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Midwest League 1996

Kane County Cougars

Joel's Lugnut Summer


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This page profiles the 1996 Kane County Cougars, a Single-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins and a member of the Midwest League.


This essay previewed the last 1996 series between the Cougars and the Lansing Lugnuts. It was intended to highlight the team's strengths, and was written from the perspective of a Lugnuts fan.



Two home games hosting the Cougars, completing the set of four begun last week. Thursday's game will be televised on WLNS (Lansing Channel 6), and Friday's will have a can cooler giveaway.


The Cougars are affiliated with the Florida Marlins. The team is owned by a small partnership.

Cougar fan Jon Mielke [went inactive in 2005] and contractor FanLink [out of business] both support fine pages about this team; there's also a National Association page. There's a review of Elfstrom Stadium on Dustin Schubert's Single-A Ballparks page [also gone, and sorely missed].


The Cougar's manager is Lynn Jones. He's assisted by coaches Matt Winters and Brian Peterson.


MWL Fan's Guide

The Ballpark

Reserve your tickets in advance. This ballpark sells out.

Elfstrom Stadium is in suburban Chicago and would be famous for its large crowds if it weren't competing for attention with the Whitecaps. It's generally reported to be a nice but unexceptional ballpark; the attractions are that the team is near Chicago and the ownership believes in putting on a good show. People go to Elfstrom to have fun. The mascot, Ozzie T. Cougar, is very popular with the fans.

Elfstrom's outfield dimensions are 335-400-335. Stats Minor League Handbook claims it's fairly neutral; neither batters nor pitchers benefit by playing there.

Directions to the Stadium: I-88 to Farnsworth North exit in Aurora (about an hour west of Chicago's Loop). Go six and one half miles to Cherry Lane, and west on Cherry to the ballpark. Parking's $1.00; get there early.


The Team

All-Stars: Amaury Garcia (2B), Walter White (SS), Victor Hurtado (P), Shannon Stephens (P).

All stats quoted are thru Monday, July 22.

The Cougars are tied with Rockford and Beloit for the lead in the Central Division, 19-13 (.594). They've got good pitching and miserable hitting.

The team's mainly a mix of players who played with Elmira (25-51, 14th of 14 teams) or on the Marlins' Gulf Coast entry (40-16, 1st of 14) last season.

Although he's not played well as a professional, third baseman Josh Booty was the Marlins' first draft pick in 1994 and is still generally considered one of baseball's best prospects. Booty leads this team in homers and RBIs, so his season's not a total loss. Florida's first 1995 selection was outfielder Jaime Jones.

Second baseman Amaury Garcia is among the league's leaders in triples and steals; he gets lots of walks. First baseman Nate Rolison and outfielder Jaime Jones move the runners in. Other position players to watch are outfielders Joe Funaro and Randy Winn; DH Sommer McCartney, although he has relatively few at bats, looks like a threat.

Right-handed starter Vic Hurtado appears quite comparable to Blaine Mull. Starter Shannon Stephens is also having a very fine year. Reliever Gary Santoro has 9 saves and a good strikeout pitch. Lefties Travis Burgus and Michael Duvall have good control; they get lots of strikeouts.

This team strikes out a lot. Rolison, Jones, Booty, and outfielder Randy Winn all strike out about every third time up; Booty's K total is larger than Gary Coffee's.



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Overview


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.

Disclaimers:
This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.


Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.