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Rockford Royals

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In 1993 the Midwest League team from Rockford, IL switched affiliations and promptly changed their name from the Rockford Expos to the Rockford Royals. The franchise had been bought by the Chicago Cubs but the Cubs had to finish a working agreement with Peoria, IL, giving the Kansas City Royals the city for two years. The '93 Rockford Royals went 78-54 under Mike Jirschele, won the first-half northern division title (43-22) and were one game behind the Clinton Giants for the top MWL record. The Royals didn't last one round in the playoffs, though, dropping two in a row to the South Bend White Sox. The club was led by All-Star outfielder Johnny Damon (.290/~.355/.419, 59 SB, 13 triples), one of the league's top prospects, and first baseman Larry Sutton (.269/.424/.399), the league leader in OBP and walks (95). Rodney Myers (7-3, 1.79) and Melvin Bunch (6-4, 2.12) were the top pitchers and catcher Ramy Brooks (.255/~.349/.455) provided the power.

Rockford was even more dominant the next season. John Mizerock managed the team to a first-place finish in both halves (44-25 and 45-25) and they won the opening playoff round but fell 3 games to 1 to the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the finals. Mizerock was named Manager of the Year and his team's 15 straight wins came within 2 of the MWL league record. The team led in ERA (3.15) and outscored opponents 669 to 494. Ken Ray (10-4, 1.82) was second in the league in ERA. DH-C Carlos Mendez (.355/.382/.479) won the batting title, 3B Lino Diaz (.316/.381/.406) made the All-Star team and was 4th in average and C-DH Sal Fasano (.281/.366/.551) was second in the league in homers (25) and was named MVP.

Attendance was 68,206 in '93 and 70,527 in '94, average for the league.

As planned, Rockford became the Rockford Cubbies in 1995.

Sources: 1994 and 1995 Baseball Almanacs, 1995 Baseball Guide


[edit] Year-by-Year Record

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1993 78-54 2nd Mike Jirschele Lost in 1st round
1994 89-50 1st John Mizerock Lost League Finals
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