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Rockford Cubbies

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The Rockford Cubbies began play in 1995 when the Rockford Royals became a Chicago Cubs affiliate. Playing at Marinelli Field, the club's attendance declined every season they were a Cubs farm team. They went 75-65 their first season, tied for fifth in the 14-team Midwest League; the manager was Steve Roadcap. Rockford made the playoffs but lost in the first round. They drew 110,052 fans (10th in the MWL). The team had no All-Stars, though C Pat Cline (.272/~.366/.441) was picked as the 6th-best prospect by league managers. OF Marty Gazarek (.261/~.308/.348) ran into trouble for using a grooved bat. Steve Rain (5-2, 1.21, 23 Sv, 66 K in 59 IP) and Dennis Bair (4-2, 1.51, 40 K to 6 BB in 54 IP) did fine work for the pitching staff.

In 1996 Roadcap's club was 70-65, 5th in the Midwest, and drew 102,479 (11th). They made it to the semifinals before falling. 1B Scott Vieria (.324/.451/.464) led the league in OBP and was second in batting average. No player hit more than 11 homers for the team, which relief on speed (4 players stole 25 or more, 7 stole in double digits). Jeff Yoder (12-5, 3.44, 124 K) was the staff leader in wins while Brandon Hammack (2-3, 13 Sv, 2.27, 45 K and 22 H in 32 IP) was a fine closer.

The 1997 season saw a .500 (66-66) season under new manager Ruben Amaro Sr. while they remained 11th in attendance (86,716). 1B Julio Zuleta (.288/~.342/.423) provided the pop (30 doubles, 77 RBI) while highly regarded prospect 2B Chad Meyers hit .301/~.402/.410, stole 54 bases in 70 tries and scored 89 runs. The team was sold to Sherrie Myers, who planned to move them to Dayton, OH, a move that did not take place until 2000.

The last year for the Cubbies was 1998, when they were last in the first half in the central division (32-39) but won the second half (39-29) under Amaro. They beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattles and Fort Wayne Wizards in the playoffs, but lost 3 games to 1 in the finals against the favored West Michigan Whitecaps. Continuing their tradition, the team had no All-Stars. They remained 11th in attendance (75,600). The workhorse of the team was Kyle Lohse (13-8, 3.22, 171 IP, 26 starts).

In 1999, they switched affiliation again and became known as the Rockford Reds for one season before they were finally moved and became the Dayton Dragons

The Cubbies' public address announcer, local television anchor Lisa Fielding, was one of the few female PA announcers in baseball at the time.

[edit] Year-by-Year Record

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1995 75-65 5th (t) Steve Roadcap Lost in 1st round
1996 70-65 5th Steve Roadcap Lost in 2nd round
1997 66-66 9th Ruben Amaro
1998 71-68 7th Ruben Amaro Lost League Finals
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