Results tagged ‘ Appleton Baseball History ’

Flashback Friday Supplemental: March 18, 2016

The main Flashback is over on the main website.  It is the game story about the Foxes pennant-clinching victory in Game Three of the 1967 Midwest League Championship Series.  The Supplemental Flashback is the notes column on that game from Tim Petermann.  But, FIRST!…some photos!

Game 3 1967 MWL Championship Series Photo 1 POST-CRESCENT PHOTO

A Happy Band of Appleton Foxes whoop it up after the team nipped the Wisconsin Rapids Twins, 3-2, for Appleton’s second consecutive Midwest League title Saturday night. At the left, catcher Chuck Brinkman hugs winning pitcher Durant Cooper after the last out, while Carl Champion (far left), Pedro Rivera, George Hunter, and Tom Rowe (street clothes) offer congratulations.

Game 3 1967 MWL Championship Series Photo 2 POST-CRESCENT

Bob Mewes (far left) bathes manager Alex Cosmidis in champagne while Willie Hooker (with bottle) contemplates joining in the fun. Shaking hands with Cosmidis is Durant Cooper. Roy Radmaker and Karl Simon light up victory cigarettes while Orville Hollrah (over Hooker’s shoulder) and Al Fitzmorris (to right of Hooker) look on.

‘It Was a Real Team Effort,’ Says Cosmidis
‘2 Years, It’s Skill,’ Quips Hooker

“I don’t know what to say,” a happy but not overexuberant Alex Cosmidis said amidst the joyous shouts of his Appleton Foxes in the locker room following their 3-2 comeback conquest of Wisconsin Rapids for their League pennant.

“It was a real team effort,” the congenial skipper finally managed to say, “Cooper was great in relief.  He was really blowing them.”  After a slight pause he quipped, “I got to go with those Carolina boys.”  (Both Cooper and Cosmidis are from North Carolina.)  He also noted “Radmaker hit the ball hard.”

Cooper admitted to it being his best game ever saying that he felt real good.  He added that he was nervous once and that was when Wisconsin Rapids cleanup hitter and ML batting champion Chuck Manuel came up.

Uses New Bat

Roy Radmaker, who came up with hits his last two times up Friday night and had two straight hits Saturday night noted that he broke out a new bat just Friday.  He and Cosmidis both felt that his last hard shot at Twins’ shortstop Emil Gove, which was ruled an error, should have been a hit, giving him five in a row.

Player-coach “Deacon” Jones was flowing with praise for Jose Ortiz.  “I couldn’t say enough about Jose,” said the 13-year veteran who has now played on 12 championship teams.  “He was directing traffic out there in the outfield, telling me where to play.  And that catch (Jose’s grab of Manuel’s smash at the fence with a man on second in the sixth) was fantastic.  I’m so happy they won, the kids won,” the beaming veteran stated.  “They beat a good club.  It was the crowning touch…my second and maybe final year in Appleton.”

Karl Simon, who was brushing his teeth when this writer finally cornered him in the locker room mumbled that the 400-foot-plus home run he hit was a fast ball a little outside.

Wily Willie Hooker, one of four veterans (Hooker, Jones, George Hunter, and Al Fitzmorris) that have been on both Foxes playoff championship teams was the man of the hour when he shouted aloud during the champagne showers, “One year, it’s luck; two years, it’s skill.”

Boxscore from Game Three of the 1967 MWL Championship Series

Game 3 MWL Championship Series Boxscore

Flashback Friday Supplemental – March 11, 2016

The main Flashback is the game story by John L. Paustian about Game Two of the 1967 Midwest League Championship Series.  It may be found on the main Timber Rattlers site.  The supplemental Flashback is a notes column on the game by Tim Petermann.

Game 2 MWL Championship Series

(Post-Crescent Image)

Cosmidis Proud of Foxes’ Comeback
Twins’ Winning Streak Ends at 7

“I was proud of the way they came back,” Appleton manager Alex Cosmidis stated in the locker room following his Foxes’ 8-5 victory over Wisconsin Rapids in the second game of the Midwest League playoffs.

