50 Years in 50 Days: 1964
Fifty years ago, the Foxes joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached 48.
48 Years Ago:
The 1964 Foxes are making a play for their first Midwest League title.
Team Name: Fox Cities Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Baltimore Orioles
Manager: Billy DeMars (2nd year)
1st Half Record: 39-22 (2nd)
2nd Half Record: 42-21 (1st)
Overall Record: 81-43
Future Major League Players:
Pitcher – Fred Beene (11-5, 2.22) 34 games, 1 start, 77 innings pitched with 102 strikeouts
Shortstop – Steve Huntz; Hit .249 with 9 homers and 74 RBI in 122 games
Pitcher – Sparky Lyle (3-1, 2.31) 6 games, 6 starts, 35 innings pitched with 51 strikeouts
Outfielder – John Matias; Hit .300 with 13 homers and 60 RBI in 124 games
Outfielder – Dave May; Hit .368 with 14 homers in 74 RBI in 122 games
Outfielder – Fred Rico; Hit .310 with 7 homers and 88 RBI in 117 games
Future Major League Coach: Billy DeMars
Average: Dave May – .368*
Homers: Dave May – 14
RBI: Fred Rico – 88**
OPS: Dave May – 1.004
SB: Dave May – 36
*Won Midwest League batting title. Edged out Ed Moxey of Quincy .368-.362
** – 2nd in the MWL. Clarence Stanley of Decatur led league with 93 RBI.
Who IS That Guy Stat: Steve Caria had 195 strikeouts in 154 innings pitches as an 18-year-old. He also walked 105 batters and hit a home run in 52 at bats for the Foxes that year. I wonder if the youngster who went 9-7 with a 3.16ERA for the Foxes in 1964 is the same Steve Caria who has been an insurance agent in San Mateo, California since 1979.
Power SURGE Stat: The Foxes hit only 37 home runs in 120 games during the 1963 season. They hit 89 in 124 games in 1964.
Power ARM Stat: Seven members of the Foxes pitching staff struck out 100 opposing batters. They struck out a total of 1,061 in 1,042 innings. In descending order the magnificent seven to reach 100 or more strikeouts that season were:
MIDWEST LEAGUE 1964:
Fox Cities Foxes, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Red Raiders, Clinton C-Sox, Decatur Commodores, Dubuque Packers, Quad Cities Angels, Quincy Gems, Waterloo Hawks, Wisconsin Rapids Twins.
The Foxes beat Clinton 8-5 in a one game playoff at Riverview Stadium for the Midwest League title on September 1, 1964. This was the first MWL Pennant for Appleton Professional Baseball. The write up on that game may be found at this Flashback Friday.
Surprise MWL Link: You will need to click this link to see which familiar face – to Brewers fans – led the Midwest League in stolen bases during the 1964 season. Let’s just say that he could give an instructional video on stealing bases since he stole 53 bases in 58 attempts for Dubuque that season.
MWL ALUM OF NOTE FROM 1964:
Rick Reichardt is a Stevens Point native. He was a football and baseball star at the University of Wisconsin. Reichardt played for the Badgers in the 1963 Rose Bowl and led the Big Ten in batting twice.
It is said that the bidding war by major league teams for Reichardt’s services was the reason for the start of the draft in 1965. Reichardt signed for $200,000 with the Angels organization and played just 34 games in the Midwest League for Quad Cities. He hit two homers, drove in 18 runs, and stole eight bases in those 34 games. Then, he played 23 games for Hawaii in the PCL. Oh, and he made his major league debut with the Angels on September 1, 1964. Reichardt hit the first home run in Anaheim Stadium and played for the Angels, White Sox, Royals, and Senators over 11 seasons in the big leagues.
Reichardt’s bullpen page at baseball-reference notes that he needed to have a kidney removed very early in his career. It also notes that he has recently worked with an old friend of the Foxes, Roland Hemond, in the Arizona Diamondbacks front office.
1964 MWL ALUM HONORABLE MENTION:
Rene Lachemann played for the Burlington Bees as a 19-year-old in the Kansas City Athletics organization. He played 99 games for the Bees and was the MWL leader in homers with 24 and finished fourth in the league in RBI with 82.
Lachemann went on to become a major league manager three times. He was the head man of the Seattle Mariners from 1981-1983. He was the first manager in Florida Marlins history and was there from 1993-1996. Lachemann was the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1984. That was between Harvey Kuenn and the return of George Bamberger.
BONUS FOXES NOTE: This old Flashback Friday recounts a game at Goodland Field from August 4, 1964. Sparky Lyle made his Foxes debut against Reichardt & the Quad Cities Angels in front of a crowd of 7,118.
MWL NEWS OF NOTE:
Quincy switched their nickname from the Jets to the Gems.
Wisconsin Rapids switched their nickname from the Senators to the Twins.
The first Midwest League All-Star Game since the Foxes joined the MWL was played. The game was held on June 28 in Davenport, Iowa. The South won 6-3 by scoring four times in the bottom of the fifth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit.
According to the boxscore at MWLGuide.com (linked above), the Foxes were represented on the North squad by Billy DeMars (manager), John Matias (1B), Dave May (LF), Ed Hawkins (P), Steve Huntz (PH), Steve Caria (P), Tim Sommer (P), and Fred Rico (P). Only Sommer did not make an appearance in the All-Star Game.
Sommer did write a book about his in the minor league experiences. It is called Beating About the Bushes. He’s got a few stories about 1964 in there.
Opening Day is April 5, 2012. Get here soon.