March 2012

50 Years in 50 Days: 1992

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 20.

20 Years Ago:
The Foxes and the Royals were together for one last season and made the playoffs.  This postseason appearance ended a six season absence of the Foxes for the playoffs.

The cover of the 1992 Appleton Foxes Program was one more Paul Birling design.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (6th Year)
Manager:  Tom Poquette
First Half Record:  41-23 (1st, North)
Second Half Record: 29-39 (6th, North)
Overall Record: 70-62

Tom Poquette, the manager of the Foxes in 1992.

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Andres Berumen (5-2, 2.65) in 46 games – no starts – with 52K and 13 saves in 57.2IP
Pitcher Brian Bevil (9-7, 3.40) in 26 games – all starts – with 168K in 156IP
Pitcher Mike Bovee (9-10, 3.56) in 28 games – 24 starts – with 120K in 149.1IP
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez hit .256 with nine homers & 51RBI in 119 games
Shortstop Shane Halter hit .265 with three homers & 33RBI in 80 games
Pitcher Dan Miceli (1-1, 1.93) in 22 games – no starts – with 44K & 9 saves in 23.1IP
Outfielder Rod Myers hit .220 with four homers & 30RBI in 71 games
Outfielder Les Norman hit .376 with four homers & 47RBI in 59 games
Third baseman Joe Randa hit .301 with five homers and 43RBI in 72 games
Second Baseman Steve Sisco went 1-for-4 in one game
Designated Hitter Larry Sutton went 1-for-4 in one game

Raul Gonzaelz, 1992

Shane Halter, 1992.

Joe Randa, 1992

Category Leaders:
AVG: Steve Hinton – .270
HR: Ed Gerald – 12
RBI:  Steve Hinton – 63
SB: Rod Myers – 25
OPS: Steve Hinton – .737
WINS: Brian Bevil, Mike Bovee, Shayne Rea – 9
ERA: Robert Toth – 3.39
IP:  Brian Bevil – 156.0
SO: Brian Bevil – 168
SV: Andres Berumen – 13

This is Dan Servello. He played 27 games for the Foxes in 1992. I wish the photographer would have used a shot of Servello where you could, oh, I don't know...see his FACE!

It’s Not The Same Guy Stat:  The Rod Myers who played outfield for the Foxes in 1992 is not the same guy as the Rodney Myers who pitched for the Foxes in 1991.

Wisconsin Native Stat: Tom Poquette is a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

For the Record Stat:  In 1991, the Foxes had one player on the roster make the major leagues.  In 1992, the Foxes had 11 players on the roster make the major leagues.

Royal Stat:  In six seasons as an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the Appleton Foxes made the playoffs one time.  Including the three playoff games in 1992, the Foxes compiled a record of 387-435 with the Royals as their parent club.

1992 MWL Season:
Quad City switched their nickname from the Angels to the River Bandits.  It would be idiotic if they ever got rid of River Bandits for a nickname.  Right?

North: Appleton Foxes, Beloit Brewers, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Rockford Expos, South Bend White Sox, Wausau Timbers
South: Burlington Astros, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City River Bandits, Springfield Cardinals, Waterloo Diamonds

1992 MWL All-Star Game
Peoria hosted the All-Star Game on June 22.  The North beat the South 7-5.  Brian Bevil was the winning pitcher.

1992 MWL Postseason:
The Foxes finished the first half  41-23 to win the North Division by five games over Beloit.  The Brewers won the second half and the two Wisconsin teams met in the North Division playoffs.  Beloit beat the Foxes 2-1 in the best-of-three series.  In the South, Cedar Rapids swept Quad Cities.

In the finals, Cedar Rapids beat Beloit 3-2 in the best-of-five Championship Series.

1992 MWL Alumni of Note:
Chris HookCedar Rapids Reds

Chris Hook, 1992 Cedar Rapids Reds. From checkoutmycards.com

Could it really be anyone else?

Hook, the Timber Rattlers pitching coach from 2009-2011, was one of the top pitchers in the Midwest League in 1992.  He went 14-8 with an ERA of 2.72 in 26 games – 25 starts – for the Reds during the regular season.  The faithful in Cedar Rapids remember.

1992 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Jeff CirilloBeloit Brewers

Jeff Cirillo, 1992 Beloit Brewers.

Cirillo was an 11th round pick of the Brewers in 1991.  He played in 126 games for Beloit in 1992 and hit .304 with nine homers and 71RBI.  He was in the big leagues in 1994 and played for the Brewers, Rockies, Mariners, Brewers again, Twins, and Arizona through the 2007 season.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1991

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 21.

