Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Pacific Coast League’ Category

1969-1997 Tucson Toros

leave a comment

Tucson TorosPacific Coast League (1969-1997)

Born: 1969
Re-Branded: 1998 (Tucson Sidewinders)

Stadium: Hi Corbett Field

Major League Affiliations:

  • 1969-1972: Chicago White Sox
  • 1973-1976: Oakland A’s
  • 1977-1979: Texas Rangers
  • 1980-1996: Houston Astros
  • 1997: Milwaukee Brewers

Owners:

PCL Champions: 1991 & 1993

 

Text coming soon…

 

Tucson Toros Memorabilia

 

Links

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

##

Written by Drew Crossley

June 13th, 2017 at 2:45 am

Phoenix Giants Programs

2 comments

1984 Phoenix Giants ProgramPacific Coast League (1966-1985)

Born: 1966 – The Tacoma Giants relocate to Phoenix
Re-Branded: 1986 (Phoenix Firebirds)

Stadium: Phoenix Municipal Stadium

Team Colors:

Owners: 

  • 1966-1973: San Francisco Giants
  • 1973-1977: John Ashby, Dan Walker, Ethan Blackaby, et al.
  • ????-1985: Martin Stone, et al.

PCL Champions: 1977

 

The Phoenix Giants were the long-time top farm club of the National League’s San Francisco Giants. (This edition of the Giants followed an earlier Phoenix Giants entry in the Pacific Coast League in 1958-1959).

Giants prospects roasted in the Phoenix heat during the summer months. In a 2014 retrospective on the team, catcher Bob Brenly (Phoenix ’80-’81) told Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic that he routinely lost eight to ten pounds in water weight at each home game.

The Giants won their lone Pacific Coast League crown during the 1977 season.

Following the 1985 season, the franchise was re-branded as the Phoenix Firebirds. The Firebirds remained an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants for another twelve seasons through 1997 until minor league baseball was displaced by the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League expansion team. The former Phoenix Giants/Firebirds franchise moved to Tucson in 1998.

 

Phoenix Giants Programs 1966-1985

 

==Links==

Before Chase Field, Phoenix heat didn’t stop baseball“, Scott Bordow, azcentral sports, July 12, 2014

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

##

Written by Drew Crossley

May 2nd, 2016 at 1:18 am

June 5, 1969 – Vancouver Mounties vs. Montreal Expos

3 comments

Vancouver Mounties ProgramVancouver Mounties vs. Montreal Expos
June 5, 1969
Capilano Stadium
Attendance: 5,906

Pacific Coast League Programs

 

This attractive, landscape-style program comes from a June 1969 exhibition contest between the Montreal Expos and the Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League.

In-season exhibitions between Major League teams and their farm clubs are sadly a thing of the past, although the practice was commonplace as late as the 1980’s.  In fact, this game was one of three such contests played on this night alone in 1969: the Atlanta Braves also played their Richmond Braves affiliate and the Minnesota Twins took on the Denver Bears of the American Association.

This was an interesting match-up because one team was on the way in and the other on the way out.  Montreal was two months deep into their expansion season in the National and man, were they ever terrible.  The Expos rode an 18-game losing streak into Vancouver’s Capilano Stadium.  One could presume that the Expos pitching staff was rather banged up from such a luckless run.  Rather than burn a pitcher from the Major League roster, Montreal flew in a 22-year old right-hander named John Glass from their Class A farm team in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Don Hahn Montreal ExposThe Mounties, meanwhile, were at the end of a 13-year run in the city of Vancouver.  The 1969 Mounties had the unenviable duty of serving as a farm club to two different sad-sack, last-place Major League expansion clubs – the Expos and the Seattle Pilots.  At the end of the 1969 season, the Mounties would leave Vancouver to move to Salt Lake City.

The game drew a near-capacity crowd of 5,906 to Capilano Stadium (better known today as Nat Bailey Stadium).  The Mounties got to John Glass for a four-run outburst in the fourth inning.  The Mounties’ big hit was a two-run double off the bat of Don Hahn, a 20-year old Expos prospect who had been the starting center fielder for Montreal in the franchise’s first Major League game two months earlier.  The Mounties held on for a 5-3 win.

The loss was the Expos’ 19th in a row.  For John Glass, the young Class A pitcher who started for Montreal, the exhibition was as close as he would get to the Major Leagues during an eight-year minor league career that ended in 1974.

 

==Links==

More Major League vs. Minor League Baseball Exhibitions

##

 

 

1983-2000 Las Vegas Stars

leave a comment

Las Vegas Stars ProgramPacific Coast League (1983-2000)

Born: September 1982 – The Spokane Indians relocate to Las Vegas.
Re-Branded: December 2000 (Las Vegas Area 51s)

Stadium: Cashman Field

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Las Vegas Stars were the long-time Class AAA farm club of the San Diego Padres, serving as that team’s top minor league affiliate from 1983 until 2000.  The franchise – still active today – traces its history all the way back to 1919 when it entered the Pacific Coast League as the Portland Beavers.  After an interlude in Spokane, Washington in the 1970’s, the ball club relocated to Las Vegas in September 1982.  The move marked the return of pro baseball to Las Vegas for the first time since the demise of the California League’s Las Vegas Wranglers in 1958.

