Results tagged ‘ Foxes Alumni ’
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 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.
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
Bill Smith was the General Manager of the Appleton Foxes from 1983-1985. He has moved up in the Minnesota Twins organization, where he was the GM from 2008-2011, and is presently an assistant to the president and GM for the Twins.
Why do I bring this up today?
This story about renovations to the Twins spring training complex in Florida was passed along to me and I liked it for a lot of different reasons.
The first was the connection to Smith, since this nearly $50 million project was his baby…to put it one way. The second was this:
The centerpiece of the…project was the minor league player development academy. The gleaming three-story building was designed to house, feed, teach and train prospects year round. The Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates each have on-site dormitories for minor leaguers elsewhere in Florida, but what the Twins have now is unparalleled in the majors.
“There are going to be guys who are going to point to the academy as far as an important part of their development,” President Dave St. Peter said.
The overall goal was to better prepare Twins prospects for the majors, from nutrition to education to equipment.
For the many Spanish-speaking players from Latin American countries, there are English lessons. For the drafted players who left college before graduation, there are spaces and resources for completing degrees online. For everyone, there are healthy meals professionally prepared on site.
“They don’t even allow cookies over there,” general manager Terry Ryan said, adding: “They can go out and get what they want if they want to, but it’s important to us that at least they have been educated about what we want them to put in their bodies.”
There’s no soda, either, but comforts abound. The 54 double rooms have plush queen beds, refrigerators, desks, dressers and bathrooms, each unit decorated with photos of the Twins players who wore the number of the room. Justin Morneau and Mudcat Grant, for example, provide the backdrop for No. 33.
Plenty more at the link. But here’s a photo of one of the dorm rooms.
Bill Smith’s 1983 baseball card with the Foxes:
Alumni Birthdays for February 26:
Rich Graham (’93) – 45
David Howard (’88) – 48
One of the Alumni Birthdays today is Dennis Denning. He played for the Foxes in 1965 after the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the 40th round of the June draft out of St. Thomas University in Minnesota. Denning started in Aberdeen that year and moved to the Foxes to play 11 games at the end of the season.
In 1966, Denning played for Miami and in 1967, he played for Stockton for 76 games. He did not play professionally after 1967. But, he would stay in baseball as a head coach of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, his high school alma mater. Denning coached there for 17 seasons before moving up to St. Thomas in 1995.
Denning would return to the Fox Cities for the NCAA Division III College World Series as the head coach of St. Thomas University three times (2000, 2001, & 2009). The Tommies won titles in 2000 and 2009 before Denning retired from St. Thomas in 2009.
Denning turned 69 today.
Alumni Birthdays for December 9:
Renee Cortez (’02, ’03) – 32
Brandon Parker (’98) – 39
Jason Cook (’94, ’95) – 43
Andy Naworski (’87) – 51
Bruce Tanner (’83, ’84) – 53
Dennis Denning (’65) – 69
Billy Klaus (’46) – Would have been 86
Keep your eyes on this link to Baseball America. They should be announcing the Top 20 Prospects in the Midwest League soon. Since the team has a subscription to the print magazine, I can see the list before it’s on the web…which is so….odd.
Only one Timber Rattler made the list:
#7 Clint Coulter. The partial scouting report from the magazine.
While Coulter does have a great batting-eye, his swing isn’t picture-perfect, as it involves a large load and a powerful cut that makes it hard to always control the barrel. That leads to swings and misses on pitches in the zone, but when he does connect, Coulter drives the ball.
Peoria pitcher Alex Reyes was #1 in the MWL. The full list and capsules on each of the players on the list should be at the link later.
I would have thought that Taylor Williams might have made the list, but it’s tough in a 16-team league.
In last night’s AL Wild Card game, the Kansas City Royals defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in 12 innings. Former Timber Rattler Lorenzo Cain drove in a pair of runs last night, including the first run of Kansas City’s comeback in the eighth inning:
Today is the first day of the season review of Timber Rattlers in MLB during the 2014 season. Here’s a quick look at the former Rattlers….and one former Fox who spent time in the AL West this year:
Raul Ibanez (’94): 57 games, .157/.258/.265, 3HR, 21RBI
That was hit number 2,000 for Ibanez in his MLB career.
