50 Years in 50 Days: 1996 (UPDATE)

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 16.

The pictures of the 1996 Timber Rattlers used in today’s post were provided by Brad Krause.  Brad’s blog is TRatsBaseball.com.

16 Years Ago:
Fox Cities Stadium hosted the All-Star Game and the man who would be David Ortiz led the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to the playoffs!

The cover of the 1996 Midwest League All-Star Game Program.

Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (4th Year)
Manager:  Mike Goff (2nd Year)
First Half Record:  46-21 (1st, Central)
Second Half Record: 31-37 (4th, Central)
Overall Record: 77-58

Team photo of the 1996 Timber Rattlers. Added on 3/31/12.

David Ortiz - or David Arias as he was known at the time - in 1996.

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Kevin Gryboski (10-5, 4.74) with a save in 32 games – 21 starts – with 100K in 138.2IP
Pitcher Damaso Marte (8-6, 4.49) in 26 games – all starts – with 115K in 142.1IP
First Baseman David Ortiz hit .322 with 18 homers and 93RBI in 129 games
Pitcher Aaron Scheffer (8-1, 3.72) with 14 saves in 41 games – 1 start – with 89K in 67.2IP
Pitcher Roy Smith (6-13, 5.12) in 27 games – all starts – with 99K in 146.0IP
Third baseman Ramon Vazquez hit .300 with no homers and one RBI in three games

Ramon Vazquez in 1996

Joe Mathis led the Rattlers in stolen bases during 1996.

Category Leaders:
AVG: David Ortiz – .332
HR: David Ortiz – 18
RBI: David Ortiz – 93
SB: Joe Mathis – 19
OPS: David Ortiz – .943
WINS: Brent Iddon – 11
ERA: Damaso Marte – 4.49
IP: Roy Smith – 146.0
SO: Damaso Marte – 115
SV: Aaron Scheffer – 14

David Ortiz led the Rattlers in most of the offensive categories in 1996.

Roy Smith led the Rattlers in Innings Pitched in 1996.

1996 MWL Season:
The only changes for 1996 were: The Sultans of Springfield moving to Michigan to become the Lansing Lugnuts and the new divisional alignments.

I found the 1996 magnet schedule.  Thought it might look good right about here.

The magnet schedule for the 1996 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers season.

West: Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Quad City River Bandits,
Central: Beloit Snappers, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Rockford Cubbies, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
East: Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, Michigan Battle Cats, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps

1996 All-Star Game:
The Timber Rattlers hosted the MWL All-Star Game on June 19.  The East beat the West 10-4.  The program is not wrong.  The game was rained out on June 18 and was played on June 19.

Here are the rosters for the game:

Click for a larger image...and see who the manager of the East Division was in the 1996 MWL All-Star Game.

Click for a larger image. Roster for the 1996 West Division All-Stars. Remember, David Arias = David Ortiz.

1996 Postseason:
Eight teams made the playoffs.  They were the winners of the three divisions in each half and two Wild Card teams.

Round one (Best-of-three):
Quad City 2, Cedar Rapids 1
West Michigan 2, Lansing 1
Rockford 2, Beloit 1
Wisconsin 2, Peoria 1

Round two (Best-0f-Three):
West Michigan 2, Rockford 0
Wisconsin 2, Quad City 1

MWL Finals:
West Michigan 3, Wisconsin 1

1996 MWL Alum of Note:
Freddy GarciaQuad City River Bandits

Freddy Garcia from the Mariners part of his career.

Garcia may have made the major leagues as a Mariner, but he was in the Midwest League as an Astros farmhand.  Garcia went to Seattle in the 1998 trade that sent Randy Johnson to Houston.  He was 5-4 in 13 starts for the River Bandits in 1996.

1996 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Valerio De Los SantosBeloit Snappers

Valerio De Los Santos as a Beloit Brewer in 1996.

De Los Santos was 10-8 with four saves and a 3.55ERA in 33 games – 23 starts – for Beloit in 1996.  He struck out 137 in 164.2IP.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get here soon!

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