Results tagged ‘ Foxes ’

50 Years in 50 Days: 1975

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 37.

37 Years Ago:
The Foxes stumbled and missed the playoffs.

They changed up the cover for 1975.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Gordy Lund (2st year)
1st Half: 22-37 (4th, North Division)
2nd Half: 28-40 (5th, North Division)
Overall: 50-77

Your 1975 Appleton Foxes

Future MLB Players:
Third baseman Kevin Bell hit .285 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 67 games
First baseman Marv Foley hit .308 with no homers and an RBI in six games
Pitcher Jim Geddes (1-2, 13.50) in 5 games – all starts – with 10 Ks in 10 innings
Pitcher Chris Knapp (6-6, 1.97) in 14 games – 13 starts – with 99Ks in 87 innings
Pitcher Larry Monroe (5-11, 3.57) in 23 games – 19 starts – with 89 Ks in 121 innings

Category Leaders:
AVG: Kevin Bell – .285
HR: Kevin Bell – 8
RBI: Johnny Narron – 57
SB: Tommy Toman – 29
OPS: Kevin Bell – .830
WINS: Bill Kautzer – 7
ERA: Roy Coulter – 3.00
IP: Bill Kautzer – 139
SO: Chris Knapp – 99
SAVES: Robert Combs & Paul Bock – 4

Taking the Ball Stat: Bill Kautzer appeared in 28 games – 22 starts – during the 1975 season.  He pitched seven complete games with a pair of shutouts.

Shuffling Starters Stat:  Baseball-Reference notes that there were 16 pitchers to appear in games for the 1975 Foxes.  Fourteen of those 16 pitchers made starts.

First Time I’ve Noticed It Stat: The 1975 Foxes had more triples (43) than home runs (39).

Future Brewers Hitting Coach Stat: Johnny Narron was a first baseman for the Foxes in 1975.  He hit .228 with six homers and 57 RBI in 108 games.  The Brewers hired Narron away from the Texas Rangers to be their hitting coach this past offseason.  Narron joins another former Foxes player on the Brewers coaching staff.  Ed Sedar played and pitched for the Foxes in the 1980′s.
A Word or Two About Kevin Bell:

Kevin Bell's 1978 TOPPS card.

Kevin Bell is in the Appleton Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.  He spent 1974 and 1975 with the Foxes.  He was the 7th overall pick of the 1974 draft as a high school kid out of Covina, California.  Bell was called up to the big leagues in 1976, played in his firsts MLB game on June 16, and hit an inside-the-park grand slam in Kansas City on June 22.  But, injuries derailed Bell’s major league career.

Bell still lives in the Fox Cities area and attends Timber Rattlers games often.  You might see him at a game this year.

1975 MWL Season:
North Division: Appleton, Dubuque, Wisconsin Rapids, Waterloo, & Wausau.
South Division: Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Danville, & Quad Cities.

Decatur moved to Wisconsin for the 1975 season to become the Wausau Mets.  Wausau joined the North Division.  Cedar Rapids moved to the South.

And Moe Hill hit 31 homers for Wisconsin Rapids that year.

Baseball face guy creeps me out a little bit.

1975 MWL All-Star Game:
Quad Cities hosted the game on July 14, 1975.  The Midwest League All-Stars faced the Iowa Oaks, the AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros.  The All-Stars won the game 6-2.  Seven MWL pitchers held the Oaks to three hits.

Kevin Bell was named to the squad, but had been promoted prior to the game.  The only other Appleton player named to the All-Star team was pitcher Tony Komadina.  Komadina pitched a scoreless seventh inning with a walk.  (MWLGuide.com boxscore)

1975 MWL Postseason:
There was to be two-tier playoff in 1975.  But, the Waterloo Royals and the Quad Cities Angels each won both half of their respective divisions.  So, both teams went right to the Championship Series.

Waterloo won the best-of-three Finals with a sweep.  That is about what you would expect when the Royals finished the regular season at 93-35.  Quad Cities had the second best record in the league that year at 78-47.

1975 MWL Alumni of Note:

One of the main reasons the Waterloo Royals were so good that year was due to this guy:

Willie Wilson (Waterloo R0yals – .272 with 76 steals and 92 runs scored)

Willie Wilson, a Waterloo Royal before he was a Kansas City Royal.

Willie Wilson went on to a 19 year career in the big leauges with the majority of his time being spent on those excellent Royals teams of the late 70′s & early 80s.  He was fast and he could hit.  It was fun to watch him play.

Honorable mention:
Pedro Guerrero (Danville): Imagine the Pedro Guerrero that you know playing in Danville, Illinois.  Now imagine him hitting .345 with just 10 homers.
Willie Aikens (Quad Cities):  Aikens hit 17 homers for Quad Cities in 1975. He hit four homers in the 1980 World Series for the Kansas City Royals as a teammates of Wilson and…
Dan Quisenberry (Waterloo): He appeared in 20 games – one as a starter – and had four saves for the Royals.
Juan Berenguer (Wausau):  Senor Smoke as a Wausau Met in 1975 must have been a sight to see.

1975 Brewers Farmhand of Note:

Mooooooose. From baseball-almanac.com

Brian “Moose” Haas pitched for the Burlington Bees in 1975.  He went 11-8 with a 2.08ERA in 25 games (24 starts).  Haas pitched 12 complete games with three shutouts and struck out 146 with just 49 walks in 171 innings pitched.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1974

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 38.

38 Years Ago:
The 1974 Foxes bounced back from a difficult 1973 campaign to make another run at the pennant.

I think the only change from 1973 cover was making the date 1974.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Gordy Lund (1st year)
1st Half: 26-32 (4th, North Division)
2nd Half: 47-18 (1st, North Division)
Overall: 73-50

The 1974 Appleton Foxes

Future MLB Players:
Third Baseman Kevin Bell hit .276 with 15 homers and 59 RBI in 77 games at the age of 18
Catcher George Enright hit .255 with a homer and 21 RBI in 63 games (3rd season w/ Foxes)
Pitcher Jim Geddes (4-2, 3.54) in 12 games – 7 starts – with 55 strikeouts over 56 innings pitched
Pitcher Richard Gossage (0-2, 3.38) in 2 games – 2 starts – with five strikeouts in eight innings pitched
Pitcher Jack Kucek (5-2, 1.76) in 9 games – 5 starts – with 49 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched
Pitcher Larry Monroe (2-1, 1.12) in 3 games – 3 starts – with 17 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched
Pitcher Pete Vuckovich (1-0, 1.20) in 5 games – no starts – with 22 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Nick Medrano – .280
HR: Kevin Bell – 15
RBI: Bell & Larry Walters – 59
SB: Clyde Jeter – 36
OPS: Bell – .839
WINS: Barry Smith – 12
SAVES: Paul Sands – 9
ERA: Tom King – 2.40
IP: Smith – 129
SO: Robert Combs – 92

It’s Not a Common Name Stat: Michael Dlugach hit .282 in 77 games for the Foxes in 1974.  In 2005, Brent Dlugach played against the Timber Rattlers for the West Michigan Whitecaps.  Michael and his son Brent both played at the University of Memphis.

