50 Years in 50 Days: 1999

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 13.

13 Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers made it to the MWL Championship Series for the second time as Bo Robinson & Juan Silvestre put up numbers that still boggle the mind.

The cover of the 1999 Timber Rattlers media guide.

Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (7th Year)
Manager:  Steve Roadcap (1st Year)
First Half Record:  32-26 (4th, Central)
Second Half Record: 40-30 (1st, Central)
Overall Record: 72-66

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Scott Atchison (4-5, 3.42) in 15 games – 13 starts – with 85K in 81.2IP
Pitcher Aaron Looper (9-6, 4.10) in 38 games – 7 starts – with 3 saves & 73K in 90.0IP
Catcher Carlos Maldonado hit .308 with no homers and 33RBI in 92 games
Pitcher Julio Mateo (1-3, 4.34) in 20 games – no starts – with 27K in 29.0IP
Pitcher Chris Mears (10-1, 2.43) in 13 games – all starts – with 78K in 89.0IP
Pitcher Allan Simpson (2-9, 4.38) in 24 games – 13 starts – with 88K in 90.1IP
Pitcher Matt Thornton (0-0, 4.91) in 25 games – one start – with a save & 34K in 29.1IP

Chris Mears went 10-1 in 1999.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Bo Robinson – .329
HR: Juan Silvestre – 21
RBI: Juan Silvestre – 107
SB: Ramon Valera – 42
OPS: Bo Robinson – .965
WINS: Melqui Torres – 13
ERA: Melqui Torres – 4.51
IP: Melqui Torres – 171.2
SO: Josue Matos – 136
SV: Clint Chrysler – 8

Juan Silvestre and Bo Robinson were monsters in 1999.

Domination Stats:
Juan Silvestre: .288/.348/.485; 34 2Bs; 21 HRs; 107 RBI in 137 games
Bo Robinson: .329/.446/.519; 50 2Bs; 13 HRs; 102 RBI; 108 BBs in 138 games

Ridiculous Numbers!  And a couple of years ago, the Timber Rattlers website ranked Robinson’s 1999 season as the #1 season by a Rattler.  Silvestre’s 1999 season was #2.

1999 MWL Season:

The magnet schedule to the 1999 Timber Rattlers season.

Plenty of changes in affiliations.  I turn to Joel’s MWL Guide for the details:

Burlington Bees changed affiliation from Reds to White Sox.
Clinton LumberKings changed affiliation from Padres to Reds.
Fort Wayne Wizards were sold; changed logos; changed affiliation from Twins to Padres.
Lansing Lugnuts changed affiliation from Royals to Cubs.
Michigan Battle Cats changed affiliation from Red Sox to Astros.
Quad City River Bandits were sold; changed affiliations from Astros to Twins.
Rockford Reds were sold; changed name (from Cubbies); changed affiliation from Cubs to Reds.

Those moves knocked the Royals out of the league and let the Reds have two affiliates. Rockford was considered the High-A team and Clinton was considered the Low-A team.  That was perfectly fine in the minor leagues at the time.

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

1999 MWL All-Star Game:
Lansing hosted the game on June 22.  The West beat the East 4-0.  Joel notes that 14 – FOURTEEN – pitchers for the West held the East to one hit – ONE HIT – in the game.

Four Timber Rattlers pitchers were selected for East squad.  That’s right pitchers.  Somehow, Bo Robinson AND Juan Silvestre were not selected for the game.  Ridiculous.

Chris Mears worked a scoreless inning with a strikeout.  Melqui Torres worked a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.  Aaron Looper and Enmanuel Ulloa did not play in the game.

1999 MWL Postseason:
Eight teams made the playoffs: The Division winner in each half and two Wild Card teams

First Round (Best-of-three):
Burlington 2, Clinton 1
Wisconsin 2, Rockford 0
Lansing 2, Michigan 0
Kane County 2, Quad City 1

Second Round (Best-of-three):
Burlington 2, Kane County 1
Wisconsin 2, Lansing 0

Finals (Best-of-Five):
Burlington 3, Wisconsin 2

The Timber Rattlers lost both games in Burlington and fell behind 2-0 in the Finals.  Wisconsin rallied to win the next to games and force a Game Five, but Burlington pulled out the win and the Championship.

1999 MWL Alumni of Note:
Corey PattersonLansing Lugnuts

In 1999, Corey Patterson was a Lansing Lugnut & one of the top prospects in baseball.

Patterson hit .320 with 20 homers and 79RBI in 112 games for Lansing in 1999.  One of his teammates…Carlos Zambrano.

Roy OswaltMichigan Battle Cats

I can find no photographic proof, but trust me. Roy Oswalt WAS a Michigan Battle Cat in 1999 and went 13-4 with 143K in 151.1IP.

One other pitcher of note from that MWL season…Mark Buehrle of the Burlington Bees.

1999 Brewers Farmhands of Note:
J.M. Gold and Nick NeugebauerBeloit Snappers

J.M. Gold as a Beloit Snapper.

Nick Neugebauer was a Snapper in 1999. He would make it to the big leagues with the Brewers.

Brewers fans know the stories of these two.

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

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