Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Pacific Coast League’ Category

1972-1977 Tacoma Twins

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Tacoma TwinsPacific Coast League (1972-1977)

Born: 1972 – Affiliation change from Tacoma Cubs
Affiliation Change: 1978 (Tacoma Yankees)

Stadium: Cheney Stadium

Major League Affiliation: Minnesota Twins

Owners: Tacoma Baseball, Inc.

Pacific Coast League Championships: None

 

The Tacoma Twins were the top farm club of the Minnesota Twins for six seasons in the mid-1970’s.

The Tacoma teams of the Twins era produced many future Major Leaguers, but few of much renown. The best of the bunch were catcher Rick Dempsey (Twins ’72) and outfield Lyman Bostock (Twins ’74’-75).  Dempsey played 24 seasons in the majors and earned Most Valuable Player honors for the 1983 World Series as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Bostock seemed destined for stardom until his shocking and senseless murder in September 1978.

Perhaps the Tacoma Twins best player, by Class AAA standards, was hard-hitting first baseman Randy Bass (Twins ’75-’77). Over the course of three summers in Tacoma, Bass slugged 64 home runs. Bass’ Major League career never really took off. But he became the most feared hitter in Japan after signing with the Hanshin Tigers of Central League in 1983. Bass won back-to-back Japanese Triple Crowns in 1985 and 1986.

During the summer of 1976, the Twins local ownership group flirted with professional soccer. Tacoma Baseball, Inc. partnered with future Washington governor Booth Gardner to form the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League. The Tides shared Cheney Stadium with the Twins during the bicentennial summer, but folded after only one season of play.

The Twins era in Tacoma came to an end in 1978 with a parent club shift to the New York Yankees.

 

Tacoma Twins Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Outfielder Lyman Bostock (Twins ’74-’75) was shot to death in a case of mistaken identity in his hometown of Gary, Indiana on September 23, 1978 at the age of 27.

 

Links

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

August 14th, 2017 at 7:51 pm

1969-1997 Tucson Toros

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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

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 13th, 2017 at 2:45 am

Phoenix Giants Programs

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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

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Written by Drew Crossley

May 2nd, 2016 at 1:18 am

June 5, 1969 – Vancouver Mounties vs. Montreal Expos

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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

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1983-2000 Las Vegas Stars

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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

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