With their backs to the wall, having lost the first game of the best-of-3 series, the Foxes halted the momentum of a 7-game Wisconsin Rapids win streak to even the series at one game apiece.  The Twins have now lost only three of their last 15 games, but all three defeats have been administered by the Foxes.

Cosmidis said that he felt before the game “we would win”.

The mild-mannered first-year skipper could not single out any individual stars for the Foxes, noting that everyone contributed something.  Cosmidis did state that Jose Ortiz is the key to the offense and has been all year.  “When he gets on base we win,” Cosmidis related.  The Puerto Rican speedster was on base all five times he was up.

Wisconsin Rapids pitchers also showed great respect for the Foxes’ speed merchant, who established a club record with 64 stolen bases, as over a dozen throws were directed to first to keep him close to the bag.  He was finally picked off once.

After making the statement, “We need more hitting out of our Np. 3, 4, and 5 men,” following Thursday’s loss, Cosmidis was pleased to point out that “Deacon” Jones, George Hunter, and Roy Radmaker (the No. 3, 4, and 5 men) had six hits between them to account for half of the Foxes total.

Cosmidis also praised the veteran Willie Hooker for his “superb job” of relief, one of his longest relief stints of the year.

Hooker was a littler perturbed with himself after the game for walking three Twins in the final frame but stated that he was not the least bit tired.  When queried about what appeared to be a control problem, Willie said he was “choking his curve ball.”

Hooker administered a little teasing to teammate Pedro Rivera in the locker room after the game because Pedro looked “a little tired.” Rivera replaced Hooker in the ninth with two out and threw one ball, a screwball, which was hit back to him and he threw the runner out to end the game.

‘Hardest Part’

In explaining his decision to take Hooker out, Cosmidis said that this is the hardest part of managing because he has one guess while everyone in the stands can second guess him.  He added that in tonight’s game the decision will be even harder with almost the entire Appleton staff available, yet he doesn’t want to pull a pitcher before he gets in the groove.

Cosmidis not only directed praise to his own team but he also directed some to the Twins.  He credited them with not giving up and being in the game right up until the end.

Player-coach “Deacon” Jones showed the same respect for the Twins.  He stated that Ray Bellino has done a good job with the Twins and they have always had good hitting.  He added that they are all a bunch of hustlers.

Both also agreed on another thing – that the Foxes had mental lapses in the field and gave the Twins a couple of runs.

Jones might have mixed feelings about his eighth inning hit off Twins’ veteran Ollie Brantley.  Brantley and Jones were roommates several years back in triple A ball.

Game Two Boxscore:

MWL Championship Series Game 2 Boxscore 9 1 67

Flashback Friday Supplemental – March 4, 2016

The main Flashback is over on the main Timber Rattlers web page.  It is about the Game One loss by the Foxes at Wisconsin Rapids in the 1967 Midwest League Championship Series.

The supplemental Flashback is a quick notes column from Tim Petermann that appeared in the September 1, 1967 edition of The Post-Crescent.

Cosmidis Keeps His Confidence Despite Opening-Game Defeat

“We got the men on base, we just didn’t hit with them on,” a disappointed but not entirely disgusted Alex Cosmidid stated Thursday night after the Appleton Foxes had dropped the first game of the Midwest League Playoffs to Wisconsin Rapids.

“We need more hitting out of our No, 3, 4, and 5 men,” said the skipper.  We got it from our No. 2 and 7 men.”  (Usually heavy-hitters “Deacon” Jones and George Hunter were hitless for the night while leaving eight men on base between them while Stu Singleton and Chuck Brinkman had five of Appleton’s eight hits.)

Cosmidis further commented, “The boys might have been trying a little too hard.  Tomorrow night might be different.”

Other than the fact that the Foxes might have had a few mental lapses in their base-running, Cosmidis admitted the team played a good game.  He noted especially that it was the Foxes’ second-best pitched game in Wisconsin Rapids (Steve Kokor limited the Twins to six hits and three runs in Witter Field in July) and was a good pitched game all around.

