Results tagged ‘ Braves ’

MLB All-Star Ron Hunt (1960-61) returns to Perfect Game Field tomorrow night

Major League All-Star Ron Hunt (1960-61) is returning to Perfect Game Field tomorrow night along with his fellow Cedar Rapids Braves teammates Barry Morgan (1961) and Paul Snyder (1959, 1961).  They will be on hand as part of our Hall of Fame / Alumni night at the ballpark season here at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves team finished 2nd with a 73-57 record under manager Jimmy Brown. Jack Cookman, a pitcher for the 1949 Cedar Rapids Rockets and former MLB player and manager Bruce Kimm will be returning as well. Kimm managed the 1983 Cedar Rapids Reds squad to a 3rd place finish with a 76-64 record. The most recent Cedar Rapids professional baseball Hall of Fame class featuring John Campbell, Reggie Jefferson (1987-88) and Jack Roeder (CR G.M. 1991-2010) will be featured as part of the evening’s festivities. Kernels manager Jamie Burke (1994) and hitting coach Mike Eylward (2002) will be honored pregame as well. The Cedar Rapids professional baseball alumni will be involved in pregame festivities and will be signing autographs on the concourse during the game if they are not busy working (Burke/Eylward). Jefferson will not be in attendance. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for our game against the San Diego Padres Midwest league affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps. First pitch is set for 6:35.

Ron Hunt played here in Cedar Rapids in 1960 and 1961. Hunt hit .191 with 3 HR and 33 RBI in 1960 as the Braves finished 71-69 under manager Jimmy Brown. He returned in 1961 and had a great season batting .295 with 16 HR and 25 doubles in 121 games.

Ron Hunt went on to a 12 year MLB career playing for the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Expos and Cardinals. He finished 2nd to Pete Rose in the National League Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .272 with 10 HR 42 RBI for the Mets in 1963. He led the Mets in hits (145), Batting average, doubles (28), and runs scored (48) playing for Casey Stengal.

Hunt hit the first extra base hit and score the first Mets run at Shea Stadium when it opened. He was the first Mets player to be selected to the All-Star game when he hit .303 with 6 HR and 42 RBI in 1964. The honor was even more special as the game was the only All-Star game to be played in front of the home town Mets fans at Shea Stadium. He was also selected to the 1966 National League All-Star squad.

Ron Hunt was well known for being hit by pitches. He held numerous records for the stat when he retired after the 1974 season. Hunt was also known for being very difficult to strike out. He only struck out 382 times in 6158 plate appearances. Hunt walked 555 times and was hit by a pitch 243 times for comparison. He led the league seven straight years in HBP from 1968-1974.

Paul Snyder (1959, 1961) spent 50 years working in the Braves system on and off the field. He hit .362 with 1 HR and 2 doubles in 15 games in 1959. He returned to hit .310 with 14 HR and 19 doubles in 126 games for the Cedar Rapids Braves in 1961. Snyder posted a .318 batting average, 60 HR and 102 doubles during his 7 year minor league career.

Snyder managed the Greenville Braves in 1963, the Sarasota Braves in 1964 and 1966, the Binghamton Triplets in 1965, the Magic Valley Cowboys in 1970 and the Greenwood Braves in 1972. In 1973, Snyder joined the Braves front office as the assistant minor league administrator prior to taking the reins of the Braves player development system in 1977.

Snyder’s efforts as the Braves’ scouting director (1981-90, 1999-2000), assistant to the General Manager (1991-95, 2001-06), and director of player development (1977-1980, 1996-98) played an integral role as the Braves dominated the National League in the early 1990′s and won the World Series in 1995. He retired following the 2007 season. Baseball America named him one of the top 25 people in baseball in the publications 25th Anniversary issue in 2006.

Barry Morgan (1961) hit .289 with 23 HR and 20 doubles in 130 games for the 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves. Morgan hit .267 with 165 HR during his 12 season minor league playing career reaching as high as AAA playing for the Toledo Mud Hens in 1969 and 1970.

Jack Cookman (1949) posted a 9-9 record with a 4.89 E.R.A. in 29 games for the 1949 Cedar Rapids Rockets in the first year of professional baseball following a six year absence due to World War 2. The 1949 Rockets finished in fourth place in the Central Association with a record of 63-67 under manager Packy Rogers guidance. 1949 was Cookman’s final season in the minors due to an arm injury. He had played two season with the Fon du Lac Panthers, the New York Yankees affiliate in the Wisconsin State League in 1947 and 1948 before coming to Cedar Rapids.

Jack Cookman brought us this photo of a few of the 1949 Cedar Rapids Rockets pitchers posing in front of their bus. Cookman is the one on the lower right corner.

