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Baseball in Clinton

The Co-op Pilots

The Tigers left Clinton after the 1975 season, leaving the Pilots without a Player Development Contract for the new season. Manager Bob Hartsfield, in his third summer as an MWL manager (the previous two under Giants contracts), led his motley flock to a 59-70 (.457) record, sixth-best in the ten team league. The Pilots finished the first half 28-63 (.438), then improved to 31-34 (.477) in the second; both half-season records were good for fourth place in the 5-team Southern Division.

Hartsfield had some talent to work with. Center fielder Gene Quirk and shortstop Tim Doerr both started in the mid-season All-Star game (as leadoff and cleanup hitters, no less), and pitcher Kent Hunziker also appeared in the game. Doerr was a post-season All-Star selection, as well. Willie Mueller, who split the 1976 season between Clinton and Burlington, would make a half-dozen relief appearances for Milwaukee before he retired. Julian Ditto contributed a good, solid season which included a .281 batting average, 34 steals, 71 RBI, and 75 runs scored; he also helped coach the team.

Hartsfield would manage in the Cubs organization for the next few summers, then move to Houston's system for the rest of his career.


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Clinton, Iowa
Overview
Roster
Details
Highlights
Tidbits
1976 Pilots
Ballpark
MWL Fan's Guide

Not a bad season for the fans, all considered. There were guys to watch, and the team had a chance to win every night....


Roster

Where'd they come from? Here's a list, sorted by big league team:

California Angels (2)
 Bob Starks*
 Malvin Washington
Chicago White Sox (5)
 Phil Bauer
 Kent Hunziker
 Tim King
 Silvano Robles*
 Phil Trucks*
Cleveland Indians (2)
 Mike Vaughn
 Lawrence Walbring
Detroit Tigers (6)
 Ken Bolek
 George Davis
 Mike Elders
 Greg Kline
 Paul Vavruska
Milwaukee Brewers (2)
 Miguel Garcia
 Willie Mueller*
Minnesota Twins (1)
 Al DiPietro*
Texas Rangers (3)
 Bob Buford
 Freeman Evans
 Kerry Getter
Atlanta Braves (2)
 Leland Byrd
 Don Fletcher
Chicago Cubs (3)
 Denzil Palmer
 Jack Uhey
 Dave Wood
Cincinnati Reds (3)
 J. Dave Burress
 Tim Doerr
 Steve Reed
Los Angeles Dodgers (5)
 Mike Bigusiak
 Tom Carlson*
 Julian Ditto
 Juan Gonzalez*
 Jacky Parish*
New York Mets (2)
 Gene Quirk
 Ward Wilson
Not Known (6)
 Pompelio Fermin
 Joe Johnson

*These players appeared on two MWL rosters in 1976.


Notes

This Tidbit was prompted by a discussion of this team on the MWL mailing list.

My thanks to Julian Ditto for a note identifying several of the players' affiliations.

My research began with Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Players Database, where I determined Clinton's 1976 roster and where those players were assigned in 1975 and 1977. I used that information to draw conclusions about who owned each player's contract; those conclusions are reflected above. The "unknowns" either only played in 1976 or switched organizations between 1975 and 1977.


This summary originated as the July 29, 2001, Midwest League Tidbit on the Midwest League Mailing List.




The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

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