50 Years in 50 Days: 1990

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball 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 22.

22 Years Ago:
The Appleton Foxes missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

Another Paul Birling design on the cover of the 1990 Foxes Program.

Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (4th Year)
Manager: Joe Breeden (1st season)
First Half Record:  26-37 (6th, North)
Second Half Record: 36-34 (3rd, North)
Overall Record: 62-71

Joe Breeden, Foxes Manager in 1991.

Foxes cards for this entry are from this Kansas City Royals history page.

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Matt Karchner (2-7, 4.82) in 27 games – 11 starts – with 58K in 71IP
Outfielder Kerwin Moore hit .222 with two homers and 36RBI in 128 games
Pitcher Steve Shifflett (6-5, 2.94) in 57games – no starts – with 10 saves & 40K in 82.2IP
Pitcher Gene Walter (1-0, 1.00) in 2 games – both starts – with 8K in 9IP

Kerwin Moore, 1990

Matt Karchner, 1990

Steve Shifflett, 1990

Category Leaders:
AVG: Rich Tunison – .300
HR: Rich Tunison & David King – 8
RBI: Rich Tunison – 86
SB: Kerwin Moore – 57
OPS: Rich Tunison – .771
WINS: Louis Talbert – 11
ERA: Herb Milton – 3.13
IP: Jake Jacobs – 127.0IP
SO: Louis Talbert – 110
SV: Skip Wiley – 18

That’s a Switch Stat:  The 1990 Appleton Foxes had seven switch-hitters on their roster.

That Name Appears A Lot Stat:  Rich Tunison led the Foxes in average, RBI, homers, and OPS.  He was a 2nd round pick of the Royals out of Brevard County Community College in 1989.  A blog by the name of The 21 Greatest Days picks up Tunison’s story.

Rich Tunison, 1990.

Combined Stat:  John Conner and Jim Smith combined on a no-hitter for the Foxes on July 26 in an 8-0 win over Wausau at Goodland Field.

John Conner, 1990.

The Appleton Foxes’ John Gilcrist had to feel like a man holding four aces in a game where someone else laid a royal flush on the table.

Gilcrist hit a grand-slam home run Thursday night, but that was upstaged by a no-hitter, the combined effort of Appleton’s John Conner and Jim Smith.

Conner held the Wausau Timbers hitless through the first seven innings and Smith finished up with two no-hit innings as the Foxes won 8-0 before 291 fans at Goodland Field.

The no-hitter was the first in the Midwest League since July 29 of last year, and the Foxes’ first no-hitter since John Stein beat the Beloit Brewers 5-0 on May 26, 1986 in a seven-inning game at Goodland Field.

Pitching In Stat:  Mike Jirschele, of the Clintonville Jirschele’s, was a coach for the Foxes in 1990.  He made two relief appearances for the Foxes that season.  Jirschele has been the manager of the Royals Triple-A team in Omaha since 2003.

Mike Jirschele, 1990.

1990 MWL Season:

There were two affiliation changes for the 1990 season.  Waterloo went from a co-op to the Padres.  Wausau switched from Seattle to Baltimore.

North: Appleton Foxes, Beloit Brewers, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Rockford Expos, South Bend White Sox, Wausau Timbers
South: Burlington Braves, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City Angels, Springfield Cardinals, Waterloo Diamonds

1990 MWL All-Star Game:
Quad Cities hosted the game on June 25.  The South Beat the North 10-5.

1990 MWL Postseason:
In the North, South Bend swept Madison.  In the South, Quad Cities swept Cedar Rapids.

Quad Cities defeated South Bend 3-1 in the best-of-five Championship series.

1990 MWL Alumni of Note:
Bob WickmanSouth Bend White Sox

UW-Whitewater's own! Wickman was a 2nd round pick of the White Sox in 1990. He went 7-2 in nine starts for South Bend. He became a Brewer in 1996, remained with the team through part of the 2000 season, and collected 79 saves for the Crew. Wickman spent 15 years in the big leagues. Card from checkoutmycards.com

Scott Cepicky – South Bend White Sox

Don't laugh. Scott Cepicky was a two-sport athlete at the University of Wisconsin. He was on one of the last Badger baseball teams and was the Badgers punter from 1984-1987. Cepicky was drafted by the Bengals and the White Sox. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection in baseball. Cepicky played six seasons in the minor leagues and reached AAA. Card from checkoutmycards.com

Damon BufordWausau Timbers

Damon Buford was on the last Wausau Timbers team in 1990. He spent nine years in the big leagues with four different teams. Image from Baseball Birthdays.

1990 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Troy O’LearyBeloit Brewers

Troy O'Leary with the Beloit Brewers in 1990.

O’Leary was a 13th round pick out of the Brewers in 1987. He played 42 games in Beloit in 1989, but had a more extended stay with Beloit in 1990. O’Leary hit .298 with six homers in 118 games. His reached the big leagues with the Brewers in 1993 and 1994, but only for a brief time.

He went to the Red Sox in 1995 when Boston took him off waivers. O’Leary was a mainstay in Boston for the next seven years as he hit .276 with 117 home runs in 962 games.

He finished his career with the Cubs in 2003 and Montreal in 2004.

Opening Day 2012 is April 5. Get here soon!

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