Flashback Friday: Notes from '67 & Marathon from '68

The cover of the 1968 Appleton Foxes scorebook. (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | March 8, 2013 5:24 AM ET

A pair of stories for this week's Flashback Friday.

The first is a notes column by Tim Petermann from the August 23, 1967 edition of The Post-Crescent.  This one covers various injuries, an unofficial bat throwing contest, and a case where 'Three Blind Mice' did not result in ejections…apparently. Keep in mind that the alternating normal-bold-normal-bold text for each topic in the notes column is part of the original format in the paper.

The second is a game story about a contest on June 1, 1968 between the Appleton Foxes and the Clinton Pilots that was decided in the 16th inning.  Petermann also wrote this article.

Long List of Hospital Cases for Appleton Team
Injury-Plagued Foxes Get Outfield Help by Acquiring Carl Champion

The injury-plagued Appleton Foxes reinforced their lineup for the final pennant drive when they acquired the services of catcher-outfielder Carl Champion from Duluth.

Champion, a 6-foot, 190 pound righthander, is a 21-year-old native of Morton, Miss., now residing in Gary, Ind.  He played college ball at Florida A & M University and was with the Sarasota White Sox of the Gulf Coast Rookie League last year, hitting .254 in 24 games.  He has been hitting .213 with Duluth.

Manager Alex Cosmidis had Champion batting in the No. 7 spot in last night's contest with Wisconsin Rapids and he responded with two of the Foxes' nine hits.  He handled six chances in left field flawlessly.

Appleton's long list of hospital cases includes Art Kusnyer, George Hunter, "Deason" Jones, Stu Singleton, and Tom Rowe.

Kusnyer is out for the remainder of the season because of a knee injury which will require surgery.  He was playing regularly in the outfield and was hitting .253.

Hunter, a great boon to the Foxes since joining the team at the beginning of the second half was running a high fever and has had strep throat.  His services as a field general at first base are being missed as is his healthy .314 batting average.  He will probably miss the Foxes road trip.

Veteran player-coach Jones injured his kneecap sliding head first into home against Waterloo.  His absence means the loss of a .352 hitter.

Stu Singleton has a sore shoulder as the result of being hit by a pitch.

Reliever Rowe is the only pitching casualty.  He has bad cartilage in his knee and it is doubtful whether he will be able to render any services for the rest of the season.

With the depletion of his bench due to injuries manager Alex Cosmidis has been forced to press pitcher Al Fitzmorris into action.  Monday night against Wisconsin Rapids "Fitz" was used in left field and last night he did a creditable job at first base.  Fitzmorris is a converted outfielder who hit .237 in 104 games for the Foxes last year.  He is capable of playing any one of the nine positions.

The Para-Nuts Sky Diving team made its third and final appearance of the year prior to the Foxes game last night with the four divers all landing within 15 feet of the target - second base.

An enthusiastic crowd of 780 heavily-clothed fans braved the elements to watch the Foxes down Wisconsin Rapids last night.  The total brought the Foxes' season attendance to 45,894 for an average of 977, which ranks third in the league.

The Appleton Rotarians were guests of the Foxes last night and a 3-man band kept the fans entertained.  The trio managed a happy birthday, "Three Blind Mice" when the umpires were introduced and again when the umps made some debatable calls, and the familiar "charge".

The Twins' Jerry Lyscio and the Foxes' Jose Ortiz engaged in a bat throwing contest in the fifth inning.  Lyscio won when he let his timber fly past third base striking out in the top of the inning while Ortiz' went about 20 feet down the line on a foul ballin the bottom of the frame.

Carl Champion has some big shoes to fill as he has inherited the uniform of now-departed Carlos May who was the Midwest League's leading hitter until joining the Marines a month ago.

Following their 2-game stand in Wisconsin Rapids, the Foxes will travel to Dubuque for a pair and then will return home Sunday for the final four games of the season, 2-each against Cedar Rapids and Quad Cities.

The win last night ended the Twins' four game win chain.  Wisconsin holds a 6-5 edge in the season series.

After last night's Midwest League activity, the Foxes magic number was reduced to six over Burlington and five over Decatur.  Any combination of Foxes' wins and Burlington losses totaling six will give the Foxes the second half pennant.  Appleton has eight games to play while Burlington and Decatur each have nine.

Severson Snaps Tie
Foxes Win in 16th

Appleton's never-say-die Foxes came from behind three times to tie the score and then won a marathon duel with Clinton, 7-6, on Rich Severson's run-scoring single in the 16th to extend their win streak to five.

The victory gave Appleton a sweep of its 4-game set with Clinton and was its sixth triumph in an 8-game homestand.  The Foxes are now on the road for five games beginning with a stop at Waterloo tonight.