Switching Horses Midstream Stat:  Barney Wilson appeared in 27 games during the 1974 season.  He made 26 appearances as a pitcher.  He played with both Appleton and Decatur, but no splits were available at baseball-reference.

Just a Rehab Stat: Goose Gossage pitched two rehabilitation starts for the Foxes in 1974.

Resting the Bullpen Stat: Larry Monroe made three start with the Foxes in 1974.  He pitched three complete games, including two shut0uts.

VUKE! Stat: Pete Vuckovich made five relief appearances for the Foxes in 1974.  He had three saves and a 22:3 K:BB ratio in his 15 innings.

Vuuuuuukkkkke!

The Man Who Would Be A GM Stat:  Jack Zduriencik was 22 years old.  He played seven games with the Foxes in 1973.  He returned to the Foxes for 11 games in 1974.  He went 3-for-44 in 47 plate appearances.  He walked three times and struck out 16 times.  Now, Zduriencik is the general manager of the Seattle Mariners.

Jack Zduriencik as GM of the M's. From SeattlePI.com

Triple Crown Stat: Elmore “Moe” Hill was back with the Wisconsin Rapids Twins for 1974.  He was 27 years old.  That was not his fault.  He was just playing where Minnesota put him.  Hill took out any frustration he may have had out on the pitchers of the MWL by winning the Triple Crown with a .339 average, 32 home runs, and 113 RBI.

The 1974 Foxes schedule

1974 MWL Season:
North Division:
Appleton, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Wisconsin Rapids, & Waterloo.
South Division: Burlington, Clinton, Danville, Decatur, & Quad Cities.

Quincy moved to Dubuque for the 1974 season. Dubuque was back in the league for the first time since 1968.  For the 1974 season, they were a co-op team.

Also, Clinton moved to the South Division to take Quincy’s spot.  Dubuque, which is north of Clinton, took Clinton’s spot in the North.

1974 All-Star Game:
This was still one team against a team of All-Stars, bit the MWL flipped the script a bit.  On July 22, 1974, a team of Midwest League All-Stars faced the Iowa Oaks at Quad Cities.  The Oaks were the Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox and were playing in the American Association.

And since they were an affiliate of the White Sox, Iowa had plenty of former Foxes on the squad.  Most notably, Lamar Johnson and Jerry Hairston.

The Midwest League won this game 3-2 in 13 innings.  Moe Hill drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 13th.

Kevin Bell was the only Foxes player to appear in the game.  Larry Foster was named to the roster, but did not play in the game.  MWLGuide.com notes that Foster had been promoted before the game.

1974 Postseason:
The Foxes swept Wisconsin Rapids in the best-of-three North Division playoffs
Danville, the Brewers affiliate, won a Game Three from Quad Cities in the South Division playoffs
But, for the second time in three years, the Foxes lost to Danville in the Finals.  This time it was in a Game Three.

This was also the third time in four years, Appleton lost in the finals.

1974 MWL Alum of Note:
Joe Sambito (Cedar Rapids Astros)

I picked Joe Sambito for two reasons. He was a good player AND - Kenesaw Mountain Landis help me - I LOVE those 1979 Astros jerseys.

Joe Sambito was an excellent reliever in the big leagues.  But, in 1974 he was a starter for the Cedar Rapids Astros.  Sambito went 11-8 with an ERA of 3.00 and 182 strikeouts in 156 innings.  He also pitched 13 complete games.

In the big leagues, Sambito was an All-Star for the Astros in 1979 and finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting in 1980.

He would pitch eight years with the Astros, briefly with the Mets, and wrapped his career with two years as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

1974 Brewers Farmhand of Note:  The 1974 Danville Warriors had players like Jerry Augustine and Dick Davis.  But, I want to focus on a player that should be on any MWL All-Time All-Name Team:  Delancey Lafayette Currence

Lafayette Currance, a 1974 Danville Warrior & a 1975 Milwaukee Brewer

The 1974 season in Danville was the best season in his career.  Currence went 15-6 with a 2.73ERA and 17 complete games.  Currence, who went by his middle name, had been in the Pirates organization from 1970-1973.  In September, 1973 the Brewers traded Greg Erardi to the Pirates for Currence.

Currence pitched eight games – with one start – for the Brewers in 1975.  He was 0-2 with a 7.71ERA.  Currence pitched 1976 and 1977 in the Brewers organization, but did not make it back to the big leagues.

1974 MWL Managers of Note:
Dubuque – Bert Thiel
Burlington – Rene Lachemann
Quad Cities – Jimy Williams

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1973

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 39.

39 Years Ago:
The 1973 Foxes had a tough year.

The only change from the 1972 cover was a tint from blue to red.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager(s): Deacon Jones (1st year) & Bert Thiel (2nd Year)
1st Half: 17-41 (5th, North Division)
2nd Half: 27-35 (5th, North Division)
Overall: 44-76

The 1973 Foxes

Future MLB Players:
Catcher George Enright hit .165 with no homers and eight RBI in 54 games
Pitcher Santiago Guzman (0-3, 5.04) in 5 games – all starts – with 25 innings pitched
Pitcher Jeff Holly (8-9, 3.45) in 35 games – 19 starts – in 154 innings pitched. Holly also hit .197 with three homers and nine RBI
Outfielder Nyls Nyman hit .315 with two homers and 24 RBI in 92 games
First Baseman Mike Squires hit .298 with three homers and 27 RBI in 68 games

Category Leaders:
AVG: Nyls Nyman – .315
HR: Jeff Sovern – 9
RBI: Sovern – 55
OPS: Manny Estrada – .846
SB: Nyman – 25
WINS: Jeff Holly – 8
ERA: Holly – 3.45
IP: Leo Williams – 167

Rough Start Stat: In a nutshell, this article tells you what you need to know about the 1973 Appleton Foxes season:

Woody Eppinette, with ninth-inning relief help from Ron Slingerman, [made] a first-inning outburst standup Sunday as Appleton beat Clinton, 4-2, to end its season opening losing string at 15 games.

Note that the Welcome Home Banquet was held on April 30. The team hadn't won a game yet and they were eight games into the season.

Fall Guy Stat: Deacon Jones was the manager on Opening Day for the Foxes. At some point during the year, Bert Thiel replaced Jones.

What Are You Gonna Do Stat: Pitcher Jeff Holly had three homers. He tied for fourth on the team in home runs.

A Little Bit of Math Stat:  The Foxes scored 510 runs and allowed 627 runs in the 1973 season.  Their predicted Pythagorean Win-Loss record was 49-71.   According to this formula, they under-preformed by five wins.

A Little Bit of History Stat:  Deacon Jones of the Foxes and Bernie Smith of the Danville Warriors were first year managers on Opening Day, 1973.  Jones and Smith became the first African-American managers in Midwest League history.  This was two seasons before Frank Robinson became the manager of the Cleveland Indians.