21 Years Ago:
The Appleton Foxes missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

The 1991 Foxes program celebrated Appleton's first pro team, which started play in 1891.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (5th Year)
Manager: Joe Breeden (2nd season)
First Half Record:  33-36 (4th, North)
Second Half Record: 25-45 (7th, North)
Overall Record: 58-81

Future Major Leaguer:
Pitcher Rodney Myers (1-1, 2.60) in 9 games – 4 starts – with 29K in 27.2IP

Rodney Myers was the only member of the 1991 Appleton Foxes to make it to the major leagues. From Baseball Birthdays.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Harry Guanchez – .279
HR: Keith Thomas & Ed Gerald – 7
RBI: Tom Smith – 57
SB: Darren Burton – 38
OPS: Ed Gerald – .743
WINS: Jim Chrisman, Dario Perez, Shayne Rea – 7
ERA: Dario Perez – 3.24
IP: Shayne Rea – 151.0
SO: Shayne Rea – 97
SV: David Hierholzer – 14

One Stat: Only one future major league player on this roster.  Rodney Myers was drafted by the Royals out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He was part of a Badgers staff that included Lance Painter and Paul Quantrill.  All three made the major leagues and were part of this list of 26 former Badgers to make it to the Show.

1991 MWL Season:


Big Change as the Wasuau Timbers were sold at the end of the 1990 season.  They became the Kane County Cougars.  One other change was Burlington moving away from the Braves.  They became the Burlington Astros for 1991.

1991 MWL All-Star Game:
Cedar Rapids hosted the game on June 24.  The 1991 MWL All-Star Game ended in a 6-6 tie.  Seriously.

1991 MWL Postseason:
In the North, Madison swept Kane County.  In the South, Clinton swept Burlington.

In the Championship Series, Clinton swept the best-of-five series from Madison.

1991 MWL Alumni of Note:
Lance PainterWaterloo Diamonds

Lance Painter as a Waterloo Diamond in 1991.

Speak of the Devil.  Painter went 14-8 with a 2.30ERA and 201Ks in 200 innings pitched for the Diamonds in 1991.  Paint went on to a major league career and – eventually – become the pitching coach of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2006 & 2007.  Lance is still in the Mariners system.  He spent the last two seasons as the pitching coach in Jackson, Tennessee.

1991 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Tony DiggsBeloit Brewers

Tony Diggs as a Beloit Brewer in 1991. From checkoutmycards.com

Tony Diggs was a sixth round pick of the Brewers out of the University of North Florida in 1989. He is still with the Brewers. Here is his entry in the 2012 Media Guide:

Tony Diggs, 44, enters his ninth season in the Brewers organization and his seventh in his current position [ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – PLAYER DEVELOPMENT/TRAINING CENTER].

In addition, he will serve his fifth season as the manager of the Arizona Brewers. In 2010, he was named Arizona League Manager of the Year after leading the team to a 34-22 regular-season record and the Arizona League championship.

Diggs assists with the day-to-day administration duties at the Brewers’ facility in Maryvale, Arizona. Previously, he served as a hitting coach in the organization with Class-A Beloit (2004) and Class-A Brevard County (2005). Prior to joining the Brewers, Diggs was a minor-league hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals (1998-99, 2002-03). He also spent two years as Director of Player Development/MLB Consultant with the International Baseball League of Australia and was a consultant for Team Australia in the 2000 Olympics.

Selected by the Brewers in the sixth round of the 1989 draft,Diggs played eight professional seasons in the minor leagues with Milwaukee (1989-93) and St. Louis (1994-96).

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1990

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 22.

22 Years Ago:
The Appleton Foxes missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

Another Paul Birling design on the cover of the 1990 Foxes Program.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (4th Year)
Manager: Joe Breeden (1st season)
First Half Record:  26-37 (6th, North)
Second Half Record: 36-34 (3rd, North)
Overall Record: 62-71

Joe Breeden, Foxes Manager in 1991.

Foxes cards for this entry are from this Kansas City Royals history page.

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Matt Karchner (2-7, 4.82) in 27 games – 11 starts – with 58K in 71IP
Outfielder Kerwin Moore hit .222 with two homers and 36RBI in 128 games
Pitcher Steve Shifflett (6-5, 2.94) in 57games – no starts – with 10 saves & 40K in 82.2IP
Pitcher Gene Walter (1-0, 1.00) in 2 games – both starts – with 8K in 9IP

Kerwin Moore, 1990

Matt Karchner, 1990

Steve Shifflett, 1990

Category Leaders:
AVG: Rich Tunison – .300
HR: Rich Tunison & David King – 8
RBI: Rich Tunison – 86
SB: Kerwin Moore – 57
OPS: Rich Tunison – .771
WINS: Louis Talbert – 11
ERA: Herb Milton – 3.13
IP: Jake Jacobs – 127.0IP
SO: Louis Talbert – 110
SV: Skip Wiley – 18

That’s a Switch Stat:  The 1990 Appleton Foxes had seven switch-hitters on their roster.

That Name Appears A Lot Stat:  Rich Tunison led the Foxes in average, RBI, homers, and OPS.  He was a 2nd round pick of the Royals out of Brevard County Community College in 1989.  A blog by the name of The 21 Greatest Days picks up Tunison’s story.

Rich Tunison, 1990.