Bruce Kimm, a Norway, Ia. native, played MLB baseball for the Tigers, Cubs and White Sox between 1976-80. Kimm then continued working in baseball as a minor league manager in the Tigers, Reds and Cubs organizations between 1982-2002. Kimm managed the 1983 Cedar Rapids Reds squad featuring future MLB players Chris Sabo and Kal Daniels among others to a 3rd place finish with a 76-64 record. Kimm managed the Chicago Cubs for 78 (33-45 record) games during the 2002 season.

This date in Kernels alumni history – November 28, 1956 – Kerby Farrell

On November 28, 1956, Kerby Farrell (Cedar Rapids Indians – 1951) was selected to replace Al Lopez as the Cleveland Indians manager. The Indians went 76-77 in 1957 in a season plagued by injuries. Farrell managed 22 seasons in the minors and was named the Sporting News minor league manager of the year three times, more than any other manager in history. He served as a scout for the Twins following his managing career and was a volunteer coach at Vanderbilt in 1975.

Kerby Farrell hit .262 with 55 RBI during his two season MLB career playing for the Boston Braves and the Chicago White Sox.

Kerby Farrell was the Cedar Rapids Indians player manager in 1951. He hit .286 while appearing in 19 games including three appearances on the mound where he went 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA. The Indians finished the year 64-66.

This date in Kernels alumni history – October 2, 1988 – Keith Brown

On October 2, 1988,  Keith Brown (Cedar Rapids Reds– 1987) worked seven shutout innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves at Riverfront Stadium. Brown allowed five hits and one walk in the victory while tallying one strkeout.

Keith Brown posted a 2-2 record and a 3.40 E.R.A. during his four season career playing for the Reds.

Keith Brown was a member of the 1987 Cedar Rapids Reds squad that posted a 70-70 record under the guidance of manager Paul Kirsch. Brown went 13-4 with a 1.59 E.R.A. in 17 games for the Reds. He struck out 86 batters in 124 1/3 innings of work.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 27, 1980 – Rich Murray

On September 27, 1980, Rich Murray (Cedar Rapids Giants – 1976-77) went 2-4 at the plate with a HR as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 2-1.

Rich Murray hit .216 with 4 HR and 25 RBI during his 2 season MLB career with the Giants. Rich and his brother Eddie Murray (504 HR) are one of only two sets of brother to combine to hit more than 500 major league home runs. Tommie Aaron (Cedar Rapids Braves -1960) and his brother Hank Aaron are the other set of brother to achieve the feat. Tommie hit a total of 13 major league home runs, with eight of them coming in his first year of 1962, but along with his brother’s then Major League record 755 HR, they hold the Major League record for the most career home runs between two brothers (768).

Rich Murray was a member of the 1976 and 1977 Cedar Rapids Giants teams. Murray hit .264 with 6 HR as the Giants finished 78-53 under manager Salty Parker before losing to Quad Cities in the opening round of the Midwest League playoffs. The 1977 squad finished 74-66 under manager Jack Mull before falling to Burlington in the first round of the playofss. Murray hit .275 with 21 HR and led the team with 94 RBI  in 129 games for the Cedar Rapids Giants.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 23, 2000 – Reggie Sanders

On September 23, 2000, Reggie Sanders (Cedar Rapids Reds – 1990) went 2-3 at the plate with a HR, a double, six RBI, a walk and scored two runs as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Montreal Expos 10-0.

Reggie Sanders hit .267 with 305 HR, 983 RBI and stole 304 bases during his 17 year MLB career playing for the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. Sanders played in three World Series (2001, 2002, and 2004). He was part of the Diamondbacks championship squad in 2001.

Reggie Sanders hit .285 with 17 HR and 63 RBI for the 1990 Cedar Rapids Reds. The 1990 Cedar Rapids Reds squad finished with a 88-46 record under manager Dave Miley. Quad Cities defeated them in the opening round of the MWL Playoffs.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 21, 1966 – Denis Menke

On September 21, 1966, Denis Menke (Cedar Rapids Braves – 1958-59) went 2-3 at the plate with two HR and four RBI to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Denis Menke was named to two All-Star teams in 1969 and 1970 as member of the Houston Astros. He played in the post season twice in 1972 and 1973 with the Cincinnati Reds and hit a home run off Oakland’s Catfish Hunter in Game 5 of the 1972 World Series. In 13 major league seasons with the Braves, Reds and Astros, he has a career .250 average with 101 HR and 606 RBI. Following his playing career, he managed three minor league seasons with the Burlington Bees in 1977 and the Dunedin Blue Jays in 1978-79 and served as the Astros’ hitting coach for six seasons. Menke was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Denis Menke played two seasons (1958-59) with the Cedar Rapids Braves, posting a combined .254 average with nine HR and 31 RBI in 102 games. As a member of the 1958 Braves, he teamed with future major leaguers Bobby Knoop, Bob Hendley and Bob ‘Hawk’ Taylor and fellow Hall of Famer Horace Garner to defeat Davenport 3-2 and win the 1958 Three-I League championship.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 16, 1984 – Chili Davis

On September 16, 1984, Chili Davis (Cedar Rapids Giants – 1978) went 4-5 at the plate with two HR and four RBI as the San Francisco Giants fell to the Atlanta Braves 7-5.