Michael Saunders (’06): 78 games, .273/.341/.450, 8HR, 34RBI
Shin-Soo Choo (’01, ’02): 123 games, .242/.340/.374, 13HR, 40RBI
One of his hits this season was #1,000 in his career:
Nate Adcock (’07, ’08): 7 games, 0-0, 4.50ERA, 10.0IP, 5BB, 9K
Ryan Feierabend (’02): 6 games, 0-0, 6.14ERA, 7.1IP, 2BB, 4K
Eric O’Flaherty (’04, ’05): 21 games, 1-0, 1 save, 2.25ERA, 20IP, 4BB, 15K
The save was the first of his MLB career.
Felix Hernandez (’03): 34 games, 34 starts, 15-6, 2.14ERA, 236IP, 46BB, 248K.
Take a bow, King Felix!
The MLB Playoffs start with the Wild Card games on Monday and Tuesday. If you are looking for a team to cheer this postseason, here’s a look at the teams with Timber Rattlers alumni. Based on Numbers…Go, Royals! Go, Nationals!
These are the players who were on the 40-man rosters of the teams that made the playoffs.
Pitcher Chris Tillman (’07)
Outfielder Adam Jones (’04)
Coach Darnell Coles (Rover w/ Milwaukee)
Los Angeles Angels:
Eric O’Flaherty (’04, ’05)
Los Angeles Dodgers:
St. Louis Cardinals:
San Francisco Giants:
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05)
Rafael Soriano (’00)
Matt Thornton (’99, ’00)
Chris Tillman will get the start for the Orioles in game one of the ALDS against Max Scherzer and the Tigers.
The O’s ace and Game 1 starter, Chris Tillman, isn’t quite as well known as Scherzer (and, to date, nobody’s offered him a $144 million contract), but when it comes to execution, Tillman was second to none down the stretch for an Orioles team putting the finishing touches on its first AL East crown in 17 years.
Tillman had a 4.11 ERA at the All-Star break, and he went through a nearly two-month stretch — from May 11 to July 2 — in which he walked more batters (30) than he struck out (27).
Look at Tillman’s second-half performance, though: a 6-1 record, a 2.33 ERA, a .218 opponents’ average and 76 strikeouts against just 18 walks in 89 innings across 14 starts. The O’s went 11-3 in those 14 games.
Two years ago, when the Orioles made their run to an AL Wild Card spot and wound up pushing the Yankees to the brink of elimination in the AL Division Series, Tillman didn’t log a single postseason inning. Showalter opted to give veteran Joe Saunders the ball over Tillman in Game 4.
Now, Tillman is the obvious choice of tone setter for this series.
Adonis Harrison (’96, ’97) – 38
Rob Harmon (’07, ’08) – 31
Making holes (aka Aerating) in the outfield:
Patching holes in the parking lot:
Preparing to Paint on the concourse:
Congratulations to former Appleton Foxes manager Brian Poldberg and the Omaha StormChasers on their win over Pawtucket in the Triple-A Championship game.
That’s a home run by Brett Hayes to break a 2-2 tie. More at the link up top.
Look for some dominoes to fall in the MWL Affiliation Shuffle today. As of now, Kane County, South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Beloit are at the end of their contracts. There won’t be any new teams from the South Atlantic League because everything is set over there now.
Timber Rattlers Alumni Birthdays for September 17:
Teodoro Medrano (1996) – 39
Cheyne Hann (2008) – 30
Victor Roache (2013) – 23
Timber Rattlers MLB Debut for September 17:
Adam Moore (2006) – September 17, 2009
Moore was the starting catcher for the Mariners in a game against the Chicago White Sox. He went 0-for-5 and Kenji Johjima pinch hit for Moore with a runner at first in the bottom of the 14th. Johjima was hit by a pitch and Ichiro knocked in the winning run as the next batter.
