50 Years in 50 Days: 2003

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 nine.

Nine Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers rebounded to make the MWL playoffs.

Cover of the 2003 Timber Rattlers media guide.

Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (11th Year)
Manager:  Daren Brown (1st Year)
First Half Record:  38-28 (2nd, West)
Second Half Record: 31-38 (7th, West)
Overall Record: 69-66

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder TJ Bohn hit .272 with 13 homers and 70 RBI in 128 games
Pitcher Felix Hernandez (0-0, 1.93) in two games – both starts – with 18K in 14IP
Pitcher Cesar Jimenez (8-11, 2.94) in 28 games – 20 starts – with 76K in 125.2IP
Pitcher Bobby Livingston (15-7, 2.73) in 26 games – all starts – with 105K in 178.0IP
Catcher Rene Rivera hit .275 with nine homers and 54RBI in 116 games

Ryan Rowland-Smith from 2003.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Gary Harris – .284
HR: Matt Hagen – 21
RBI: Jon Nelson – 91
SB: Gary Harris – 36
OPS: TJ Bohn – .800
WINS: Bobby Livingston – 15
ERA: TA Fulmer – 2.58
IP: BOBBY! Livingston – 178.0
SO: TA Fulmer – 130
SV: Bryan Heaston – 8

Miller Park Stat:  The Timber Rattlers and Beloit Snappers played at Miller Park on August 14, 2003.

The Difference Stat:  Below is a page from the 2003 Media Guide. It shows the attendance of the Appleton Foxes from 1984-1994 and the attendance of the Timber Rattlers from 1995-2002.  Click to see the difference a new stadium can make in black and white.

2003 MWL Season:

The 2003 magnet had the same design as the 2001 magnet schedule.

The main change was in Battle Creek. The Michigan Battle Cats changed affiliates from the Houston Astros to the New York Yankees. They also changed their name to Battle Creek Yankees. Other affiliation changes included, the Cougars becoming an Oakland affiliate and Clinton becoming a Rangers affiliate.

East: Battle Creek Yankees, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, 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

2003 MWL All-Star Game:
The East beat the West 5-4 as West Michigan hosted the All-Star Game on June 17.  Manny Parra was the losing pitcher for the West.

Bobby Livingston was the starting pitcher and Rene Rivera was the starting catcher for the West.  There were a lot of Rattlers selected as reserves for the West team in 2003: TJ Bohn (OF), Matt Hagen (IF), Corey Harrington (IF), TA Fulmer (P), Cesar Jimenz (P), and Ryan Rowland-Smith (P).

2003 MWL Postseason:
First Round (Best-of-three):
Lansing 2, South Bend 0
Battle Creek 2, Fort Wayne 0

Beloit 2, Wisconsin 0
Clinton 2, Kane County 1

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
Lansing 2, Battle Creek 0

Beloit 2, Clinton 1

Finals (Best-of-five):
Lansing 3, Beloit 0

2003 MWL Alumni of Note:
Joel Zumaya –  West Michigan Whitecaps

2003 Brewers Farmhands of Note:
Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Tony Gwynn, Jr. – Beloit Snappers

From snappersbaseball.com

Fielder played all season in Beloit.  He hit .313 with 27 homers, 112 RBI, and an OPS of .935 in 137 games.  Rickie Weeks was the #1 pick of the Brewers in 2003.  He joined the Snappers in August, in fact his MWL debut was against the Timber Rattlers at Pohlman Field just before the Miller Park game.  The first MWL hit for Weeks came off Bobby Livingston.  Weeks hit .349 with a homer and 16RBI in 20 games.

Manny Parra was also on that team.

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

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