Remains Confident

Despite the setback, Cosmidis remained that the Foxes will win the playoffs.  He admitted the Twins had the momentum coming into the game and still have it going for them.  (Wisconsin Rapids has now won its last seven games in a row and 12 of their last 14, losing only to Appleton).  He added that the Foxes have got to snap out of their hitting slump.

Cosmidis lauded the performances of 18-year-old Stu Singleton and Chuck Brinkman.  Brinkman also sparked defensively in addition to his hitting as he picked off a runner at first and threw out another stealing.

Al Fitzmorris, who was victim of the two Wisconsin Rapids home runs, said afterwards that both pitches were sliders, the one to Robinson was inside and the one to Nordberg got away with him.

Although getting off to a shaky start (he threw 11 balls and 14 strikes in the first inning to account for over one quarter of the pitches he threw in seven innings).  Fitzmorris admitted it was one of his better performances in his last several outings and he felt pretty good.

George Hunter, the Foxes usually productive clean-up hitter admitted that he had been trying to “hit one out” and probably accounted for his hitless night.  He had two towering fly balls that he felt might have gone out had he not hit them so high.

Game One Boxscore

Game 1 MWL Championship Series BOXSCORE

Flashback Friday Supplemental – February 5, 2015

The main Flashback is over at Timber  It has the details on Dairy Night.  It also promotes the exhibition game with the Ethiopian Clowns and Eddie Dancisak Night as part of a Day-Night Doubleheader.

The Supplemental Flashback has photos and the story on the doubleheader from the August 31, 1940 edition of The Post-Crescent, statistical information from the Wisconsin State League through games of August 30, and the boxscores of the doubleheader on August 30 between Appleton and Sheboygan.

Cow Milking Contest 1

Cow Milking Contest 2

Cow Milking Caption


Higgins and Borchart Star In Both Games

With big Jim Higgins doing double duty as a relief hurler and Buddy Borchart connecting for some timely blows, Appleton Papermakers downed the Sheboygan Indians 5 to 4 and 6 to 2 in two well-played Wisconsin State league games at Spencer street park last night.  Higgins, who also turned in a good relief job the previous night, mopped up for Millimaki in the first game and helped McIntyre out of a hole in the second.

Borchart, youthful second baseman from Marion, committed some errors afield but more than made up for it at the plate.  He smacked a double in the fourth inning of the initial tilt to drive in two runs and knot the score at 3-3, rolled a sacrifice in the sixth frame to advance what proved to be the winning run, and hammered a triple in the nightcap to plate two runners.

Millimaki was going along in good 4-hit style, but took sick on the mound in the sixth inning and it was decided he needed bed more than a victory.  Higgins allowed but one safety the rest of the way and got credit for the win.  Though he gave way to the giant Appleton hurler in the sixth after the bases were loaded and he had forced in a marker with a walk, McIntyre cut a victory notch in his belt in the aftermath.

Sheboygan Takes Lead

Sheboygan took a 1-run lead in the first frame of the opener when Oberlander was safe on Malewig’s error and Reiss reached first on a fielder’s choice, Oberlander being forced at second.  Herich spanked a triple down the right field line to score Reiss.  Millimaki fanned the next two batters and whiffed two more in the second frame.

The Indians collected two more markers in the fourth when Zydowsky drew a walk, took second on Pizzi’s grounder, and scored on Kushta’s hard triple to left field.  Kushta plated when Malewig fumbled Firtko’s bouncer.  Malewig later made up for these errors by turning in some beautiful stops and sparkling pegs to first.

Appleton knotted the count in the fourth when Dancisak singled and took third on Chell’s drive.  Dancisak scored on Toraason’s hit to left center, Chell taking second.  Borchart came through with his double to tally two more runs.

Both Teams Score

Both teams scored in the fifth with Herich smashing a long triple and scoring on Millimaki’s wild pitch.  Malewig burned one into short right, took second on a wild pitch, third on Dancisak’s safety, and home on Clawson’s bad throw to first.