Bernie Smith played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 & 1971. He managed the Danville Warriors in 1973.

THE DEACON:  The 1973 Foxes Program has this page on Deacon Jones:

Click for a larger image of the Deacon Jones story from the 1973 Appleton Foxes Program.

There is a part in there that goes:

He was instrumental in bringing the Foxes the Midwest League pennant in 1966 and was also a busy man off the field – appearing throughout the valley aas speaker and holding batting clinics for interested youth.

There was also this from the American Legion Hall of Fame:

Deacon Jones 1951 American Legion Player of the Year.

 

…Deacon Jones was selected in 1951 for his efforts with the White Plains Post #135 of White Plains, New York. Through special cooperation with Clifford Kachline and the Hall of Fame staff, the accompanying photo shows Deacon as he looked back in 1951.

People involved with the Foxes at the time with whom I have spoken always say that Jones was put in a difficult spot.  They always speak highly of Jones and say that he didn’t get a very good team for 1973.

How highly do we think of Grover “Deacon” Jones? He was an inaugural member of the Appleton Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 along with Earl Weaver, Boog Powell, Goose Gossage, and Glen Miller.

1973 MWL Season:
North Division:
Appleton, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Wisconsin Rapids, & Waterloo.
South Division: Burlington, Danville, Decatur, Quincy, & Quad Cities.

The main change was an affiliation and nickname flip  in Cedar Rapids.  They became the Cedar Rapids Astros after switching affiliations to Houston from St. Louis.

1973 MWL All-Star Game:
Wisconsin Rapids hosted the MWL All-Stars on July 23, 1973.  This one turned out a bit better than the 1972 game.

The Twins won the game 4-3.  Nyls Nyman was the only Foxes player to be selected to the All-Star game.  He was the starting first baseman and was 1-for-4 with a run scored.  The MWL Guide boxscore notes that the All-Stars collected 13 hits in the game, but stranded 17 runners.

1973 MWL Postseason:
For the first time since going to the two-tier playoff, there were a pair of Division Championships before the Finals.  And this time, the divisional rounds were also best-of-three.  In the North Division playoff, Wisconsin Rapids swept Clinton.  In the South, Danville, a Brewers affiliate, swept Decatur.

In the finals, Wisconsin Rapids won the pennant with a win in the decisive Game Three victory over the Warriors.

MWL Alum of Note:

Ron Washington (Waterloo Royals – .277, 6 homers, 85 games)

Ron Washington's 1984 Donruss card.

Ron Washington spent his second year in Waterloo during the 1973 season.  He was signed as a minor league free agent by the Kansas City Royals in 1970 and made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977.  He would go back down to the minors, but return to the majors with the Twins in 1981.  He would stay up with Minnesota (1981-1986), Baltimore (1987), Cleveland, (1988), and Houston (briefly in 1989).

Washington is about to enter his sixth year as the manager of the Texas Rangers.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1972 (UPDATED)

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 40.

40 Years Ago:
The 1972 Foxes get a huge dose of Vitamin Lamar for another run at the MWL pennant.

The 1972 Souvenir Program of the Foxes

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Bert Thiel  (1st Year)
1st Half: 36-28 (3rd, North Division)
2nd Half: 40-23 (1st, North Division)
Overall: 76-51

The 1972 Foxes

Future MLB Players:
2B Mike Buskey hit .265 with two homers in 122 games
Catcher George Enright hit .230 with no homers in 25 games
Pitcher Jeff Holly (5-5, 4.58) in 39 games – no starts – over 59 innings
Pitcher/Outfielder Bart Johnson hit .329 with six homers in 50 games AND was 1-0 with a 0.53ERA in 5 games – 2 starts – over 17 innings.
First Baseman Lamar Johnson hit .313 with 26 homers over 114 games

Lamar Johnson on his 1980 TOPPS card. He is a member of the Appleton Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Lamar Johnson – .313
HR: Lamar Johnson – 26
WINS: Harold McClain – 13
ERA: Harold McClain – 2.31
IP: Paul Patterson – 183

That’s the Modern Record Stat:  Lamar Johnson was THE MAN in 1972.  His 26 home runs is a modern record (1958-present) for home runs in a season for Appleton Pro Baseball.  Johnson was one of the most popular players in Foxes history and considering how hard it was to hit home runs at Goodland Field, you can understand why he was.

What Are You Doing Back Here Stat: Bart Johnson was the 2nd overall pick in the 1968 draft by the White Sox.  He won 16 games for the Foxes in 1969 and made his MLB debut in 1969.  He went 12-10 with 14 saves for the White Sox in 1971 and was on their Opening Day Roster.  Then,

[Q]: In 1972 the strike shortened season, you started in the bullpen. That first weekend in Kansas City you got charged with two extra inning losses in back to back days and you didn’t seem yourself that year. Did that just screw with your head, was there an injury, because by June 3rd you were shipped back to the minors and never got called back up.(Author’s Note: Johnson’s short season was punctuated in a game on June 3rd. In relief against the Yankees, Bart gave up eight runs (three earned), with five walks in two innings of an 18-10 loss at home.)  

BJ: “I was supposed to be what’s now termed the ‘closer’ for the Sox that year and I got two losses in about 18 hours. I was hurt. I hurt my right knee the off season playing basketball. I immediately told the Sox about it and they examined me and said the knee was basically OK but I did tear some cartilage. I rehabbed it hard, I gave it an honest attempt but when I went out to pitch I just couldn’t push off it. When they told me I was going to be sent back down I didn’t want to go because they were the one’s who told me that the knee was OK. They said if I didn’t go that I’d be suspended so I went back to Appleton. They wound up operating on my knee that September.”

Which begs the question….WHAT THE HECK WAS HE DOING IN THE OUTFIELD?

On a calmer note, Bart Johnson had great baseball cards.  I am partial to his 1975 card:

Johnson is also a member of the Appleton Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.

Some may be partial to his 1976 card:

Everyone had hair like that in 1976...except Telly Savalas

Keep in mind that he looked like this in the late 60′s:

A younger Bart Johnson

What Does That Average Out To Stat:  Paul Patterson made 28 starts in 1972.  He pitched 183 innings.  That averaged out to about 6-1/2 innings per start.  He was 12-9 with a 3.20ERA.  His WHIP (Walks + Hits/ Innings Pitched) = 1.31 (59 Walks + 180 Hits/ 183IP).

Hey, Bert Stat: Bert Thiel, the manager of the Foxes for the 1972 season is from Marion, Wisconsin*.

Marion, Wisconsin native Bert Thiel as a pitcher for the Boston Braves.

Thiel pitched four games in the majors with the Boston Braves in 1952.  He was a minor leaguer from 1947 through 1959 with stops in Eau Claire and Milwaukee – when the Brewers were a Triple A team in the American Association.  He became a minor league manager in 1960 and also made an mound appearance in 1961 with Pocatello.  He spent time as a scout before coming to Appleton for 1971.  His Bullpen page notes that after baseball he returned to Marion and opened a bar called Bert’s 10th Inning.  Can any of our Marion readers help me out and let me know where this was?

