2013 MLB All-stars and their best games as Timber Rattlers

There are four former Timber Rattlers on the American League roster for Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game.

They are:
David Ortiz (’96)
Felix Hernandez (’03)
Adam Jones (’04)
Chris Tillman (’07)

I thought it might be post worthy to look back at the games for these players and pick out their best game as a Wisconsin Timber Rattler:

David Ortiz:

David Ortiz in 1996

David Ortiz in 1996

In 1996, Ortiz played the entire season with the Rattlers and had a lot of really good games.  There was a two-homer game at Burlington on April 19 in a 4-2 win.  There was a walkoff homer in game two of a doubleheader against Kane County on June 8.  But, I’ll go with his game at Fort Wayne on  April 11.  This may also qualify as the best inning by a Timber Rattlers batter.

Ortiz drove in five runs in the game and all came in the first inning.  He hit a three-run home run and a two-run double as the Timber Rattlers got off to a 9-0 lead against the Wizards at old Memorial Stadium.

Ortiz also won the Midwest League Home Run Derby in 1996, the Timber Rattlers hosted the game that year.

Felix Hernandez:

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

He only made two starts for the Timber Rattlers at the end of the 2003 season.  His first start was against Burlington and he gave up a grand slam in the first inning before going into shutdown mode.  It was his second – and final – start as a Timber Rattler that I am going to choose for this post.

It was August 29, 2003.  Felix was 18 and he was pitching at Kane County.  This…kid…This phenomenal talent…He goes out and tosses seven shutout innings, gives up three hits, walks one, and strikes out ten.  The Rattlers didn’t score while Hernandez was on the mound and wound up losing the game, but Felix showed what he would become in that one game.

Adam Jones:

Adam Jones

Adam Jones as a Timber Rattler in 2004.

Jones was an 18-year-old shortstop with the Timber Rattlers in 2004.  It’s easy to pick out his best game with the Rattlers, but it’s hard to leave out some of the others.  May 11 @ Kane County: 3-for-6, 3B, HR, 3RBI; May 25 @ Quad Cities: Grand Slam July 23 v. BUR: 4-for-5, 3RUNS, RBI; September 2 @ Peoria 3-for-5, 2B, 3RBI.

However, the game that stands out for Jones was a game at Battle Creek on July 31, the day before he turned 19.   That was the day Jones went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.  Hitting home runs at Battle Creek wasn’t easy.  And here is Jones cracking two in one game off the Battle Creek Yankees.   Maybe that prepared him for this moment against the New York Yankees last week.

Chris Tillman:

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

His time with the Timber Rattlers was way too brief.  The Mariners decided to push Tillman to the California League after just eight Midwest League starts in the 2007 season.  In two of those starts, he lasted one inning (on 5/4 at South Bend & 5/9 at Great Lakes).  That’s not to say he pitched poorly in all eight games.  In his first two starts, he struck out 15, walked one, and allowed three earned  runs over 9-2/3 innings.

Tillman was 1-4 in his eight starts for Wisconsin.  I could pick the win (4/23 at West Michigan).  But, I’m going to go with the loss against Lansing on May 20.  The Rattlers lost 2-1 as Tillman worked six innings, allowed three hits, walked four and struck out six.  The two runs he allowed were both unearned.

He had allowed one hit through the first five innings.  Then this happened:

Lugnuts 6th — Defensive Substitution: K. Lo replaces left fielder G. Dickey, batting 9th, playing left field. R. Barron pops out to C. Triunfel. T. Snider reaches on fielding error by A. Hargrove. B. Pettway singles to center field, T. Snider to 2nd. S. Shoffit struck out looking. C. Emanuele walks, T. Snider to 3rd; B. Pettway to 2nd. M. Lane singles to right-center field, T. Snider scores; B. Pettway scores; C. Emanuele to 2nd. J. Jaspe flies out to G. Halman.

That was Tillman’s last start with the Rattlers. He was on a plane to the Cal League a few days later and before the start of the 2008 he was in the Baltimore system as part of the Erik Bedard trade. By the way, Jones was also a part of that trade.

Carlos Gomez is an NL All-Star and has only played with the Timber Rattlers in a rehabilitation capacity.  But, I did want to include his best moment with the Timber Rattlers.  It happened in the bottom of the eighth inning on May 18.  The Timber Rattlers trailed the Burlington Bees 3-2 with two on and two out.  Carlos Gomez, who had been 0-for-9 in his first nine ABs of his rehab assignment, stepped up to the plate.  The result is at about 0:32 of these highlights:

Something to think about as you watch the All-Star Game tonight.

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