The Papermakers tallied the winning marker in the sixth when Toraason drew a walk, gained second on Borchart’s sacrifice, and went home on Kania’s hit.  Kania, who tried his hand at Class D ball with Sheboygan earlier in the season was recruited from Kimberly to plug a hole at shortstop.  Clawson started for Sheboygan and was relieved by Knowles.

Sheboygan started its ace hurler, Crowley, in the second game but he found the going a bit rough and retired in favor of Holtz in the fourth inning.

Four-Run Splurge

After two scoreless innings, Crowley doubled, took third on Oberlander’s sacrifice and scored on Herich’s single.  Appleton evened the score in the fourth when Chell drew a walk, took second on Toraason’s sacrifice roller, third on a wild pitch by Crowley, and home on a wild pitch by Holtz.  The Papermakers blasted out four runs in the fifth to put the game on ice.  Malattia walked, stole second, and advanced when the Sheboygan catcher threw wild to second.  Dancisak was given an intentional walk to fill the bases.  Chell daisy-cut to left field to bring in two runs and Borchart followed with a lusty triple to left to bring in two more.

Sheboygan started a rally which netted one run in the sixth but Higgins snubbed it effectively.  With two out, Pizzi singled, went to second on Kushta’s single and Holtz walked to fill the bases.  McIntyre then walked Oberlander to force in Pizzi.  Higgins was called into action and Reiss grounded to Borchart who pegged to Malattia for the third out.

8 30 40 WSL Game One Boxscore

8 30 40 WSL Game Two Boxscore

8 30 40 WSL Standings

8 30 40 WSL Team Stats

8 30 40 WSL Batting Leaders

8 30 40 WSL Pitching Leaders

Supplemental Flashback – January 29, 2016

Free Beer and Hot Dogs 1

Free Beer and Hot Dogs 2

Free Beer and Hot Dogs 3

Free Beer and Hot Dogs Caption

The main Flashback may be found over at and it deals with some late-season promotions the 1940 Appleton Papermakers were trying as a way to entice fans to attend games.  The Supplemental is about a Papermakers proposal that was shot down and the game that occurred on August 29, 1940.

Won’t Extend Season

Officials of the Wisconsin State league rejected a proposal to extend the season one week by a 5 to 1 vote during a meeting at Wisconsin Rapids last night for fear a dangerous precedent would be established.  The Appleton Baseball club submitted the request because it has 12 unplayed games, most of them resulting from the recent unusual August rainy period.  General league matters also were discussed.  Clarence Baetz, president of the Appleton club, attended the meeting.

Papers Bow To Indians
Umpire’s Ruling Contributes to Appleton Downfall

Showing the effects of a prolonged layoff and playing with a makeshift lineup, Appleton Papermakers bowed to the Sheboygan Indians by a 7 to 3 count in a Wisconsin State league game at Spencer street park last night.  Dick Williams, an Appleton castoff, mounded for the winners and confined the Papermakers to four scattered hits until the ninth inning when Appleton rallied with three hits and two runs.  Sheboygan built up a 5-run lead before Appleton tallied in the fourth.

Both literally and figuratively, Manager Eddie Dancisak was the fall guy last night.  Al Standaert had been doing a bang-up job at shortstop in place of Tommy Hawk, who is being groomed for an appendectomy, but is out for the season with an injured shoulder.  Les Hoeffken, the only other man available to play the shortstop position is on the sick list so, rather than letting one of his boys take a beating, Eddie tried his hand at the post for the first time in his life and found himself biting off more than he could chew.  He bobbled a grounder, threw wild to first base and went flat on his tokus while trying to field a slow roller on the wet grass.

Lousy Decision

One of the rankest decisions made at the park this season also contributed to the Appleton downfall.  With two men down in the fourth inning, Borchart stopped Oberlander’s hard drive and threw to Malattia’s left at first base.  Malattia was pulled off the base as he caught the ball but whirled and obviously tagged the runner coming into first.  Apparently everybody except Umpire Anderson saw the play for he ruled Oberlander safe.

