Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1955-1963 Boise Braves

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Boise BravesPioneer League (1955-1963)

Born: 1955 – Affiliation change from Boise Pilots
Folded: 1963

Stadium:

Major League Affiliation: Milwaukee Braves

Owners: Capital City Baseball Inc. (Sib Kleffner, et al.)

Pioneer League Champions: 1956, 1958 & 1960

 

The Boise Braves were a Class C farm club of the Milwaukee Braves from 1955 until 1963. (The Idahoans were Class A for their final season following the 1963 re-organization of Minor League Baseball).

Notable players who came through Boise during this era included Sandy Alomar Sr. (Boise ’62), Clay Carroll (Boise ’62), Tony Cloninger (Boise ’59), Lee Maye (Boise ’55) and Bob Uecker (Boise ’56 & ’58).

In 1960, a 24-year old infielder named Bill Lucas hit .311 for Boise in 123 games. Lucas never made the Majors as a player. But in 1976 he became the first African-American general manager in Major League Baseball with the Atlanta Braves. Technically, Lucas’ title was Director of Player Personnel, as Braves owner Ted Turner retained the General Manager title, if not the duties, for himself. Tragically his time with the Braves was short. Lucas died of a massive heart attack on May 4th, 1979 at the young age of 43.

The team encountered financial problems by the early 1960’s. In August 1963 local shareholders known as Capital City Baseball Inc. notified the Pioneer League that the franchise planned to disband at the end of the 1963 season.  A few months after the Braves final campaign ended, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game purchased the Braves’ former ballpark and demolished it. Boise went without professional baseball for more than a decade until the formation of the Pioneer League’s Boise A’s in 1975.

 

In Memoriam

Bill Lucas (Boise ’60) died of cardiac arrest and cerebral hemorrhage on May 4, 1979 at age 43. New York Times obituary.

Al Unser, who managed Boise in 1962, passed on July 7, 1995 at the age of 82.

Lee Maye (Boise ’57) passed away of pancreatic cancer at age 67 on July 17, 2002.

 

Links

Pioneer League Media Guides

Pioneer League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 4th, 2017 at 2:28 pm

1977-1978 Calgary Cardinals

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Calgary Cardinals ProgramPioneer League (1977-1978)

Born: 1977 – Pioneer League expansion franchise.
Affiliation Change: September 1978 (Calgary Expos)

Stadium: Foothills Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Russ Parker

 

The Calgary Cardinals were a short-lived farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals that played in the Rookie level Pioneer League in 1977 and 1978.  The Cards entered the Pioneer League in June 1977 as one of two expansion clubs in the 6-team loop, alongside the Medicine Hat A’s.  The ball club was founded by Russ Parker, a local baseball lover who made his money selling photocopiers.

Johnny Lewis, the Cards’ manager in 1977, was the first African-American field manager in the history of the Pioneer League dating back to 1939.

Following the 1978 season, the Montreal Expos replaced the Cardinals as Calgary’s parent club.  The club was known as the Calgary Expos from 1979 until 1984.  After the 1984 season, team owner Russ Parker purchased the Class AAA Salt Lake Gulls of the Pacific Coast League and brought the club north to Foothills Stadium, where it became the Calgary Cannons in 1985.  The Expos and the Pioneer League left town to make way for the higher-level Cannons and moved to Salt Lake, meaning the two cities effectively swapped franchises.

 

==Links==

Pioneer League Media Guides

Pioneer League Programs

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Written by AC

September 29th, 2014 at 12:40 am

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