November 2010

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of November 11, 2010


@Caracas 6, Lara 2

Luis Valbuena (’06): 1-for-4, RBI
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): 1-for-5
Alex Liddi (’08): 0-for-4

Puerto Rico:

@Carolina 5, San Juan 4 (11)

Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): 2-for-4, RUN, RBI

San Juan:
Rene Rivera (’03): 2-for-5, RUN, RBI


@Adelaide 7, Melbourne 4

Jamie McOwen (’07): 1-for-4, 2RBI

Veterans Day

Here is a (slightly edited) repost of a Mehring Monday Veterans Day column that I wrote last year.

Here is a picture of Joe Tipton, an Appleton Papermaker, in 1941:


In Flanders Fields
the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The above poem is by Lieutenant Colonel
John McCrae, a doctor in the Canadian Army during World War I.  You can
read the rest of it here.

Baseball has many veterans, most from World War
II.  Bob
was in the Navy.  Ted
was a Marine fighter pilot. Yogi
was a gunner’s mate on a landing craft for D-Day.

Click here to see the excellent Gary
Bedingfield’s Baseball in Wartime
website.  All
of the bios for WWII veterans are here

To share a few of the stories, we just picked out
a few from Gary’s site.

was in the drafted into the Army in December of 1940.  He was
discharged along with all men age 28 or older on December 5, 1941.  He
re-enlisted in February of 1942.

“We are in
trouble,” he told The Sporting News, “and there is only one thing for me to
do – return to the service. This doubtless means I am finished with baseball
and it would be silly for me to say I do not leave it without a pang. But all of
us are confronted with a terrible task – the defense of our country and the
fight for our lives.”

‘s story has been told before — and
in greater detail
, but it is worth revisiting again.

August 2, 1943, Berg accepted a position with the Office of Strategic Services.
In September, he was assigned to the Secret Intelligence branch of the OSS and
given a place at the OSS Balkans desk. In this role, he parachuted into
Yugoslavia to evaluate the various resistance groups operating against the Nazis
to determine which was the strongest. His evaluations were used to help
determine the amount of support and aid to give each group.

late 1943, Berg was assigned to Project Larson, an OSS operation set up by OSS
Chief of Special Projects John Shaheen. The stated purpose of the project was to
kidnap Italian rocket and missile specialists out of Italy and bring them to the
United States. However, there was another project hidden within Larson called
Project AZUSA with the goal of interviewing Italian physicists to see what they
knew about Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. It was similar
in scope and mission to the Alsos project. On May 4, 1944 Berg left for London
and the start of his mission

May to mid-December, Berg hopped around Europe interviewing physicists and
trying to convince several to leave Europe and work in America.
Berg’s wartime vocation calling for anonymity, he did betray himself on one
occasion. While at a field hospital in France, Berg could not resist the
temptation to join in a game of catch with a couple of GIs. After the former
major leaguer had made a couple of throws one of the soldiers remarked,
“You’re a pro.” Soon afterwards the soldier added, “You’re a
catcher,” another throw and his cover was blown, “and your name is Moe

the beginning of December,
attended a lecture by prominent German physicist Werner Heisenberg. His orders
were to kill the scientist if there was any indication that the Germans were
close to building an atomic bomb. Fortunately, Berg was not required to fulfill
his orders as the Germans were far behind in the race to build an atomic weapon.

returned to the United States on April 25, 1945, and resigned from the Strategic
Services Unit – the successor to the OSS – in August. He was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 10, 1945 but he rejected the award.
Some years after his death, the award was accepted on his behalf by his sister.

was a member of the Appleton Papermakers in
1941.  In 1942, he was with the Charleston Senators.  In 1943, he was
in the military…

with the Navy aboard the escort carrier USS Kadashan Bay (CVE-76) in the
Pacific. He was at Leyte, Okinawa and
Iwo Jima
, and survived a kamikaze attack on January 8, 1945, when the
Bay was hit amidships directly below the bridge. After an hour and a half of
feverish damage control effort, fires and flooding were checked.

would not join the Papermakers until 1947. 
That was after his tour with the Navy.

From 1944 to February 6,
1946, he served with the Navy and was on a destroyer in the Pacific. Clark –
assigned to a landing craft – saw action at Iwo Jima, the

New Guinea


was a Papermaker for two games in 1941 and entered the military.

served with the Army Air Force and was based in England where he
a Bomb GroupIn
August 1943 he was selected to play with the Eighth Air Force All-Stars – a
team of professionals who were led by former Senators’ pitcher, Montie Weaver.
The Eighth Air Force defeated a hand-selected team of Army professionals, 1-0,
thanks to Bill Brech’s outstanding no-hitter. The team then toured military
bases throughout Britain playing a total of 29 exhibition games.


was a Papermaker in 1940 and went on to pitch for the Sheboygan Indians in
1941.  He went into the Army in 1942 and didn’t come home.

entered military service with the Army on
July 25, 1942

at Kalamazoo
Michigan. He served with the
82nd Field Artillery Battalion of 1st Cavalry Division in
the Pacific

and was killed in action during the battle for the Philippines on February 21,

Fifth Grade Williams was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and is buried at
the Manila


Cemetery at


Bonifacio in



something to think about this today or any day really.


you, Veterans.

Thursday Program cover post (1966)

This week, we go back to the 1966 Fox Cities Foxes. This was the first season Appleton Professional Baseball was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. Click for a larger image.


Zaug’s is located right down the road from Time Warner Cable Field.

Two notes on the program: $0.10 and cigarette vending machines at the ballpark. It was a different world, wasn’t it?

