Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

1993-1995 Portsmouth Explorers

leave a comment

Portsmouth Explorers ProgramFrontier League (1993-1995)

Born: 1993 – Frontier League founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1995

Stadium: Branch Rickey Park

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Portsmouth Explorers were an independent professional baseball team in the small (pop. 20,000) Southern Ohio city of Portsmouth during the mid-1990’s.  The Explorers were one of eight original members of the Frontier League (1993-present), which is the oldest independent baseball league in the country at the time of this writing.

The Explorers finished in 7th place with a losing for three consecutive seasons from 1993 until 1995.  None of the men who played for the Explorers ever played in the Major Leagues.

The ball club ultimately could not sustain itself.  The Explorers averaged fewer than 1,000 fans per game in all three seasons they played.  Pro baseball has never returned to Portsmouth, Ohio since the Explorers disbanded in 1995.

 

==Downloads==

1993 Portsmouth Explorers Scorecard

 

==Links==

Frontier League Programs

##

Written by andycrossley

November 1st, 2014 at 8:33 pm

1988-1993 South Bend White Sox

leave a comment

South Bend White Sox ProgramMidwest League (1988-1993)

Born: 1986 – Midwest League expansion franchise.
Died:
1994 – Re-branded as the South Bend Silver Hawks.

Stadium: Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The South Bend White Sox were the Midwest League Class A farm club of the Chicago White Sox for six seasons from 1988 until 1993.  Located 90 miles southeast of Chicago’s Comiskey Park, the White Sox were South Bend’s first professional baseball team since 1954, when the South Bend Blue Sox of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League went of business.  The franchise was announced in the mid-1980’s and was years in development before its April 1988 debut. Construction of Coveleski Stadium to host the team took the better part of two years and original owner Bob Staley actually sold the ball club before the team finally took the field.

The White Sox went on to win Midwest League championships in 1989 and 1993.

Future Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk, 44 years old at the time, played one game for South Bend in 1992 on a rehab assignment from Chicago.  He hit a home run in his first minor league game since 1971.  Former Major Leaguer Terry Francona managed the 1992 South Bend squad.  He would later win two World Series championships (2003 & 2007) as skipper of the Boston Red Sox.

Following the 1993 season, the White Sox were re-branded as the South Bend Silver Hawks, in tribute to the Studebaker Silver Hawk automobiles that rolled off South Bend assembly lines from 1957 to 1959.  Despite the name change, the team remained a White Sox farm club for several more summers until 1997.  The South Bend franchise remains active in the Midwest League today and is currently known ast the South Bend Cubs.

 

==Links==

Midwest League Media Guides

Midwest League Programs

##

Written by andycrossley

November 1st, 2014 at 6:55 pm

1978-1981 Springfield Redbirds

leave a comment

Springfield Redbirds ProgramAmerican Association (1978-1981)

Born: 1978 – The New Orleans Pelicans relocate to Springfield, IL.
Died: November 11, 1981 – The Redbirds relocate to Louisville, KY.

Stadium: Lanphier Park

Team Colors:

Owner: A. Ray Smith

 

The Springfield Redbirds were a Class AAA farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals that played for four summers at Springfield, Illinois’ Lanphier Park.

Key future Major Leaguers who came through Springfield during this era included Leon Durham (1979-1980), Tom Herr (1978-1980), Terry Kennedy (1978-1979), Donnie Moore (1980-1981) and Ken Oberkfell (1978) among others.

The Redbirds won the 1980 championship of the American Association, with Hal Lanier as field manager.

Prior to the Redbirds final season in Springfield in 1981, team owner A. Ray Smith signed a six-year contract with the city of Springfield to lease Lanphier Park for $50,000 per season through 1986.  But at the end of that summer, smelling a sweeter deal in Louisville, Kentucky, Smith broke the lease and uprooted his club for the second time in five years.  The American Association owners voted 7-1 to allow the move in November 1981.  The city of Springfield responded with a lawsuit against Smith and the league in December.

Ultimately, Smith paid a six-figure settlement to the city of Springfield and was allowed to run off to Kentucky.  In Louisville, the Redbirds became one of the top minor league attractions of the 1980’s and the first minor league team to attract one million fans in a single season in 1983.  Springfield, meanwhile, received a Class A Midwest League farm club – the Springfield Cardinals – in 1982 to replace the departing Redbirds.  The Cardinals played from 1982 until 1993.

 

==Links==

American Association Media Guides

American Association Programs

##

Written by andycrossley

October 12th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

1977-1978 Calgary Cardinals

leave a comment

Calgary Cardinals ProgramPioneer League (1977-1978)

Born: 1977 – Pioneer League expansion franchise.
Died: September 1978 – The St. Louis Cardinals pull their farm club from Calgary.

Stadium: Foothills Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Russ Parker

 

The Calgary Cardinals were a short-lived farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals that played in the Rookie level Pioneer League in 1977 and 1978.  The Cards entered the Pioneer League in June 1977 as one of two expansion clubs in the 6-team loop, alongside the Medicine Hat A’s.  The ball club was founded by Russ Parker, a local baseball lover who made his money selling photocopiers.

Johnny Lewis, the Cards’ manager in 1977, was the first African-American field manager in the history of the Pioneer League dating back to 1939.

Following the 1978 season, the Montreal Expos replaced the Cardinals as Calgary’s parent club.  The club was known as the Calgary Expos from 1979 until 1984.  After the 1984 season, team owner Russ Parker purchased the Class AAA Salt Lake Gulls of the Pacific Coast League and brought the club north to Foothills Stadium, where it became the Calgary Cannons in 1985.  The Expos and the Pioneer League left town to make way for the higher-level Cannons and moved to Salt Lake, meaning the two cities effectively swapped franchises.

 

==Links==

Pioneer League Media Guides

Pioneer League Programs

##

 

Written by andycrossley

September 29th, 2014 at 12:40 am

2001 Baton Rouge Blue Marlins

leave a comment

Baton Rouge Blue MarlinsAll-American Association (2001)

Born: 2001 – All-American Association founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 2001 – The Blue Marlins cease operations.

Stadium: Pete Goldsby Park

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Baton Rouge Blue Marlins were a deeply obscure independent pro baseball team that played in the doomed All-American Association during the summer of 2001.  Both the ball club and the league itself  folded at the end of one season.

The All-American Association was a six-team loop with teams in Albany (GA), Montgomery (AL), Winchester (TN) and Fort Worth and Tyler (TX) besides the Baton Rouge club.  The Blue Marlins did manage to win the first and only championship of the league in 2001, defeating the Albany Alligators.

The Blue Marlins were a flop at the box office, drawing just 16,616 fans for 36 home dates at Pete Goldsby Park.

Following the 2001 season, the All-American Association split apart, with two teams folding and the Texas clubs joining the independent Central League.  Baton Rouge and Montgomery joined the new Southeastern League, with Baton Rouge changing its name to the River Bats prior to the 2002 season.

30-year old pitcher Rick Greene, who made one appearance for the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, was the only Blue Marlins player to ever appear in the Major Leagues.

 

##

Written by andycrossley

September 10th, 2014 at 1:46 pm