By Zane Miller
In the 60-season long history of the Quad Cities River Bandits, the team has gone 7 for 12 in championship finals appearances, to go along with making 29 postseason appearances in total. As of this writing, Quad Cities’ best regular season record came in 1992 at 91-46, while their worst came in 1987 at 47-91. These are the top five single seasons by starting pitchers that I felt have stood out the most during the team history of the River Bandits.
In total, the team has won seven championships, coming in 1968, 1971, 1979, 1990, 2011, 2013 and 2017. The team was previously known as the Davenport Braves in 1960 and the Quad Cities Braves in 1961, the Quad Cities Angels from 1962 to 1978 as well as from 1985 to 1991, after changing to the Quad Cities Cubs from 1979 to 1984. The team became the Quad Cities River Bandits for the first time from 1992 to 2003, then changing to become the Swing of the Quad Cities from 2004 to 2007, before taking the River Bandits name again in 2008.
5. Marcus Moore (1990)
The 429th overall pick of the 1988 draft out of John F. Kennedy High School in California by the California (now Los Angeles) Angels took a 16-5 record during the 1990 season with the Quad Cities Angels, going 160 and a third innings while allowing just six home runs, 59 earned runs and 150 hits, taking a 3.31 ERA. The Angels went 81-59 to qualify for the 1990 playoffs, sweeping the Cedar Rapids Reds two games to none in the first round before losing to the South Bend White Sox in the finals three games to one. Moore would make his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies in 1993.
4. Randy Clark (1979)
The 64th overall pick of the 1977 draft out of Point Loma High School in California by the Chicago Cubs claimed a 16-5 record in 1979 with the Quad Cities Cubs, as he went 171 innings while giving up only four home runs, 48 earned runs and 144 hits for a 2.53 ERA. The Cubs picked up a 77-56 record to make the 1979 playoffs, defeating the Clinton Dodgers two games to one in the first round, followed by taking down the Waterloo Indians two games to one in the finals, clinching the team’s third championship.
3. John Fritz (1992)
The 705th overall pick of the 1987 draft out of Beaver Falls High School in Pennsylvania by the Angels scored a 20-4 record in 1992 with the River Bandits, pitching 172 and a third innings with 10 home runs, 58 earned runs and 129 hits allowed to claim a 3.03 ERA. Quad Cities grabbed their best record, as of this writing, at 91-46 to go to the 1992 playoffs, although the team would be eliminated by the Cedar Rapids Reds two games to none in the first round. Fritz is also credited as the most recent MiLB pitcher to earn at least 20 wins in a season.
2. Ken Turner (1963)
After being signed as amateur free agent in 1962 by the Angels, Turner went 18-13 with Quad Cities in 1963, pitching 218 innings while giving up nine home runs, 68 earned runs and 180 hits, taking a 2.81 ERA in the process. The Angels finished the year at 66-57, coming in third in the final standings. Turner would make his major league debut with the Angels in 1967.
1. Tom Newton (1961)
Newton claimed a 20-7 record during the 1961 season with the Braves, as he went 228 innings with 15 home runs, 74 earned runs and 201 hits for a 2.92 ERA. Quad Cities fought to a 55-65 record, as they again finished in third in the final standings.
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