*What is it with that town?  As noted in the 1968 entry, Ken Frailing was from there, too.

1972 MWL Season:
North Division: Appleton, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Wisconsin Rapids, & Waterloo.  South Division: Burlington, Danville, Decatur, Quincy, & Quad Cities in the South.

Here is the Foxes schedule for 1972.  Note the date for Opening Day:

Catcher Joe's Tavern is now The Apple Pub.

Also, there was a special guest for Opening Day at Goodland Field in 1972.  Click for a larger image:

1972 MWL All-Star Game:
On July 24, 1972, the Wisconsin Rapids Twins hosted the Midwest League All-Star Game.  As in years past, the host team took on the MWL All-Stars.  However, despite having 10 pitchers on the roster, the All-Stars only had three pitchers available for the game.

The score was tied 1-1 after ten innings.  I’ll let Joel Dinda’s MWL Guide take it from there:

Officially: The All-Stars tied the Twins, 1-1, in ten innings in a classic pitcher’s duel. WR’s Ken Dempsey had three hits and scored his team’s run. No pitchers got any decisions, of course.

Alternatively, and widely reported: The All-Stars beat the Twins, 6-1, in eleven innings. Mike Buskey knocked in two runs for the winners, including the ninth-inning run that put the game into extra innings. Tony Velazquez got the win as pitcher of record in the top of the eleventh; Twins manager Jay Ward was the losing pitcher.

How this came to pass: League VP Roger Crow, who’d originally persuaded everyone on the field to agree to play the eleventh with the managers on the mound, made the decision to discard the last inning, perhaps after consulting with others. WR Tribune Sports Editor Bob Des Jarlais called the outcome “Wisconsin Rapids’ biggest baseball farce.”

And you thought the Miller Park All-Star Game in 2002 was ridiculous.

A bigger farce was that Lamar Johnson was not the starting first baseman for the MWL All-Stars.  Kim Cates of Clinton was the starter.

Other Foxes in the lineup that day were Catcher Mike Reynolds and shortstop Mike Buskey.  Pitchers Paul Patterson and Paul Sands were on the All-Star roster, but did not play.

1972 MWL POST SEASON:
Appleton defeated Wisconsin Rapids in the one game playoff to see which team would represent the North Division in the Finals.  The Danville Warriors, Milwaukee’s MWL Affiliate, won both halves in the South to gain a bye into the Championship Series.

In the finals, Danville swept the Foxes in a best-of-three series.

1972 MWL ALUM OF NOTE:
Sixto Lezcano (Danville Warriors: .270 with 10 homers in 114 games at the age of 18):

Sixto Lexcano was awesome! No one denies this!

I could go on for days about Sixto Lezcano and most of it would be about his Opening Day Walk Off Grand Slam to beat the Red Sox on Opening Day in 1980 at County Stadium. I loved watching him play.  I loved the way that Bob Betts announced, “Sssixxxxtoooooooo Lezzzzzzcaaannnnnnooooooo!” when it was time for #16 hit.  I was really happy when he won a Gold Glove for the 1979 season.  I understand why he had to be part of the trade with the Cardinals that brought Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich to the Brewers for the 1981 season..but I hated that trade at the time.

We’ve got to get him here for a Brewers Sunday.

Another MWL Alum of Note:
The 1972 season was Jim Leyland’s second year as a manager.  He took over as the skipper of the Clinton Pilots, a Detroit Tigers affiliate at the time, for 1972.  Leyland managed the Pilots again in 1973 and from there it was on to the big leagues…eventually.

A mustache free Jim Leyland. From LumberKings.com

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1971

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 41.

41 Years Ago:
The 1971 Foxes are about to go full GOOSE.

Safe or out?

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Joe Sparks (1st Year)
1st Half: 43-19 (1st, North Division)
2nd Half: 36-25 (1st, North Division)
Overall: 79-44

Future MLB Players:
Shortstop Bucky Dent hit .231 with a home run in 83 games
Catcher Brian Downing hit .246 with three home runs in 99 games
Outfielder Sam Ewing hit .363 with eight home runs in 82 games
Pitcher Rich Gossage (18-2, 1.83) with 187 innings pitched over 25 games – 24 starts
Second Baseman Jerry Hairston hit .268 with no homers in 121 games
First Baseman Lamar Johnson hit .269 with 18 homers in 119 games
Catcher Bruce Kimm hit .167 with two homers in 54 games

Category Leaders
AVG:
Sam Ewing – .363
HR: Lamar Johnson – 18
RBI: Johnson – 97
SB: Ross Sapp & Jerry Hairston – 14
OPS: Ewing – 1.009
WINS: Rich Gossage – 18
ERA: Gossage – 1.83
IP: Gossage – 187
SO: Gossage – 149
SAVES: Gene Koon – 5

Good with the Bad Stat: Stephen Spanich appeared in two games for the Foxes in 1971.  He allowed seven runs on five hits and eight walks in two innings.  He also went 1-for-1 with a walk in two plate appearances for an OBP of 2.000.

He’s NOT Frank Burns Stat: This Larry Linville was a 24 year old outfielder who hit .269 with three homers in 69 games with the Foxes in 1971.  This Larry Linville appeared in Rod Serling’s Night Gallery (among other acting roles) in 1971.  He was one year away from debuting as the incompetent surgeon from Fort Wayne, Indiana on a TV show about the Korean War.

Break the Stats Down Stat: Baseball-Reference has “mostly” complete stat categories for 1971.  So, let’s take a look at Sam Ewing’s year for the Foxes.  In 82 games, Ewing had 343 plate appearances (292 At Bats).  He collected 106 hits (23 doubles, four triples, and eight homers).  Ewing scored 49 runs, drove in 56, stole five bases, drew 51 walks, and struck out 57 times.

Four Horsemen Stat:  Dent, Downing, Gossage, and Johnson are all in the Appleton Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 1971 Foxes

1971 or The Year of The Goose:

Goose Gossage closed down the 1984 All-Star Game for the National League. From si.com

I could write about the incredible 1971 season that Richard Gossage had for the Appleton Foxes.  But, Kevin T. Czerwinski beat me to it by four years:

Gossage tossed 15 complete games, including seven shutouts, led the league in ERA, wins and winning percentage and was named the circuit’s Most Valuable Player. Based on that season and his work with Tanner and Sain, Gossage earned an invitation to Major League Spring Training in 1972. Though it would take several more seasons before he’d become known as one of the game’s most feared relievers, it was in 1971 in a tiny Wisconsin town that he began his journey down one of the most dominating paths in baseball history.

“It was just one of those seasons,” Gossage said. “Johnny had shown Chuck Tanner a few things to show me, and Chuck came down and worked with me one day on the side early in the year. It was the first time I had an off-speed pitch to go with my fastball.