Combined Stat:  John Conner and Jim Smith combined on a no-hitter for the Foxes on July 26 in an 8-0 win over Wausau at Goodland Field.

John Conner, 1990.

The Appleton Foxes’ John Gilcrist had to feel like a man holding four aces in a game where someone else laid a royal flush on the table.

Gilcrist hit a grand-slam home run Thursday night, but that was upstaged by a no-hitter, the combined effort of Appleton’s John Conner and Jim Smith.

Conner held the Wausau Timbers hitless through the first seven innings and Smith finished up with two no-hit innings as the Foxes won 8-0 before 291 fans at Goodland Field.

The no-hitter was the first in the Midwest League since July 29 of last year, and the Foxes’ first no-hitter since John Stein beat the Beloit Brewers 5-0 on May 26, 1986 in a seven-inning game at Goodland Field.

Pitching In Stat:  Mike Jirschele, of the Clintonville Jirschele’s, was a coach for the Foxes in 1990.  He made two relief appearances for the Foxes that season.  Jirschele has been the manager of the Royals Triple-A team in Omaha since 2003.

Mike Jirschele, 1990.

1990 MWL Season:

There were two affiliation changes for the 1990 season.  Waterloo went from a co-op to the Padres.  Wausau switched from Seattle to Baltimore.

North: Appleton Foxes, Beloit Brewers, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Rockford Expos, South Bend White Sox, Wausau Timbers
South: Burlington Braves, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City Angels, Springfield Cardinals, Waterloo Diamonds

1990 MWL All-Star Game:
Quad Cities hosted the game on June 25.  The South Beat the North 10-5.

1990 MWL Postseason:
In the North, South Bend swept Madison.  In the South, Quad Cities swept Cedar Rapids.

Quad Cities defeated South Bend 3-1 in the best-of-five Championship series.

1990 MWL Alumni of Note:
Bob WickmanSouth Bend White Sox

UW-Whitewater's own! Wickman was a 2nd round pick of the White Sox in 1990. He went 7-2 in nine starts for South Bend. He became a Brewer in 1996, remained with the team through part of the 2000 season, and collected 79 saves for the Crew. Wickman spent 15 years in the big leagues. Card from checkoutmycards.com

Scott Cepicky – South Bend White Sox

Don't laugh. Scott Cepicky was a two-sport athlete at the University of Wisconsin. He was on one of the last Badger baseball teams and was the Badgers punter from 1984-1987. Cepicky was drafted by the Bengals and the White Sox. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection in baseball. Cepicky played six seasons in the minor leagues and reached AAA. Card from checkoutmycards.com

Damon BufordWausau Timbers

Damon Buford was on the last Wausau Timbers team in 1990. He spent nine years in the big leagues with four different teams. Image from Baseball Birthdays.

1990 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Troy O’LearyBeloit Brewers

Troy O'Leary with the Beloit Brewers in 1990.

O’Leary was a 13th round pick out of the Brewers in 1987. He played 42 games in Beloit in 1989, but had a more extended stay with Beloit in 1990. O’Leary hit .298 with six homers in 118 games. His reached the big leagues with the Brewers in 1993 and 1994, but only for a brief time.

He went to the Red Sox in 1995 when Boston took him off waivers. O’Leary was a mainstay in Boston for the next seven years as he hit .276 with 117 home runs in 962 games.

He finished his career with the Cubs in 2003 and Montreal in 2004.

Opening Day 2012 is April 5. Get here soon!

I declare this field SNOW-FREE!

I know that I am tempting fate here, but this 60 degree weather has me a bit loopy.

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Yes. It is beautiful.

50 Years in 50 Days: 1989

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 23.

23 Years Ago:
The Foxes hovered around .500 all season long.

The cover of the 1989 Foxes program

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (3rd Year)
Manager: Brian Poldberg (2nd season)
First Half Record:  31-33 (6th, North)
Second Half Record: 36-35 (4th, North)
Overall Record: 67-68

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Hipolito Pichardo (5-4, 2.97) in 12 games – 12 starts – with 50K in 75.2IP
Pitcher Steve Shifflett (3-3, 4.15) in 18 games – 2 starts – with 13K in 39IP

Category Leaders:
AVG: Jeff Garber – .263
HR: Jeffrey Hulse – 10
RBI: Jeffrey Hulse – 61
SB: Don Wright – 29
OPS: Jeff Garber – .734
WINS: Gregory Harvey – 13
ERA: Steve Otto – 3.42
IP: Gregory Harvey – 141.0
SO: Gregory Harvey – 115
SV: Mark Parnell – 28

Only Two Stat:  The last time a Foxes team had just two future major league players during a season was 1976.

Hipolito Pichardo went 5-4 in 12 starts for the Foxes in 1989. He played ten seasons in the majors with Kansas City, Boston, and Houston.

1989 MWL Season:

1989 Appleton Foxes schedule.

The big change in the league was in Waterloo.  The team name changed to the Diamonds as they lost their affiliation with Cleveland.  Unfortunately for Waterloo, they could not secure another parent club and played the season as a co-op team.

