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#12: Chris Mears - 1999
06/06/2007 1:05 PM ET
Each Wednesday timberrattlers

Each Wednesday timberrattlers.com will countdown the top 20 seasons by a Timber Rattler until #1 is revealed on August 29th.  This week: #12

Chris Mears 1999

10-1, 2.43 ERA, 13 games started, 2 complete games, 89 innings pitched, 76 hits allowed, 24 earned runs allowed, 16 walks, 78 strikeouts

A native of British Columbia, Canada, Mears was drafted by the Mariners in the 5th round of the 1996 amateur draft out of high school.  He would play in the Arizona League after signing, going 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA.  A rough 1997 season with Everett (3-5 5.34 ERA) would earn him a return trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1998.  Mears would show he was ready for the next level by going 9-1 with a 2.74 ERA in 15 starts with the AquaSox.

Mears would get the nod as the Opening Day starter for the Timber Rattlers in 1999, a 2-0 win over in-state rival Beloit.  He started only 13 games for the Rattlers before being moved up, but he won 10 of them.  He was especially tough on the road, going 6-0 with a 1.67 ERA.  He was selected to start the Midwest League All Star game for the East.  Mears threw one scoreless inning before being replaced by the Michigan Battle Cats' Johan Santana.  Even though he only spent a half of a season in Wisconsin, his ten wins tie him for the 11th most in team history.  He was also chosen to appear for the World Team in the Major League Futures Game held at Fenway Park.

Mears found the going a little rougher in the California League after being promoted shortly after the All Star Game.  The lanky righty went 3-6 with a 7.08 ERA for Lancaster.  He would win 11 games in High A ball in 2000 and continued slowly progressing through the Mariners system.  Chris became a minor league free agent following the 2002 season and would sign with the Detroit Tigers.  An impressive showing at Triple A Toledo (5-1, 2.78 ERA, 2 saves) would earn him a promotion to the Majors.  Mears appeared in 29 games for the Tigers in 2003, going 1-3 with a 5.44 ERA and 5 saves.  He played two more seasons in the minors, but never got another chance in the big leagues.  He also pitched for Team Canada in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens, Greece.

Previously on the countdown:

#20: Shin-Soo Choo - 2002

#19: Matt Hagen - 2003

#18: Yung Chi Chen - 2005

#17: Joe Mays - 1997

#16: Adonis Harrison - 1997

#15: Jermaine Clark - 1998

#14: Pedro Liriano - 2001

#13: Mike Wilson - 2005

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.