2002 Season

The league continued with 12 teams in a head-to-head in a 144-game schedule for the 10th year of the LFBL. One team left and one team was added: The Utah MadDogzz (Matthew Thompson) called it quits after 7 years and the Rexburg Rebels were added (Kyle Gilbert- previously participated in league from 1996-98 and won league championship in 1997). The four divisions were again divided geographically and named by area. The Seattle Sluggers (Alan Thompson) had the best record in the league for the second year in a row, but this year by only 5 games – as the league was very balanced. All 8 playoff teams won only just over 70 games and only Seattle won over 80 games. Division winners were: Seattle Sluggers (Alan Thompson) with the Northwest division crown – their 8thappearance in the playoffs and 4th division title. Harbor Park won the West division (7th division title and 7th playoff appearance) by coming from 7 games back in the final two weeks of the season. While they had the same record as second place Rexburg, they won the division by virtue of a better head-to-head record (12-6). The Salem Sidewinders (Bob Stutz) won the Mountain division (7th crown) to reach the playoffs for the 9th time. Wisconsin Blizzard won the East division title crown (1st division title) by just one game when they beat second place Michigan in a rain make up game. Wild Card teams included: Fern Hill (Craig Quigley-5th wild card and 6th playoff appearance in 7 tries), Rexburg Rebels (Kyle Gilbert), Santaquin Polar Bears (Scott Quigley) and Michigan Mobsters (Mark Hinkson). Tip O’Neill (Fern Hill) and Josh Gibson (Salem) shared All-Star game MVP honors as the Northwest/Mountain All-Stars beat the East/West All-stars 9-5. In the playoffs, again only one wild card team made it out of the quarter finals, Michigan, as they beat #3 seed Salem 4-3 games on a tenth inning homerun. That set up a semi-final matchup of #1 seed Seattle vs. #6 seed Michigan and #2 seed Wisconsin vs. #4 seed Harbor Park. Seattle easily handled Michigan 4-1 games to advance to the championship for the second year in a row and Wisconsin bested Harbor Park 4-2 games to set up the Championship. #1 seed Seattle, ended their ten year drought by winning their first championship 4-2 games, despite being out-scored and out-hit. The win was also the first for a #1 seed since 1995 and meant Wisconsin became the 4th team to loose twice in the league championship (others being Dodgeville, Harbor Park and Seattle).

MVP – Barry Bonds (Wisconsin), Cy Young – George Bradley (Fern Hill), and Most Valuable Relief Pitcher – Dennis Eckersley (Wisconsin). Eckersley won for the 5th time and third year in a row. Manager of the Years as voted by league Managers: Alan Thompson (Seattle Sluggers).