 and became an All-Star in 1963, but his 1965 season was more than one for the record books.

It was a shining memory that helped sustain him as his career and life went into a long decline.

Planet of Hats – Day 3: December 17, 2014

Remember the early-2000’s when the Brewers were bad and – at times – irrelevant?  The Brewers turned that around with a change in management, good drafts, and plenty of other factors.  The Milwaukee Bucks haven’t been relevant in Milwaukee – or Wisconsin, for that matter – in a long time.  But, they have been on an upswing this season in a manner similar to the Brewers from the last decade.

Unfortunately, Jabari Parker is lost for the rest of the season.  Parker, the #2 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, has been having a very good start for the Bucks, who are 13-12 on the season.  To put that in perspective, the Bucks were 15-67 last season.

Jabari Parker’s injury looked ugly at first sight.

That image was confirmed Tuesday night when a league source said the Milwaukee Bucks rookie had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and would be lost for the rest of the season. The Bucks later confirmed the report.

Parker crashed to the floor on a drive to the basket early in the third quarter of Monday night’s game in Phoenix.

The 6-foot-8 Parker quickly grabbed his left knee and had to be helped off the floor, unable to walk under his own power. Suddenly the leading candidate for the NBA’s rookie of the year award had his initial pro season cut short.

It was a stunning blow to the Bucks, who have been so impressive early in the season under new coach Jason Kidd.

I was hoping to make it to a Bucks game this season to watch Parker play.  I will still probably make it down there for a game, just to see them in person.  I may even wear today’s entry for Planet of Hats:

Planet of Hats – Day 3
Hat 3
A Bucks hat from right after they added purple to the color scheme and got rid of Bango spinning a basketball on his….um….hoof to replace him with this more fierce looking…deer…er…buck.

Alumni Birthdays for December 17:
Matt Costello (’10) – 28
Chad Sheffer (’96) – 41
Francisco Baez (’90, ’91) – 45
Donald Harrel (’91) – 45
Cal Ripken, Sr. (’60, Manager: ’62) – Would have been 79

Cal Ripken, Sr. in 1962.

Cal Ripken, Sr. in 1962.


Cravy returns stateside – December 16, 2014

Tyler Cravy - 2012

Tyler Cravy – 2012

The Napa Valley Register caught up with Tyler Cravy (’11, ’12) as he returned home from Venezuela to see how he is doing:

Cravy made his Triple-A pitching debut June 22 for the Nashville Sounds. He started for the Sounds, but left the game after 3 1/3 innings with an injury. He allowed three hits and one run (earned), walked three and struck out four in a no decision as Nashville lost to host Salt Lake City, 4-1, at Smith’s Ballpark.

The injury he suffered was a strained oblique muscle. It forced Cravy – the 2009 Bay Valley Conference Most Valuable Player who was also named to the Community College Baseball All-America team – to miss most of the remainder of the season.

“I actually felt it during the Double-A All-Star game,” Cravy said last week. “I hadn’t gotten to throw as much as I’d like in the days prior. I had some traveling and we had some events to do. I wasn’t able to play catch for two or three days before. I think that’s what really sparked the injury.”


Cravy recently returned to the Bay Area after spending six weeks pitching for Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuela Winter League. He made six starts, going 0-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 25 innings.

“I got the chance to play winter ball because of not having enough innings due to injury,” he said. “It was recommended by the Brewers to get some more innings since the oblique injury.

“It was a fun experience. It really helped me to try and be more pinpoint with my accuracy. Those guys are pretty aggressive and they swing the bat.”

Planet of Hats – Day 2:  Old time Cub hat.  I’m pretty sure that I wore this hat pretty much every day for 2 or 3 years.  It has seen better days.

This hat used to be white.

This hat used to be white.

Alumni Birthdays:
Trey Watten (’09) – 28
Tim Burton (’00, ’01) – 38
Charles Gipson (’93) – 42
Scott Meier (’81, ’82, ’84) – 54
Chuck Epperson (’81, ’82) – 55

Trey Watten - 2009

Trey Watten – 2009

Rule 5 Good-byes – December 12, 2014

Major League Baseball held the 2014 Rule 5 Draft yesterday.  The draft was split into three phases: Major League, AAA, and AA.