North: Appleton Foxes, Beloit Brewers, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Rockford Expos, South Bend White Sox, Wausau Timbers,
South: Burlington Braves, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City Angels, Springfield Cardinals, Waterloo Diamonds

1989 MWL All-Star Game:
The South Bend White Sox hosted the All-Star Game on June 26.  The South beat the North 4-1.  Appleton Foxes pitcher Mark Parnell took the loss.

1989 Postseason:
Springfield swept Cedar Rapids in the South Divisional series.  South Bend swept Rockford in the North Divisional series.

In the best-of-five Championship Series, the South Bend White Sox swept Springfield to claim a pennant in their second season in the MWL.

1989 MWL Alumni of Note:
Chuck KnoblauchKenosha

Knoblauch was the 1st round pick of the Twins in 1989. His professional career started in Kenosha. In 51 MWL games, Knoblauch hit .286 with two homers and 19RBI.

Turk WendellBurlington

From checkoutmycards.com. Steven "Turk" Wendell has LOTS of superstitions. He was also a pretty decent pitcher who went on to an 11 year MLB career. In Burlington, he was 9-11 with nine complete games. Five of those nine complete games were shutouts.

1989 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Cal EldredBeloit

How do you not like Cal Eldred? The Brewers took him with their first pick in the 1989 draft. Eldred went 2-1 in five starts for Beloit. He spent 14 seasons in the big leagues and he was a personal favorite of mine.

Compare & Contrast: Lollybobbles

Here is the latest video from the Opening Day Bobbleheads:

 

Here is the original scene from Bull Durham.  I’m just going to link it because there is brief nudity at the start and some language at the end.

My mangled sentence structure and labored syntax probably already push the rating of this blog closer to a PG than a G.

50 Years in 50 Days: 1988

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 24.

24 Years Ago:
Tom Gordon was an Appleton Foxes pitcher.  He was pretty good.

Another Paul Birling design on the cover of the 1988 Foxes program.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (2nd Year)
Manager: Brian Poldberg (1st season)
First Half Record:  28-38 (4th, North)
Second Half Record: 30-44 (6th, North)
Overall Record: 58-82

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Mike Butcher (0-1, 3.38) in 7 games – 4 starts – with 14K in 24IP
Pitcher Tom Gordon (7-5, 2.06) in 17 games – all starts – with 172K in 118IP
Shortstop David Howard hit .223 with a homer and 22 RBI in 110 games
Pitcher Mike Magnante (3-2, 3.21) in 9 games – 8 starts – with 40K in 47.2IP
Pitcher Dennis Moeller (3-5, 3.18) in 20 games – 18 starts – with 88K in 99IP
Catcher Jorge Pedre hit .272 with six homers and 54RBI in 111 games
Second Baseman Terry Shumpert hit .242 with seven homers and 54RBI in 114 games
Catcher Tim Spehr hit .264 with five homers and 22RBI in 31 games

Category Leaders:
AVG: Bobby Knecht – .282
HR: Terry Shumpert – 7
RBI: Bobby Knecht – 82
SB: Terry Shumpert – 36
OPS: Bobby Knecht – .769
WINS: Tom Gordon & William Stonikas – 7
ERA: Tom Gordon – 2.06
IP: Jesus DeLeon – 152.1
SO: Tom Gordon – 172
SV: Brian McCormack – 12

Tom Gordon at Goodland Field in 1988.

Look at that Number Again Stat:  Tom Gordon struck out 172 batters in 118 innings pitched.  That is 13 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  You can see why he was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America for 1988.  Well, that…plus this game:

Gordon presented the team with a gift of a 16-strikeout, 3-1 gem over the Burlington Braves.

Gordon, a 20-year-old native of Avon Park , Fla. , went the distance in reducing his earned-run average to 1.33 in 54.2 innings. He now has 78 strikeouts. He threw 127 pitches and scattered six hits.

Still with the Royals Stat:  Brian Poldberg managed the Foxes again in 1989.  He was still with the Royals as of the end of the 2011 season.  Poldberg managed the Northwest Arkansas Naturals last season, his fourth season at the helm of the Naturals.  He had another pretty good pitcher who played in Appleton on that roster last year.

Running Out of Time Stat: Opening Day, 2012 is almost here.  Time constraints will keep me from being as detailed as I would like to be on this series of posts.  Apologies up front.

1988 MWL Season:
Lots of changes for the 1988 season.  Two teams (South Bend and Rockford) were added to the league.  The Expos moved their affiliation from Burlington to Rockford.  The White Sox became a parent club of South Bend.  Burlington became the Burlington Braves.

Also: The league split into a pair of seven team divisions and went back to the split season schedule.  The playoff teams would be the teams that won each division in each half.

North: Appleton Foxes, Beloit Brewers, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Rockford Expos, South Bend White Sox, Wausau Timbers,
South: Burlington Braves, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City Angels, Springfield Cardinals, Waterloo Indians

1988 MWL All-Star Game:
Clinton hosted the game on July 11.  The North beat the South 5-2.

No details other than Jesus DeLeon of Appleton was the winning pitcher and Jorge Pedre of Appleton was the MVP.

