On August 5, 2006, Darren O’Day struck out two in a scoreless inning to earn the win as the Cedar Rapids Kernels defeated the Lansing Lugnuts 4-3. O’Day posted a 3-1 mark with a 2.70 E.R.A. in 23 1/2 innings of work over 17 appearances.The Cedar Rapids Kernels squad that finished 65-74 under manager Bobby Magallanes in 2006.
The Orioles claimed righty reliever Darren O’Day (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2006) off waivers from the Rangers last fall. O’Day, 29, had battled through injuries and posted a 0-1 record with a 5.40 E.R.A. in 2011. He joined the Rangers via an April 2009 waiver claim from the Mets. From that point through the end of the 2010 season, O’Day provided the Rangers a 1.99 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 0.61 HR/9 in 117 2/3 innings. He made an appearance in four of the 2010 World Series games.
Darren O’Day is 5-0 with a 2.68 E.R.A. in 45 games out of the Orioles bullpen in 2012. O’Day has struck out 43 batters in 43 2/3 innings of work.
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.
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.
The Orioles claimed righty reliever Darren O’Day (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2006) off waivers from the Rangers, the team announced. O’Day, 29, battled through injuries and posted a 0-1 record with a 5.40 E.R.A. in 2011.
O’Day joined the Rangers via an April 2009 waiver claim from the Mets. From that point through the end of the 2010 season, he provided the Rangers a 1.99 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 0.61 HR/9 in 117 2/3 innings. He made an appearance in four of the 2010 World Series games.
Darren O’Day was a member of the 2006 Cedar Rapids Kernels squad that finished 65-74 under manager Bobby Magallanes. O’Day went 3-1 with a 2.70 E.R.A. in 23 1/2 innings of work over 17 appearances.
On October 24, 2000, Paul O’Neill (Cedar Rapids Reds– 1982) went 3-4 at the plate with a double, a triple and a RBI as the New York Yankees fell to the New York Mets 4-2 in game three of the 2000 World Series at Shea Stadium.
Paul O’Neill hit .288 with 281 HR and 1269 RBI during his 17 year MLB career playing for the Reds and Yankees. He won the American League batting title in 1994 with a .359 batting average. O’Neill was selected to five All-Star teams and was a member of six World Series teams earning five championship rings.
Paul O’Neill hit .272 with 8 HR and 71 RBI in 116 games as the 1982 Cedar Rapids Reds finished 61-79 under manager Randy Davidson.
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.
On August 27, 1966, Dick Kelley (Cedar Rapids Braves – 1959, 1961) pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 3-0 win over the New York Mets. Kelley struck out six batters while allowing two hits and two walks.
Dick Kelley posted a 18-30 mark with a 3.39 ERA during his seven year MLB career playing for the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres.
Dick Kelley was a member of the 1959 and 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves teams. In 1959, Kelley went 0-0 with a 7.00 ERA in 4 games as the Braves finished 53-73 under manager Alex Monchak. In 1961, Kelley posted a record of 15-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 24 starts as the team finished in 2nd place with a mark of 73-57 under manager James Brown.
On August 17, 1954, Joe Frazier (Cedar Rapids Raiders – 1942) entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning and came through with a three-run HR to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Braves at County Stadium.
Joe Frazier hit .241 with 10 HR and 45 RBI during his 4 year MLB career playing for the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles. Frazier worked as a manager in the Astros and Mets organizations following his playing days. He took the helm for the New York Mets in 1976 and led them to a third place finish with a 86-76 record. Frazier was replaced by Joe Torre (Torre’s first managing gig) 45 games into the 1977 season after a slow start.
Joe Frazier was a member of the 1942 Cedar Rapids Raiders team that finished with a mark of 74-43 and won the Three-I League Championship under manager Ollie Marquardt. The Raiders defeated Evansville in the 1st round of the playoffs and then took down Madison in the Championship series. Frazier hit .315 with 8 HR and 36 doubles in 116 games for Cedar Rapids.
On July 17, 1994, Eddie Williams (Cedar Rapids Reds – 1985) went 3-4 at the plate with 2 HR, 4 RBI, a walk and scored three runs as the San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets 10-1 at Shea Stadium.
Eddie Williams hit .252 with 39 HR and 150 RBI during his ten year MLB career playing for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Eddie Williams was a member of the 1985 Cedar Rapids Reds team that finished in 3rd place with a record of 78-61 under manager Jay Ward. Williams hit .261 with 20 HR in 199 games for the Cedar Rapids Reds.