Appleton Baseball All Decade Teams
Lee Stange (1959)
Lee Stange was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Senators in 1957. He spent two seasons with Fort Walton Beach of the Alabama-Florida League before being moved up to the Foxes in 1959. Lee had a rough season in the Three I League, going 4-6 with a 5.92 ERA in 79 innings. But 1960 would be a breakout season for the right-hander, winning 20 games for the Carolina League Wilson Tobs. He made his Major League debut the following season, throwing a scoreless inning (although he did load the bases) of relief for the Twins on April 15, 1961 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Stange spent nine full years in the Majors, mainly as a reliever, but he did make 125 starts. His best season came in 1963, when he won 12 games for the Twins with a 2.62 ERA. Minnesota would trade him to the Indians during the 1964 season for Jim "Mudcat" Grant. Cleveland sent him to the Red Sox in 1966, and he would stay in Boston until 1970. He finished his career with a short stint in Chicago with the White Sox. He threw over 1,200 innings in the big leagues over 359 appearances with a career ERA of 3.56. After his playing career, Stange became a very successful pitching coach in the Majors and the Minors.
Dean Chance (1960)
Dean Chance signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 1959 as an amateur free agent. He played for the Foxes in 1960 and was instrumental in their winning the Three-I League Championship. Following the season, he was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the expansion draft. He benefited by leaving the powerful Orioles organization for the fledgling Angels, making his Major League debut as a 20 year old. He got the start against the Minnesota Twins on September 11, 1961, pitching effectively (3 ER in 7 1/3 innings) but taking the loss. He would make the Angels out of spring training in 1962, and be in the big leagues to stay.
Chance was very impressive in his rookie season while working out of the pen and making 24 starts. He threw 2 shutouts and won 14 games with an ERA of 2.96. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. Two years later, he won the American League Cy Young award after a dominating season in which he won 20 games, with 11 shutouts. He struck out 207 batters, had a 1.65 ERA and even saved four games. He would earn the start in the All Star Game and finish fifth in the MVP balloting. Dean had the privilege of starting two All Star Games, earning the honor again in 1967 as a member of the Twins when he was a 20 game winner for the second time as well. On August 25, 1967, the Ohio native threw a no-hitter against the Indians at Cleveland Stadium. He closed his career by spending time with the Indians, Mets, and Tigers. In all, Chance won 128 games and had a 2.92 ERA in over 2,100 innings.
Dave McNally (1961)
Dave McNally was signed by the Baltimore Orioles as an undrafted free agent in 1961. He reported to Appleton for the 1961 season to get his first taste of professional baseball. McNally struck out 155 batters in only 140 innings for the Foxes while going 8-10 with a 4.18 ERA. He earned a promotion to Double A Victoria for a four game audition at the end of '61. He got the call to the Majors on September 26, 1962 and the 20 year old announced his arrival in a big way. McNally threw a complete game 2 hit shutout against the Kansas City Royals to earn his first Major League win.
McNally won twenty games for the Orioles each year from 1968 through 1971 and won a total of 184 games in his career. He was a three time All Star (1969,70,72) and pitched in four World Series, with Baltimore taking home two titles. Dave won seven post-season games with a 2.49 ERA and hit two home runs in World Series play. In the regular season, he threw 120 complete games and had 33 shutouts in his career to go along with a 3.24 ERA.
Eddie Watt (1962)
Eddie Watt signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 1961 as an undrafted free agent. The Northern Iowa product made his pro debut with the Foxes the following season. He went 11-11 with a 2.19 ERA for Fox Cities in 1962, striking out 170 batters in 160 innings. Watt made stops at Aberdeen, Elmira, and Rochester over the next three seasons before earning a spot in the Orioles bullpen in 1966. His Major League debut came on April 12 against Boston with a perfect inning of relief.
Watt made thirteen starts as a rookie, but his last 371 appearances in the Majors all came in relief. He saved 74 games for Baltimore during his eight seasons there. Eddie pitched well in the American League Championship Series, not allowing a run in three appearances. He struggled in World Series play however, losing three games and compiling a 4.26 ERA, far worse that his 2.91 ERA in regular season games.
Jim Ray (1963)
Jim Ray was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Orioles in 1963. He would spend less than a full year in the Orioles chain however, as he was selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the first year minor league draft. His last appearance as a member of the Baltimore organization was a two inning stint with the Fox Cities Foxes. He slowly worked his way up the Houston system before making his Major League debut on September 16, 1965 with a scoreless inning out of the Astros bullpen against the Giants.
Ray only had brief stints with the Astros in 1965 and '66 before spending the entire 1967 season in the Minors. The South Carolina native earned a spot in the Astros bullpen as a 23 year old in 1968, and he would be a key member for the next six seasons. He was a 10 game winner in both the 1971 and '72 seasons, part of his 43 career wins. He finished his career pitching one season with the Detroit Tigers, who acquired him in a trade. He made 308 appearances in his career, finishing with a 3.60 ERA and 25 saves.
Sparky Lyle (1964)
Albert "Sparky" Lyle signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 1964 as an amateur free agent. After a short stop with Bluefield in the Appalachian League, Lyle moved up to Class A with Fox Cities. He appeared in six games for the Foxes, going 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA and an impressive 51 strikeouts in 35 innings. Following the 1964 season, Lyle was selected by the Red Sox in the first year minor league draft. Sparky would make it to the Majors after only two and a half seasons with the Sox, making his debut on July 4, 1967 with a two inning outing against California.
Lyle spent five productive years with the Red Sox, but really hit his stride after being traded to their hated rival, the New York Yankees. He was selected to three All Star Games (1973, 76, 77) and won the American League Cy Young Award in 1977 for the World Champion Yankees. He won 13 games that season with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA and beat out Jim Palmer and Nolan Ryan for the award. Two years later, the 34 year old was dealt to the Texas Rangers in a deal that would bring a young Dave Righetti to the Bronx. After the Rangers, Lyle spent sometime with the Phillies before ending his 16 year career with the White Sox. He appeared in 899 games in the Majors, all as a reliever. Sparky saved 238 games, won 99 and had a career ERA of 2.88.
Manager - Earl Weaver (1961-62)
Earl Weaver managed the Fox Cities Foxes to a 82-56 record and a Three-I League Championship in 1960. The following season he again guided the Foxes to a winning record, going 67-62. After spending four seasons with the Elmira Pioneers in the Eastern League and two with the International League Rochester Red Wings, Weaver became the Baltimore Orioles first base coach in 1968. He took over as manager midway through the season, and stayed there until 1982. He won 1480 games, six division titles, four AL Pennants, a World Series, and was named Manager of the Year twice. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Special Mention - Fred Rath (1966)
Rath, a 4th round draft choice of the White Sox in 1965, only pitched 23 innings in the Majors, but had a memorable season with the Fox Cities Foxes in 1966. Not only did he go 17-3 on the mound in leading the Foxes to the Midwest League Championship, he also met Joan Koenig, the 1966 Miss Fox Cities Foxes, whom he married the following year.
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