1988 MWL Postseason:
In the North Divisional series, Kenosha swept Rockford 2-0.  In the South Divisional series, Cedar Rapids swept Springfield

The Cedar Rapids Reds won the best-of-five Championship Series 301 over Kenosha.

1988 MWL Alumni of Note:
Chuck CarrWausau Timbers

Chuckie Carr is not taking his hacks here.

Chuck Carr played 82 games for the Timbers, an affiliate of Seattle, during 1988.  He hit .299 with six homers and 30RBI with 41RBI.  Brewers fans always perk up a little bit when they hear the name Chuckie Carr.  Adam McCalvy explains why:

It was May 16, 1997, a 5-1 Brewers loss to Chuck Finley and the Angels. Carr led off the eighth inning with the Brewers down, 4-1, ignored a “take” sign and popped a 2-and-0 pitch weakly to third base. After the game, before reporters were let in, then-manager Phil Garner approached him in front of that locker and asked Carr what he was thinking. The response, as most Brewers fans know, was classic. 
“Chuckie don’t play that game,” he said. “Chuckie hacks on 2-and-0.”

It was Carr’s last at-bat for the Brewers, who released him with a .130 batting average.

Rod BeckClinton Giants

Beck went 12-7 with a 3.00ERA in 28 games – 23 starts for Clinton in 1988.  I miss Shooter.

There are good Giants. And there are GREAT Giants.

Rod Beck, who died on Sunday at age 38, was a GREAT Giant.

The swinging arm, the messy mullet, the Fu Manchu, the gut that said to everyone at Candlestick Park: “Gym? What gym? Where’s the bar?”

Indeed, the hardcore dirtball Giants fans — including this Fool — who went to the Stick for baseball church services in the Beck Years (1993-’97), will always remember “Shooter” as the ballsy pitcher who looked decorum and tradition in the face and — hawked a 98 mph loogie.

Stationary bike? How about a stationary shot glass, and keep it full.

In 1993, during perhaps the best Giant pennant race ever, Beck (48 saves, 2.16 ERA) was a rock down the stretch. He pitched in almost every game down the stretch. Toward the end, he had nothing. He dared batters to hit whatever he threw and it was mostly slow and not very straight.

And they still couldn’t it very hard.

1988 Brewers Farmhands of Note:

Pat Listach

One of these players won a Rookie of the Year Award.

Listach hit .240 with a homer and 18RBI in 53 games for Beloit in 1988.  He would go on to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1992.  He beat out Kenny Lofton, Dave Flemming, and Cal Eldred.

Dave Nilsson

Dave Nilsson's 1993 Fleer card.

Nilsson appeared in 95 games for Beloit in 1988.  He hit .223 with four homers and 41 RBI. The Australian was 18 years old and in his second season with the Brewers organization.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1987

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 25

25 Years Ago:
The Appleton Foxes became an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

The cover of the 1987 Foxes program.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Kansas City Royals (1st Year)
Manager: Ken Berry
Record:  71-69 (2nd, North)

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Mike Butcher (10-4, 2.67) in 20 games – 19 starts – with 89K in 121.1IP
Pitcher Tom Gilles (0-0, 0.00) in one game – a start – with a strikeout in 3IP
Pitcher Greg Hibbard (7-2, 1.11) in 9 games – all starts – with 61K in 64.1IP
Pitcher Carlos Maldonado (0-0, 11.57) in 2 games – no starts – with 4K in 2.1IP
Pitcher Dennis Moeller (2-5, 7.20) in 18 games – 13 starts – with 49K in 55IP
Outfielder Harvey Pulliam hit .276 with nine homers and 55RBI in 110 games

Category Leaders:
AVG: Pat Bailey – .328
HR: Kenny Jackson – 19
RBI: Francisco Laureano – 87
SB: Harvey Pulliam – 21
OPS: Francisco Laureano – .874
WINS: Mike Butcher and Luke Nocas – 10
ERA: Mike Butcher – 2.67
IP: Mike Tresemer – 121.2
SO: Mike Tressemer – 90
SAVES: Joe Skodny – 15

New Affiliate Stat:

Instead of retyping the story, here is John L. Paustian’s story from The Post-Crescent at that covers the new partnership with the Royals.  Click for a larger image.

Ken Berry Stat: The new manager of the Appleton Foxes for 1987 was Ken Berry.  Berry had played in the major leagues for the White Sox, Angels, Brewers, and Indians from 1962-75.  He was an All-Star in 1967 and won gold gloves in 1970 and 1972.  He went on to manage a few more years in the minors after his one season in Appleton.  He made a few trips back to the Fox Cities as a roving instructor for Milwaukee after the Brewers became the parent club of the Rattlers.