Speaking of Timber Rattlers alumni…It’s time to take a look at home some former Rattlers outside the Brewers system did this year. Today it’s a look at the players from Double-A and below:
AA (Team/Parent Club/League):
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (New Hampshire/Blue Jays/Eastern):
17 games, 12 starts; 6-4, SAVE, 3.16ERA; 74IP, 12BB, 57K
JC Ramirez (Akron/Indians/Eastern):
10 games, 1-0, SAVE, 2.08ERA, 13IP, 8BB, 14K
RJ Seidel (Tulsa/Rockies/Texas):
5 games, 1 start, 0-1, 6.57ERA, 12.1IP, 6BB, 9K
Fabian Williamson (Pensacola/Reds/Southern):
50 games, 2-6, SAVE, 4.03ERA, 58IP, 28BB, 66K
Daniel Carrol (Mississippi/Braves/Southern):
19 games, .149/.317/.149, 0HR, 3RBI
Cutter Dykstra (Harrisburg/Nationals/Eastern):
96 games, .274/.349/.391, 6HR, 49RBI
Mitch Haniger (Mobile/Diamondbacks/Southern):
8 games, .333/.433/.458; 0HR, 5RBI
Erik Komatsu (Arkansas/Angels/Texas):
20 games, .179/.266/.339, 2HR, 5RBI
Bryan LaHair (Akron/Indians/Eastern):
101 games, .234/.324/.332, 5HR, 60 RBI
Alex Liddi (Chattanooga/Dodgers/Southern):
36 games, .216/.303/.336, 2HR, 22RBI
Joel Pineiro (Tennessee/Cubs/Southern):
4 games, 4 starts, 0-1, 4.43ERA, 22.1IP, 4BB, 10K
Daniel Carrol (Lynchburg/Braves/Carolina):
63 games, .201/.319/.307, 3HR, 18RBI
Robbie Garvey (Rancho Cucamonga/Dodgers/California):
114 games, .229/.290/.361, 7HR, 45RBI
Ryan Gibbard (Modesto/Rockies/California):
9 games, 9 starts, 0-5, 6.44ERA, 36.1IP, 26BB, 20K
Efrain Nieves (Dunedin/Blue Jays/Florida State):
44 games, 4 starts, 3-5, SAVE, 86.1IP, 21BB, 57K
Cody Scarpetta (Lynchburg/Braves/Carolina):
12 games, 11 starts, 3-6, 4.50ERA, 58IP, 29BB, 52K
Anthony Banda (South Bend/Diamondbacks/Midwest):
6 games, 6 starts, 3-0, 1.54ERA, 35IP, 7BB, 34K
Daniel Carroll (Rome/Braves/South Atlantic):
10 games, .342/.409/.447, 0HR, 6RBI
Cutter Dykstra (Auburn/Blue Jays/New York-Penn):
5 games, .389/.500/.556, HR, 3RBI
The Pick-A-Seat event will be one week from today. It will be held from 4pm to 9pm at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. There is a Rummage Sale, too.
Here is the 2015 Timber Rattlers schedule: 2015 Timber Rattlers Schedule
In case you missed it, here is Clint Coulter on Fox Sports Wisconsin from the September 13 game at Miller Park. There is some news in there:
As mentioned, Coulter will be participating in the advanced instructional league. @BrewersPD has the Brewers minor league players that will be participating:
Players attending advanced IL are: Coulter, Berberet, Garfield, Arcia, Brennan, McFarland, Orf, DavisJ, and Roache
— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) September 15, 2014
Pitchers attending advanced IL: Barnes, Cravy, Johnson, Peterson, Seidenberger, Uhen, Viramontes, and WilliamsT
— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) September 15, 2014
@BrewersPD also had the players that will be in the Brewers Instructional League:
For those interested, the 2014 Brewers Instructional League roster. pic.twitter.com/FtsypVPV7o
— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) September 15, 2014
There is one more MiLB game left in the season. The Triple-A Championship Game is being held tonight at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina. International League Champion Pawtucket will face Pacific Coast League Champion Omaha. The game will be shown on NBC Sports Network starting at 6pm CDT. MiLB.com has a preview article here.
If you are looking for a rooting interest in this game, Carlos Peguero – a Timber Rattlers outfielder in 2009 – led Omaha with 30 home runs. But, he is up with the Royals now and won’t be with Omaha tonight.
No alumni birthdays today. But, there is one anniversary of an MLB debut for September 16:
Shawn Estes, a first round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1991, was a Timber Rattler in 1995. He also spent all of 1993 and part of 1994 in Appleton as a member of the Foxes.
The Mariners traded Estes – along with Wilson Delgado, another Timber Rattler – to the San Francisco Giants for Salomon Torres on May 21, 1995. Estes made his MLB debut with the Giants on September 16, 1995.
Estes made the start at Pittsburgh on that date and took the loss. He allowed five runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 5-1/3 innings pitched. Estes had a 2-1 lead heading into the sixth inning, but gave up the tying run before leaving with the bases loaded. All three runners he left on base would eventually score against the San Francisco bullpen.