Sheboygan went on to score three runs in that inning as Reiss hammered a triple to score Oberlander, Henrich singled to plate Reiss, Gasper was sage on Dancisak’s bad throw to first with Henrich taking third and Henrich scoring on Zydowsky’s single.

The Indians pounded two Appleton hurlers for 14 hits.  LaGrow started for Appleon and was touched for nine hits before giving way to big Jim Higgins after Zydowsky singled in the fourth.  Higgins was touched for three safeties in the fifth which led to two runs but held Sheboygan scoreless the rest of the route.  Williams pitched himself into several holes but got out of them with little damage.  He was as wild as he was good, issuing eight walked and striking out nine, fanning four consecutively.  At one time his control faded so much that he walked Higgins, second tallest man in organized baseball.

Sheboygan Scoring

The Indians counted in the initial frame when Oberlander was safe on Dancisak’s error.  He went to second on Henrich’s safety and both advanced on a blow by Gasper.  Oberlander plated on Zydowsky’s long fly to left.  Sheboygan added another marker in the third when Gasper was safe on a fielder’s choice and counted on Pizzi’s double.  Three runs came in after the ruinous umpire’s decision in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.  Sheboygan wound up its scoring for the night in the firth when Kushta led off with a right field line triple and scored on Firtko’s single.  Oberlander was safe when Dancisak slipped while trying to field his roller and Firtko gained third.  Firtko crossed the plate when Reiss grounded and Oberlander was forced at second.

The Papermakers had many chanced to score but couldn’t quite turn the trick their batting eyes seeming to be a bit rusty as the result of the wet weather which kept them inactive for nearly a week.  Malattia and Malewig walked and Dancisak bunted safely to load the bases in the first frame.  Chell was out on an infield fly and Malattia was forced when Toraason dribbled.  Millimaki went down swinging to leave three men on base.

Appleton left two men on in the third frame.  The Papermakers got into the payoff column in the fourth when Aranson doubled and Borchart and Higgins walked to load the bags.  Malattia socked a hard grounder to score Aranson and forced Higgins at second.  Malewig fanned for the third out leaving two men high and dry.  The locals rallied in the ninth and scored two runs after two were out.  Anderson made another disputed decision in the ninth when he declared a batted ball hit pinch hitter Nowak when he was going down to second.  Those in a good vantage point said the ball “missed him by two feet.”  Malattia singled, Malewig drew a free trip and Dancisak singled to fill the bases.  Chell got hold of one to bring in two runners.  Toraason fanned to end the threat.

One of the highlights of the game was Aranson’s brilliant work in left field.  He caught one fly on the dead run to his right and backed up on another to spear what looked like a sure triple.

Boxscore from the August 29, 1940 Appleton v. Sheboygan game.

Boxscore from the August 29, 1940 Appleton v. Sheboygan game.

Flashback Friday Supplemental – January 22, 2015

This week’s main Flashback is on the main website and it deals with Bill Veeck being Bill Veeck at the 1976 Welcome, Foxes Banquet.

The Foxes of this era held their welcome banquet on an off day after the season had started.  Appleton lost the opening game on April 17 at home to Wisconsin Rapids.  Their game at Wisconsin Rapids on April 18 was rained out.

The Midwest League standings after the first weekend of the 1976 season.

The Midwest League standings after the first weekend of the 1976 season.

The banquet was held on April 19 at Country Aire, which was located at 2311 W. Spencer Street in Appleton.  Monarch Gardens Banquet is at that address now.

For the supplemental to the Flashback, here is the story from Roger Pitt that appeared in the April 20, 1976 edition of The Post-Crescent that is about the kind of team manager Jim Napier thought the Foxes would be for that season.

Napier likes Foxes’ pitching

“He who hesitates is lost.”

That old proverb is one which new Appleton Foxes Manager Jim Napier believes in.

Napier isn’t one to wait around for something to happen.  Fans can expect to see a lot of old-style baseball at Goodland Field this season – stealing, bunting, and hit-and-run.