“I picked it up immediately and that’s where my career took off. I had certainly thought about a breaking ball before that, but I had never been taught one. He [Sain via Tanner] taught that slurve that was bigger than a slider and not as big as a curve, and it was just a nasty, nasty pitch. That changeup got me to the big leagues. I could not have gone to the big leagues had I not picked it up.”

At one point in the season, Gossage went 15-0 over a 17 game stretch.  That’s ridiculous.  And it was his time  in Appleton that started him on his road to Cooperstown.

1971 MWL Season:
The MWL split into two divisions with five teams in Appleton, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Wisconsin Rapids, & Waterloo in the North and Burlington, Danville, Decatur, Quincy, & Quad Cities in the South.

Clinton became a Tigers affiliate and Danville became a Brewers affiliate for the 1971 season.

1971 MWL All-Star Game:
Danville hosted the MWL All-Stars on July 12, 1971.  The Warriors hosted the game due to a better first half record than the Foxes.  Appleton was 43-19 (.694).  Danville was 42-17 (.712).  In the game, the All-Stars won 5-1 in front of 1,510 fans.  Recognizable Brewers farmhands in the game for Danville were Gorman Thomas and Darrell Porter.  The Foxes were represented by Lamar Johnson, Joe Talley, and Gossage.  Gossage was the starting pitcher for the All-Stars, worked two scoreless innings. (MWLGuide.com boxscore)

1971 MWL Postseason:
The first two tier playoffs for the Midwest League since the Foxes joined the league in 1962.  Appleton won both halves in the North and received a bye into the Championship Series.  Quad Cities beat Danville in a one-game playoff to get into the Finals as the representative from the South division.

Unfortunately, the Foxes lost Game One with Gossage being tagged with the loss.  The Foxes won game two, but Quad Cities picked up the Championship with a victory in Game Three for a win in the best-of-three series.

1971 MWL Alum of Note:
Gorman Thomas (Danville Wariors – .245 with 31 homers and 83RBI in 121 games):

Stormin' Gorman!

There are a lot of great choices from 1971, but in the end, I had to go with Stormin’ Gorman.  In the era of Bambi’s Bombers and Harvey’s Wallbangers, Gorman Thomas was the guy.  I remember an old Sport magazine article about the Brewers and Gorman Thomas was quoted as saying that people wanted to see him hit a home run, run into a wall, or strike out.  Yeah, those Brewers teams had Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.  But, fans of the Brewers seemed to be more upset when Gorman Thomas was traded to Cleveland than they were when Molitor left for Toronto via free agency.

Oh, one more

Phil Garner (Burlington Bees – .278 with 11 homers and 70 RBI in 116 games):

The mustache alone was worth 10 wins a year.

Scrap Iron!

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1970

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 42.

42 Years Ago:
The Foxes look to defend their 1969 Midwest League Championship.

A shot of the Goodland Field grandstand made the cover of the 1970 Foxes Program.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Ira Hutchinson (1st Year)
1st Half: 32-30 (4th)
2nd Half: 32-30 (4th)
Overall: 64-60

Future MLB Players:
Shortstop Bucky Dent hit .258 with three homers in 39 games at the age of 18
Pitcher Terry Forster (6-1, 1.33) 10 games – 9 starts – over 54  innings pitched at the age of 18
Pitcher Rich Gossage (0-3, 5.91) 10 games – 5 starts – over 35 innings pitched at the age of 18
Outfielder Ken Hottman hit .312 with 14 homers in 82 games in his third season with the Foxes
First baseman Lamar Johnson hit .231 with no homers in seven games
Catcher Bruce Kimm hit .125 with no homers in three games
Shortstop Jim Mahoney hit .400 with no homers in three games
Pitcher Stan Perzanowski (9-8, 2.14) 22 games – 16 starts – in 139 innings pitched
Shortstop Hugh Yancy hit .284 with no homers in 28 games

Gossage and Forster are in the middle row. Click for a larger image.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Ken Hottman – .312
HR: Hottman – 14
WINS: Duane Shaffer – 10
ERA: Stan Perzanowski – 2.14
IP: Dennis Deck – 161

Pythagorean Stat:  The Foxes were outscored 475-451 in 124 games during the 1970 season.  According to the Pythagorean system, the Foxes should have gone 59-65 during the season.  They over performed their expected record by five wins.

Goo Stat: Terry Forster on David Letterman from July, 1985

Goose Stat:  In 1970, Richard Gossage was drafted by the White Sox in June and pitched three times in the Gulf Coast League before joining the Foxes later in the season.  There will be more on Gossage tomorrow.

Hit the Deck Stat:  Dennis Deck was the 4th round pick of the White Sox in the 1968 draft.  He had pitched for the Foxes in 1968 and spent 1969 with the Duluth-Superior Dukes in the Northern League.  Deck pitched six seasons in the minor leagues.  He was 8-9 with the Foxes in 1970.  He had one season that was a bit better, the 1972 season in AA with Knoxville when he went 10-8.

Player/Coach Stat: Jim Mahoney was 36 and a coach for the Foxes, but played in a few games during the 1970 season.

Jim Mahoney as a Washington Senator, before he was a coach for the 1970 Appleton Foxes.

Mahoney played in the big leagues for Boston, Washington, Cleveland, and Houston and would go on to manage in the minors, too.

All About Ira:  Ira Hutchinson was no stranger to Goodland Field.

Ira Hutchinson from his playing days.

He had previous managed from the visiting dugout.  He was the manager of the Wisconsin Rapids White Sox in 1951 and 1952 in the old Wisconsin State League, the manager of the Davenport Davsox in 1958 and the Lincoln Chiefs in 1959 & 1960 in the old Three-I League, and the manager of the Clinton C-Sox in 1962 and 1965.  Hutchinson won over 1,100 games in 18 years as a minor league manager.

Before becoming a minor league manager, Hutchinson was a major league pitcher for parts of six seasons between 1933 and 1946.  Hutchinson was 34-33 in 209 games for the White Sox, Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers, & St. Louis Cardinals.

FUTURE MAJOR LEAGUE COACH/MANAGER: Bruce Kimm

Bruce Kimm played for the Foxes in 1970 and 1971.

Kimm spent more time with the Foxes in 1971, but his brief 1970 stay allows a look at Kimm in this post.  The former major league catcher went back and forth between managing in the minor leagues and coaching in the big leagues.  He managed against the Foxes in 1983 when he was in charge of the Cedar Rapids Reds.  Kimm was the Iowa Cubs manager in 2002 when Don Baylor was fired as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.  Kimm was called up to take over for Baylor and went 33-45 with the Cubs.  He was replaced by Dusty Baker for the 2003 season.  From there, Kimm went to the White Sox as their third base coach.

1970 Midwest League:
Appleton Foxes, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Cardinals, Clinton Pilots, Danville, Warriors, Decatur Commodores, Quad Cities Angels, Quincy Cubs, Waterloo Hawks, Wisconsin Rapids Twins.