Chili Davis, a three-time all-star, finished his career with a .274 batting average, 350 HR and 1372 RBI during his 19 year career with the Giants, Angels, Royals and Yankees.

Chili Davis was a member of the 1978 Cedar Rapids Giants team that finished 53-82 under manager Jack Mull. Davis hit .281 with 16 HR and 73 RBI in 124 games for the Cedar Rapids Giants.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 14, 1986 – Bob Brenly

On September 14, 1986, Bob Brenly (1977) had a very unique day at the ballpark. Brenly tied the Major League record by committing four errors in an inning. He rebounded to go 3-5 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI including a walk off HR in the bottom of the ninth with two outs as the San Francisco Giants won 7-6 over the Atlanta Braves.

Bob Brenly (Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame class of 2011) is a former catcher and manager in Major League Baseball. The burly right-hander was signed by the San Francisco Giants as a third baseman out of Ohio University (where he tied Mike Schmidt’s single-season HR record), then switched to catcher in 1979, his fourth pro season. He played for the Cedar Rapids Giants in 1977, hitting .271 with 22 HR and 73 RBI in 136 games. Brenly won the Giants’ starting catching job in 1984, hitting .291 with 20 HR and 80 RBI. In game four of the 1987 NLCS he homered off the Cardinals’ Danny Cox.

Bob Brenly was selected to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks in October of 2000. He led the team to the World Series Championship in his 1st season at the helm in 2001 as the Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees in 7 games in 2001. The Diamondbacks repeated as N.L. West Champs again in 2002 with a 98-64 record. Brenly finished his four year managing career with a 303-262 mark. He is currently the color commentator for Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN and Comcast SportsNet.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 11, 1965 – Tony Cloninger

On September 11, 1965, Tony Cloninger (Cedar Rapids Braves – 1959) pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Milwaukee Braves to a 9-0 win over the New York Mets. Cloninger struck out three while allowing one hit and four walks. He even helped himself at the plate going 1-3 with a HR and three RBI.

Tony Cloninger finished his career with a 113-97 mark and an ERA of 4.07 during his 12 years playing with the Braves, Reds and Cardinals. Cloninger was regarded as a tough fireball pitcher and was also a dangerous power hitter. On July 3, 1966, in an Atlanta Braves’ 17-3 win over the Giants at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Cloninger helped his team’s cause with two grand slams, driving in a total of nine runs, the ninth coming on a run-scoring single. Cloninger became the first player in the National League, and only pitcher to date, to hit two grand slams in the same game, also setting a major league record for pitchers with his nine runs batted in. After retiring, he served as a pitching coach for the Yankees and Red Sox.

Cloninger was part of the 1959 Cedar Rapids Braves team that finished in 8th place with a 53-73 under manager Alex Monchak. He posted a mark of 0-9 in 10 games with an ERA of 9.59 as an 18 year old.

This date in Kernels alumni history – September 4, 1964 – Tony Cloninger

On September 4, 1964, Tony Cloninger (Cedar Rapids Braves – 1959) led the Milwaukee Braves to a 2-0 victory pitching a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds. Cloninger struck out six while working around three hits and a pair of walks in the contest.

Tony Cloninger finished his career with a 113-97 mark and an ERA of 4.07 during his 12 years playing with the Braves, Reds and Cardinals. Cloninger was regarded as a tough fireball pitcher and was also a dangerous power hitter. On July 3, 1966, in an Atlanta Braves’ 17-3 win over the Giants at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Cloninger helped his team’s cause with two grand slams, driving in a total of nine runs, the ninth coming on a run-scoring single. Cloninger became the first player in the National League, and only pitcher to date, to hit two grand slams in the same game, also setting a major league record for pitchers with his nine runs batted in. After retiring, he served as a pitching coach for the Yankees and Red Sox.

Cloninger was part of the 1959 Cedar Rapids Braves team that finished in 8th place with a 53-73 under manager Alex Monchak. He posted a mark of 0-9 in 10 games with an ERA of 9.59 as an 18 year old.

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