On August 12, 1962, Tony Komisar pitched a no-hitter to lead the Cedar Rapids Braves to an 8-0 win over the Clinton C-Sox. Komisar struck out ten batter while walking three. It was the first no-hitter thrown by a Cedar Rapids pitcher since joining the Midwest League. Carl Elmstrom came within one out of accomplishing the feat earlier in the year on July 1 against Clinton. Komisar was an emergency starter, getting the call just before game time when scheduled starter Ray Orlikowski came down with a back injury. There was only one hit by either team through six innings of play. The Braves scored an unearned run in the fourth before exploding for a four-run seventh inning highlighted by Tom Stock‘s three-run HR to put the game out of reach.
The following article was published in the August 13, 1962 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It contained coverage of a Midwest League contest against the Clinton C-Sox held on August 12, 1962. The 1962 Cedar Rapids Braves featured one player who played in Major League baseball after his time in Cedar Rapids (Adriann Garrett). The 1962 Cedar Rapids Braves posted a 58-66 record under manager Ken Blackman’s guidance to finish eighth in Cedar Rapids’ first season in the Midwest League.
Three members of the 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves team will be returning to Perfect Game Field tonight for our Hall of Fame / Alumni night at the stadium. Ron Hunt (National League All-Star – 1964, 1966), Barry Morgan and Paul Snyder will all be in attendance to take part in the pre-game festivities and sign autographs on the concourse. Today just happens to line up with another Cedar Rapids Braves win back in 1961. The Braves topped the Fox Cities Foxes 5-4 behind Barry Morgan’s league leading 16th HR of the season and a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth which extended his hitting streak to 18 games. Paul Snyder added a pair of hits and had hit safely in 21 of 22 games at that point of the season. Ron Hunt was 1-5 at the plate and scored the winning run in the Braves victory.
This following article was written by Gus Schrader and was published in the July 19, 1961 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It contained coverage of a Three-I League contest against the Fox Cities Foxes held on July 18, 1961. The 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves featured four players who played in Major League baseball after their time in Cedar Rapids (John Braun, Bruce Brubaker, Ron Hunt and Dick Kelley). Cedar Rapids professional baseball Hall of Fame member Paul Snyder and Barry Morgan, who will join Ron Hunt among others tonight at Hall of Fame / Alumni Night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Jack Cookman (Cedar Rapids Rockets – 1949) and Bruce Kimm (Cedar Rapids Reds MGR – 1983) are also expected to be in attendance for the festivities. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and first pitch is scheduled for 6:35.
Three members of the 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves team will be returning to Perfect Game Field tomorrow night for our Hall of Fame / Alumni night at the stadium. Ron Hunt, Barry Morgan and Paul Snyder will all be in attendance to take part in the pre-game festivities and sign autographs on the concourse. Today just happens to line up with a Cedar Rapids Braves win back in 1961. The Braves topped the Fox Cities Foxes 6-5 behind Barry Morgan’s league leading 15th HR of the season which extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Paul Snyder added a pair of singles and Ron Hunt was 1-3 at the plate and scored a run in the Braves victory.
On a side note, the paper’s sports section was headlined by the news that Ty Cobb had passed away this date back in 1961. In other Cedar Rapids alumni notes of this date in baseball, Lou Boudreau (Cedar Rapids Raiders – 1938), the American League MVP in 1948, was born on this date in 1917.
This following article was written by Gus Schrader and was published in the July 18, 1961 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It contained coverage of a Three-I League contest against the Fox Cities Foxes held on July 17, 1961. The 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves featured four players who played in Major League baseball after their time in Cedar Rapids (John Braun, Bruce Brubaker, Ron Hunt and Dick Kelley). Cedar Rapids professional baseball Hall of Fame member Paul Snyder and Barry Morgan, who will join Ron Hunt among others tomorrow night at Hall of Fame / Alumni Night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
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 article was written by Jack Ogden and was published in the June 7, 1962 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It contained coverage of a Midwest League game against the Quad Cities Angels held on June 6, 1962. The 1962 Cedar Rapids Braves featured one player who played in Major League baseball either before or after their time in Cedar Rapids (Adrian Garrett). The 1962 squad went on to finish the season with a 58-66 record in our first season in the Midwest League.
