Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘International League’ Category

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

1952-1954 Ottawa Athletics

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1954 Ottawa Athletics ProgramInternational League (1952-1954)

Born: 1952 – Affiliation change from Ottawa Giatnts
Moved: January 1955 (Columbus Jets)

Stadium: Lansdowne Park

Major League Affiliation: Philadelphia Athletics

Owner:

Governors Cup Championships: None

 

The Ottawa Athletics were the Class AAA farm club of the Philadelphia Athletics for three summers in the early 1950’s. The A’s played three losing seasons at Lansdowne Park before departing for Columbus, Ohio.

Following the A’s departure in January 1955, Ottawa went without pro baseball for 39 years until the formation of the Ottawa Lynx in 1993.

 

In Memoriam

Hal Bevan (Athletics ’54) died of a kidney infection at the age of 37 on October 5th, 1968.

Luke Easter (Athletics ’54) was shot and killed in armed robbery on March 29, 1979. Easter was 63.

 

Links

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

March 11th, 2017 at 4:24 am

1972-1973 Peninsula Whips

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Peninsula Whips ProgramInternational League (1972-1973)

Born: November 23, 1971 – The Winnipeg Whips relocate to Hampton, VA.
Died:  September 1973

Stadium: War Memorial Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Peninsula Whips were a minor league baseball team out of Hampton, Virginia that served as the top farm club of the Montreal Expos in 1972 and 1973.  Hampton hosted minor league baseball nearly every season from 1963 through 1992, but typically in the Class A Carolina League.  The two-year run of the Whips in the early 70’s marked the only time that Hampton had a Class AAA ball club, just one step below the Major Leagues.

Top Whips players included pitcher Steve Rogers (’72 & ’73) and catcher Gary Carter (’73).  Rogers went on to 5 All-Star selections with Expos.  Carter, who played just 8 games for the Whips in 1973, was an 11-time National League All-Star who earned induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

During the 1973 season, the Peninsula Whips drew just 48,680 fans for 70-odd home dates.  In September of that year the Expos pulled out of Virginia and shifted their Class AAA operation to Memphis, Tennessee, where that city’s Class AA club drew 113,425 in 1973 .

Hampton/Newport News wound up back to the Carolina League in 1974 with a lowly Class A co-op team known as the Peninsula Pennants.

 

==Links==

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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Written by AC

May 23rd, 2015 at 9:55 pm

1961 San Juan Marlins / Charleston Marlins

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Charleston MarlinsInternational League (1961)

Born: November 28, 1960 – The Miami Marlins relocate to San Juan, PR.
Moved: October 8, 1961 (Atlanta Crackers)

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner: Bill MacDonald

 

So how, exactly, did the capital of West Virginia end up with a minor league baseball team named for a tropical saltwater sport fish for a few short months in the summer of 1961?

At the dawn of the 1960’s, a colorful, corpulent South Florida multi-millionaire named Bill MacDonald bought the forlorn Miami Marlins of the Class AAA International League.  The Marlins were the top farm club of the Baltimore Orioles at the time.  MacDonald was a sportsman – he owned a stud farm, a share of the Tropical Park race track and he would later promote the first Sonny Liston-Cassius Clay fight in Miami.  The Marlins were rather unloved in Miami.  A particular sore point for MacDonald was the team’s lack of a profitable local radio deal.

After one summer at the helm in Miami, Bill MacDonald announce a scheme to move the Marlins to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where a lucrative radio contract beckoned.  The International League approved the shift in late November 1960.  It was a decision that MacDonald’s fellow I.L. owners would soon come to regret.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles transferred their Class AAA farm club to Rochester, New York and the Marlins became an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals stocked San Juan with several top prospects, including 19-year old catcher Tim McCarver, slick fielding shortstop Dal Maxvill and pitching ace Ray Washburn (16-9, 2.34).  All three would go on to spend most of the next decade in St. Louis.

The San Juan Marlins opened on April 17, 1961 against the Toronto Maple Leafs before 6,627 fans at Sixto Escobar Stadium.  Mark Tomasik at the St. Louis Cardinals blog Retrosimba notes that it was also opening night of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Not the most auspicious start to the I.L.’s latest Caribbean adventure.

Rival I.L. clubs immediately began complaining about high travel costs to San Juan.  Barely two weeks into the season, the league reversed course and demanded that Bill MacDonald return his team to the mainland.  The promoter balked at first, though Marlins attendance in San Juan plummeted following the promising opening night gate.  After 15 home dates, Marlins attendance in San Juan totaled only 25,759 fans.  MacDonald finally capitulated on May 17, 1961 after just one month in Puerto Rico.  But rather than try to make peace with Miami, MacDonald took his ball club all the way to Charleston, West Virginia.

Charleston’s long-running Class AAA team, the Charleston Senators, went under five months earlier.  The city was eager to get pro baseball back and offered MacDonald a $1.00 lease on Watt Powell Park.  The Charleston Marlins debuted in West Virginia on May 18, 1961, beating the Jersey City Jerseys (yes, their real name) in front of 3,608 locals.

The Marlins were strong ball club under field manager Joe Schultz, finishing 88-66.  But Charleston was still one of the smallest AAA cities in the country.  MacDonald wasted little time leaving town following the season.  On October 8, 1961, MacDonald moved his team to Atlanta, where the franchise became the Atlanta Crackers (1962-1965).

The International League has never returned to the Caribbean.

 

==Links==

The Many Faces of Mr. Mac“, Gilbert Rogin, Sports Illustrated, February 17, 1964

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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