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Flashback Friday: Recap of 1991 Foxes season

November 13, 2015

Flashback Friday looks at the 1992 Midwest League Yearbook with a recap of the 1991 Appleton Foxes season.

The 1991 season was one Appleton baseball fans might like to forget. The city that has won more Midwest League championships (seven) than any other suffered through its worst finish in 14 years.

The Foxes, however, could make a strong case for realignment of the Midwest League. A member of the Northern Division, the Foxes managed just a 29-54 mark against opponents from their division (.349). But against Southern Division foes, the Foxes were 29-27 (.518).

The Foxes had a respectable first half, finishing in fourth place, just three games under .500 at 33-36, six-and-a-half games behind Northern Division first-half champion Madison.

In the second half of the season, however, the Foxes' fortunes went from bad to worse as the club finished 20 games below .500 17-and-a-half games behind first-place Kane County.

Outfielder Darren Burton paced the Foxes offensively with a .269 average, with two homers, 51 RBIs and a club-high eight stolen bases. Burton led the Midwest League in at-bats (531) and games played (134) and was third in hits (143).

Outfielder Edward Gerald led the club in homers (seven) and was second in the league in triples with 10.

Outfielder Tom Smith (nephew of former Foxes star and Kansas City Royals pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon) also turned in a solid season (.267, five HR, 57 RBI) as did third baseman Gary Caraballo, who earned a late-season promotion to Baseball City of the Florida State League.

The Foxes' Harry Guanchez led all Midwest League first basemen in fielding with a .991 mark. Guanchez hit .279 and his 50 RBIs were third-best on the club.

Butch Cole and Keith Thomas each hit grand slams for the Foxes in 1991.

Designated hitter Juan Beniquez is the son of the former major league outfielder by the same name.

Pitcher Doug Harris went 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA before earning an early promotion to Baseball City of the Florida State League. Harris went 10-6 at Baseball City, and his combined 1991 total of 12-8 with a 2.39 ERA earned the right-hander the Royals' minor league player-of-the-year honors.

The Foxes pitching staff struggled through the 1991 season with the Midwest League's highest ERA. No Appleton pitcher won more than seven games or struck out more than 100 batters.

In the bullpen, David Hierholzer led the Foxes with 14 saves and five wins in 49 appearances.

The Foxes were the victims of a no-hitter on June 18, losing to Geoff Kellogg and the Beloit Brewers 6-0.