Olson Fans 14, C.R. Topples Quads, 3-1
Terry Olson made the strikeout his big weopon Wednesday night as he fanned 14 batters and hurled the Cedar Rapids club to a 3-1 victory over Quad Cities. Olson pitched his way out of numerous jams as he stranded 13 Quad City batters to end the brief home stand on a successful note.
Manager Kenny Blackman, who wasn’t around for the finish Wednesday took his squad on a five-day road trip Thursday that includes two games at Burlington and three at Dubuque. Blackman was thumbed out in the third inning by umpire Joe Sentinco as a climax to a bitter argument that ended a strange inning for the home forces.
Dick Harris led off the inning with a walk, but was picked off first by losing pitcher Ed Sukla. Then, with two out, Vern Agnew went all the way to second on an apparent throwing error by third baseman Paul Schall. Quad Cities called for the ball however, and erased the error as Agnew was called out for failing to touch first. That started the argument and before it was over, Blackman was back in the clubhouse.
Sukla gave up only five hits in the seven innings worked, but Cedar Rapids put two of them together for a pair of runs in the second. Chico Diaz, who wound up with two of the six Cedar Rapids hits, started it with a single. He came in on Milt Swift’s triple to right center and Swift tallied on Vince Ferguson’s ground out.
Cedar Rapids, which stranded 10 fewer runners than the losers, got its only other score in the seventh. Diaz tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Swift.
Quad Cities scored its lone run in the fifth when Sulka led off with a bunt single and went to second on a passed ball. Bob Lucas walked and Ed Singleton scored the run with his second double. All told he had three of the eight hits for the losers.
Olson then settled down to fan two batters and pitch his way out of trouble. Olson stranded three runners in the first inning, fanning Bob Johnson and Ramond Alston with the bases loaded, and he left two runners aboard in five other innings.
Quad Cities (1) AB H RBI
Lucas, SS 4 1 0
Singleton, 2B 5 3 1
Schall, 3B 2 0 0
Taylor, LF 4 1 0
Johnson, 1B 5 1 0
Alston, C 4 1 0
Meyers, CF 4 0 0
A.Clark, RF 3 0 0
Mosley 1 0 0
G.Clark, P 0 0 0
Sukla, P 3 1 0
Koch, RF 1 0 0
Totals 35 8 1
Cedar Rapids (3) AB H RBI
Harris, RF 3 0 0
Stock, 1B 4 1 0
Agnew, SS 4 1 0
Diaz, 2B 3 2 0
Swift, 3B 2 1 1
Garrett, CF 2 0 1
Ferguson, LF 3 0 1
Hart, C 3 1 0
Olson, P 2 0 0
IP H R ER BB SO
Sukla (L, 1-4) 7 5 3 3 2 5
Clark 1 1 0 0 0 2
Olson (W, 3-2) 9 8 1 1 5 14
Transcribed from the digital archives of the Cedar Rapids Library.
I came across two more names for our list of players who have played minor league baseball here in Cedar Rapids who have either played MLB baseball before or after their time here. I was working on transcribing the earlier post from the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s June 5, 1958 edition and was grabbing additional info off baseballreference.com when I notice we had somehow missed a member of the 1958 Cedar Rapids Braves squad, Bob Botz.
Bob Botz went 9-6 with a 4.29 E.R.A. in 18 games for the 1958 Cedar Rapids Braves. The 1958 squad went on to defeat Davenport 3-2 and win the 1958 Three-I League championship. Botz is pictured far right along with Warren Spahn Eddie Mathews and Bob Uecker.
Bob Botz made his MLB debut on May 8, 1962 pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. Botz posted a 2-1 record with two saves and a 3.43 E.R.A. for the Angels in 1962. He struck out 24 batters in 63 innings in 35 games finishing 13 of them.
The other omission, an error on my part, had been Ken Hill who made a pair of rehabilitation starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 1998. Hill posted a 1.23 E.R.A. in 2 games striking out six in 7 1/3 innings of work while allowing seven hits, one walk and a run. It remains the only rehab appearance in the Angels affiliation (1993-present).
Ken Hill complied a 117-109 record during his 14 year MLB career pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, Montreal Expos, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels, Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hill was an All-Star in 1994 and finished second in the Cy Young voting that season.
These additions make Will Smith (2009) our 383rd player to play professional baseball in Cedar Rapids and play in a major league game with his MLB debut on May 23, 2012. I will continue to do my best to compile the full membership list. If you are interested in a copy of the excel file I have compiled please drop me an email or a message here.
