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.
On December 8, 1976, as part of a three team deal, the Chicago Cubs traded Pete LaCock to the Kansas City Royals to acquire Jim Dwyer (Cedar Rapids Cardinals – 1971) from the New York Mets who received Sheldon Mallory as the PTBNL from the Royals. Dwyer never appeared in a game as a member of the Cubs at the big league level. He hit .332 with 18 HR for the Wichita Aeros before being released and signing with the Cardinals in September of 1977.
Jim Dwyer hit .260 with 77 HR and 349 RBI during his 18 year MLB career playing for the Cardinals, Expos, Mets, Giants, Red Sox, Orioles, and Twins. Dwyer was a member of the 1983 World Series Champion Orioles. He batted .375 including the HR in game 1 during the 1983 World Series.
Jim Dwyer hit .313 with 2 HR and 15 RBI in 58 games for the 1971 Cedar Rapids Cardinals. The Cardinals finished 67-53 under manager Bobby Dews.
On November 27, 1950, Lou Boudreau (Cedar Rapids Raiders – 1938) signed a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox for $150,000. Boudreau hit .267 and led the Red Sox to a 76-78 record in 1951. They improved to 84-69 in 1952 before finishing 69-85 in his final year managing the team in 1953. He later managed the Athletics and the Cubs.
Lou Boudreau hit .295 with 68 HR and 796 RBI in his 15 year career with the Indians and the Red Sox. Boudreau was an eight-time All Star Game selection, starting three times. He won the 1944 AL batting title (.327), and led the league in doubles in 1941, 1944, and 1947. He led AL shortstops in fielding eight times. Boudreau still holds the record for hitting the most consecutive doubles in a game (four), set on July 14, 1946.
In 1948, he won the American League Most Valuable Player Award and managed the Cleveland Indians to the World Series title. Boudreau was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970.
Lou Boudreau was part of the 1938 Cedar Rapids Raiders team that finished 56-63 under manager Cap Crossley. Boudreau hit .290 with three HR that year for the CR club in 60 games.
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.
On November 7, 1997, Larry Rothschild (Cedar Rapids Reds pitching coach / Reds pitching instructor) was named the first manager of the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Rothschild had earned World Series rings with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 (bullpen coach) and the Florida Marlins in 1997 (pitching coach). The Devil Rays compiled a 205-294 record under Rothschild from 1998-2001.
Rothschild served as the Chicago Cubs pitching coach from 2002-2009 before joining the New York Yankees as their pitching coach in 2010.
Rothschild was the pitching instructor for A and AA teams for the Cincinnati Reds in 1986 and 1987 before becoming the Reds minor league roving pitching instructor for the 1988 and 1989 seasons.
Willie Greene hit .234 with 86 HR and 307 RBI during his 9 year career playing for the Reds, Orioles, Blue Jays and Cubs.
Willie Greene was a member of the 1992 Cedar Rapids Reds team that finished 82-56 under manager Mark Berry. The Reds topped Quad Cities in the opening round and defeated Beloit in the Championship series to take the Midwest League title. Greene hit .283 with 12 HR, 8 doubles and 40 RBI in 34 games for the Cedar Rapids Reds.
Luis Melendez hit .248 with 9 HR and 122 RBI during his 8 year career with the Cardinals and Padres. He managed in the Cardinals and Phillies minor league systems following his MLB playing career.
Luis Melendez was a member of the 1968 Cedar Rapids Cardinals team that finished 63-53 under manager Jack Krol. Melendez hit .274 with 6 HR, 19 doubles and 120 hits in 113 games for the Cedar Rapids Cardinals.
On September 7, 1958, Dick Drott (Cedar Rapids Raiders – 1954) struck out ten batters while leading the Cubs to a 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field. Drott allowed three hits and one walk in the victory.
Dick Drott posted a 27-46 record and a 4.78 E.R.A. during his seven year career playing for the Chicago Cubs and the Houston 45’s from 1957-1963.
Dick Drott was a member of the 1954 Cedar Rapids Raiders squad that posted a 63-72 record under the guidance of manager Bill Prince. Drott went 5-7 with a 4.50 E.R.A. in 23 games for the Raiders.
On August 24, 1959, Bob Anderson (Cedar Rapids Raiders -1954) led the Chicago Cubs to a 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Braves pitching a complete game shutout. Anderson struck out five batters while allowing six hits and one walk.
Bob Anderson posted a 36-46 record with 13 saves and a 4.26 ERA during his 7 year career playing for the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers.
Bob Anderson was a member of the 1954 Cedar Rapids Raiders team that finished in 6th place with a record of 63-72 under manager Bill Prince. Anderson was 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA in 40 innings of work for the Raiders.
On August 15, 1992, Butch Henry (Cedar Rapids Reds – 1988) pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. Henry struck out 8 hitters while allowing 8 hits in the win.
Butch Henry posted a 33-33 record with 7 saves and a 3.83 ERA during his 7 year MLB career pitching for the Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.
Butch Henry was a member of the 1988 Midwest League Champion Cedar Rapids Reds squad. Henry posted a 16-2 mark with a ERA of 2.26 while striking out 163 in 27 starts for the Reds.