1987 MWL Season:
The only change was the Foxes affiliation.


North: Appleton Foxes, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Wausau Timbers
Central: Beloit Brewers, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Springfield Cardinals
South: Burlington Expos, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities Angels, Waterloo Indians

A very tight five team race for the Wild Card Spot went down to the final weekend of the regular season.  But, the Clinton Giants edged into the playoff picture.

Wild Card Standings:
Clinton (72-67)
Waterloo (72-68)
Appleton (71-69)
Peoria (71-69)
Cedar Rapids (70-70)

1987 MWL All-Star Game:
Wausau hosted the All-Star Game on July 13.  The North won 9-8 in 11 innings.

1987 Postseason:
Playoff teams:
North: Kenosha (82-58)
Central: Beloit (76-64)
South: Springfield (94-46)
Wild Card: Clinton (72-67)

Both of the divisional series went three games.  Kenosha and Springfield advanced to the Championship Series.

In a foreshadowing of the 1987 World Series, the Twins beat the Cardinals in the MWL Finals.  However, Kenosha needed just four games (in a best-of-five) series to claim the pennant.

1987 MWL Alum of Note:
Jerome Walton – Peoria Chiefs

Jerome Walton, Peoria Chief

Walton hit .335 and stole 39 bases for the Chiefs.  In 1989, he was the NL Rookie of the Year.  A 30-game hitting streak and helping the Cubs win the NL East that year probably had a lot to do with that win.

Todd Zeile – Springfield Cardinals

Todd Zeile, Springfield Cardinal

Zeile hit .292 with 25 homers and 106 RBI for the Cardinals in 1987.  He was a co-MVP for the MWL.

Future Rattler Coach Stat:
Pat RiceWausau Timbers

Pat Rice as a Wausau Timber in 1987 from checkoutmycards.com

Rice went 12-11 in 28 games – 27 starts – for the Timbers in 1987.  He was the Timber Rattlers pitching coach from 1995 to 1997.  He moved on to New Haven (AA) for two seasons and eventually was the he pitching coordinator for the entire Mariners system from 2000 to 2007.  Rice was the pitching coach for Fresno, the AAA affiliate of the Giants, last season.  If that sound familiar, it should.  Former Appleton Fox Russ Morman was the hitting coach in Fresno last year.

1987 Brewers Farmhand:
Greg Vaughn – Beloit Brewers

Greg Vaughn in 1987.

Vaughn hit .305 with 33 homers and 105 RBI in 1987 with Beloit.  He shared the 1987 MWL MVP award with Zeile.  Vaughn was in the big leagues in 1989.  If you went to Milwaukee County Stadium while Vaughn patrolled left field for the Brewers, you probably sat in the left field bleachers that were designated Vaughn’s Valley.  As a Brewer Vaughn hit 169 homers.  He played with the Padres, Reds, Devil Rays, and Rockies during a career that lasted 15 seasons.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1986

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 26

26 Years Ago:
The incredible four year run of the Appleton Foxes comes to an end along with a much longer run.

The cover of the 1986 Appleton Foxes program. The first in a series of covers designed by Paul Birling.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Chicago White Sox (21st Year)
Manager(s): Duke Sims/Rico Petrocelli
Record: 56-83

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder Mark Davis hit .228 with three homers and 22 RBI in 77 games
Shortstop Norberto Martin hit .303 with no homers and two RBI in nine games
Pitcher Donn Pall (5-5, 2.31) in 11 games – all starts – with 51K in 78IP
Third Baseman Luis Salzar hit .203 with two homers and four RBI in 21 games
Shortstop Randy Velarde hit .252 with 11 homers and 50RBI in 124 games

Category Leaders:
AVG: Bill Eveline – .285
HR: Ron Scruggs – 15
RBI: Randy Velarde – 50
SB: Aubrey Waggoner – 29
OPS: Randy Velarde – .774
WINS: John Stein – 11
ERA: Steve Oswald – 2.35
IP: John Stein – 183
SO: John Stein – 170
SAVES: John Boling – 9

No Hit Stat: John Stein tossed a no-hitter against the Beloit Snappers on May 26.

Manager Switch Stat:  This was the third time the Foxes changed managers during the season.  The article on Duke Sims in the 1986 program states that he played for five MLB clubs between 1964 and 1974.  After he retired in 1974, Sims began working in financial planning and real estate.  But, he wanted to get back into the game.

Duke Sims as a Yankee in 1974. He hit exactly 100 homers in his career.

On June 10 – about two months into the season, the White Sox flipped Sims to Peninsula and brought Boston Red Sox legend Rico Petrocelli to Appleton.


Sims managed the one season in baseball.  Petrocelli would manage in Birmingham in 1988 and 1989 and Pawtucket in 1992.

An Extended Stay Stat:  Luis Salazar had been in the big leagues starting in 1980.  He played 21 games for the Foxes during 1986 and only four with the White Sox.

Luis Salazar's 1987 White Sox card.

Salazar went on to play for Detroit and the Cubs.  He is currently a manager in the Atlanta system after a horrible accident during 2011 spring training.