For the breakdown of the whole thing, check out this Baseball America article by JJ Cooper.  Or, if you are interested in the Brewers perspective, here is Tom Haudricourt from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

As forecast by general manager Doug Melvin the previous day, the Brewers made no selections in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 draft on Thursday morning as the winter meetings wrapped up.

The good news is that the Brewers didn’t lose any players in the major-league phase, either. They did lose a couple of outfielders — Sean Halton and Kentrail Davis — in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, leaving their outfield situation at Colorado Springs a bit vacant. Actually, a lot vacant, with Jeremy Hermida sold to a Japanese club and Caleb Gindl exiting as a minor-league free agent.

“We placed them on Double-A (roster) for a reason and that was to give them an opportunity to catch on with another organization,” said [Brewers assistant general manager Gord] Ash. “They felt they were road-blocked with us, so it worked as we had hoped. They were not thought of as major-league help for us. It’s better for them; better for us.”

Halton started the 2010 season with the Timber Rattlers before an early season transfer to Brevard County.  Kentrail Davis joined the Timber Rattlers in the second half of the 2010 season after he was drafted.  Good luck to both former Rattlers!

Sean Halton takes a swing for the Timber Rattlers in 2010. (Photo Credit: Sean Halton)

Sean Halton takes a swing for the Timber Rattlers in 2010. (Photo Credit: Sean Halton)

Kentrail Davis hits a home run for the Rattlers in 2010.

Kentrail Davis hits a home run for the Rattlers in 2010.

Alumni Birthdays for December 12:
Juan Diaz (’07, ’08) – 26
Joe Woerman (’06) – 32
Jon Lockwood (’05) – 33
Tom Moritz (’84, ’86) – 54
Louis Ferraro (’49) – Would have been 86
Ray Barrow (’48) – Would have been 86

A great day in fictional fan history

Crummy weather day in NE Wisconsin:

And it's not even the shortest day of the year yet.

And it’s not even the shortest day of the year yet.

So, let’s get somewhat tropical:

The top three fictional Detroit Tigers fans in history are:

  1. Thomas Sullivan Magnum – Magnum, PI
  2. Clarence Boddicker – RoboCop (He never misses a game)
  3. Lt. Yoshi Tanaka – Magnum, PI

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Grosse Pointe Blank, so I can’t remember if Martin Blank or Debi Newberry were Tigers fans.  They probably were, but neither would crack my top three.

Why do I bring this up today?

Because it was on December 11, 1980 that Magnum, PI debuted on CBS and introduced us to Thomas Magnum, the greatest fictional Tigers fan ever:


Just hope that he doesn’t ask you if you saw the sunrise this morning.

No Alumni Birthdays recorded for December 11.  But to catch up on a few transactions involving former Timber Rattlers:

Adam Moore (’06) signed as a minor league free agent with Cleveland
JC Ramirez (’08) signed as a minor league free agent with Arizona

Photo Credit: WM. Glasheen

Photo Credit: WM. Glasheen

Alumni Birthdays for December 10

Brandon Ritchie in 2009.

Brandon Ritchie in 2009.

Alumni Birthdays for December 10:
Brandon Ritchie (’09) – 28
Brandon Sizemore (’09) – 28
Jair Fernandez (’09) – 28
Mumba Rivera (’05) – 34
Joe Mays (’97) – 39
Norberto Martin (’85, ’86) – 48
Mickey Abarbanel (’66, ’69) – 69
Jack Feller (’59) – 78

Notes about those Alumni with birthdays today:
Brandon Ritchie was the winning pitcher for the Timber Rattlers in the 2009 Miller Park Game. Ritchie also was married a few months ago right here at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.

Mumba Rivera was 7-0 in ten starts with the Timber Rattlers in 2005 before he was promoted up the Mariners system.

Mickey Abarbanel tossed a no-hitter for the Foxes in 1966.

Jack Feller appeared in one major league game. He caught the top of the ninth inning – and did not get a plate appearance – for the Detroit Tigers in a 13-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on September 13, 1958…The season before he played for the Foxes, who were an affiliate of the Washington Senators in 1959.

The image on Norberto Martin’s Baseball-Reference page is him in a Brewers cap. That would be from his time as the hitting coach of the Helena Brewers in 2004, 2007, & 2008.

Joe Mays still has the best Timber Rattlers baseball card…ever!

Joe Mays seems like a fun guy.

It’s in the hole!