“A player is only out on the field 2-1/2 to 3 hours,” Napier, a former catcher, said.  “There is no reason for him to give less than 100 per cent while he is out there.”

“We expect there are going to be physical errors and we’re going to try to cut the mental errors to a minimum,” he said, “but I won’t tolerate a lack of hustle.  Anyone who doesn’t give the effort will find himself out of the lineup.”

How well does he know his team?  How long will it take to put the best team together?

Although the Foxes were the last of the White Sox three minor league teams to be finalized, Napier said, “I know the personnel quite well.  We (he and White Sox farm system people) have known for 2-1/2 or 3 weeks who would be playing here.  Although they weren’t on the same team in practice games in Sarasota, I knew who I was going to have and watched them pretty close.  I have a good idea of their capabilities.”

“The team on the field for the first game should be the one which we go with.  There may be some changes but the best team will come as the players develop confidence in their ability,” the affable manager, who gives the impression of being a hard-nosed player who learned his lessons well behind the plate, said.

One of the lessons he learned was the style of ball he favors on offense.

“I learned from playing against the Dodgers,” Napier said, “that it exerts a lot of pressure on the defense, particularly the catcher, when you are continually challenging the opponent.”

“This team should have good speed on the base paths.  We should have a good defense and, most of all, the club has pretty good pitching.”

Napier, expounding on his offense, said, “We’re going to run every chance we get and we’ll use the bunt and hit-and-run.”  This go-go style of play resulted in a pair of first inning runs in the opener Saturday without the benefit of a hit.

“If you have a power team you can probably sit back and wait for somebody to jack the ball out of the park.  We won’t be doing that.  I consider a legitimate power hitter as a player who is going to hit 20 or more home runs.  Most everyone in the starting lineup has average or above average speed,” Napier analyzed.

Pitching is the main factor in baseball and Napier thinks he has some excellent arms on this year’s staff.  He currently has 12 pitchers, a rather large number, but has a few “young arms” who he will not put on the line until he thinks they are ready.  “We have some veterans back,” he said, “who should form the nucleus of the staff.  There were a lot of young kids on this team last year and many are back.  A year’s experience should be beneficial to them.

Napier plans on a four-man rotation to start.  Three of the names are familiar to Foxes followers:  Jay Attardi, Roy Coulter, and Bill Kautzer.  Attardi started the season here last year with a 4-2 record but was sent to Sarasota.

Later, Mike Farrell or Steve Nored is expected to move into the rotation as a fifth starter.  The short relief assignment will fall on Bill “Popeye” Lehman, a favorite of Foxes fans.  Lehman touched base with all White Sox farm operations last year.

On a whole, Napier is “very happy with the personnel on the team.”

“We have the kind of balance it takes to win.  Defense, speed, and pitching.”

“We expect to provide an exciting brand of baseball.  If everything jells, we can have a good team.  My job is to get these kids to know that they can do it.

Appleton Pro Baseball Birthdays – January 22:
Tyrone Taylor – 22
Brock Kjeldgaard – 30
Shawn Nottingham – 31
Dave Leonhard – 75

Tyrone Taylor in 2013.

Tyrone Taylor in 2013.

Dave Leonhard played for the Foxes in 1963. His SABR Biography starts off with this:

Dave Leonhard had a mediocre high-school and college pitching career. He refused a scout’s first offer to sign him, then changed his mind and signed for a $9 bonus. From that humble start, he carved out a six-year career as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles.