This full article was written by Gus Schrader and was published in the June 5, 1958 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It contained coverage of a Three-I League game against the Burlington Bees held on June 4, 1958. The 1958 Cedar Rapids Braves featured five players who played in Major League baseball either before or after their time in Cedar Rapids (Bob Botz, Bob Hendley, Bobby Knoop, Denis Menke and Bob “Hawk” Taylor). Horace Garner, a long-time member of the Cedar Rapids baseball board of directors, also played for the 1958 squad which went on to defeat Davenport 3-2 and win the 1958 Three-I League championship.
6 C.R. Homers Sting Bees, 10-5
Having taught Burlington something about the art of hitting home runs, Cedar Rapids will try to do some more instructing tonight at the expense of Bobby Moore, Cedar Rapids native, in the final game of the home stand.
Moore, promising young righthanded pitched in the Cubs system has a 1-1 record. He was a baseball star at Franklin high before going into pro ball 3 years ago.
Manager Alex Monchak has named his rugged southpaw hockey player, Jack Caffery (1-0) to hurl for Cedar Rapids. A Toronto native, Caffery has played center 2 years for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League.
Cedar Rapids touched off its biggest home run explosion of the season in winning Wednesday night’s encounter, 10-5, to take a tighter grip on 2nd place in the Three-I League.
Larry Click and Horace Garner gave 1087 fans a thrill with back-to-back homers in both the 4th and 6th innings. Bill Moss and Wayne Cummings added solo swats over the center field fence to give Cedar Rapids 6 for the night.
Almost lost in the din of Cedar Rapids circuit swats were 2 Burlington homers. Little Dave Hanrahan hit his 3rd of the season in the 7th and Lee Handley powered his 10th in the 8th – both with the sacks empty.
Handley, who hit 3 homers the night before now has whacked 7 of his 10 homers in the Cedar Rapids park. And he’s earned a good start on a suit of clothes, as Louie’s gives $2 in trade for every homer hit here on both sides.
The $2 credits and pizzas fell like rain off the Cedar Rapids bats in a 17-hit deluge that swamped 3 Bee pitchers.
Click poked 3 singles in addition to his 2 homers for a perfect night, and Dick Selinger joined him with a 4-for-4, all singles. Here’s how and where the homers went that batted in 7 of Cedar Rapids 10 runs:
1. Moss led off the 2nd with his 5th of the year over the 370 foot fence in center.
2. Click homered with John Stratton aboard in the 4th, the ball disappearing over the Maresh sign at 350 in left-center, earning him $10.
3. Garner followed Click with a homer at 375 in center.
4. Cummings lofted one over the 370 mark to center with the bases empty in the 5th for his 2nd of the season.
5. Click hit a line drive over the 340 point in left with nobody aboard in the 6th. This gave him 8 for the year and it netted him a gold watch from Smulekoff’s.
6. Garner again followed Click, this time pushing the ball hard over the 350 fence in right for his 14th of the season.
Luis DeLeon weathered Burlington’s 12-hit attack to post his 6th victory against 3 losses. He walked only one batter and fanned 5.
Burlington (5) AB H RBI
Gregg, CF 5 2 0
Hanrahan, SS 5 2 1
Caviness, LF 5 1 0
Voigt, 1B 3 0 0
Handley, CF 4 1 1
Loudenback, 2B 4 0 0
Masse, C 4 3 1
Woods, 3B 4 1 1
Anderson, P 1 0 0
Lynn, P 1 1 1
Curtis, P 1 0 0
Dixon 1 1 0
Quick 0 0 0
Totals 38 12 5
Cedar Rapids (10) AB H RBI
Stratton, SS 4 1 0
Taylor, LF 5 0 0
Click, CF 5 5 3
Garner, RF 5 2 2
Moss, 1B 4 2 2
Cummings, C 4 2 2
Selinger, 3B 4 4 0
Knoop, 2B 4 1 0
DeLeon, P 3 0 0
Totals 38 17 9
Transcribed from the digital archives of the Cedar Rapids Public Library.
Ron Hunt hit .273 with 39 HR and 370 RBI during his 12 year career playing for the Mets, Dodgers, Giants aned Expos. The two-time all-star was hit by pitches more often than anyone during his playing days. He led the National League in getting hit by pitches in each of his final seven Major League seasons. Upon his retirement, his 243 HBPs were a career record. Don Baylor would break that record in 1987 and retire with 267 HBPs. Craig Biggio would break Baylor’s career record in 2005 and retire at the end of the 2007 season with 285 HBPs.