Welcome to the Midwest League, Danville, Illinois!

1970 MWL All-Star Game:
The All-Stars beat Quincy 10-7 in Quincy, Illinois on July 13.  Dennis Deck and catcher Ron Davini were the only Foxes in the boxscore for that game.

1970 MWL Postseason:
The Quincy Cubs swept the Quad Cities Angels in a best-of-three Championship Series

1970 MWL ALUMNI OF NOTE:

Cecil Cooper( Danville Warriors – .336, 141 hits – including 3 homers – in 114 games)

Cecil Cooper was a Danville Warrior in 1970.

Cooper was the leadoff batter for the MWL All-Stars in the 1970 All-Star Game.  Why not?  He didn’t hit for a lot of power as a 20 year old in his third season as a pro.  Plus, he was in an interesting spot for 1970.  Danville was a co-op team which meant that they were not affiliated with any one Major League team.  According to MWLGuide.com, at least nine MLB teams had players in Danville during the 1970 season.  Again…at least NINE MLB teams had players in Danville during the 1970 season.  Cooper was the only player from the ’70 team in Danville to reach the major leagues.

Cooper was an All-Star five times, led the American League in RBI twice, and hit .352 in 1980 with the Brewers yet finished second to George Brett’s .390 average.  He was also responsible for the top moment in the first 40 years of Milwaukee Brewers history!

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5. Get Here soon.

50 Years in 50 Days: 1969

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 43.

43 Years Ago:
The Foxes tried to bounce back from a difficult 1968 season.

The cover of the 1969 Foxes program

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Tom Saffel (1st Year)
1st Half: 35-19 (1st)
2nd Half: 49-22 (1st)
Overall: 84-41

Future MLB PLayers:
Pitcher Don Eddy (18-3, 1.81) in 24 games, 23 starts over 164 innings
Outfielder Ken Hottman hit .264 with eight homers in 64 games
Pitcher Bart Johnson (16-4, 2.17) in 22 games, all start over 170 innings
Pitcher Richie Moloney (5-4, 1.83) in 35 games, no starts over 64 innings
Pitcher Dan Neumeier (3-3, 2.30) in 15 games, 14 starts over 86 innings
Pitcher Denny O’Toole (8-2, 2.19) in 13 games, 12 starts over 74 innings
Third Baseman Glenn Redmon hit .274 with seven homers in 71 games
Third Baseman Hugh Yancy hit .139 with no homers in 18 games

CATEGORY LEADERS:
AVG: Jim Redmon – .283
HR: Ken Hottman – 8
WINS: Don Eddy – 18
ERA: Eddy – 1.83
IP: Bart Johnson – 170

Bad Stat Stat: Don Eddy led the Midwest League in wins with 18 during the 1969 season. Eddy also homered in the game.

That Seems Like A Lot Stat: Roger Benko pitched 57 innings in 40 games during the 1969 season and went 8-5. Thirteen decisions seems like a lot.

Manager Stat: Tom Saffell flew 61 combat missions as a fighter pilot with the Army Air Corps during World War II and was honorably discharged as a Captain.

Tom Saffell as a Pittsburgh Pirate from BaseballinWartime.com

Saffell’s bullpen page notes that he was one of the pitchers on the television show Home Run Derby and held the position of President of the Gulf Coast League from 1978 through 2009.  He retired in December of 2009 at the age of 88.

1969 Midwest League:
Appleton Foxes, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Cardinals, Clinton Pilots, Decatur Commodores, Quad Cities Angels, Quincy Cubs, Waterloo Hawks, Wisconsin Rapids Twins.

The Midwest League played the 1969 season as a nine team league because Dubuque folded after 1968 and was not replaced.

1969 Midwest League All-Star Game:
The Foxes hosted the Midwest League All-Stars and beat them 5-3. Bart Johnson pitched a complete game and hit a triple. Appleton broke a 3-3 tie with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.  MWLGuide.com has the boxscore.

1969 Midwest League Postseason:
There was no postseason. The Foxes won both halves to claim their third pennant in four years.

The Champs are here!

1969 Midwest League Playoff:
But, didn’t I just write that there was no post season? How can there be a playoff?

The Foxes and the Quad Cities Angels tied for the first half title at 35-19. The teams would play for the first half title in their first meeting of the second half. That meeting was at Goodland Field on July 16. The game went 16 innings before Ken Hottman ended the game with a homer.

Things got a little crazy at Goodland Field after that home run.

Wild Celebration of Ken Hottman's home run to give the Foxes the first half pennant in 1969.

1969 MWL ALUMNI OF NOTE:

Gary Matthews (Decatur Commodores – .322 with 8 homers in 53 games):

Gary Matthews played for Dectatur during the 1969 MWL season.

SARGE!  Gary Matthews was a Commodore in 1969.  He was 18 years old and the #1 pick of the San Francisco Giants from the 1968 draft had a career ahead of him that included an NL Rookie of the Year award in 1973 with the Giants and time with the Braves, Phillies, Cubs, and Mariners.  In all, Matthews played 16 major league seasons.  He finished 5th in the 1984 NL MVP Voting as he was one of the main guys to help drive the Cubs to the NL East pennant.

And back in 1969, one of his Decatur Commodores teammates was:

Leo Mazzone (Decatur Commodores – 15-10 with a 2.52ERA in 26 games over 186 innings pitched):

Leo Mazzone (hatless) seated next to Bobby Cox. (AJC.com)

Leo Mazzone led the Midwest League in starts (26) and innings pitched (186) during the 1969 season.  He spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues, but never pitched in the big leagues.   But, that did not stop Mazzone from having an effect on the big leagues.  He started as a pitching coach in the Braves minor league system in 1979.  He became Atlanta’s major league pitching coach in 1990.  The rest is history.

1969 APPLETON FOXES ALUMNI OF NOTE:

Mark Marquess hit .317 without a homer in 65 games for the Foxes. The White Sox signed him out of Stanford. Marquess spent a few more years in the White Sox system and returned to Stanford. He’s still there.  Maybe you know him now:

Mark Marquess, head coach of Stanford baseball, made his professional baseball debut with the Appleton Foxes in 1969.

He spent five seasons in the White Sox minor league system.  He has been the head coach at Stanford, his alma mater, since 1977 and is one of the winningest baseball coaches in NCAA history.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1968

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 44.

