Lafayette Leopards

From BR Bullpen

The Lafayette Leopards debuted in the 1994 Great Central League, representing Lafayette, IN. When that league collapsed, they played in the Mid-America League in 1995 and won the title at 33-24, one game ahead of the Anderson Lawmen. Managed by Jim Gonzales, they drew 7,624 fans, third in the four-team league. All-Stars were OF Kadir Villalona (.369, 28 SB) and pitchers Jason Taulman (6-3, 2.50, second in the league in ERA) and Aaron Magdeleno. In 1996, that league folded and they joined the Heartland League. They again edged Anderson for a title, going 32-27 to win by half a game. Bob Hallas was the manager; attendance improved to 12,193, second-best. All-Stars were C Chad Epperson (.336, .581 SLG), P Brian Sweeney (6-0, 2.20, second in ERA) and 3B Garry Kamphouse (.342, 21 SB, a league-best 52 RBI, .535 SLG). Kamphouse was the league MVP.

In '97, Lafayette went 31-40 under Brad Cohen and drew 14,909 fans, 6th in the 8-team league. 24,418 fans came out (third in the league) in 1998 to see the team in the final Heartland League season. They went 35-39, but were home to several fine performances. Taulman (6-4, 3.12) pitched the first perfect game in modern independent league history. All-Stars were C Erik Metzger (.323), SS Angel Hermoso (.302), OF Keith Goodwin (.331, .522 SLG, 21 SB), left-handed pitcher Mark Clark and reliever Michael Danley. Jason Kinchen (.324, .711 SLG) was not an All-Star despite leading the league with 24 homers - and was somehow still chosen as MVP. The league and team folded after the year.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1994 44-24 1st Jim Gonzales none League Champs
1995 33-24 1st Jim Gonzales none League Champs
1996 32-27 1st Bob Hallas none League Champs
1997 31-40 6th Brad Cohen none
1998 35-39 3rd Bob Hallas none

Sources: 1996-1999 Baseball Almanacs