A cool birthday – December 9, 2014

One of the Alumni Birthdays today is Dennis Denning.  He played for the Foxes in 1965 after the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the 40th round of the June draft out of St. Thomas University in Minnesota.  Denning started in Aberdeen that year and moved to the Foxes to play 11 games at the end of the season.

In 1966, Denning played for Miami and in 1967, he played for Stockton for 76 games.  He did not play professionally after 1967.  But, he would stay in baseball as a head coach of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, his high school alma mater.  Denning coached there for 17 seasons before moving up to St. Thomas in 1995.

Denning would return to the Fox Cities for the NCAA Division III College World Series as the head coach of St. Thomas University three times (2000, 2001, & 2009).  The Tommies won titles in 2000 and 2009 before Denning retired from St. Thomas in 2009.

Photo Credit: St. Thomas University

Photo Credit: St. Thomas University

Denning turned 69 today.

Alumni Birthdays for December 9:
Renee Cortez (’02, ’03) – 32
Brandon Parker (’98) – 39
Jason Cook (’94, ’95) – 43
Andy Naworski (’87) – 51
Bruce Tanner (’83, ’84) – 53
Dennis Denning (’65) – 69
Billy Klaus (’46) – Would have been 86


Alumni Report – Through Winter League games of December 7, 2014

A fresh coat of snow on the field today.

A fresh coat of snow on the field today.

Australian Baseball League:
Sydney Blue Sox (11-9, 3rd):
Craig Anderson (’00): 5 games, 5 starts, 2-3, 3.00ERA, 33.0IP, 8BB, 29K

Melbourne Aces (7-12, 6th):
Kyle Heckathorn (’11) 3 games, 0-2, 8.10ERA, 3.1IP, 4BB, 3K

Dominican Republic:
Aguilas Cibaenas (21-15, 2nd)
Edward Paredes (’08): 11 games, 0-2, 6.75ERA, 4.0IP, 2BB, 4K
Juan Sandoval (’03): 14 games, 0-0, 3.77ERA, 14.1IP, 8BB, 12K

Estrellas de Oriente (23-14, 1st):
Juan Diaz (’08): 26 games, .234/.294/.229, 0HR, 12RBI
Ryan Rowland-Smith (’03): 7 games, 6 starts, 2-1, 3.55ERA, 25.1IP, 8BB, 12K

Gigantes del Cibao (21-16, 3rd):
Carlos Peguero (’07): 25 games, .305/.473/.610, 7HR, 17RBI

Tigres del Licey (16-21, 5th):
Carlos Triunfel (’07): 9 games, .091/.167/.182, 0HR, RBI

Puerto Rico:
Cangrejeros de Santurce (10-14, 4th):
Omar Garcia (’14): 11 games, .091/.167/.091, 0HR, 0RBI
Yadiel Rivera (’12): 24 games, .222/.289/.370, 2HR, 15RBI
Joel Pineiro (’98): 7 games, 7 starts, 1-4, 4.66ERA, 38.2IP, 6BB, 19K

Criollos de Caguas (18-8, 1st):
Efrain Nieves (’10): 6 games, 6 starts, 2-1, 4.23ERA, 27.2IP, 11BB, 13K

Gigantes de Carolina (11-13, 3rd):
Jeff Dominguez (’06): 24 games, .193/.276/.284, 2HR, 6RBI
JC Ramirez (’08): 10 games, 0-1, 3.86ERA, 11.2IP, 2BB, 12K

Indios de Mayaguez (15-10, 2nd):
Martin Maldonado (’09): 2 games, .167/.143/.167, 0HR, RBI
Jorge Lopez (’13): 6 games, 6 starts, 1-1, 1.73ERA, 26.0IP, 8BB, 25K

Aguilas del Zulia (28-16, 2nd):
Eric Marzec (’11): 9 games, 7 starts, 2-1, 2.57ERA, 37.0IP, 3BB, 24K

Bravos de Margarita (16-29, 8th):
Tyler Cravy (’12): 6 games, 6 starts, 0-4, 5.04ERA, 25.0IP, 6BB, 20K
Greg Holle (’11): 15 games, 0-2, 1 Save, 4.91ERA, 11.0IP, 7BB,2K