44 Years Ago:
The 1968 Appleton Foxes went for three straight MWL Pennants.

Cover of the 1968 Appleton Foxes program

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager(s): Gary Johnson (1st year) was replaced by Stan Wasiak (2nd year) after 86 games.
1st Half Record: 26-32 (7th)
2nd Half Record: 31-29 (4th)
Overall Record: 57-61

FUTURE MLB PLAYERS:
Pitcher Ken Frailing (5-3, 3.30ERA) 15 games, 14 starts (3rd season in Appleton)
Outfielder Ken Hottman hit .189 with a homer in 59 games
Pitcher Bart Johnson (3-5, 2.69ERA) 12 games, 10 starts
Catcher Art Kusnyer hit .248 with five homers in 99 games (2ns season in Appleton)
Pitcher Dan Neumeier (0-0, 6.00ERA) in 2 games, 2 starts
Outfielder Scott Northey hit .262 with three homers in 47 games
Second Baseman Rich Severson hit .292 with four homers in 97 games

CATEGORY LEADERS:

Average: Curtis Fontenot – .315
Homers: Fontenot – 16
RBI: N/A
OPS: N/A
SB: N/A

Wins:  Dick Jones – 12
ERA: Steve Kokor  – 3.52
Innings Pitched: Jones – 165
Strikeouts: N/A

Manager Switch Stat:  Wasiak, who had been the Foxes manager in 1966, started the 1968 season managing the Evansville White Sox in the Southern League.  Wasiak was 40-62 with Evansville.  Gary Johnson played in the White Sox system from 1958 to 1967 and became the Foxes manager for 1968.  On July 30, 1968, the White Sox flipped their managers with Johnson going to Evansville and Wasiak returning to Appleton.

Stan the Man Stat: Wasiak went 18-14 in the final 32 games of the 1968 Foxes season.  He was no stranger to Northeastern Wisconsin and not just because he was the Foxes manager in 1966.  Wasiak was a player-manager for the Green Bay entry in the Three-I League in 1959 and 1960.  Wasiak managed in the minor leagues until 1986 and – probably – still holds the record for minor league managerial wins with 2,530.  If you look at Stan’s baseball-reference page, he is noted as King of the Minors!

Welcome Back Stat:  Frailing made one start in 1966 and spent all of 1967 and 1968 with the Foxes.  He was a 5th round pick of the White Sox in the 1966 draft.  In three seasons for the Foxes, he went 9-11 in 31 games (30 starts) and pitched 196 innings.

On, Wisconsin Stat: Oh, by the way, his baseball reference page notes that Frailing is from Wisconsin.

FOXES ALUM OF NOTE: Ken Frailing of Marion, Wisconsin

Marion, Wisconsin native Ken Frailing. From SABR.org

SABR.org has this bio of Frailing that is well worth the read.  I don’t want to take too much out of there so you’ll need to click to learn about the injuries that cut his career short.  But, here is this:

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.”

Midwest League 1968:
Appleton Foxes, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Cardinals, Clinton Pilots, Decatur Commodores, Dubuque Royals, Quad Cities Angels, Quincy Cubs, Waterloo Hawks, Wisconsin Rapids Twins.

Dubuque switched from the Packers to the Royals.  They also switched their affiliation from the Dodgers to the Royals and a co-op team.

1968 MWL All-Star Game:
The Quad Cities Angels hosted a team of MWL All-Stars on July 8, 1968 because they won the first half title.  The All-Stars won 5-1 (MWL Guide.com boxscore)  Curt Fontenot (1-for-2, RUN, RBI, SB) and Dick Jones (IP, 0H, 0R) were the only Foxes to play in the game.

1968 MWL Postseason:
Quad City beat Decatur 2-1 in a best-of-three championship series.

MWL ALUMNI OF NOTE (Hitting): Carlton Fisk – Waterloo Hawks

Carlton Fisk in Waterloo, 1968. From baseballlibrary.com

Yes. That Carlton Fisk:

Game Six Game Winner in 1975 World Series. From SI.com

Fisk also hit a home run in the 1968 MWL All-Star Game.  As a 20-year-old he hit .338 with 12 homers in 62 games for Waterloo.  He’d make it to the big leagues to stay in 1972 and to Cooperstown in 2000.

MWL ALUM OF NOTE (Pitching): Vida Blue – Burlington Bees

Vida Blue on the Cover of Time Magazine for August 23, 1971

Vida Blue went 8-11 with a 2.49ERA in 24 starts for the Burlington Bees in 1968 at the age of 18.  In 1971, his first full season in the majors, Blue went 24-8 with a 1.82ERA and eight shutouts.  He was an All-Star, the AL Cy Young Award Winner, and the AL MVP in 1971. He spent 17 seasons in the big leagues with Oakland, San Francisco, and Kansas City and won 209 games.  Blue was a 6-time All-Star and got his start in the Midwest League.

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

50 Years in 50 Days: 1967

Fifty years ago, the Foxes 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 45.

45 Years Ago:
The 1967 Fox Cities Foxes became the Appleton Foxes as they attempted to repeat as MWL Champions.

That kind of gives it away, right?

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Appleton Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Alex Cosmidis (1st year)
1st Half Record: 34-20 (2nd)
2nd Half Record: 37-26 (1st)
Overall Record: 71-46

Future MLB Players:
Catcher Chuck Brinkman hit .260 with no homers in 103 games
Pitcher Al Fitzmorris (14-8, 2.27ERA) in 24 games, all starts in second season with Foxes
Pitcher Ken Frailing (4-7, 2.55ERA) in 15 games, all starts in second season with Foxes
1B/OF Deacon Jones hit .352 with 5 homers in 45 games in second season as player/coach
Catcher Art Kusnyer hit .250 with 7 homers in 81 games
Outfielder Carlos May hit .338 with 10 homers in 63 games
Outfielder Jose Ortiz hit .282 with a homer in 113 games
1B/OF Bob Spence hit .278 with no homers in five games

Category Leaders:
Hitting: Jose Ortiz – .282
Homers: Carlos May– 10
RBI: N/A
OPS: N/A
SB: N/A

Wins: Al Fitzmorris – 14
ERA: Durant Cooper – 1.98
Innings Pitched: Fitzmorris – 190
Strikeouts: N/A

Flip the Script Stat: Fitzmorris was mainly an outfielder for the Foxes in 1966.  He became a pitcher in 1967, but still hit five homers during the season.

Deacon Stat:  Jones was 33 during the 1967 season

Age Stat:  Average age of the Foxes in 1967 was 22.5.  That tied them with the Wisconsin Rapids Twins for the oldest team in the Midwest League that season.

Midwest League 1967:
Appleton Foxes, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Cardinals, Clinton Pilots, Decatur Commodores, Dubuque Packers, Quad Cities Angels, Quincy Cubs, Waterloo Hawks, Wisconsin Rapids Twins.

The Foxes becoming the Appleton Foxes was the only change.

1967 Midwest League All-Star Game:
Wisconsin Rapids won the first half and the right to host the ’67 All-Star Game.  The MWL All-Star squad beat the  Twins 6-5 thanks to three homers in the game by Dubuque’s Jim Dodder.  The boxscore of that All-Star Game from MWLGuide.com.

Cosmidis was the manager of the MWL All-Stars.  Other Foxes to take part in the game were: Jose Ortiz, Chuck Brinkman, and Al Fitzmorris.

1967 MWL Postseason:

The Foxes rallied to beat Twins 2-1 game of a best-of-five series to win back-to-back pennants.  This Flashback Friday has the details of the pennant clinching 3-2 win at Goodland Field.