At the time Dave was teaching 11th grade history at Sparrows Point High School in Sparrows Point, Maryland, outside Baltimore. Believing that he was just a mediocre pitcher, Dave refused the offer. “I had a contract to teach through June and I didn’t want to leave,” he told the writer of a profile on him in a Johns Hopkins alumni magazine.4 Youse persisted and offered Leonhard $450 a month to play rookie ball after the school year. Leonhard accepted Youse’s offer, figuring it was a much better summer job than anything else he’d find, but said that he “had no intentions of being a professional ballplayer.” Meanwhile, since professional teams got a 30 percent discount at the store, Youse got Leonhard a $9 discount on the shoes. Leonhard joked, “My bonus amounted to the discount I got when I paid for the shoes.”5

VIDEO: MLB Pipeline on Orlando Arcia

Milwaukee Brewers #1 prospect Orlando Arcia, a Timber Rattler in 2013, was mentioned in this tweet by MLB Pipeline:


Which leads to this video:


Orlando Arcia as a Timber Rattler in 2013.

Orlando Arcia as a Timber Rattler in 2013.

Appleton Pro Baseball Birthdays – January 20:
Seth Harvey – 28
Chris Mears – 38
Rolando Pino – 52
Cecil Espy – 53
Dave McLaughlin – 56
Clarence Glenetzke – Born 1922

Glenetzke is a Wisconsin native – born in Brokaw and raised in Wausau – played for the Papermakers in 1946 and became a member of the Merrill Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012:

Clarence Glenetzke grew up in Wausau, and was a four-time letter winner at Wausau High School. After high school he pitched for the Wausau Lumberjacks and later in the professional ranks. He eventually starred for the Merrill Rangers from 1950-’62. That was the glory years of the Rangers, when they won four league championships and three straight state titles.


Glenetzke with the Merrill Raiders (Photo Credit: WAOW)

Glenetzke with the Merrill Rangerers (Photo Credit: WAOW)


Seth Harvey as a Timber Rattler in 2012.

Seth Harvey as a Timber Rattler in 2012.

Appleton Pro Baseball Birthdays – January 19

Three of today’s birthdays are for players who were Foxes and that includes one from Marion, Wisconsin.

January 19:
Mike Burrows – 40
Sal Urso – 44
Marshal Harper – 61
Ken Frailing – 68

The Marion native is Ken Frailing, who made the major leagues with the White Sox and the Cubs.

Marion, Wisconsin native Ken Frailing. From

Marion, Wisconsin native Ken Frailing. From

Ken Frailing
There was a Flashback Friday about Frailing back in 2013.

The Flashback is about a no-hitter he through in an American Legion game in 1966 – days before the MLB Draft which saw the White Sox take him in the fifth round – and a 1968 article about Frailing appearing in a Cubs-Sox exhibition game in 1968.

There is also a SABR Biography on Frailing.

Born in 1948 and raised in Marion, Wisconsin, a town of 1,000 about 120 miles north of Madison, Frailing grew up loving sports, particularly baseball. He came of age in the early 1960s, when baseball was still considered the national pastime. Reflecting on his youthful experiences in a 2001 interview, he remembered that most of the kids he knew had limited choices for entertainment. As a result, they would get together and play ball:

“Baseball was a big deal at Marion High. But considering our cool weather, in a good year we’d get in maybe 20 games. But we also had American Legion ball. There would be nights that we would draw 800 people in a town of 1,000 to a game. I was a pitcher in high school, but I played the outfield, too.”

The former big leaguer was modest. Playing for a high school with 200 students, Frailing, at 6-feet and 190 pounds, became an all-around athlete who starred in the three major team sports of the era, football, basketball, and baseball. He earned all-conference honors in all three sports during his senior year of 1965-66. Speaking in a 2001 interview, John Bartelt, who coached Marion High’s baseball team for 41 years, called Frailing “pleasant, conscientious, hard-working, talented—the type of kid you want to coach.”

Frailing’s peers agreed. In 2000 the school’s former ballplayers selected the left-hander as Marion High’s Athlete of the Century. Bartelt, commenting to the Marion Advertiser, called Frailing one of the most coachable athletes he ever knew: “He was an intense competitor and had just a fantastic attitude. The more I think about it, the more I realize how fortunate I was to be associated with Ken as his coach, his teacher, his neighbor, and his friend.”