Cardenales de Lara (23-25, 5th):
Luis Valbuena (’06): 6 games, .174/.208/.348, HR, 5RBI
Jose Escalona (’08): 5 games, 0-0, 8.44ERA, 5.1IP, 3BB, 4K
Cesar Jimenez (’03): 13 games, 6 starts, 2-4, 3.48ERA, 31.0IP, 8BB, 29K

Caribes de Anzoategui (30-15, 1st):
Orlando Arcia (’13): 43 games, .268/.344/.470, 7HR, 26RBI

Navegantes del Magallanes (22-22, 4th):
Carlos Maldonado (’99): 18 games, .167/.310/.292, 1HR, 7RBI

Tigres de Aragua (24-21, 3rd):
Renee Cortez (’03): 20 games, 2-0, 0.53ERA, 17.0IP, 7BB, 6K

Introducing: Between Two Berms:

Alumni Birthdays for December 6:
Aubrey Waggoner (’86) – 48
Archie Slover (1913) – Would have been 122

Alumni Birthdays for December 7:
Jake Jacobs (’90) – 48
Samuel Dunbar (’66) – 68
Thomas Hinton (’47) – Would have been 90.

Hinton moved to Appleton to play baseball, met a local woman, got married, and stayed in town until his death in 2001.

Alumni Birthdays for December 8:
Julio Santiago (’05) – 29
Kirk Piskor (’91) – 45
Ted Miller (’65) – 68
Hugh Springer (’60) – Would have been 76

Korfball (?) and Alumni Birthdays – December 5, 2014

I was cleaning out the basement last week and I found the 1970’s version of the least for me: The World of Sports Sport Cards collection.

I will be sharing some of these cards during the offseason….Cards like this one on Korfball.  Korfball?  KORFBALL:

No Backboard! Co-ed teams!

No Backboard! Co-ed teams!


Learn about KORFBALL!

Learn about KORFBALL!

As always, click for the larger version.  I don’t know why Korfball hasn’t caught on in the USA.

Alumni Birthdays for December 5:
Scott Abell (’92) – 45
John Papa (’60) – 74
Ed Kowalski (’42) – Would have been 92

ANOTHER Trade & Remember THIS? – December 4, 2014

Another former Timber Rattler player has been traded.  Last night, the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Michael Saunders (’06) from the Seattle Mariners:

The Toronto Blue Jays plugged their hole in left field by acquiring Michael Saunders from the Seattle Mariners for left-hander J.A. Happ, a deal that signals Melky Cabrera’s departure and gives GM Alex Anthopoulos extra money to work with to bolster the bullpen.

Saunders, a 28-year-old from Victoria, is projected by to earn $2.9 million in salary arbitration, and becomes just the fourth outfielder on the club’s 40-man roster. He’ll take over from Cabrera as the starting left-fielder, meaning the club’s attempts at re-signing the free agent are essentially over.

“Saunders is going to be our everyday left-fielder,” said Anthopoulos. “We ultimately had to make a decision to go that route.


Michael Saunders in 2006. This picture and others used in this post were taken during a game in which the Rattlers wore Fox Cities Foxes jerseys as part of a Turn Back the Clock promotion.

Michael Saunders as a Timber Rattler in 2006.

The Snake Pit Team Store has extended one of their Cyber Weekend offers on the website.  Place an online order of $50 or more between now and the end of the month and receive FREE SHIPPING!

I had to clear some photos off my phone to make room for some updates. As I was going through the pictures I found a few from July that I don’t think I ever posted. Remember that trip to Quad Cities in July where the Mississippi River had flooded its banks and Modern Woodmen Park was surrounded by water? Remember that Quad Cities has a ferris wheel at Modern Woodmen Park? Here’s the view:

QC Ferris Wheel

QC Ferris Wheel View

QC Ferris Wheel View2

QC Ferris Wheel View3

QC Ferris Wheel View4

QC Ferris Wheel View5

QC Ferris Wheel View6

QC Ferris Wheel View7

Alumni Birthdays for December 4:
Carlos Gomez (’10, ’11, ’12) – 29
Dave Vanhof (’95, ’96) – 41
Eduardo Martinez (’93) – 41
Christopher Connolly (’92) – 44
Francisco Garcia (’90) – 45
Gabriel Pineda (’91) – 46
Bill Drohan (’89) – 47
Kevin Ruckebeil (’85) – 51
Henry “Red” Kubiszak (’40) – Would have been 98



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