Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1957-1961 Victoria Rosebuds

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Victoria RosebudsBig State League (1957)
Texas League (1958-1961)

Born: 1957 – Re-branded from Victoria Eagles
Moved: May 26, 1961 (Ardmore Rosebuds)

Stadium: Riverside Stadium

Major League Affiliations: 

  • 1957: Brooklyn Dodgers
  • 1958-1959: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 1960: Detroit Tigers
  • 1961: Baltimore Orioles

Owner: Tom O’Connor

Big State League Champions: 1957
Texas League Championships: None

 

The Victoria Rosebuds of the late 1950’s/early 60’s were a minor league outfit in southeastern Texas. The Rosebuds moniker was used though much of the first half of the 20th century to refer to the segregated city’s white amateur baseball teams. In 1957 Victoria’s Brooklyn Dodgers farm club in the Class B Big State League adopted the Rosebuds name. But the Big State League was on its last legs that summer. The circuit started the season with just six clubs and finished with only four. Victoria won the league’s final championship and then helped to seal the loop’s doom by defecting to the Class AA Texas League after the season.

Owner Tom O’Connor purchased the Shreveport Sports of the Texas League during the winter of 1957-58.  As part of the ramp up to the higher level Texas League, Victoria’s tiny Riverside Stadium got a makeover and expansion from 2,000 to 5,000 seats.  The Rosebuds also got much better prospects from their now-Los Angeles Dodgers parent club. Future Major League stars Tommy David and Frank Howard worked their way the minor league ladder in Victoria. Howard bashed 27 homers for Victoria in 1959. A lesser known future Major Leaguer, outfielder Carl Warwick, hit .331 with 35 home runs and 129 runs scored for Victoria and earned Texas League MVP honors that summer.

The Dodgers with drew their partnership after the 1959 season. The Detroit Tigers stocked Victoria’s roster in 1960 and installed Johnny Pesky as field manager. The Baltimore Orioles replaced the Tigers in 1961, but the Rosebuds spent less than two months in Victoria that summer.  On May 26, 1961 the team shifted in midseason to Ardmore, Oklahoma and finished out the season there as the Ardmore Rosebuds.  Weirdly, the Texas League’s Rio Grande Valley Giants promptly moved to Victoria and played out the rest of the 1961 campaign at Riverside Stadium as the Victoria Giants.

After a 13 year absence, the Texas League came back to Victoria for one summer in 1974 with the Victoria Toros club. A pair of independent teams – the Victoria Cowboys (1976) and a new version of the Victoria Rosebuds (1977) – made brief cameos at Riverside Stadium in the mid-70’s. The demise of the 1977-edition Rosebuds marked the end of the pro baseball era in Victoria, Texas.

 

Links

Big State League Programs

Texas League Media Guides

Texas League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

August 15th, 2017 at 7:40 pm

1964-1983 Wisconsin Rapids Twins

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Wisconsin Rapids TwinsMidwest League (1964-1983)

Born: 1964: Re-branded from Wisconsin-Rapids Senators
Moved: 1984 (Kenosha Twins)

Stadium: Witter Field

Major League Affiliation: Minnesota Twins

Owners: Paper Cities Baseball Association

Midwest League Champions: 1973

 

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Wisconsin Rapids Twins Memorabilia

 

Links

Midwest League Media Guides

Midwest League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

August 14th, 2017 at 9:37 pm

1972-1977 Tacoma Twins

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Tacoma TwinsPacific Coast League (1972-1977)

Born: 1972 – Affiliation change from Tacoma Cubs
Affiliation Change: 1978 (Tacoma Yankees)

Stadium: Cheney Stadium

Major League Affiliation: Minnesota Twins

Owners: Tacoma Baseball, Inc.

Pacific Coast League Championships: None

 

The Tacoma Twins were the top farm club of the Minnesota Twins for six seasons in the mid-1970’s.

The Tacoma teams of the Twins era produced many future Major Leaguers, but few of much renown. The best of the bunch were catcher Rick Dempsey (Twins ’72) and outfield Lyman Bostock (Twins ’74’-75).  Dempsey played 24 seasons in the majors and earned Most Valuable Player honors for the 1983 World Series as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Bostock seemed destined for stardom until his shocking and senseless murder in September 1978.

