Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Northwest League’ Category

1982-1987 Salem Angels

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Salem AngelsNorthwest League (1982-1987)

Born: 1982 – Affiliation change from Salem Senators
Affiliation Change: 1988 (Salem Dodgers)

Stadium: Chemeketa Field

Team Colors:

Owners: Clint Holland, et al.

Northwest League Champions: 1982

 

The Salem Angels were an Oregon-based short-season Class A affiliate of the California Angels during the mid-1980’s. During Salem’s first season as an Angels’ affiliate, the club won the Northwest League championship. This despite finishing the regular season with a losing record of 34-36.

Notable players included Kirk McCaskill (Salem ’82), Mark McLemore (Salem ’82), Dante Bichette (Salem ’84) and Chuck Finley (Salem ’85).

Local stockbroker Clint Holland operated the Angels as a mom-and-pop operation, serving as co-owner, team President and General Manager. The Angels played on the campus of Chemeketa Community College.

“Our attendance was steady all the way through,” Holland told The Salem Statesman-Journal for a 1996 retrospective. “We operated just barely in the black. Our problem was, we kept putting money into the bathrooms, lights.”

Following the 1987 season, Holland sold the Angels to serial minor league investor David Elmore. The team’s Major League affiliation changed at the same time, with the Los Angeles Dodgers replacing the Angels for the 1988 season. After two more seasons as the Salem Dodgers, the franchise left town for Yakima, Washington in 1990.

 

==Links==

Northwest League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

August 9th, 2016 at 2:44 am

1977-1981 Salem Senators

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Salem Senators ProgramNorthwest League (1977-1981)

Born: 1977 – Northwest League expansion franchise
Affiliation Change: 1982 (Salem Angels)

Stadiums:

Owners:

 

The Salem Senators were an independent franchise (i.e. no Major League parent club) in the short-season Class A Northwest League.  The Senators were a brand revival of Salem’s earlier Senators team, which played in the city from 1940 until 1960. Stockton, California businessman Carl Thompson founded the team in 1977.  Thompson and his wife Noreen owned several low-level minor league clubs in California and the Pacific Northwest during the 1970’s, typically running the clubs as independents, which allowed Thompson to appoint himself field manager.

The Thompsons’ operation was a ramshackle effort to put it mildly.  The Sens’ shared a Little League field during their first season. Carl Thompson threatened to cancel a 1977 game over a dispute with the local Parrish Little League over who would pay $75 for liability insurance at Holland Youth Park. The game only proceeded after Northwest League Commissioner Bob Richmond forked over the seventy-five bucks himself.  The Sens’ rarely drew more than a couple hundred fans a night.

Carl Thompson ran out of money midway through the Sens’ second season in the summer of 1978.  He released a number of players, including the Northwest League batting leader, and made noises about folding the team mid-summer. He was soon forced to sell by the Northwest League. A local group led by mobile home dealer Ben Yates stepped up and backstopped the Sens through the end of the season.

The Sens muddled along as an independent operation for five seasons through the summer of 1981. In 1982 the California Angels became Salem’s parent club and re-branded the ball club as the Salem Angels.

Only two Senators players ever advanced to the Major Leagues.  Catcher Darryl Cias (Sens ’78) had a cup of coffee with the Oakland A’s in 1983. Infielder Sap Randall (Sens ’81) got into four games for the White Sox in 1988.

 

==Links==

Northwest League Programs

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1973-1982 Walla Walla Padres

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1979 Walla Walla PadresNorthwest League (1973-1982)

Born: 1973 – Affiliation change from Hawaii Islanders to San Diego Padres.
Died:
September 4, 1982 – The Padres relocate to Tri-Cities, WA.

Stadium: Borleske Stadium

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Walla Walla Padres were the short-season Class A farm club of the San Diego Padres for ten summers from 1973 through 1982.  Walla Walla is a city of approximately 30,000 in southeastern Washington state.  Prior to the Padres arrival in 1973, the city hosted Northwest League baseball for four seasons under affiliations with the Philadelphia Phillies (1969-1971) and the Hawaii Islanders (1972) of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.

The original owner of the Walla Walla Padres was Verne Russell, who broadcast the team’s games on his local easy listening radio station KUJ.  In 1975, Russell sold both the station and the Padres to Jim Nelly.  Nelly converted KUJ to a Top 40 station and handed off the Padres to his wife, Pat Nelly, who ran the ball club as General Manager.  She erected a billboard on the outfield wall at Borleske Stadium that read “Peppermint Patty Loves Her Padres”.

Under Pat Nelly’s regime, the ball club had an unusually contentious relationship with the local newspaper, the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.  When Nelly finally sold the club in  1982 after years of poor attendance, Sunday Sports Editor Ed Clendaniel opined:

“Never in my life have I seen nor ever hope to see again a shoddier or less professional operation than the Walla Walla Padres since Pat Nelly took over as owner in 1975.”

Clendaniel wasn’t alone in his opinion.  Staff writer Skip Nichols regularly excoriated Nelly for her penny-pinching operation of the franchise, which included cancelling the team’s game broadcasts on KUJ in the late 1970’s.

Pat Nelly sold the club during the 1982 season to a Piscataway, New Jersey group fronted by a long-time baseball manager, executive and scout named Mal Fichman.  Fichman took possession of the club’s assets in early September 1982 and immediately moved the franchise to Richland, Washington, where it became known as the Tri-Cities Triplets (1983-1986).

Upon the departure of the Padres, Walla Walla immediately got a new, unaffiliated expansion team in the Northwest League for the 1983 season.  The new club was known as the Walla Walla Bears, but lasted only one season.  Pro baseball has never returned to Walla Walla since the demise of the Bears in late 1983.

Key Walla Walla Padres players included future Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith (1977) and Tony Gwynn (1981).  Other notables include the late Eric Show (1978), John Kruk (1981) and Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams (1982).

 

==In Memoriam==

Pitcher Eric Show died on March 16, 1994 at age 37. (New York Times obituary).

 

==Links==

Northwest League Programs

 

==Additional Sources==

“Walla Walla – Padre divorce took a very long seven years”, Ed Clendaniel, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, September 19, 1982.

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Written by AC

August 14th, 2014 at 3:17 am