Get to know the NoL - Schaumburg
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May 14, 2010 - In 1999, the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks relocated to Schaumburg, Illinois and the name Flyers was picked for the team’s nickname. Former Chicago White Sox slugger Ron Kittle would be named the first manager for the Flyers. In 1999, the Flyers clinch their first post-season appearance, winning the East Division first half title. August 19, 1999 was a historic day for Schaumburg, when Gino Caruso threw the first no-hitter in Flyers history against Sioux City. Twelve days later, centerfielder Brian Ralph becomes the first Flyer to hit for the cycle and would be named the Northern League Central Rookie of the Year. Schaumburg qualified for the playoffs in its inaugural season, but got swept by Fargo-Moorhead in the first round of the playoffs. Harry Berrios highlighted the 2000 season in Schaumburg, when he hit four home runs in one game, a feat tied later in the summer. Meanwhile, in the final home game of 2000, Mike Trahan lived up to the utility name, appearing at all nine positions at some point during the game.

In the off-season, the Flyers signed former Major League catcher Matt Nokes, who put up one of the best offensive seasons in Flyers history, hitting .354, 16 home runs, and 69 RBI. Billy Coleman highlighted the pitching staff setting four team single season records en route to winning Northern League Central Rookie Pitcher of the Year. 2002 saw more firsts in Flyers history, starting with the first triple play when second baseman Jeremy Smith snagged a line drive and started the triple play. Later in the summer, the Milwaukee Brewers called up Outfielder Jim Rushford and he debuts at Wrigley Field on September 2, becoming the first Flyers alumni to play major league ball. Dusty Keppen would become the second consecutive Flyers pitcher to win the NL-Central Rookie Pitcher of the Year. August 27, 2003 was a celebratory day; the Flyers beat St. Paul and reach the playoffs for the second time in team history. September 2, 2003, Schaumburg would win Game 1 of the best of five series in Fargo for the first playoff victory in franchise history. The Flyers would win Game 4 to force a decisive final game, where they could not hold an early 3-0 lead, and fell to Fargo-Moorhead 10-3.

After the wild card run in 2003, the Flyers came back in 2004 to win the division title, their first since 1999. After clinching the first half division title, Hank Woodman would re-write the Flyers record book striking out 16 Winnipeg batters, breaking the old mark of 12. Two other Flyers set single season league records in 2004. Mario Delgado drove in his 104th RBI and the next day Geoff McCallum singled to set the new league mark for hits in a season. Schaumburg faced Kansas City in the first round of the playoffs. After trailing two games to one, Schaumburg rallied to win the series in five games, it was the first post-season series win in franchise history. Schaumburg got within one strike of their first championship, before St. Paul rallied to win the decisive final game. Delgado would win the NL MVP, and manager Andy McCauley was named NL Manager of the Year, both awards were given to Flyers players for the first time in team history.

More Flyers would set franchise marks in 2005. McCauley broke the franchise mark for wins by a manager, Closer Nate Cotton would set the club’s single season saves mark (11), and first baseman/designated hitter Justin Hendrickson set a new club record for home runs in a single season with 28, and became the first Flyer to win a league home run title. Schaumburg flew out the gates in 2006, after losing the opener; they won a team record eight consecutive games propelling them to a first half division title. During the 2006 season, southpaw Matt Schweitzer was dominant, not allowing a run for 27 consecutive innings, a team record. Cotton broke his own record for saves in a season by collecting 17. The Flyers returned to the playoffs for the third time in four years, but would lose to Gary in five games.

To begin 2007, the Flyers signed a new manager, Steve Maddock, replacing McCauley. Highlighting the 2007 season, was the fact that two Flyers pitchers were signed by the Florida Marlins organization and sent to play AA ball. 2008 began with another former Flyer making his mark in the big leagues when pitcher Alberto Castillo debuts for the Baltimore Orioles, and actually records the win against the White Sox. Later in the season, Brad Zeigler, makes his major league debut for the Oakland Athletics throwing a scoreless inning against Texas, and would start his career with 39.1 consecutive scoreless inning, a major league record to start a career. Another former Flyer, RJ Swindle, would also make his major league pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in a game against the New York Mets. Two Flyers won major post-season awards in 2009, Cephas Howard was named Northern League Rookie Pitcher of the Year, and shortstop Travis Brown was named Defensive Player of the Year. Both those players helped Schaumburg increase their win total from 2008 by 13, a league best and that feat did not go unnoticed as Schaumburg’s Alexanian Field had the biggest attendance increase in 2009.


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