Perhaps the Tacoma Twins best player, by Class AAA standards, was hard-hitting first baseman Randy Bass (Twins ’75-’77). Over the course of three summers in Tacoma, Bass slugged 64 home runs. Bass’ Major League career never really took off. But he became the most feared hitter in Japan after signing with the Hanshin Tigers of Central League in 1983. Bass won back-to-back Japanese Triple Crowns in 1985 and 1986.

During the summer of 1976, the Twins local ownership group flirted with professional soccer. Tacoma Baseball, Inc. partnered with future Washington governor Booth Gardner to form the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League. The Tides shared Cheney Stadium with the Twins during the bicentennial summer, but folded after only one season of play.

The Twins era in Tacoma came to an end in 1978 with a parent club shift to the New York Yankees.

 

Tacoma Twins Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Outfielder Lyman Bostock (Twins ’74-’75) was shot to death in a case of mistaken identity in his hometown of Gary, Indiana on September 23, 1978 at the age of 27.

 

Links

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

August 14th, 2017 at 7:51 pm

1993-2007 Ottawa Lynx

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Ottawa LynxInternational League (1993-1997)

Born: 1993 – International League expansion franchise
Move Announced: August 28, 2006 (Lehigh Valley IronPigs)
Final Game in Ottawa: September 3, 2007

Stadium: JetForm Park

Major League Affiliations:

  • 1993-2002: Montreal Expos
  • 2003-2006: Baltimore Orioles
  • 2007: Philadelphia Phillies

Owners:

Governors’ Cup Champions: 1995

 

Text coming soon…

 

Ottawa Lynx Memorabilia

 

Ottawa Lynx Video

Rob Sinclair of TSN reports on the Lynx’ debut in Ottawa in 1993.

 

Links

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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1970-1971 Winnipeg Whips

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1971 Winnipeg Whips ProgramInternational League (1970-1971)

Born: June 11, 1970 – The Buffalo Bisons relocate to Winnipeg
Moved: November 23, 1971 (Peninsula Whips)

Stadium: Winnipeg Stadium

Major League Affiliation: Montreal Expos

Owner: Montreal Expos

International League Championships: None

 

The Winnipeg Whips were an ill-conceived Class AAA farm club of the Montreal Expos that lasted for just one-and-a-half summers in Manitoba.

The Whips originated as the Buffalo Bisons of the International League (IL). The Bisons traced their history back to the late 19th century and were a fixture in the IL since 1912. But by the end of the 1960’s, the Bisons and their home field of War Memorial Stadium were in a state of terminal decomposition. Riots came to the city’s East Side in 1967. The decrepit condition of the War Memorial caused the Bisons to play much of their home schedule at Niagara Fall’s Hyde Park Stadium during the late 60’s. Armed invaders stormed the War Memorial clubhouse in July 1969 causing the cancellation of a game. Bisons’ local ownership grew demoralized after plans for a domed stadium and a Major League expansion bid failed in 1968. Attendance dwindled to fewer than 1,000 fans per game by 1970.

In June 1970, the Bisons’ new Major League parent club, the Montreal Expos, gave up on Buffalo. 38 games into the 1970 schedule, the Expos moved their farm club to Winnipeg Stadium. Manitoba was a decidedly odd choice for an IL franchise. The rest of the league played in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Re-named the “Whips”, the Winnipeg ball club’s closest opponent was the Louisville Colonels, 982 miles away in Kentucky.

The Expos hoped that the Whips would be re-assigned to the Class AAA American Association for the 1971 season. The American Association was only a marginally better geographic fit, with teams in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. In any event, the re-alignment never happened and Winnipeg ended up back in the IL for the 1971 season.

The Whips finished dead last in the 8-team circuit with a 44-96 in 1971. Future Major League stars Steve Rogers and Mike Torrez featured on the Whip’s pitching staff. 1971 would prove to be the Whips only full season in Winnipeg.

The Expos announced the club would move to Hampton, Virginia in November 1971.  The franchise played two more seasons in Virginia as the Peninsula Whips before folding. Winnipeg went without pro baseball for more than two decades until the formation of the independent Winnipeg Goldeyes in 1994.

 

Links

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

August 12th, 2017 at 12:16 pm

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