A standout end in football as well as a forward in basketball who scored exactly 1,000 points in high school, Frailing was also a remarkable left-handed batter who played the outfield when not on the mound. He hurled four no-hitters for Marion, including his first game as a freshman, a 6-0 victory over Tigerton in which he fanned 16 hitters. Major-league scouts began watching him during his sophomore year, and he really caught their attention as a senior when he fashioned a 13-0 mark with a 0.17 ERA and helped Marion High finish unbeaten at 16-0.

The White Sox selected Frailing in the fifth round of the amateur draft in 1966. The club tried to sign him the day after his Mustangs finished playing in the semifinals of the state American Legion Tournament. Thanks to Coach Bartelt’s advice, Ken held out for a month, and the White Sox to offer a sizable bonus.

“To play pro baseball was my dream,” Frailing recollected. “I grew up following the Milwaukee Braves. So I got to see a couple games a year in Milwaukee, and that was really exciting. Somebody’s parents would take us. We’d go early when the gates opened, and we’d get to see the clubs take batting practice. We’d be in the bleachers and get the home-run balls hit during batting practice. I thought that was the greatest thing!”

Enthusiastic, cheerful, and blessed with a positive attitude and a good work ethic, Frailing signed a professional contract, and when he did, the White Sox not only agreed to pay for his college education but also gave him a $25,000 bonus. He attended Wisconsin State University-Stevens Point, beginning after his stint in the Rookie Gulf Coast League in 1966.

Flashback Friday Supplemental – January 15, 2016

The story of Player Appreciation Night and the near no-hitter by Mickey Abarbanel are available at this link on the Timber Rattlers website.

Click on the photo for a larger image of the award winners.  The boxscore from that game is also provided.

1966 player awards Full


8 23 66 boxscore

Appleton Pro Baseball Birthdays – January 15:
Trey Witte – 46

1993 Classic Best Appleton Foxes #24 - Trey Witte - Courtesy of
1993 Classic Best Appleton Foxes #24 – Trey Witte

Appleton Pro Baseball Managers with multiple seasons

The announcement was made earlier today that Matt Erickson will return as the manager of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for his sixth consecutive season.

Matt is back!

Matt is back!

The Appleton native already holds the Timber Rattlers record for most seasons (5) and wins (326).

How does this stack up against all the managers in Appleton Professional Baseball history?

Once Erickson manages one game in the 2016 season, he will break a tie with Gordy Lund for the longest-tenured manager in APB History.  Lund was the manager of the Appleton Foxes in 1974-1975, 1977-1978, and 1980.  Lund also holds the Appleton Pro Baseball record for wins by a manager with 350.  So, Erickson will surpass Lund’s win total some time in the first half.

Here are all the managers with more than one season at the head of an Appleton Professional Baseball Team:

Six Seasons:
Matt Erickson: 2011-present

Five Seasons:
Gordy Lund: 1974-75, 1977-78, & 1980

Three Seasons:
Billy DeMars: 1963-65
Gary Thurman: 2000-02

Two-and-a-half Seasons:
Eddie Dancisak: 1940-42

Two Seasons:
George Hogriever: 1911-12
Travis Jackson: 1952-53
Earl Weaver: 1960-61
Sal Rende: 1984-85
Brian Boldberg: 1988-89
Joe Breeden: 1990-91
Carlos Lezcano: 1993-94
Mike Goff: 1995-96
Gary Varsho: 1997-98
Steve Roadcap: 1999, 2004
Jim Horner: 2006-07
Jeff Isom: 2009-2010

One-and-a-half Seasons:
Joe Skurski: 1950-51
Stan Wasiak: 1966, 1968
Bert Thiel: 1972, 1973

Appleton Baseball Birthdays – January 13:
Reggie Keen – 28
Eric Marzec – 28
Nick Tyson – 28
Jerry Amador – 36
Jeff Heaverlo – 38
Justin Smith – 39
Mike Buskey – 67

Mike Buskey played 122 games with the Foxes in 1972. He appeared in eight games with the Phillies at the end of the 1977 season.

Mike Buskey played 122 games with the Foxes in 1972. He appeared in eight games with the Phillies at the end of the 1977 season.

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