50 Years in 50 Days: 2002

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 10.

10 Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers missed the playoffs for the first time since 1995.

Cover of the 2002 Timber Rattlers Media Guide.

Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (10th Year)
Manager:  Gary Thurman (3rd Year)
First Half Record:  30-39 (5th, West)
Second Half Record: 23-47 (8th, West)
Overall Record: 53-86

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit .302 with six homers and 48RBI in 119 games
Third Baseman Greg Dobbs hit .275 with 10 homers and 48 RBI in 86 games
Pitcher Emiliano Fruto (6-6, 3.55) in 33 games – 13 starts – with a save and 99K in 111.2IP
Pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith (1-2, 6.75) in 12 games – 8 starts – with 38K in 41.1IP

Category Leaders:
AVG: Shin-Soo Choo – .302
HR: Sean Peless – 12
RBI: Greg Dobbs & Shin-Soo Choo – 48
SB: Shin-Soo Choo – 34
OPS: Shin-Soo Choo – .857
WINS: Juan Doñe – 9
ERA: Ryan Ketchner – 2.59
IP: Juan Doñe – 164.1IP
SO: Juan Doñe – 141
SV: Lanny Patten – 8

2002 MWL Season:

2002 Timber Rattlers magnet schedule.

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

2002 MWL All-Star Game:
Lansing hosted the MWL All-Star game on June 18.  The East beat the West 6-3.  Timber Rattlers Shin-Soo Choo (OF) and Greg Dobbs (3B) were selected as starters for the West.  Pitchers Juan Doñe and Ramon Royce were selected as reserves.

2002 MWL Postseason:

First Round (Best-of-three):

Lansing 2, Michigan 1
West Michigan 2, Dayton 0

Peoria 2, Burlington 0
Cedar Rapids 2, Quad City 0

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
Lansing 2, West Michigan 1

Peoria 2, Cedar Rapids 0

Finals (Best-of-Five):
Peoria 3, Lansing 1

2002 MWL Alumni of Note:
Joe MauerQuad City River Bandits

Mauer hit .302 with four homers and 62RBI in 110 games for Quad City in 2002.  He actually hit five homers, but a home run that he hit against the Rattlers was wiped out because he hit it early in a game that was rained out before it became official.

Dontrelle WillisKane County Cougars

His Kane County season was so good, they named a picnic area after him.

Willis went 10-2 with a 1.83ERA in 19 games – all starts – for the Cougars in 2002.  He struck out 101 in 127.2 innings.  I think he went like 4-0 against the Rattlers that season.

2002 Brewers Farmhand of Note:

Brad NelsonBeloit Snappers

He had a bobblehead, Brad Nelson MUST have played in Beloit.

Brad Nelson played 106 games for Beloit in 2002.  He played 103 of those games at first base and hit .297 with 17 homers and 99 RBI.  Then, the Brewers drafted Prince Fielder with the #7 pick of the 2002 draft.  Fielder was promoted to Beloit for the final month of the season and Nelson got bumped up to High Desert.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get Here Soon!

1 Comment

I just want to say I miss all the great fans and people in the Fox Cities area for always being so kind to me when I was there. I miss you all. Chris thanks for the hard work you do year in and year out and letting us look back on the history of the baseball clubs in Appleton. Thanks again – Sean Peless

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