The victory climaxed the 3-game Midwest League playoff series, which saw the second-half champion Foxes fight back for the title after losing the opening game to the first-half champion Twins.

Appleton’s winning of the crown for the second successive year was the first time any ML team had accomplished the feat since Waterloo won three straight times in 1958, ’59, and ’60. It also marked the second year in a row Appleton came back to win after dropping the first game.

It was fitting that the youngest Fox on the squad, shortstop Stu Singleton (18-years-old) had the distinction of scoring the winning marker. And it was fitting, too, that [Durant] Cooper, the youngest of the Foxes’ pitchers got credit for the triumph in relief.

MWL Alumni of Note:

There is more than just one to single out for this post.

Charlie Manuel, hit 15 homers in 111 games for the Wisconsin Rapids Twins in 1967.  He’s done pretty well managing the Phillies.

Charlie "Chuck" Manuel with the Minnesota Twins.

Jerry Reuss and Ted Simmons were the top two picks of St. Louis (Simmons #1 & Reuss #2) in the 1967 draft and were teammates in Cedar Rapids.  Both had excellent MLB careers and eventually became Brewers.

The 1986 Ted Simmons. He was 17 when he played with the Cedar Rapids Cardinals in 1967.

Jerry Reuss in a Brewers jersey. Remember that?

Bill Russell 18 and a shortstop in Dubuque in 1967.

No...Not THAT Bill Russell. The baseball Bill Russell.

And if Reuss and Simmons wasn’t enough of a Brewers tie-in for you, how about Tom Murphy with the Quad Cities Angels?

Murph the Surf! Closing games for the Brewers.

I really miss those TRADED cards from topps. They should have included a FREE AGENT card at some point. Maybe they did after I stopped collecting.

50 Years in 50 Days: 1966

Fifty years ago, the Foxes 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 46.

46 Years Ago:
The Fox Cities Foxes begin their first season as an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

Main change from previous covers: Addition of the White Sox Pennant and the removal of the Fox Cities map.

FOXES INFORMATION:
Team Name: Fox Cities Foxes
MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Manager: Stan Wasiak (1st year)
1st Half Record: 42-19 (1st)
2nd Half Record: 35-28 (3rd)
Overall Record: 77-47

Future MLB Players:
Catcher Doug Adams hit .195 with a homer in 74 games
Outfielder Al Fitzmorris hit .237 with 5 homers in 104 games
Pitcher Ken Frailing (0-1, 6.43) in one game, a start
Outfielder Deacon Jones hit .353 with 18 homers in 114 games
Outfielder Ron Lolich hit .236 with 2 homers in 36 games
Pitcher Jim Magnuson (5-4, 2.04) in 13 games, all starts
Outfielder/1B Ken Melton hit .284 with 12 homers in 97 games
Pitcher Jerry Nyman (2-3, 1.97) in 5 games, all starts
Pitcher Fred Rath (17-3, 1.92ERA) in 23 games, all starts

Fred Rath, a 17-game winner with the Foxes in 1966.

Future Major League Coach: Deacon Jones with the Astros from 1976 to 1982 and with the Padres from 1984 to 1987.

Category Leaders:
Hitting: Deacon Jones – .353*
Homers: Jones – 18
RBI: N/A
OPS: N/A
SB: N/A

Wins: Fred Rath – 17**
ERA: Rath – 1.92
Innings Pitched: Rath – 169
Strikeouts: N/A

Double Duty Stat: Al Fitzmorris also pitched in four games during 1966.  This included one start.  Fitzmorris allowed two runs in 14 total innings and had no record.

He Can Hit, Too Stat: Fred Rath also hit a home run in a game during the season.

Family Ties Stat: Ron Lolich is the cousin of Mickey LolichFred Rath is the father of Fred Rath, JrTimothy McClain is the brother of Denny McClain.

Midwest League 1966:
Fox Cities Foxes, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Cardinals, Clinton Pilots, Decatur Commodores, Dubuque Packers, Quad Cities Angels, Quincy Cubs, Waterloo Hawks, Wisconsin Rapids Twins.

The one name change was Clinton changing from the C-Sox to the Pilots.  Clinton became a Pittsburgh farm team as the White Sox moved to Wisconsin.

1966 Midwest League All-Star Game:
Since the Foxes won the first half title, they hosted the 1966 All-Star Game on July 18.  The setup for this All-Star Game was the Foxes took on the Midwest League All-Star Team.  The Foxes won 1-0 with an unearned run.  Bob Van Epps drove in the only run of the game with a sacrifice fly.  MWLGuide.com has the boxscore.

1966 Midwest League Postseason:
The Foxes beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels 2 games to 1 in a best-of-three championship series.  You can read about the pennant clinching win in this Flashback Friday column.

Chicago White Sox president Arthur Allyn’s prophetic statement at the mid-winter “Red Smith Awards” banquet was realized on the Veterans Memorial Park diamond here Wednesday.

The Fox Cities Foxes, rebounding from a 7-3 loss in the Midwest League’s championship playoff, followed Tuesday’s 8-1 conquest of Cedar Rapids with a 4-2 triumph last night to capture the ML flag for the second time in three years.

Allyn bluntly assured the packed house of 500 at the mid-winter fete that the Fox Cities baseball club, in its first year of affiliation with the Chisox would have a championship team – and that it did.

Southpaw Andy Rubilotta, who hurled no-hit ball for the first five and one-third innings, and righthander Willie Hooler, making his third appearance in the best-of-three series, combined to check the Cardinals on just three hits en route to last night’s decisive 4-2 victory.

MWL Alum of Note:

Graig Nettles learned how to do this in Wisconsin Rapids...probably.

Graig Nettles played for the Wisconsin Rapids Twins during the 1966 season.  He led the Midwest League in homers with 28 during that season.  He played in the big leagues with the Twins, Indians, Yankees, Padres, Braves, and Expos.

Nettles was best known for his defense during his run with the Yankees.  But, he did hit 37 homers and drive in over 100 runs in 1977.

ONE LAST THING:  No. I didn’t forget. The first Foxes No-Hitter was thrown on May 28, 1966.

Pitched the first Foxes no-hitter

Mickey Abarbanel was the pitcher and he shutdown the Twins in a 9-1 win.  Flashback Friday has the story from that game.

Flame-throwing Mickey Abarbanel, the Fox Cities Foxes’ version of Sandy Koufax, masterfully mixed his fast ball with a hard snapping curve and twirled a no-hitter at the Wisconsin Rapids Twins Saturday night at Goodland Field. The score was 9-1.

Not allowing a man to reach until one man was out in the sixth inning, Abarbanel exhibited pinpoint control, averaging eight pitches per inning in each of the first four innings. He finished with 12 strike outs and three bases on balls. The Jersey City native lowered his diminutive earned run average to 1.79.

As could be expected, the Foxes’ fielding was superb. Abarbanel committed the team’s only miscue in the eighth inning on a wild throw to second base.

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

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