The Tucson Toros long history of baseball
from wikipedia: Tucson Toros
The Tucson Toros in the beginning
Tucson had several baseball teams between 1915 and 1958, including the Tucson Old Pueblos, the Tucson Waddies, the Tucson Cowboys, the Tucson Missions and the Tucson Lizards.
When the last of the Tucson Cowboys baseball team folded in 1958, Tucson had no professional baseball until the advent of the Toros.
Former Arizona state senator, Hiram "Hi" Corbett, helped to bring the Pacific Coast League to Tucson. In recognition of that, the 1937 ballpark in midtown Tucson's Reid Park was eventually renamed Hi Corbett Field.
The name Toros was suggested by name-the-team contest winner Clarence Dupnik, who went on to become the Sheriff of Pima County, Arizona.
From 1969 through 1972, the Tucson Toros were the AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. During this period, the team managed no better than a fourth place finish for the season. The Toros did better as the AAA team of the Oakland Athletics (1973-1976), winning the PCL Eastern Division title in 1973 and finishing in second place in 1975. As the Texas Rangers farm team (1977-1979) they finished in third and fourth place, but with outstanding individual performances by outfielder Billy Sample (AAA Minor League Player of the Year, 1978) and others.
The Tucson and Houston Astros Link
In 1980 the Toros began a long association with the Houston Astros. Following the lead of the parent club (which was widely criticized for its 1980s uniforms), the Toros introduced what some consider the ugliest uniform in the history of organized baseball: orange pants with yellow and red stripes, and a jersey with a turquoise back, yellow raglan sleeves, and a front resplendent in yellow, avocado, red, orange, and lime green stripes of various widths. The look in 1981, an all-orange uniform with red and yellow trim, was similarly ill-received,
In their first year of affiliation with the Astros, the Toros won the first half Southern Division title, but were quickly eliminated by the Albuquerque Dukes in the second half playoffs. The team spent most of the rest of the decade in third place for the season. In 1989, under new team owner Rick Holtzman, Mike Feder became the Toros' general manager, a post he would hold through the end of the Toros era of Tucson baseball. His family-friendly promotions brought immediate results. The club was named Promotional Club of the Year in 1990, and had its highest season attendance to date.
The following season, 1991, was the Toros' first championship season. The team overcame a series deficit of 0-2 to sweep Calgary in the remaining games of the best of five series. Third year Toros manager Bob Skinner was named PCL Manager of the Year, while series MVP Kenny Lofton led all of professional baseball with 17 triples for the season.
After a second place finish in 1992, the Toros had their second and final championship season in 1993 under new manager Rick Sweet, winning both halves of the season. First baseman Jim Lindeman led the league with a .362 batting average. Second baseman James Mouton, in his first season above the single-A level, was the PCL MVP with 92 RBI and 40 stolen bases.
The Beginning of the End of the Toros
The last year of the Tucson Toros was in 1997. In a complicated "swap", the team was sold to the owner of the Phoenix Firebirds, so that the Phoenix AAA team technically moved to Tucson while retaining the Tucson club's staff and facilities.
The long affiliation with the Houston Astros was suddenly over, as Tucson signed a one year agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers. The one major league prospect with the Toros who was not part of the Brewers' organization was Travis Lee of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The new franchise did not yet have a AAA team of its own, so Lee was assigned to the nearby Tucson team for part of the season. Although Travis Lee personally had a good year, the transitional Toros only managed a 64-78 record. It was the Tucson team's last season at Hi Corbett Field, and the last season with the Toros name.
After the 1997 season, the Tucson club became the Triple-A club of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Because the Colorado Rockies used Hi Corbett Field for spring training, Tucson Electric Park was built to accommodate the Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox in the spring "Cactus League." TEP also became home to the newly-renamed Tucson Sidewinders in 1998. This ended minor league baseball history at Hi Corbett Field and was not well received by fans, who responded to the new stadium, affiliation, ownership and team name with significantly reduced attendance.
The Toros return to Hi Corbett
In late 2006, it was announced that the Tucson Sidewinders, the Toros' successor, would be moving to Reno, Nevada after the 2008 season. The owner of Tucson baseball, Jay Zucker, who owns the naming rights to the Tucson Toros, will bring back the Toros as a part of the Golden Baseball League (GBL). The GBL's Reno Silver Sox could be forced to leave Reno when the Sidewinders move into town, leaving an empty stadium in Tucson.
On September 1, 2008, Zucker and the GBL announced that the new Tucson Toros are officially a part of the league. They play their home games at Hi Corbett Field as the original team did before.
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