The Stars’ glory years came during the 1980’s when the Padres’ farm system was stocked with future Major League All-Stars.  The first Stars squad in 1983 posted an 83-60 record, which would turn out to be the best in the club’s 18 seasons as a Padres farm club. Kevin McReynolds had a monster season, winning the 1983 Pacific Coast League MVP award with a .377 average, 32 homers and 116 RBIs.

In 1986 the Stars won their first Pacific Coast League title, defeating the Vancouver Canadians 3 games to 2 in the championship series. First baseman Tim Pyznarski won PCL MVP honors.  Larry Bowa managed the club.

In 1988 the Stars won their second and final PCL crown, once again besting Vancouver in the championship.  Catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. won the first of his back-to-back PCL Most Valuable Player awards that summer. Future Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar, Sandy’s younger brother, also played briefly for the Stars in the summer of 1988.

In 1992 original team owner Larry Koentopp and his partners, who moved with the club from Spokane, sold the Stars to Hank and Ken Stickney for an estimated $7.0 million. The Los Angeles Times called it the richest sum ever paid for a minor league baseball team at the time.  The Stickneys also owned the city’s pro hockey team, the Las Vegas Thunder, from 1993 to 1999.

The 1990’s were a fallow period for the Stars as the team was unable to repeat its on field successes of the previous decade.  Tragedy hit in May 1996 when veteran infielder Mike Sharperson died in a one-car accident while driving home from Cashman Field.  The 34-year old learned that he had earned a call-up to the Padres just hours earlier.

In December 2000, team operator Mandalay Entertainment re-branded the ball club as the “Las Vegas Area 51s”, in a cheeky nod to the U.S. government’s top secret Nevada facility that reputedly is packed to the rafters with dead and captured extra-terrestrials.  The 18-year relationship with the Padres came to an end at the same time and the Area 51s began play in the PCL as a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate in April 2001.

 

==Slideshow==

 

==Links==

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

###

 

1977-1981 San Jose Missions

one comment

San Jose MIssionsPacific Coast League (1977-1978)
California League (1979-1981)

Born: October 1976 – The Sacramento Solons relocate to San Jose, CA.
Affiliation Change:
1982 (San Jose Expos)

Stadium: San Jose Municipal Stadium

Team Colors:

  • 1977: Green & Gold

Owners:

 

The San Jose Missions baseball teams of 1977 to 1981 were actual two separate franchises, but we’ve consolidated them into one FWiL entry for simplicity’s sake.

The original Missions of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League arrived in the fall of 1976.  The club was the former Sacramento Solons (1974-1976) of the PCL, who had a nice following in the state capital but didn’t have a regulation baseball stadium.  The Solons played at Hughes Stadium,  a 22,000-seat football stadium with a left field wall only 250 feet away from home plate.  (In 1974 the Solons had two right-handed hitters belt over 50 home runs).  Solons owner Bob Piccinini made arrangements to lease his club to Joe Gagliardi, a part-owner of the Class A San Jose Bees (1962-1976) of the California League who dreamed of bringing triple-A baseball to the Bay Area.   Once the deal was struck in October 1976 the Bees cleared out to make room for the Pacific Coast League club, now re-named the San Jose Missions.

San Jose MissionsThe Missions were an Oakland A’s farm club in 1977 and a Seattle Mariners affiliate in 1978.  Despite the organizational shift, Rene Lachemann managed the team for both seasons, both of which saw the Missions finish in last place.

At the end of the 1978 season Piccinini unloaded the Missions for a reported $175,000 to a truck driver from Utah named Dennis Job.  The Pacific Coast League franchise moved to Ogden, Utah for the 1979 season and became an Oakland farm club once again, nicknamed the Ogden A’s.

The single-A California League, which had a long relationship with San Jose dating back to the 1940’s, quickly stepped into the breach and put a new team into San Jose’s Municipal Stadium for the 1979 season.   The new ballclub retained the “Missions” name and a parent club relationship with the Seattle Mariners.  Key players that played for the Missions during the California League/Mariners era included Bud Black (1979 & 1980), Dave Henderson (1979) and the #1 overall pick in the 1979 amateur draft, Al Chambers (1980), who turned out to be a colossal bust.

Seattle withdrew its affiliation after the 1980 season, forcing the Missions to play their final season in 1981 without the benefit of prospects from a Major League organization.  Following the 1981 season the Montreal Expos took over San Jose’s California League affiliation and the ball club was re-branded as the San Jose Expos for the 1982 campaign.

As of 2014, billionaire Save Mart grocery baron and former Missions owner Bob Piccinini is part of the ownership group of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

 

Links

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

California League Programs

##

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: