Jason Kubel

Joe Mauer 2002 River Bandits

Joe Mauer’s 2002 Season With the River Bandits

Joe Mauer short bio Quad Cities River Banits Minnesota Twins

Mauer’s short bio in the 2002 program

Here are some pictures I scanned from the Quad Cities River Bandits 2002 Program. There was an article in it featuring Joe Mauer, who had been selected as the #1 overall pick in the 2001 draft. Mauer played the full season with the River Bandits, and did really well overall. He played 110 games, and hit .302 with 23 doubles and 4 HR in 476 plate appearances. He was only 19 years old that season.

I saw Mauer play at least 4 games that season (I have ticket stubs for 4 games at least). Those games were on May 10, June 8, July 3 and July 15. Mauer did great in these games, as you’d expect. In those games he went 7 for 14 with 3 walks. I saw his homer on June 8, and I do vaguely remember it. He also had 1 double, 5RBI and 2R. I also saw Jason Kubel homer in that May 10 game, but I can’t say I remember that. Mauer had a key walk in this wild game I blogged about earlier where Dontrelle Willis started for Kane County.

Below are some more scans from the 2002 program. I scanned in Jason Kubel’s short bio. The program also contained an article profiling Mauer, talking about how he was drafted, his pedigree and how he did in rookie ball the year before. Expectations were pretty high, but he obviously lived up to them.

Jason Kubel short bio Quad Cities River Banits Minnesota Twins

Jason Kubel’s short bio in the 2002 program

Joe Mauer profile Quad Cities River Banits Minnesota Twins

Page 1 of the profile article on Joe Mauer (click for larger)

Joe Mauer profile Quad Cities River Banits Minnesota Twins

Page 2 of the profile article on Joe Mauer (click for larger)

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Yadier Molina Peoria Chiefs

There Was An Ugly Bench-Clearing Brawl In The Midwest League 13 Years Ago Today

On May 10, 2002 the Peoria Chiefs visited John O’Donnell Stadium to play the River Bandits. The River Bandits were trailing 6-3 going into the bottom 8th inning, and they rallied for 4 runs to win the game 7-6. The outcome however was overshadowed by an ugly bench-clearing brawl in the 7th inning. This is still the ugliest brawl I’ve ever seen. Players of note that were involved in this were Yadier Molina, Chris Duncan, Joe Mauer, and Jason Kubel. These videos were not shot by me. I downloaded them several years ago from a web site and put them on Youtube in 2007 (there is no audio). Part 2 shows the worst of it:

According to this old article, Chris Duncan slid into Joe Mauer on a play at the plate in the 3rd inning, and the Bandits felt he slid in too hard. Duncan’s next time at the plate, the Bandits threw several inside pitches at him, but did not hit him and he drew a walk. In the 7th inning, Travis Bowyer hit him in the back with a pitch. Bowyer was immediately ejected, and players started to come onto the field. Here is what the Quad City Times article said about it:

Players fought for almost 10 minutes before umpires, coaches and Bandits front-office staff could separate everybody.

A number of players suffered hand and arm injuries. Several also had cuts on their faces.
A fan also was struck in the face by a ball that was thrown off the field and bounced off a dugout.

Quad-City infielder Brett Tamburrino fell during the melee and quickly found himself under a pile of Peoria players.

A tape of the incident shot by fan Marvin Fussell of Bettendorf appears to show Peoria starting pitcher Mike Wodnickin kicking Tamburrino in the face.

Wodnickin, whose face shows up several times on the tape, returned to the mound in the seventh inning before being removed from the game.

Chiefs catcher Yadier Molina, who was ejected, is also seen beating on players.

I was sitting right on the first base side only a few rows behind the dugout. Some of this fight happened within like 15 feet of me. Some kid who had been playing catch with a ball behind the stands on the 3rd base side is the person who threw the ball towards the Peoria dugout. I don’t know who he was, but he was never caught. His throw missed, and instead it bounced on the dugout and hit that fan. This just added to the chaos.

There was a lot of fallout from this incident. River Bandits owner Kevin Krause worried it would damage the image of his team. Brett Tamburrino suffered a concussion and Digno Torres was also injured. The fan that was hit in the head was in the hospital for at least a few days. In the end, 12 players ended up getting fines and suspensions:

Sandoval received an eight-game suspension and was removed from a list of candidates for consideration for the Midwest League All-Star Game for throwing a helmet that broke the nose of Peoria first baseman Chris Duncan during a fight that lasted 10 minutes. Sandoval also was fined $500.

Molina and Wodnicki each were suspended for four games and fined $300.

Quad-City pitcher Travis Bowyer, who threw a pitch that hit Duncan to ignite the altercation, was given a three-game suspension, as were pitcher J.C. Contreras and infielder Jesus Merchan. Each was fined $200.

Peoria’s Jordan Robison, Gabe Johnson and Duncan all were suspended three games and fined $200.

Quad-City manager Jeff Carter and pitching coach Gary Lucas and Chiefs manager Danny Sheaffer were suspended for two games and fined.

Jason Kubel Quad Cities River Bandits card

August 16, 2002: South Bend Silver Hawks @ Quad Cities River Bandits

I’m continuing to get my oldest stuff out here first. I have this scorecard from August 16, 2002. The River Bandits beat the Silver Hawks 3-2. It was a fairly uneventful game but it did feature these five future MLB players:

Garrett Jones

Sadly, I can’t say I recall this game. It’s unfortunate, because all 5 of the future MLB players did well in this game.
The Silver Hawks scored a run the second inning. Dan Callahan and Jay Garthwaite both singled. Then with two outs Rick Haydel hit a double. Callahan scored but Garthwaite was thrown out at the plate on a relay from the left fielder to the third baseman to Mauer for the tag. The River Bandits tied it at 1 on a home run by Garrett Jones in the bottom of the third. The Silver Hawks took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning when Jay Garhwaite doubled and then Dan Uggla tripled. The River Bandits would take a 3-2 lead in the 6th. Joe Mauer drew a walk, and then two batters later Jason Kubel hit a 2 run home run. Jesse Crain would close out the win for the Bandits, striking out the side in the 9th for the save, his first that season.
South Bend Silver Hawks Quad City River Bandits ScorecardSouth Bend Silver Hawks Quad City River Bandits Scorecard
Dontrelle Willis Kane County Cougars card

Kane County Cougars @ Quad City River Bandits July 15, 2002

Joe Mauer River Bandits

This was a very eventful game, as you can see by the scorecard (see pictures at bottom). The River Bandits‘ catcher was Joe Mauer, and his brother Jake Mauer played 2B. I think you probably know where Joe Mauer ended up, but his brother Jake is now the manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Future MLB players Garrett Jones and Jason Kubel were in the lineup at 1B and RF, respecitvely. Jason Miller was the starting pitcher for the Bandits. He did make it to the big leagues, but only appeared in 4 games, throwing 4 innings. It didn’t go well. The only future MLB player for the Cougars was their starting pitcher, Dontrelle Willis. I have to say when I found this old scorecard it was pretty cool to see his name on there.

Dontrelle Willis Kane County Cougars

I can barely remember much from this game since it was so long ago now. I do remember Willis getting one strikeout (he had 5). But the main thing I remember from this game was the crazy rally the River Bandits had. Heading into the bottom of the 7th, they were down 6-3 after the Cougars hit two home runs in the top. The Bandits got the two runs back in the bottom of the 7th to make it 6-5. It stayed that way until the bottom of the 9th. Jake Mauer got a leadoff single. The next two batters struck out. Joe Mauer drew a walk and finally Michael Sandoval got a bloop single to tie it. I can’t say I remember all that, but I do recall the bloop single clearly. After a scoreless top of the 10th, In the bottom of the 10th, Matt Abram led off with a double. The next batter got on base on a fielder’s choice that failed to get Abram at third. An intentional walk loaded the bases before James Tomlin hit a game-winning single.

This was one of the first games I attended after moving back to the Quad Cities and it got me hooked. It was also my wife’s birthday, although at that time we were still almost 2 years from getting married. Being on a Monday there was not a lot to do, so we went to the game. I remember sitting on the benches in the old stadium on the third base side. It was not a big crowd but I had fun talking with some of the people near me as I kept score. I may have had a beer or two that night, even though it was a Monday.