Flashback Friday: Frailing of Marion (1966, 1968)

Ken Frailing as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Frailing was selected in the 5th round of the 1966 draft out of Marion (WI) High School by the Sox and played for the Foxes in 1966, 1967, & 1968.

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | December 20, 2013 9:51 AM ET

The final Flashback Friday of 2013 has a pair of articles from The Post-Crescent that are 25 months apart.

The first article is by Tim Petermann and appeared in the June 15, 1966 edition. It has to do with an American Legion no-hitter tossed by Ken Frailing of Marion, Wisconsin against the Appleton American Legion team.

The second article is also by Petermann and is also about Frailing. It appeared in the July 14, 1968 edition of The Post-Crescent. By this time, Frailing had joined the Foxes and was talking to Petermann about pitching in the exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs on July 10, 1968 at Wrigley Field.

Frailing Pitches No-Hitter
Stops Appleton In Legion Game

When Appleton and Marion collided in an American Legion baseball game at Goodland Field Tuesday night, Fox Cities Fans got an impressive preview of a pitcher who could possibly be playing for the Foxes if and when he signs with the Chicago White Sox.

Ken Frailing, Marion pitcher who threw four no-hitters and led his high school team to the semi-finals of the state tournament, hurled his first 9-inning contest of the year (high school games go seven innings) and made it a no-hitter.

In pitching a 6-4 victory, the fireballing southpaw set down 22 batters on strikes. He fanned at least one batter in each inning as every Appleton player fell victim to him at least once. In the first, fifth, sixth, and ninth frames he set down three in a row. In the eighth, he retired four on strikes as the catcher let the ball get past him on one third strike.

Frailing had his only trouble in the eighth when he became wild and issued three of his five bases on balls. He walked the first man, then struck out the next two. Two more walks, plus a souple of passed balls and a wild pitch brought in three runs. In the seventh, the Appleton team scored its first run after two Marion errors.

Losing hurler Gary McIntyre ran into problems of his own as six runs scored off him were all unearned. He scattered seven hits as he went the distance with 13 strikeouts, a worth feat itself, since the Marion Legion squad contains eight of the nine players who started on the high school team that finished so high in the state tourney.

McIntyre had control problems throughout the tilt as he issued 11 free passes. His teammates committed four costly errors.

Tom Kristof and Tom Brandenburg led Marion's attack. Brandenburg collected four hits in five times at bat, drove in one run, scored one himself, and stole three bases.

Kristof had a hit in two official times at bat to drive in a run. He also stole three bases to set himself up for two scores.

Marion had ample opportunity to tally additional runs as they stranded 13 runners. Two innings ended with the bases loaded.

Thursday night Appleton will meet Clintonville at Goodland Field.


Ken Frailing's Biggest Thrill Came in Sox-Cub Exhibition

The Appleton Foxes' Ken Frailing called his recent pitching appearance for the Chicago White Sox in Sox Park his "biggest thrill" and "good experience".

The 20-year-old lefthander, who was signedby scout Glen Miller after a brilliant Marion High School and Legion career, was one of six hurlers who stopped the Cubs on six hits for a 1-0 triumph in the Chicago teams' annual boys benefit game.

Frailing was called from the bullpen to hurl the eighth inning. He could not recall whom he faced except that he struck out Willie Smith to retire the side. He stated that the first man bounced out, the second man singled, the third batter flew out to Ken Berry and he fanned Smith.

He unhesitantly stated that he hadn't been nervous waiting for his turn to pitch, which he knew prior to the game would eventually come. He noted that the crowd of 23,994, the largest by far that he has every performed before, was largely pro-Cub.

Fast Ball Best

Frailing rates the fast ball as his pitch but also throws a curve and a change up off both. After losing records in both 1966 and '67, Frailing thinks he is throwing "real well" this year and his last two games, which he has won, have been "a lot better than last year".

Frailing, who will be a third-quarter sophomore at Wisconsin State University-River Falls this fall, joined the Foxes after finishing his spring term and since then has topped the Foxes' starter with a 2.52 ERA. He has four starts and one complete game to his credit with 24 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Frailing had seen major league games before but "hoped" he could one day be performing instead of watching. The first performance in Sox Park may not be the last nor the "biggest thrill" for the young hurler, who appears headed for a brilliant major league career.

Frailing was selected by the White Sox with a 5th round pick in the June draft in 1966. He would sign with Chicago soon after the no-hitter. Frailing made his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League affiliate of the White Sox and would also make one start with the Foxes later in the season. Frailing also spent all of 1967 with the Foxes.

Frailing made his major league debut with the White Sox on September 1, 1972. He went to the Cubs on December 11, 1973 as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Steve Stone and Steve Swisher to the Cubs for Ron Santo.

Frailing spent three seasons with the Cubs, but injuries derailed his career. This is an excerpt from the SABR biography on Frailing:

When the [1975] season was over, Frailing, who appeared in 41 games and pitched 53 innings, all in relief, knew he was having less success. He finished ten contests, producing a 2-5 ledger, but saw his ERA balloon to 5.43. He was trying to pitch over the injury, but not having much success. The pattern continued in 1976. Starting the season with the Cubs, he went 1-2 in six games, three of them starts. Afterward, he spent a couple of months at Wichita in the American Association. He made eight starts and two relief appearances, posting a 2-3 record with a 4.50 ERA.

The painful days kept increasing. Midway through the season, Frailing had surgery to repair a frayed bicep tendon in his left shoulder-an operation that cut down on his range of motion. The plan was that it would take 17 months to rehab the arm. After spending all of 1977 on the disabled list, except for some time with Wichita, he was released by the Cubs on Christmas Eve.

There is at least one other tie to the city of Marion, Wisconsin in Timber Rattlers history. Bert Thiel, who managed the Foxes in 1972 and 1973, is from Marion, too.

Past Flashbacks:

Second Half Preview (1966)

How the Foxes Got Their Name (1958)

McKeon named Foxes Manager (1958)

Down to the Wire (1969)

First Half Playoff Game (1969)

Foxes win the Pennant (1969)

Rattlers v. Mariners HR Derby (1996)

Young Alex Rodriguez (1994)

It's Not You, It's Us (1965)

Hello, Chicago (1965)

Gonna Be Royals (1986)

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

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