New York-Penn League (1989-1993)
Born: January 1989 – NYPL expansion franchise
Moved: October 15, 1993 (Jamestown Jammers)
Stadium: Sal Maglie Stadium
Major League Affiliation: Detroit Tigers
Owner: Bob Rich Jr.
New York-Penn League Champions: 1993
The Niagara Falls Rapids were the last Major League-affiliated pro baseball team to call Niagara Falls, New York home. The Detroit Tigers short-season Class A farm club play five seasons in the New York-Penn League from 1989 to 1993. The Rapids won the league title in the final summer of play in 1993.
Rapids founder Bob Rich was an experienced and respected minor league operator who also owned the popular Class AAA Buffalo Bisons and the Class AA Wichita Wranglers. In 1991, an audit of Sal Maglie Stadium recommended $1.8 million in upgrades to bring the aging stadium into compliance with rising minor league facility standards dictated by Major League Baseball. This, combined with the Rapids’ persistent financial losses, ultimately doomed the club in the Cataract City.
Rich moved the ball club to Jamestown, New York after his 5-year lease of Sal Maglie Stadium expired in late 1993. The team moved again in 2015 to Morgantown, West Virginia where it is known today as the West Virginia Black Bears. Rich still owns the franchise as of this writing in 2017, nearly 30 years after founding the club in Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls Rapids Memorabilia