Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘New York-Penn League’ Category

1977-1993 Geneva Cubs

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Geneva CubsNew York-Penn League (1977-1993)

Born: 1977
Moved: 1993 (Williamsport Cubs)

Stadium: McDonough Park

Major League Affiliation: Chicago Cubs

Owners:

New York-Penn League Champions: 1978, 1987 & 1992

 

The Geneva Cubs were the short-season Class A farm club of the Chicago Cubs for nearly two decades. The small city of approximately 13,000 is part of the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Despite Geneva’s long run with the Cubs, remarkably few impact Major League players ever came through McDonough Park. The Cubs’ top prospects of the era, Mark Grace and Rafael Palmeiro, both bypassed Geneva. The best known Major Leaguers to come out of Geneva during the Cubs years were Billy Hatcher (Geneva ’81), Jamie Moyer (Geneva ’84) and Brendan Donnelly (Geneva ’93).

Local owner Paul Velte moved the team to Williamsport, Pennsylvania after the 1993 season.

 

Geneva Cubs Memorabilia

 

Links

Our Towns; A 4-30 Managed Learns to Play Utility Infielder“, Michael Winerip, The New York Times, July 22, 1988

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 24th, 2017 at 3:15 pm

1970-1979 Niagara Falls Pirates

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1979 Niagara Falls Pirates ProgramNew York-Penn League (1970-1979)

Born: 1970
Died: 1979

Stadium: Sal Maglie Stadium

Major League Affiliation: Pittsburgh Pirates

Team Owners:

New York-Penn League Champions: 1972

 

The Niagara Falls Pirates were the short-season Class A farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates throughout the 1970’s. Future Pittsburgh regulars such as Dale Berra, Omar Moreno, Ed Ott and Rod Scurry all began their climb to the Major Leagues in Niagara Falls.

The team managed only three winning seasons out of ten. Niagara Falls’ finest hour came during the summer of 1972 when the club won the New York-Penn League pennant with a 48-22 record.

The Pirates’ final season in Niagara Falls was the summer of 1979. The NY-Penn League returned to Sal Maglie Stadium in 1982 with the arrival of the Niagara Falls White Sox.

 

Niagara Falls Pirates Memorabilia

 

Downloads

1973 Niagara Falls Pirates vs. Auburn Phillies Roster Insert

 

Links

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

March 4th, 2017 at 1:13 pm

1966-1987 Batavia Trojans

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Batavia TrojansNew York-Penn League (1966-1987)

Born: 1966
Re-Branded: 1988 (Batavia Clippers)

Stadium: MacArthur Stadium / Dwyer Stadium

Major League Affiliations:

  • 1966: Co-op
  • 1967: Philadelphia Phillies
  • 1968-1971: Detroit Tigers
  • 1972-1974: New York Mets
  • 1975: Co-op
  • 1976-1986: Cleveland Indians
  • 1987: Co-op

Operator: Genesee County Baseball Club, Inc. (Community-owned)

New York-Penn League Championships: None

 

The Batavia Trojans were a community-owned baseball club that played for 22 seasons in Western New York. The club, formed in 1966, took its name from the Trojan wheel loader tractors manufactured in Batavia at the Yale and Towne plant. Pictures of the tractors frequently adorned the team’s programs and marketing materials up through the 1980’s.

The team lost its Major League affiliation in 1987 following a decade-long stretch as a Cleveland Indians farm club. The following summer, the franchise took back the Batavia Clippers name used by the city’s original Pony League club from 1939 to 1953. The former Trojans/Clippers ball club continues to play today as the Batavia Muckdogs. However, the money-losing club’s future has been cloudy for years and is likely not long for Batavia.

 

Batavia Trojans Memorabilia

 

Links

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

February 25th, 2017 at 4:46 am

1989-1993 Niagara Falls Rapids

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Niagara Falls RapidsNew 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

 

Links

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

February 18th, 2017 at 1:23 pm

1980 Auburn Americans

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1980 Auburn Americans ProgramNew York-Penn League (1980)

Born: 1980 – Re-branded from Auburn Red Stars
Moved: 1981 (Erie Cardinals)

Stadium: Falcon Park

Team Colors:

Owners: Auburn Community Baseball

New York-Penn League Championships: None

 

The Auburn Americans were a co-op minor league baseball team that played for just one season in the New York-Penn League in the summer of 1980. Co-op teams don’t have a player development contract with one Major League club. Instead they cobble together a roster from several Major League organizations. The arrangement is largely a relic of the past now, but was relatively common in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, particularly in small communities with sub-standard ballparks. Co-op teams were rarely competitive as the roster was cobbled together from other teams’ left overs.

In the case of the Auburn Americans, they received players from both the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Only one Americans player, journeyman catcher Jack Fimple, would ever go on to play in the Major Leagues.

The Americans moved to Erie, Pennsylvania following the 1980 season, leaving the New York community of Auburn without pro baseball in 1981 for the first time since 1957. After a one-year absence, minor league baseball returned to Falcon Park with the formation of the Auburn Astros in 1982.

 

Links

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

May 28th, 2016 at 4:09 pm

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