Counsell, who played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues - including five with the Milwaukee Brewers, retired as a player at the end of the 2011 season. The resident of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin has since joined Milwaukee's front office as a special assistant to the General Manager.
He made his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies in 1995 and would also play for Florida, Los Angeles, Arizona, and Milwaukee during his career. Counsell was a member of a pair of World Series Championship teams, the 1997 Marlins and the 2001 Diamondbacks. Counsell scored the winning run of the 1997 World Series when he crossed home plate in the bottom of the eleventh inning of Game Seven to give the Marlins a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Counsell was also the MVP of the 2001 NLCS as Arizona defeated the Atlanta Braves to gain a spot in that season's World Series.
"The Leadoff Experience is an outstanding tradition for professional baseball in Appleton," said Timber Rattlers president Rob Zerjav. "This is a terrific way to begin a new season for baseball fans in the area. Craig Counsell is a welcome addition to the roll call of the many great guests we have had at the banquet over the years. We are very excited to have him as our guest this year."
Tickets for the 2012 Leadoff Experience are $30 per person or $300 for a table of nine plus one player. Reservations for tickets may be made by contacting Mary Robinson at (920) 733-4152 beginning today. Fans may also reserve their tickets in person at Time Warner Cable Field from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Space is limited for the banquet. If you are interested in attending, you should make your reservations as soon as possible.
On the night of the event, a cash bar and autograph session will kick things off at 5:30pm. Dinner will begin at 6:30pm. A question and answer session involving the Timber Rattlers coaching staff, the players of the 2012 Timber Rattlers team, and Counsell will follow dinner. Liberty Hall is located at 800 Eisenhower Drive in Kimberly.
The Rattlers open the new season of Midwest League play the next night - April 5th - when they host the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Time Warner Cable Field at 6:35pm.