One morning I woke up and thought I couldnt bear staring down someones throat at 9 oclock in the morning for the rest of my life…

That is a quote from Dave Niehaus, the Hall of Fame broadcaster of the Seattle Mariners.  He had been enrolled at the Dentistry School at Indiana.  The quote finishes: “Then I stopped by the college’s radio and television station, and I’ve been doing this ever since.”

The this has been broadcasting.  He was the first radio voice of the M’s and had called over 5,000 games for the Mariners.  He has passed away.

Any other quotes that I pull would not do justice to the man.  But, if you listen to the joy of the call of the play below, you get an idea.

Read what his friends, peers, and fans have to say at these links:

Seattle Times
Mariners’ family remembers legendary broadcaster Dave Niehaus

Dave Niehaus’ death touches close to home for everyone

Dave Niehaus broadcast peers pay their respects

Mariners Website:
Emotional Griffey reflects on Niehaus

Legendary Mariners voice Niehaus passes

Mariners lose a legend in Niehaus

Lookout Landing: Voiceless

Mike Curto, Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster: Remembering A Legend

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of November 10, 2010


Peoria Javelinas 8 @Surprise 5

Hunter Morris (’10): 1-for-4


Lara 9 @Caracas 3

Luis Valbuena (’06): 1-for-5, RUN, RBI, HR #1
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): 2-for-5
Alex Liddi (’08): 4-for-5, 2 RUNS, 3RBI, HR #2
Caesar Jimenez (’03): IP, 0H, 0R, 2K

Carlos Maldonado (’99): 0-for-3

Zulia 5 @Magallanes 1

Austin Bibens-Dirkx (’06): 5IP, 3H, 0R, 4K, WIN #2

Puerto Rico:

@Ponce 9, Mayaguez 3

Johan Limonta (’06): 1-for-4

Wherever it is, it is

Dan Merklinger, a Rattler in 2009, started the Arizona Fall League season with the Surprise Rafters.  Now, he has channeled Buckaroo Banzai after moving to the Phoenix Desert Dogs.

The Seton Hall alum began the fall with Surprise, but got an opportunity to start more consistently with Phoenix. It was an easy decision to switch teams, especially since it wasn’t really made by him.

“I was basically told by the Brewers and my coaches, and I said fine, I’ll just do whatever they want,” he said. “I’ll play wherever. Wherever it is, it is.”
Merklinger, who appeared at three levels in the Minors in 2010, joined fellow lefty Brewers prospect Lucas Luetge on the Dogs staff.

“The Phoenix team was down on pitching and I’ve been a starter all year, so it was a good opportunity for me to start in the Fall League,” he said. “It’s different — you’re always more comfortable with teammates you’ve been playing the season with, but I don’t have a problem getting along with anyone. Everyone’s been real nice and warm here.”

For those of you unfamiliar with the Buckaroo Banzai reference…first, I pity you. Second, the quote Wherever it is, it is reminded me of Peter Weller’s second best role (behind RoboCop, of course) because he says: No matter where you go, there you are at the start of this scene:

It was the 80’s. You could get away with stuff like that. And end credits like this.

By the way, I am still waiting for Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.  I am also still wondering if Jeff Goldblum kept the cowboy outfit after the shooting of the film wrapped.

Another winter league to follow

Australian Baseball League is new and ready to go!

The new Australian Baseball League, a landmark initiative of Major League Baseball (MLB), the Australian Baseball Federation (ABF) and the Australian Sports Commission was officially launched today ahead of the Season Opener on November 6.

The six new ABL teams Adelaide Bite, Brisbane Bandits, Canberra Cavalry, Melbourne Aces, Perth Heat, and Sydney Blue Sox, introduced their 35-man playing roster and unveiled their uniforms for the first time.

The Australian Baseball League will feature Australia’s best homegrown talent, including professionals plying their trade in the major and minor leagues of North America and Asia, and a number of high profile imports.

Australian players have long been competing at the highest professional and amateur levels around the world but a lack of domestic competition prevented them from being able to showcase their skills in front of a home crowd.

The ABL season, in which each team will play 40 games, will run throughout the southern summer, from November to January. The season complements the northern hemisphere baseball season, which begins in March.

Why, yes there are some former Timber Rattlers participating in the league.

Craig Anderson (’00) is playing for the Sydney Blue Sox.

James McOwen is with the Adelaide Bite.

The Adelaide Bite mascot is this:

BiteMascot.jpgGo and help name him at their facebook page.

Also, former Milwaukee Brewers catcher Dave Nilson is the manager of the Brisbane Bandits.

Balentien, AAA All-Star

TOPPS has announced their Triple-A All-Star team.  Former Timber Rattlers outfielder Wladimir Balentien (’04) made the team as a member of the Louisville Bats, the International League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

Wladimir Balentien, 26, of Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, hit .282 with 78 RBIs for the Louisville Bats. The outfielder finished in the top five in the International League in homers, slugging percentage and OPS. The Cincinnati Reds acquired Balentien in a July 2009 trade with Seattle.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of November 9, 2010

Arizona Fall League:

@Mesa 7, Surprise 5

Jeremy Jeffress (’10): 0.0IP, H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB

@Phoenix 7, Scottsdale 4

Dan Merklinger (’09): 3IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 3K, WIN #1


Zulia 8 @Lara 1

Edilio Colina (’08): 1-for-4
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): 1-for-3, RBI
Alex Liddi (’08): 0-for-3

@Caribes 7 @La Guaira 1

La Guaira:
Gerardo Avila (’08): 0-for-2
Jose Escalona (’08): .1IP, 0H, 0R

Dominican Republic:

Gigantes 8 @Licey 5

Carlos Peguero (’08): 1-for-4

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