Results tagged ‘ Midwest League History ’

This seems odd to me – Rookie of the Year musings

I know….I know…great title for a post.  What do you want on a day that looks like this:

November 17 Field

The news of Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa being named – respectively – Rookies of the Year in the National League and American League got me to thinking about past winners of those awards and how they had done against the Timber Rattlers.

Correa was a monster against the Rattlers in 2013 as a member of the Quad Cities River Bandits (15 games; .305/.397/.458; 2HR, 12RBI, 14 runs).  Bryant skipped over the Midwest League on his quick move to the big leagues.

As I got to the list at Baseball Reference and worked back through the NL winners something seemed odd to me.  After a quick triple check…which is something I rarely do…I can safely say that the last NL Rookie of the Year winner to play in the Midwest League was Jason Bay, who played for the Clinton LumberKings in 2001.  At the time, the LumberKings were an affiliate of the Montreal Expos.  Click that link for Baseball Reference and check my work, if you feel like proving me wrong.

The AL Rookie of the Year winners are a different story.  Five of the last seven players to win that award have played in the Midwest League.

2015: Carlos Correa (Quad Cities – 2013)
2013: Wil Myers (Burlington – 2010)
2012: Mike Trout (Cedar Rapids – 2009, 2010)
2010: Neftali Feliz (Clinton – 2008)
2009: Andrew Bailey (Kane County – 2007)

Here’s a look at how Myers, Trout, Feliz, and Bailey did against the Rattlers during their MWL seasons.

Myers (’10): 10 games; .382/.500/.735; 2HR, 8RBI, 6 2Bs
Trout (’09): 3 games; 2-for-9
Trout (’10): 13 games; .436/.508/.618; 2HR, 6RBI; 13 Runs; 13 Stolen Bases
Feliz (’08): 1 game, 1 start; 0-0, 1.69 ERA; 5.1IP, H, R, 3BB, 11K
Bailey (’07): 3 games, 3 starts; 1-1, 1.08ERA; 16.2IP; 8H, 3R, 2ER; 6BB, 29K

No real lesson to learn here about their performance and the award that they eventually won.

An old program is a wonderful thing

It should be “Three old programs are wonderful things”, but that title for this post would be a bad tie-in to one of the topics in the body of the post, as you will see in a moment.

A fan dropped off some old programs at the ballpark last week, but they weren’t Timber Rattlers programs or even Foxes programs.

The first two programs are Midwest League related in that they are the 1991 and 1992 Midwest League Yearbooks.

As always, click the image to enlarge.



Only two of the 14 teams on that 1992 program have the same name in 2015: The Kane County Cougars and the Peoria Chiefs.  Please note that in 1992, it was the Quad City River Bandits and today it’s the Quad Cities River Bandits.

Also…The Rockford Expos really stretched to get the R into the Expos logo…and the Quad City Angels logo from 1991 is actually pretty nice.

There’s some good stuff inside both of those yearbooks (Ex: The 1991 Yearbook has an article on the final Wausau Timbers home game from the 1990 season).  Believe that Flashback Friday will have material from both these sources.

The third has a Foxes/Timber Rattlers tie-in, but it has nothing to do with baseball.  The cover of the program for the 1995 softball game between Bolton’s Bombers and Teague’s League that was held at Fox Cities Stadium.

1995 teague bolton

The photo on the cover is from the 1994 game that was held at Goodland Field.

Some of the notable players on Teague’s League:

  • Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Jansen
  • Milwaukee Brewers GM Sal Bando
  • Brewers Legends Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner, Charlie Moore, and Robin Yount
  • Packers Edgar Bennett, Ty Detmer, and John Jurkovic
  • Green Bay television news anchor Tom Milbourn
  • Green Bay morning radio host Murphy

There are some photos inside this program that will be shared at an appropriate time.

They Might Be Giants – October 30, 2014

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, World Series Champions of 2014.

That was their third Championship in the last five years. The last time the Giants were this successful was back in the early 1920’s. John McGraw managed the New York Giants to four straight National League pennants from 1921-1924 with wins over the New York Yankees in 1921 and 1922 and losses to the Yankees (1923) and Washington Senators (1924).

