50 Years in 50 Days: 1998

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 14.

14 Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers had their best starting rotation ever and made the playoffs for the third straight season.

Ryan Anderson was on the cover of the '98 program.

Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (6th Year)
Manager:  Gary Varsho (2nd Year)
First Half Record:  39-30 (1st, Central)
Second Half Record: 33-35 (3rd, Central)
Overall Record: 72-65

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Leslie Brea (3-4, 2.76) in 49 games – no starts – with 12 saves & 86K in 58.2IP
Second Baseman Jermaine Clark hit .324 with six homers and 55RBI in 123 games
Pitcher Justin Kaye (6-2, 1.71) in 28 games – no starts – with nine saves and 79K in 47.1IP
Catcher Carlos Maldonado hit .174 with no homers and an RBI in seven games
Pitcher Gil Meche (8-7, 3.44) in 26 games – all starts – with 168 K in 149IP
Pitcher Joel Pineiro (8-4, 3.19) in 16 games – all starts – with 84K in 96.0IP
Pitcher Allan Simpson (3-5, 4.44) in 19 games – all starts – with 86K in 93.1IP
Pitcher Bob Wells (0-1, 3.00) in one game – a start – with 2K in 3IP [Rehab]

Category Leaders:
AVG: Jermaine Clark – .324
HR: Juan Silvestre & Harvey Hargrove – 15
RBI: Mike Marchiano – 74
SB: Ramon Valera – 52
OPS: Jermaine Clark – .877
WINS: Gil Meche & Joel Pineiro – 8
ERA: Ryan Anderson – 3.23
IP: Gil Meche – 149.0
SO: Gil Meche – 168
SV: Leslie Brea – 12

About That Rotation Stat: For most of the 1998 season, the starting rotation of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers was Gil Meche, Joel Pineiro, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Parker, and Allan Simpson.  Those five pitchers combined to strike out 642.  The entire Rattlers pitching staff struck out a total of 1,274 opposing batters.

The Next Unit:  Ryan Anderson had a very good year with the Timber Rattlers as one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

Ryan Anderson as a Timber Rattler in 1998.

1998 MWL Season:

The 1998 Magnet Schedule of the Timber Rattlers.

No changes from last 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

1998 MWL All-Star Game:
The West beat the East 7-4 at Clinton on June 23.

No Timber Rattlers started in the game, but there were five representatives.  Anderson, Brea, Meche, and Pineiro were the pitchers and Mike Marchiano was the lone position played selected to the team.

1998 MWL Postseason:
Eight teams made the playoffs: The Division winner in each half and two Wild Card teams

First Round (Best-of-three):
West Michigan 2, Michigan 1
Rockford 2, Wisconsin 1
Clinton 2, Quad City 1
Fort Wayne 2, Peoria 1

Second Round (Best-of-three):
West Michigan 2, Clinton 0
Rockford 2, Fort Wayne 0

Finals (Best-of-five):
West Michigan 3, Rockford 1

Gil Meche and Ryan Anderson had two amazing performances against Rockford in the playoffs.  Flashback Friday covered both games.  Here is the Anderson 18K gameHere is the Meche game.

1998 MWL Alum of Note:
Rick AnkielPeoria Chiefs

This would be from the pitching point of Ankiel's career and from the time when the Chiefs were affiliated with the Cardinals. Ankiel was 3-0 w/ 45K and 12BB in seven starts for the Chiefs in '98.

Matt EricksonKane County Cougars

I refuse to have a picture of the manager of the Timber Rattlers in a Cougars uniform on this blog. He did finish tied for third in the MWL batting race at .324.

1998 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Bucky JacobsenBeloit Snappers

The legend of Bucky started in Beloit with a 27 homer, 100RBI season during 1998.

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

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