By Zane Miller
In the 71-season long history of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the team has gone 4 for 8 in championship finals appearances, to go along with making 29 postseason appearances in total. As of this writing, Cedar Rapids’ best regular season record came in 1966 at 81-40, while their worst came in 1975 at 41-87. These are the top five single seasons by starting pitchers that I felt have stood out the most during the team history of the Kernels.
In total, the team has won four championships, coming in 1958, 1988, 1992, and 1994. The Kernels were previously known as the Cedar Rapids Rockets in 1949, before becoming the Cedar Rapids Indians from 1950 to 1954, then being named the Cedar Rapids Raiders from 1955 to 1957. The team followed this by renaming to the Cedar Rapids Braves from 1958 to 1961, then changing to the Cedar Rapids Red Raiders from 1962 to 1964, then becoming the Cedar Rapids Cardinals from 1965 to 1972, followed by becoming the Cedar Rapids Astros from 1973 to 1974. The team then became the Cedar Rapids Giants from 1975 to 1979, before becoming the Cedar Rapids Reds from 1980 to 1992.
5. Mike Knox (1983)
Knox went 16-5 during the 1983 season with the Reds, pitching 158 and two thirds innings while giving up 12 home runs, 48 earned runs and 152 hits for a 2.72 ERA. Cedar Rapids claimed a 76-64 record to reach the 1983 playoffs, before losing to the Springfield Cardinals two games to none in the first round.
4. Butch Henry (1988)
The 388th overall pick of the 1987 draft out of Eastwood High School in Texas by the Cincinnati Reds pitched to a 16-2 record with Cedar Rapids in 1988, going 187 innings with 14 home runs, 47 earned runs and 144 hits allowed, taking a 2.26 ERA. The Reds went 87-53 to qualify for the 1988 playoffs, defeating the Springfield Cardinals two games to none in the first round, before taking down the Kenosha Twins three games to one in the finals to win their second championship in franchise history. Henry would make his major league debut in 1992 with the Houston Astros.
3. Bill Holmes (1961)
Holmes earned an 18-4 record with the Braves in the 1961 season, pitching a total of 200 innings, giving up 10 home runs, 49 earned runs and 168 hits to claim a 2.20 ERA. Cedar Rapids took a 73-57 record on the year, finishing second in the standings behind the Topeka Reds at 79-50.
2. Ray Petrzelka (1950)
Petrzelka picked up a 16-7 record with the Indians in 1950, courtesy of 204 innings pitched along with giving up just eight home runs, 71 earned runs and 192 hits, taking an ERA of 3.13. However, Cedar Rapids finished with a 59-67 record, missing the 1950 playoffs.
1. Bob Coleman (1951)
Coleman nabbed a 17-8 record with the Indians during the 1951 season, going 240 innings while allowing 15 home runs, 74 earned runs and 237 hits for a 2.78 ERA. Cedar Rapids claimed a 64-66 record, qualifying for the 1951 playoffs despite their losing record. The team defeated the Evansville Braves three games to two in the first round, before losing to the Quincy Gems three games to two in the finals.
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