There is a slight Appleton tie to that Giants dynasty. Travis Jackson played for the Giants briefly in 1922 and saw more playing time in 1923 and 1924.

Jackson, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, managed the Appleton Papermakers in 1952 and 1953.

Jackson Travis Plaque 258__0

Managed the Appleton Papermakers in 1952 and 1953.

The SABR biography on Jackson is a good read, too.

During the 1920s and 1930s the New York Giants captured seven National League championships. While they had great outfielders like Mel Ott and Ross Youngs as well as solid pitching, most prominently Carl Hubbell, it was their infield that anchored the team in its success. George Kelly, Fred Lindstrom, and Bill Terry each had a hand in many of the successful Giants campaigns during this era. They, along with several other prominent teammates including Frankie Frisch and Rogers Hornsby, were recognized for their play; each was selected to the Hall of Fame. 

Over time, recognition of how the Giants arrived at their success gained a different perspective. It dawned on those invested with selection to the Hall of Fame that these Giants infielders had one factor in common from the early 1920s through the mid-1930s: their shortstop, Travis Jackson. That realization, almost belatedly made, crystallized in 1982 when the Veterans Committee elected Jackson to the Hall. While a solid hitter, Jackson was not in the mold of a Hornsby or Terry, but he was considered by his peers as the defensive anchor for his team and one of the best at his position, if not the best.

Unfortunately, Timber Rattlers fans – along with the rest of the fans in the Midwest League – have not had a chance to see many of the Giants players when those players were in the minor leagues.  The Giants have not been affiliated with a Midwest League team since 1996 when they wrapped up a two year deal with the Burlington Bees.

According to,  The San Francisco Giants were affiliated with a MWL team from 1956 to 1996.  They were with the Michigan City White Caps (1956-59), Quincy Giants (1960-61), Decatur Commodores (1962-74), Cedar Rapids Giants (1975-79), Clinton Giants (1980-93), and Clinton Giants (1994).

There was also one year (1954) when the Giants were affiliated with a MWL team by the name of the Danville Dans.

For a more local – as in Northeastern Wisconsin – flavoring of Giants baseball, look back to the old Wisconsin State League.  The New York Giants were affiliated with Oshkosh’s WSL franchise in 1942 and – once the league restarted after World War II – again from 1946 through 1953, when the WSL folded.

The Oshkosh Giants won the Wisconsin State League title in both 1949 and 1950.

Speaking of the old Wisconsin State League, here is another photo of that Papermakers Pen that was mentioned in yesterday’s post.

This is great!

Boost the Home Team….That is great!

Alumni Birthdays:
Corby Heckman (’95) – 31
Manny Parra (’11) – 32
Craig Anderson (’00) – 34
Tom Poquette (Manager, ’92) – 63
Mark Tanner (’73) – 64

Craig Anderson ('00) is pitching well in his homeland.

Craig Anderson (’00) is with the Sydney Blue Sox for the Australian Baseball League this season. They open the season tomorrow.

Tom Poquette, the manager of the Foxes in 1992.

Tom Poquette, the manager of the Foxes in 1992.

How other teams decorate

This week’s Mehring Monday is a plea for help in tracking down pieces of history from Appleton Professional Baseball to help the Timber Rattlers decorate Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium when the renovations are complete.

The starting point was the sudden donation of these team autographed baseballs from the 1970s:

Autographed baseballs media wall

In the middle of that column, I mention the ways other teams use their history to decorate their stadiums.

Pictures are usually better than words.  Mine are about even, but you should get the general idea from the pictures below:

The first few are from the Cedar Rapids Kernels and their timeline of baseball in Cedar Rapids:

Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame 017

Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame 014

Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame 024

Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame 049

These are from Peoria’s timeline:


Old Hoss

I thought I had a few from the conference room at Community Field and a few more of the historical photos from West Michigan. But, well, my filing system is ridiculous.

These should give you the general idea.

