50 Years in 50 Days: 2000

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 12.

12 Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers made it to the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.

Cover of the 2000 Media Guide.

Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (8th Year)
Manager:  Gary Thurman (1st Year)
First Half Record:  38-30 (2nd, West)
Second Half Record: 40-30 (1st, West)
Overall Record: 78-60

The Timber Rattlers of the 2000 season. Added to this post on 3/27/2012

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Cha Seung Baek (8-5, 3.94) 24 games – all starts – with 99K in 127.2IP
Third baseman Justin Leone hit .267 with 18 homers and 63RBI in 115 games
Pitcher Aquilino Lopez (6-1, 1.85) in 39 games – 5 starts – with 17 saves & 67K in 68IP
Pitcher Julio Mateo (4-8, 4.19) in 36 games – 1 start – with 4 saves & 73K in 68.2IP
Pitcher Gil Meche (0-0, 0.00) in 1 game – a rehab start – with 6K in 5.0IP
Pitcher JJ Putz (12-6, 3.15) in 26 games – 25 starts – with 105K in 142.2IP
Outfielder Termel Sledge hit .217 with no homers and three RBI in seven games
Outfielder Chris Snelling hit .305 with nine homers and 56RBI in 72 games
Pitcher Rafael Soriano (8-4, 2.87) in 21 games – all starts – with 90K in 122.1IP
Pitcher Matt Thornton (6-9, 4.01) in 26 games – 17 starts – with 88K in 103.1IP

Category Leaders:
AVG: Chris Snelling – .305
HR: Justin Leone – 18
RBI: Shawn McCorkle – 73
SB: Ariel Durango – 49
OPS: Justin Leone – .920
WINS: JJ Putz – 12
ERA: Rafael Soriano 2.87
IP: Craig Anderson – 157.2
SO: Craig Anderson – 131
SV: Aquilino Lopez – 17

2000 Midwest League Season:

2000 Timber Rattlers Magnet Schedule

The Rockford Reds moved to Dayton and became the Dayton Dragons.

Also, the Midwest League switched from a three division league to a two division league.

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

2000 MWL All-Star Game:
Kane County hosted the game on June 20.  The West beat the East 5-3.  Chris Snelling(OF) and Shawn McCorkle (1B) were picked as starters for the West.  Aquilino Lopez (P) was the only other Rattler selected for the game.

2000 MWL Postseason:
The first place and second place teams in each half made the playoffs.  If a team qualified in the first half and finished first or second in the second half, a team that finished third….or even fourth….would qualify.  Also, the playoffs were set by division.

West Division first round (Best-of-three):
Beloit 2, Clinton 1
Wisconsin 2, Kane County 1

East Division first round (Best-of-three):
Dayton 2, West Michigan 1
Michigan 2, Fort Wayne 1

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
West: Beloit 2, Wisconsin 1
East: Michigan 2, Dayton 0

2000 MWL Finals:
Michigan 3, Beloit 0

I rated the game two loss to the Snappers in the Western Division Finals at #2 on my list of the toughest losses in Timber Rattlers playoff since 2000.  The Rattlers led Beloit 4-1 heading into the top of the eighth inning.  The score was 4-2 with two outs…then…

Chad Wiles, who had helped Seattle’s Arizona League affiliate win a championship days earlier, relieved Ramos and got Eliezer Alfonzo to pop up to second baseman Oscar Ramirez.  But, Ramirez misjudged the ball and it dropped off his glove.  Instead of the end of the inning, de la Cruz scored from second and Bill Hall stepped to the plate with Johnson as the tying run in scoring position.  Hall delivered a single and the game was tied.  Cristian Guererro was next and he singled to load the bases.  Hector Garcia followed with a two run single and the Snappers had a 6-4 lead.  Wiles did not retire a batter in this outing.  Erik Grunwald had to come in to get Frank for the final out of the inning.

I hate that game.

2000 MWL Prospect of note:
Albert PujolsPeoria Chiefs

Albert Pujols as a Peoria Chief in 2000.

He got his start here as a third baseman. Pujols hit .324 with 17 homers and 84 RBI in 109 games.

2000 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Bill HallBeloit Snappers

Bill Hall has a Beloit Snappers bobblehead. He MUST have played there.

Hall hit .262 with three homers and 41 RBI in 130 games for Beloit in 2000.

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

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