Ron Hunt played for the Cedar Rapids Braves teams in 1960 and 1961. Hunt hit .191 with 3 HR and 33 RBI for the 1960 team who finished 71-69 under manager Jimmy Brown. In 1961, Hunt hit .295 with 16 HR and 25 doubles as the team finished in 2nd place with a mark of 73-57.
On November 14, 2011, Mark Trumbo (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2006-07) finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting to Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays today. Trumbo collected five first place votes and finished with 63 points compared to Hellickson’s 17 first place votes and 102 points. Trumbo led the Angels in HR and RBI. He finished the year hitting .254 with 29 HR and 87 RBI.
The runner-up finish is the highest place a Cedar Rapids alumni has finished in the American League voting. Chris Sabo (Cedar Rapids Reds – 1983) is the only former Cedar Rapids Alumni to win the National League Rookie of the Year award – 1988. Trumbo joins Rocky Colavito (Cedar Rapids Indians – 1952) (American League 1956) and Ron Hunt (Cedar Rapids Braves 1960-61) (National League 1963) as the only Rookie of the year runner-ups in Cedar Rapids professional baseball alumni history.
Rookie of the Year Finishes by Cedar Rapids Alumni
Rocky Colavito 2nd AL 1956 Cedar Rapids Indians (1952)
Dick Drott 3rd NL 1957 Cedar Rapids Raiders (1954)
Ron Hunt 2nd NL 1963 Cedar Rapids Braves (1960-61)
Hector Cruz 3rd NL 1976 Cedar Rapids Cardinals (1970-72)
Chili Davis 4th NL 1982 Cedar Rapids Giants (1978)
Chris Sabo 1st NL 1988 Cedar Rapids Reds (1983)
Reggie Sanders 4th NL 1992 Cedar Rapids Reds (1990)
Bill Risley 4th AL 1994 Cedar Rapids Reds (1989-90)
Jason Dickson 3rd AL 1997 Cedar Rapids Kernels (1995)
Bengie Molina 4th AL 2000 Cedar Rapids Kernels (1994-95)
John Lackey 4th AL 2002 Cedar Rapids Kernels (2000)
Mark Trumbo 2nd AL 2011 Cedar Rapids Kernels (2006-07)
Jordan Walden 7th AL 2011 Cedar Rapids Kernels (2008)
Erick Aybar (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2003) won the American League Rawlings Gold Glove at shortstop last night. He is the sixth former Cedar Rapids professional baseball alum to win a Gold Glove joining Bengie Molina x2 (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 1994-95), Eric Davis x3 (Cedar Rapids Reds – 1982), Ken Reitz (Cedar Rapids Cardinals – 1969), Bobby Knoop x3 (Cedar Rapids Braves – 1958) and John Roseboro x2 (Cedar Rapids Raiders – 1955). In 2011, Aybar tied for third among AL shortstops with a .980 fielding percentage. He topped the AL with the most double plays turned by an AL shortstop this season (102) and set career-highs in total chances (659) and assists (459).
Erick Aybar hit .308 with six HR, 10 triples, 57 RBI and stole 32 bases in 125 games for the 2003 Cedar Rapids Kernels. The team finished in 10th place at 66-72 under manager Todd Claus.
Cedar Rapids Alumni who have won Rawlings Gold Glove Awards
2011 Erick Aybar American League SS (Cedar Rapids Kernels 2003)
2003 Bengie Molina American League C (Cedar Rapids Kernels 1994-95)
2002 Bengie Molina American League C (Cedar Rapids Kernels 1994-95)
1989 Eric Davis National League OF (Cedar Rapids Reds 1982)
1988 Eric Davis National League OF (Cedar Rapids Reds 1982)
1987 Eric Davis National League OF (Cedar Rapids Reds 1982)
1975 Ken Reitz National League 3B (Cedar Rapids Cardinals 1969)
1968 Bobby Knoop American League 2B (Cedar Rapids Braves 1958)
1967 Bobby Knoop American League 2B (Cedar Rapids Braves 1958)
1966 Bobby Knoop American League 2B (Cedar Rapids Braves 1958)
1966 John Roseboro National League C (Cedar Rapids Raiders 1955)
1961 John Roseboro National League C (Cedar Rapids Raiders 1955)