Former Timber Rattlers pitching coach Chris Hook came on in relief later in that game for the Giants, too.
The New Castle [Delaware] native and William Penn High graduate who played 12 seasons of major league baseball died Saturday. May, who was living in Bear, had been battling cancer.
But before he departed, sons Dave Jr., now a Toronto Blue Jays pro scout, and Derrick, the St. Louis Cardinals minor league hitting coordinator, marveled at the outpouring of affection that accompanied his final days.
“The last week he got so many phone calls,” said Derrick, who played 10 major league seasons himself. “I never realized how many people he’s impacted, not only around here but people in baseball. Dusty Baker called and Cito Gaston, Willie Horton, Ralph Garr and all these people called just to help him out. He and Johnny Briggs were best friends for 40 years.”
May spent part of the 1963 season and all of the 1964 season in Appleton with the Foxes. At the time, Fox Cities was affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.
May had an amazing season with the Foxes in 1964 to help them win their first Midwest League Championship. He led the Midwest League in hitting with an average of .368. That average is still an Appleton Professional Baseball record. He also hit 14 homers, drove in 74 runs, stole 36 bases, and had an OPS of 1.004 in 518 plate appearances over 122 games.
It should not be a surprise that May was named the MVP of the Foxes in 1964
In the one game playoff against the Clinton C-Sox in 1964, May went 3-5 and scored a pair of runs in an 8-5 Foxes win. Flashback Friday covered the 1964 Championship Game in Clinton last November.
The Milwaukee Brewers picked up May in a trade during the 1970 season and he was an early star on those Milwaukee teams. May was an American League All-Star in 1973 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
He was traded to Atlanta after the 1974 season for Hank Aaron and spent a few years in Atlanta. May would go on to Texas and return to the Brewers for a brief time in 1978. Here are his Baseball Reference pages: Majors | Minors.
He was a fun player to cheer for on those early Brewers teams. So was his friend Johnny Briggs:
“He was a good guy, a good friend, somebody you could talk to about anything,” said Briggs, now 68 and living in his hometown of Paterson, N.J. “He didn’t like arguing. I didn’t like arguing. He had a great attitude. He was never the type of guy who was patting himself on the back all the time. Guys liked him because of who he was. He performed on the field and he patted everybody on the back.”
After his playing career, May coordinated officials for New Castle County Parks and Recreation’s sports leagues and also worked for House of Flowers doing arrangements and deliveries. But he could often be found watching a youth baseball game, standing along a fence, regaling in conversation.
Sympathies to his family and if they happen to read this, Dave May is remembered fondly in Appleton.
Thanks to Brew Crew Ball for sharing this news in Tuesday’s Frosty Mug or I would have missed this.
The 2011 Major League season is in the books. Has been for a while. But, it took me a little while to pull this post together for the blog.
There were 39 players with ties to Appleton professional baseball to appear in at least one MLB game during the 2011 season. That would be 36 former Timber Rattlers and three former Appleton Foxes.
Below, you will find the player, the team for which they played, and the last year that they spent in Appleton. Click the name and you will be taken to that players MLB.com page. At that page you will see the stats for that player. Most of those players have a few video highlights at the bottom of their picture. Make sure to click on the more video link and you’ll get just about every mlb highlight for that player all season long. (There are a lot of those for Asdrubal Cabrera, by the way).
A couple of other notes:
Nine former Rattlers made their MLB debut in 2011.
Three former Rattlers are up for the Roberto Clemente Award. Felix Hernandez, Adam Jones, & David Ortiz
Timber Rattlers Alumni in MLB for 2011:
(Blue = Made MLB debut in 2011)
Adam Jones (’04)
David Ortiz (’96)
Lorenzo Cain (’09)
Brett Lawrie (’09)
Bryan LaHair (’04)
Greg Dobbs (’02)
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, ’94)
Rob Johnson (’05)
Chris Tillman (’07)
Scott Atchison (’99)
Matt Thornton (’00)
Los Angeles (AL):
Joel Pineiro (’98)
New York (AL):
Rafael Soriano (’00)
Brian Fuentes (’97)
Mark Lowe (’05)
JJ Putz (’00)
Michael Fiers (’09)
Ryan Franklin (Foxes, ’94)
Later this week, I should have posts up about alumni who reached Triple-A and Double-A in 2011.