End of the Line Stat:  The Foxes and the Chicago White Sox parted ways after the 1986 season.  This ended a 21-year relationship.  The Foxes won pennants as a White Sox affiliate in 1966, 1967, 1969, 1978, 1982, 1983, & 1984.  The regular season record for the Foxes as a Chicago affiliate was 1,473-1,251.

1986 MWL Season:
The only change in the league for 1986 was in Burlington.  They change their affiliation and nickname to Expos.  Burlington was also partly a co-op team as they received 10 players from the Royals during this season.

North: Appleton Foxes, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Wausau Timbers
Central: Beloit Brewers, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Springfield Cardinals
South: Burlington Expos, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities Angels, Waterloo Indians

1986 MWL All-Star Game:
Beloit hosted the All-Star Game on July 7.  The North won the game 4-2.

1986 Postseason:

The playoff teams were:
North: Madison (86-54)
Central: Waterloo (78-62)
South: Springfield (87-53)
Wild Card: Peoria (77-63)

In the best-of-three divisional round: Waterloo swept Madison and Peoria swept Springfield.

In the best-of-five Championship Series, Waterloo swept the Chiefs.

1986 MWL Alumni of Note:
Mark Grace – Peoria Chiefs

Mark Grace as a Peoria Chief in 1986.

Grace made his pro debut with the Chiefs in 1986.  He hit 15 homers and drove in 95 runs with a .342 batting average in 126 games.  Two years later he was with the Cubs and finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.  Grace played 13 years with the Cubs and won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.  He retired after the 2003 season as a career .300 hitter with 2,445 hits.

Also:
Larry WalkerBurlington Expos

Larry Walker bunted at one time.

Omar VizquelWausau Timbers

Yes. It's him. Just an unfortunate typo in 1986.

Omar Vizquel was still playing in the major leagues in 2011.  Do you think he found the Fountain of Youth up on Rib Mountain during an off day in Wausau?  Or was he just hoping that people would spell his name the right way?

1986 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Doug HenryBeloit Brewers

Doug Henry, Milwaukee Brewer.

Henry was 7-8 with a save and a 4.65ERA in 27 games – 24 starts – for Beloit in 1986.  Henry also had a plate appearance in a 1986 game. He returned to the MWL with the Brewers in 1987 and shuffled around the Brewers organization until reaching the big leagues in 1991.  Henry was eighth on the ballot of the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 after he collected 15 saves and allowed four runs in 36 innings.

He saved 29 games in 1992 and 17 in 1993, but appeared in 25 games without a save during 1994.  Henry went on to pitch for the Mets, Giants, Astros, and Royals.  He retired after the 2001 season.

Opening Day is April 5.  Get here soon!

50 Years in 50 Days: 1985

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 27.

27 Years Ago:
The Foxes are trying for their fourth straight MWL Pennant.

Request:  This is the point where I would normally place the cover of the program.  Later in the post a team photo would be placed.  This is where some of the blanks appear in Appleton baseball history.  If anyone reading this has old Foxes programs and old Foxes photographs, please drop a comment on this post and I’ll respond with a way to contact me.  (I will also toss out a request for Papermakers programs and photos at this point).  Thank you in advance.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Chicago White Sox (20th season)
Manager: Sal Rende (2nd season)
Record: 85-54 (1st, North)

Future MLB Players:
Pitcher Ed Correa (13-3, 2.53) in 18 games – all starts – with 128K in 139IP
Shortstop Norberto Martin hit .198 with no homers and five RBI in 30 games
Pitcher Tony Menendez (13-4, 2.74) in 24 games – all starts – with 100K in 148IP
Pitcher Bobby Thigpen (1-0, 0.00) in one game – not a start – with 4K in 2.2IP
Pitcher Ed Sedar (1-3, 4.20) in 7 games – all starts – with 24K in 40.2IP

Category Leaders:
AVG: Troy Thomas – .290
HR: Tom Forrester – 15
RBI: Jim Winters – 91
SB: Mike Taylor – 51
OPS: Mike Taylor – .827
WINS: Ed Correa & Tony Menendez – 13
ERA: Ed Correa – 2.53
IP: Tony Menedez – 148
SO: Ed Correa – 128
SV: Dave White – 17

He’ll Be A Record Holder Someday Stat:  Bobby Thigpen made just one regular season appearance for the 1985 Foxes.  He started his minor league career with Niagra Falls in the New York Penn League after being drafted in the fourth round of the 1985 draft out of Mississippi State by the White Sox.   In 1990, Thigpen set a record for saves in a single season when he had 57 for the White Sox.  He was an All-Star and finished in the top five in both the AL Cy Young and AL MVP voting.

Bobby Thigpen's 1990 Fleer card.

Sal Stat: Sal Rende had a very nice run in two years as the manager of the Foxes.  He finished both seasons with the best record in the league.  There was the championship in 1984 and another playoff appearance in 1985.  Rende had retired as a player after the 1983 season and stepped right in with the Foxes. After 1985, he went on to manage in the Mariners, Royals, and Marlins system.  His bullpen page notes that he was the hitting coach in Lehigh Valley (Phillies – AAA) for 2011.