MWL Alumni in 2012 World Series

Jim Leyland as manager of the Clinton Pilots – Photo Credit:

There are no former Timber Rattlers on the active roster of either team in the 2012 World Series.  The closest a Tiger would have been to being a Rattler would be Doug Fister.  He was drafted by Seattle in the 7th round of the 2006 draft and went to Everett.  Then, he skipped over the Rattlers to AA West Tennessee in 2007.  The closest a Giant came to being a Rattler was when Tim Lincecum was passed over by the Mariners for Brandon Morrow with the 5th pick in the 2006 draft.  By the way, Morrow went right to Inland Empire in ’06 and skipped over the Rattlers, too.

Both managers of the teams in the Fall Classic have some Midwest League roots.  Tigers skipper Jim Leyland managed the Clinton Pilots in 1972, 1973, and 1975.  Leyland led the Pilots to a MWL Pennant in 1973.  Bruce Bochy of the Giants played 30 games for the Dubuque Packers in 1976.

The rosters are more even than you might think when you consider that the Tigers have been affiliated with the West Michigan Whitecaps since 1997 and the Giants haven’t had a MWL affiliate since they were the parent club of the Burlington Bees in 1996.

Detroit has ten (10) MWL Alumni:
Al Albuquerque – Peoria, 2007
Alex Avila – West Michigan, 2008
Miguel Cabrera – Kane County, 2001
Andy Dirks – West Michigan, 2008
Prince Fielder – Beloit, 2002 & 2003
Avisail Garcia – West Michigan, 2009
Don Kelly- West Michigan, 2002
Omar Infante – West Michigan, 2000
Ramon Santiago – West Michigan, 2000
Jose Valverde – South Bend, 1999 & 2000*

San Francisco has six (6) MWL Alumni:
Jeremy Affeldt – Lansing, 1998
Joaquin Arias – Battle Creek, 2003
Santiago Casilla – Kane County, 2003
Javier Lopez – South Bend, 1998 & 1999
Jose Mijares – Beloit, 2005
Ryan Theriot – Lansing, 2002 & 2003

*-Second Jose Valverde mention in as many posts today. Weird.

Flashback Friday Supplement (1/13/12)

Here are a few photos that go with today’s Flashback Friday on the home page:

This man looks like the founder of a baseball league. Photo Credit: Heath Baseball Museum

The 1964 Foxes featuring Sparky Lyle. Photo Credit: Heath Baseball Museum

The 1980 Wisconsin Rapids Twins featuring a young Mr. Met: Photo Credit: Heath Baseball Museum

Postgame Thoughts (4/14/11)

@Kernels 11, Rattlers 4

Boxscore | Game Story

A frame from the Cedar Rapids Baseball Timeline on the suite level at Perfect Game Field

  • The comeback from 4-0 was nice.   Not that I think this team is going to fall behind a lot this season, but if they do I don’t think that coming back is going to be a problem.
  • Kudos to Charly Bashara to keep the team in the game after the early stumble.  The error to start the bottom of the sixth was tough.
  • Nick Shaw drew five walks tonight.  In five plate appearances.  In the leadoff spot.  I can see why he set a record in college.
  • Defense is going to have to tighten up.  Three errors last night and four* three more tonight.  They all were in crucial spots, too.
  • Greg Hopkins on a 6-game hitting streak.  Three solid hits tonight for him.
  • Jimmy Nelson will not have an outing like that again this season.  I am as positive about that as I am about anything I have ever been
  • Wisconsin relievers inherited eight base runners tonight.  Five of those eight inherited runners scored.
  • The Kernels took the Peoria Chiefs concept of a baseball timeline and turned it up to 11.  If you head down to Cedar Rapids for a game later this season, take the tour or just wander around up there.  That picture above is one of many, many interesting historical facts about baseball in Cedar Rapids since the late 1800’s.
  • Did I mention that I have internet on the bus now?  Oh? I have internet on the bus now.

Rattlers and Chiefs with a three game series that starts on Friday night.  The pitching matchups:

FRI:  Del Howell (0-1, 5.79)  v. Cam Greathouse (0-0, 6.23)
SAT:  Tyler Thornburg (0-0, 3.00) v. Graham Hicks (0-1, 2.25)
SUN:  Austin Ross (1-0, 1.64) v. Hayden Simpson (0-0, 4.15)

See you at the park this weekend.

UPDATE: *There was a scoring change on a play in the bottom of the sixth.  Click here for the play-by-play.


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