Results tagged ‘ Veterans Day ’

Veterans Day and All-Stars – November 11, 2014

Photo is from the excellent Baseball in Wartime website.

306th Bomb Group

306th Bomb Group in the European Theater of Operations during World War II.

This link is to Those Who Served and were baseball players.  Thank you to all who served.

MiLB.com has been announcing their All-Stars for each Major League organization for the last few weeks.  Yesterday, they announced the Brewers organizational All-Stars.

Ten of the twelve positions were filled by players who played with the Timber Rattlers.  Yes. Twelve. The eight defensive positions, a utility position, right-handed starting pitcher, left-handed starting pitcher, and relief pitcher.

Click the link for the whole list and for comments on each player from Reid Nichols, the Director of Player Development for the Brewers.  I’ll excerpt the write-ups on the players who were Timber Rattlers in 2014.

Catcher — Clint Coulter, Wisconsin (126 games): After an injury-plagued 2013, Coulter improved across the board, playing in 56 more games than the year before while boosting his OPS by 216 points. The 2012 first-round pick led the organization with 22 homers and 89 RBIs while batting a solid .287 for the Timber Rattlers.

“He made a big improvement,” said Reid Nichols, the Brewers’ director of player development. “I think he’ll make more next year. He was a little more selective at the plate. He’s learning how to slow it down. He was a little too firm and hard on his stride and he’s learned to soften it up a bit, and it’s really helped him.”

Though there’s a good chance you’ll see the Brewers’ No. 7 prospect on this list next year, it almost certainly won’t be at the same position, Nichols indicated.

“His catching didn’t get a whole lot better and we moved him to right field for now,” he said of Coulter, who has continued his season in the Arizona Fall League. “He’s working in the outfield and he’s made a pretty good adjustment.”

Second baseman — Chris McFarland, Wisconsin (100 games): Repeating at Wisconsin, McFarland increased his batting average by 46 points and saw his OPS rise from .656 to .719. The 21-year-old also increased his stolen base total from seven to 30, tying for 12th in the Midwest League.

“I really think he came in more focused,” Nichols said. “Different approach at the plate, more business-like. I think he started getting a bit more serious about his job.”

Nichols attributed the rise in steals to an organizational emphasis.

“We [used to have] a roving baserunning instructor and we went without one this year, and I think everyone took it to heart that it was their job, too,” he said of the coaches at each level. “Our teaching was to be more aggressive on the basepaths — we didn’t care if you got thrown out, we just wanted to see if you could steal or not. I think it’s paid off. We were happy with the improvement in the basestealing, although that’s not the focus; we just want the guys to be more aggressive.

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Chris McFarland running the bases for the Rattlers in 2014.

Outfielder Michael Ratterree, Wisconsin (125 games), Huntsville (seven games): After winning Pioneer League MVP honors in 2013, Ratterree made the jump to full-season play and showed promise, despite a .228 average. The 23-year-old tied for second in the organization with 19 homers and tied for fourth with 76 RBIs. Ratterree helped balance out his low average with patience at the plate, drawing 79 walks, including 75 at Wisconsin to rank second in the Midwest League. He also received some postseason hardware, earning a Minor League Gold Glove.

“Anytime you get a young hitter who can take walks, he’s gonna do something later,” Nichols said. “While he didn’t have a really good batting average, his on-base was good and that will turn into a good batting average later, in my opinion. And he won a Gold Glove for the Minor Leagues, which is kind of cool. Same as all these guys — focus up the middle and be selective at the pitches you swing at early in the count. It’s kind of the formula for hitting in general. He’ll get it.”

Alumni Birthdays for November 11:
Michael Cox (’04) – 34
Jose Herrera (’01) – 35
Jim Horner (’97, Manager: ’06, ’07) – 41
Kyle Towner (’95) – 42
David Lawson (’93, ’94) – 42
Ryan Smith (’94) – 43
Chuck Hernandez (’83) – 54
Kim Girkins (’76) – 60
James White (’63) – Would have been 74
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It’s Veterans Day

Here is a link to a column that I wrote in 2009 about Veterans Day.  A brief bit of the column:

Dick Williams was an [Appleton] Papermaker in 1940 and went on to pitch for the Sheboygan Indians in 1941. He went into the Army in 1942 and didn’t come home.

Williams entered military service with the Army on July 25, 1942 at Kalamazoo , Michigan. He served with the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion of 1st Cavalry Division in the Pacific and was killed in action during the battle for the Philippines on February 21, 1945.

Technician Fifth Grade Williams was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and is buried at the Manila American Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in Manila , Philippines.

The entry on Williams may be found at the In Memoriam segment of the Baseball in Wartime website.  Here is a part of that website that has a list of players who have served.  Click the link up top for the whole column.

The Disabled American Veterans have been a sponsor of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for the last few seasons.  They are online at Twitter (@DAVHQ) and Facebook.  They also put together some Veterans Day videos on YouTube.  Here is one of those videos:

Thanks to all the veterans for their service and their sacrifice.

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