Reno Chukars

From BR Bullpen

Reno chukars.gif

The Reno Chukars joined the independent Western Baseball League in 1996. The team from Reno, NV won the first-half northern division title (24-21); they had the same record in the second half but finished a game behind the Tri-City Posse. The team drew 52,113 fans. Manager of the Year Butch Hughes had just one All-Star on his squad - catcher Carl Nichols (.317, .579 slugging, tied for second with 20 HR, second with 29 doubles, 5th in slugging, league-leading 89 RBI). Roy Miller (.344, .583 slugging) and Tim Cooper (.331, .551 slugging) were among 3 players in the league with 10 triples. Reno was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

Reno won the first-half title again in 1997 and tied for the best record in the second half (25-20). They lost the tie-breaker for the second-half title, but won the divisional playoff before falling to the Chico Heat in the finals. Hughes' club drew just 49,294 fans, second-fewest in the league. All-Stars included pitcher Brian Doughty (11-3, 4.68), third baseman Andy Tarpley (.404/.499/.666, first in the league in OBP and in runs {92} and extra-base hits {48}, tied for the lead with 28 doubles, second with 128 hits and 82 RBI and second in average and third in slugging) and DH Todd Takayoshi (the MVP hit .407/.490/.593 and led in average, RBI {88} and hits {137}, tied Tarpley for the doubles lead, was second with 88 runs and in OBP). OF Brent Jenkins (.400/.486/.717) was third in average and OBP and led in slugging.

The Chukars won their third straight first-half title (25-20) in '98 but went just 20-25 in the second half and fell in the divisional playoff. They led the league in runs (662) but had the highest ERA (5.91) (sounds like a case of a strong offensive-favoring park to me). Dee Dowler was third in the league in average (.389) and steals (37) and Takayoshi was fourth in OBP (.440) but Jenkins was the sole All-Star as he hit .361/.449/.630, tied for second in the league with 23 homers, was second in OBP and fourth in slugging.

In 1999 the club was replaced by the Reno BlackJacks.

Source: "The Western League" by W.C. Madden and Patrick Stewart

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year League Affiliation Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1996 Western Baseball League none 48-42 1st North Division Butch Hughes lost to Tri-City 0-2 in semifinals
1997 Western Baseball League none 55-35 1st North Division Butch Hughes lost to Chico 1-3 in championship
1998 Western Baseball League none 45-45 1st North Division Butch Hughes lost to Western 1-3 in semifinals