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Catskill Cougars

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The second professional baseball team stationed in Mountaindale, NY was the Catskill Cougars (the Sullivan County Mountain Lions were the first). They debuted in 1996 as an expansion team in the North Atlantic League and went 41-37 to finish third behind the Newark Barge Bandits. The Cougars protested a deal made by Newark after the trade deadline and the NAL ruled in their favor, changing a 2-2 series against Newark into a 4-0 forfeit and helping the Catskill team to an official 43-35 mark, two games ahead of the Barge Bandits. The club, managed by Al Lopez, then stunned the first-place Massachusetts Mad Dogs in the finals with a 9-1 win and a 4-2, 12-inning victory to take the pennant. They drew 27,917 fans, third in the league. The Cougars' lone All-Star was P Tom Singer, though Manny Garcia (.308) led the league with 8 homers and was among the leaders in doubles (15) and RBI (53).

When the North Atlantic League folded, the Cougars joined the Northeast League. Managed now by Edgar Perez, they struggled with a 14-28 first-half record - then got worse with a 7-34 finish. Attendance was okay (39,896, 6th of 8 teams) and no one came close to being an All-Star performer. In 1998, the Cougars improved to a 36-47 overall record and attendance remained sixth (45,103). Gates Brown and John Duffy both tried managing the club, which again had no All-Stars. SS Andres Duncan did finish second in the NEL with a .345 average and stole 30 bases, while OF Andre Johnson hit .336 with 13 homers and 53 RBI. Several pitchers had sub-3 ERAs, led by John Jiminez (2-5, 8 Sv, 2.01).

The Cougars missed 1999, when the Northeast League merged into the Northern League East, but did play in the Northern in 2000. That year, they went 38-47 under manager Dan Shwam and were last in attendance (27,963). The league shrank in scope in 2001 and the Cougars were one of the victims.

Sources: 1997-2001 Baseball Almanacs

[edit] Year-by-Year Record

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1996 43-35 2nd Al Lopez League Champs
1997 21-62 8th Edgar Perez (18-39) / Wally Backman (3-23)
1998 36-47 6th Gates Brown (15-18) / John Duffy (21-29) Lost in 1st round
2000 38-47 7th Dan Shwam
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