Severson was the one of five players who shared prime credit in the comeback victory.  Scott Northey's 2-run single tied the game in the 12th after Hal Caldwell had sent the game into overtime with a run-scoring safety in the ninth.  Gary Kirtlan's sacrifice fly brought Appleton back the first time to knot the count in the sixth inning.  Lefthander Mike Brown hurled near perfect ball for the last four innings to gain the mound decision.

Severson, a 6-foot, 160 pound California native who joined the Foxes in mid-May and had only one hit in his first 17 times up, has hit at a .420 clip in the last nine game raising his average to .291 and has recorded at least one RBI in each of the last seven games.  He had three hits in seven trips yesterday with his ninth inning safety being instrumental in helping send the game into extra innings.

Clinton drew first blood in the tilt when Larenzo Lanier lashed an 0-2 pitch to the fence in right center for a triple and scored on starter Steve O'Neill's wild pitch.

Appleton came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning as Northey and Caldwell singled and then pulled off a double steal with Northey scoring and Caldwell advancing to third when the catcher's peg to second went through into center.  Danny Haynes then plated Caldwell with an opposite field hit to right.

The Pilots climbed back on top in the third with two runs on three hits and the score stood at 3-2 until the sixth when Curt Fontenot walked, was safe at second on an error, went to third on an infield hit and scored on Kirtlan's sacrifice fly.  Again the Pirate farm team wasted no time in regaining its lead as a double, wild pitch and sacrifice fly produced a run in the seventh.

Howell Delivers

With one out in the ninth, Severson singled up the middle and pinch-hitter Greg Howell followed suit with a single to left.  With two out, Caldwell drilled a single to right to plate Severson.  The Foxes had a chance to end it then and there but Haynes struck out after the bases had been loaded.

Appleton blew another golden opportunity when it loaded the sacks in the tenth with one out, but Rick Jackson got Karl Simon and Northey to strike out.

The visitors appeared on the verge of salvaging at least one win in the series with Appleton when Lanier belted a Bill Cole delivery over the right field fence in the 12th and another run scored on an infield hit, a hit batsman and a single.

But for the third time, the Foxes came storming back.  Kirtlan opened the bottom of the inning with a single but was forced at second by Jeff Kolb.  Severson was sage on a grounder to third when Vic Ramirez' throw pulled Wayne Dickerson off the bag at first.  Rafael Lopez then drew a walk and Northey jumped on the first pitch to him and sent it into the left field corner to drive in two runs and keep the game going.

Relievers Maniqua Zavala of Clinton, and Brown then hooked in a pitching duel for four innings before Zavala hit Kirtlan leading off the Foxes' half of the 16th.  Kirtlan stole second and held on a groundout but then Severson rifled a shot between first and second into right and Kirtlan raced home ending the 4:03 marathon.

Brown, who gained his first win of the year by stopping the Pilots in the second game of a twin bill Friday, pitched to only one over the minimum number of batters in the four innings as he gave up an infield hit in the 13th.  He struck out six, including four in a row following the hit.

I love how the NOTES column makes it sound like the Foxes went out and picked up Carl Champion.  In truth, the White Sox transferred Champion within their minor league system from Duluth in the Northern League to Appleton in the Midwest League.

'Three Blind Mice' is a bad idea at a baseball game; a very, very bad idea.  And it is neither awesome nor cool.

Think about how an average of 977 fans per game was good for third place in the attendance figures for the MWL in 1967.

At first, I thought the 'bat throwing contest' was a promotion dreamed up by the Foxes instead of a pair of events happening coincidentally within the ball game.

The weird thing would be if the bat toss was scheduled and the pregame appearance by the Para-Nauts was not scheduled.

Sadly, there was no boxscore for the 16-inning game against the Pilots included in the materials.

The Foxes may have won the game, but the Pilots won the names.  Unfortunately, the names of Manrique Zavala and Lorenzo Lanier were misspelled in the article.  Also unfortunate, the article does not note Lanier by the name he is listed under at Baseball Reference.  Fans, meet Rimp Lanier, who played six games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971.

Money (1987)

Subsidy Saga Part II (1987)

Subsidy Saga Part III (1987)

Subsidy Saga Part IV (1987)

Our Rivals in Beloit (1996)

Chicken & a Ballgame (1985)

1942 Home Opener  

Point/Counterponts (1985)

Game One 1942 Playoffs

Game Two 1942 Playoffs

Games Three & Four 1942 Playoffs

Game Five 1942 Playoffs

Internet Broadcasts of 1998

Talking the talk (1998)

Walkoff Homer, 1941 Style

Foxes host MWL All-Star Game (1966)

End of Season (1967)

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

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