Sal Rende as the manager of the Omaha Royals in 1989.

He’s Back Stat: Ed Sedar returned to the Foxes in 1985 as a pitcher.  Sedar had been an outfielder for Appleton in 1982 and 1983.  He still got some swings in 1985 and went 4-for-12 with an RBI.  Sedar is now the third base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ed Sedar congratulates Jonathan Lucroy after a home run.

1985 Season:

Two affiliation changes before the season.  The Peoria Chiefs became an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.  Quad Cities switched back to the California Angles and changed their nickname to the Quad Cities Angels…again.

North: Appleton Foxes, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Wausau Timbers
Central: Beloit Brewers, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Springfield Cardinals
South: Burlington Rangers, Peoria Suns, Quad Cities Angels, Waterloo Indians

1985 MWL All-Star Game:
The game was held at Cedar Rapids on July 8.  The South scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 4-2 win over the North.  The losing pitcher for the North was Dan Scarpetta of the Beloit Brewers.  He is the father of current Brewers prospect Cody Scarpetta.

1985 MWL Postseason:
The division winners were the Foxes (North, 85-54); Beloit (Central, 79-57); and Peoria (South, 75-65).  Kenosha finished second in the North (79-60) to get the Wild Card.

Beloit and Peoria played in one divisional series.  The Chiefs won Game Three of the best-of-three series to advance to the Championship Series.

The Foxes and Kenosha also went to a Game Three, but the ending was…odd.

The 3-year reign of the Appleton Foxes as Midwest League champions officially ended as the clock struck midnight Thursday, and just about everyone was long gone from Goodland Field.

With the Twins leading 4-3, the game had been suspended after the seventh inning that would have done Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles proud.

After holding up the game for more than 2-1/2 hours, the umpires ruled that conditions hadn’t improved enough. So they called the game, bringing a strange and disappointing conclusion to the Foxes’ otherwise stellar season. 

“Fog is a weather condition just like rain,” said Jim Cutler, vice president of the Midwest League. “We waited a reasonable length of time and treated it just like a rainout. I talked with Bill Walters (the ML president) on the phone to make sure that there was no special rule for playoff games. I was told that there was no special rule for this situation.” 

Earlier in the day the park was drenched by 2 inches of rain. The efforts of groundskeepers Rick Raasch and Ray Remmel along with Foxes manager Sal Rende, pitching coach Mitch Lukevics, trainer Ken Koch and players Greg Tarnow and Ken Reed got the field into reasonable playing condition. Despite the work, wet spots caused treacherous footing in the outfield. 

“Of course we’re disappointed to lose,” said Rende. “But lose we did. But, there are no losers in this (locker) room. We knew that we would be competitive coming into the season. We did better than we thought we would after spring training. This team came out and did the job every day. They’re also good people, and that says a lot about them and their character.”

And that is how the Foxes season ended in 1985

In the Championship Series, Kenosha topped Peoria in four games.

1985 MWL Alumni of Note:

A couple from the Peoria Chiefs first season as a Cubs affiliate:

Greg Maddux

Oddly, Greg Maddux got better AFTER ditching the mustache.

Maddux went 13-9 with a 3.19ERA in 27 games – all starts – for the Chiefs in 1985.  He struck out 125 batters in 186 innings pitched.  In 1986 he was in Chicago pitching for the Cubs.  When his career ended after the 2008 season, Maddux had an armful of Cy Young Awards, won 355 games, and struck out 3371 opposing batters.  It’s only a matter of time before he is in the Hall of Fame.

Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro card

Palmeiro appeared in 73 games for the Chiefs and hit .297 with five homers and 51 RBI.  He had been picked by the Cubs with a first round selection in the 1985 draft.  He joined the Chiefs after finishing his season with Mississippi State where he was teammates with Bobby Thigpen, who played for the Foxes in 1985.  As a note, other Mississippi State players drafted in 1985 included Will Clark and Jeff Brantley.

Palmeiro also made it to the big leagues in 1986 and he spent 20 seasons in MLB with the Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles.  He collected 3,020 hits and had 569 home runs.  As of now, his call to Cooperstown is on hold.

1985 Brewers Farmhand of Note:

BJ SurhoffBeloit Brewers

BJ Surhoff, Milwaukee Brewer

Milwaukee took Surhoff out of the University of North Carolina with the #1 overall pick in the 1985 draft.  He played 76 games for Beloit in 1985 and hit .332 with seven homers and 58RBI.

He was in the big leagues by 1987.  He was a Brewer through 1995.  Then, he went to Baltimore until a trade to Atlanta during the 2000 season.  Surhoff remained with the Braves through 2002 before returning to the Orioles for the final three seasons of his 19 year career.

During his nine seasons in Milwaukee, Surhoff played 1,102 games, with a .274 average and 57 homers.

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

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