Memphis Blues (baseball)
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Memphis Blues Baseball
Memphis Blues
19681976
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis Blues cap logo.png
Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
Class
League
Major league affiliations
Team
Minor league titles
  • 1969
  • 1973
  • 1969
  • 1970
  • 1973
  • 1974
Team data
NicknameMemphis Blues (1968-1976)
ColorsBlue, orange, white
     
BallparkBlues Stadium (1968-1976)

The Memphis Blues were a Minor League Baseball team that played in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1968 to 1976. They competed in the Double-A Texas League from 1968 to 1973 as an affiliate of the New York Mets. Memphis transferred to the Triple-A International League in 1974, where they were affiliated with the Montreal Expos from 1974 to 1975 and Houston Astros in 1976. Their home games were played at Blues Stadium

Over the course of their nine-year run, Memphis played in 1,239 regular season games and compiled a win-loss record of 644-595. The Blues reached the postseason on five occasions, winning four division titles, and two Texas League championships. They won their league titles in 1969 and 1973 as affiliates of the New York Mets. The team had an overall postseason record of 9-12.

History

Prior professional baseball in Memphis

The first professional baseball team in Memphis was the Memphis Reds of the League Alliance in 1877.[1] A different Reds team was created as a charter member of the original Southern League in 1885.[1] The city's Southern League team was known as the Grays in 1886 and 1888, the Browns in 1887, simply Memphis in 1889, the Giants in 1892 and 1894, the Fever Germs in 1893, and the Lambs/Giants in 1895.[1]

The city's longest-operating baseball team, first known as Memphis Egyptians, was formed in 1901 as a charter member of the Southern Association.[1] From 1909 to 1911, this club was called the Turtles before receiving its best-known moniker, the Chickasaws, often shortened to Chicks, in 1912.[1] The original Chicks remained in the league through 1960, winning eight pennants, one playoff championship, and one Dixie Series title. Russwood Park, their home ballpark, was destroyed by fire in April 1960. With the cost of building a new facility too high, the team dropped out of the league after the 1960 season.[2]

Texas League (1968-1973)

After a seven-year span with no professional team, the city became host to the Memphis Blues, a Double-A club of the Texas League, in 1968.[1] The team played at Blues Stadium, a converted American Legion field which opened in 1963 and was located at the former Mid-South Fairgrounds.[3] They were affiliated with the New York Mets.[4] On April 16, the Blues won their inaugural season opener against the Arkansas Travelers, 10-2.[5] On July 21, Steve Renko pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against the Albuquerque Dodgers in the second game of a doubleheader in Memphis.[6] The Blues finished the season with a 67-69 record, placing third in the Eastern Division and missing the championship playoffs for which only division winners qualified.[7]

On April 20, 1969, Les Rohr pitched an 8-0 no-hitter against the San Antonio Missions in the second game of a seven-inning doubleheader at Blues Stadium.[8] The 1969 Blues improved over their previous record, ending their sophomore season with a 66-65 record and winning the Eastern Division title.[9] In the best-of-five finals, Memphis defeated the Amarillo Giants, 3-0, to win the 1969 Texas League championship.[9]Manager Roy McMillan won the Texas League Manager of the Year Award.[10] Memphis repeated as the Eastern Division champions in 1970 with a first-place 69-67 record, but they lost the finals to Albuquerque, 3-1.[11]

In 1971, the Texas League joined forces with the Southern League to form the Dixie Association.[12] Under the interleage partnership, the two leagues played an interlocking schedule with individual league champions determined at the end of the season, but Memphis missed the playoffs with a second-place finish in its Central Division.[13] On June 25, Tommy Moore no-hit Arkansas, 4-0, on the road in the second seven-inning game of a doubleheader.[14] A second-place finish in 1972 again kept the Blues from the postseason.[15]

Memphis won the Eastern Division in 1973 with a 77-61 record.[16] The Blues then won a second Texas League championship by defeating the San Antonio Brewers, 3-2, in the finals.[16] Through six seasons in the Texas League as a Mets affiliate, Memphis accumulated a record of 423-396.

International League (1974-1976)

A man in a blue baseball jersey and cap with a bat resting on his shoulder
Gary Carter led the 1974 Blues with 23 home runs and 83 runs batted in.[17] He was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.[18]

The Blues were replaced by a Triple-A International League (IL) team in 1974.[19] The Triple-A Blues carried on the history of the Double-A team that preceded it. Owner Bernard Kraus sold the Double-A Texas League team for US$25,000 to businessman Cal Rockefeller, who moved the team to Victoria, Texas, where they became the Victoria Toros.[19][20][21]

Affiliated with Montreal Expos,[22] Memphis fished its first season in the International League with a 87-55 record, winning the Southern Division title.[23] They were eliminated, however, in the semifinals by the Rochester Red Wings, 4-2.[23] Manager Karl Kuehl was selected for the IL Manager of the Year Award.[24] The Blues missed the playoffs with a sub-.500 record in 1975.[25] After two seasons with the Expos, the Blues' record was 152-130. Their all-time eight-year record stood at 575-526.

Memphis became the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros in 1976.[26] They qualified for the postseason with a top-four finish at an even 69-69,[27] but they were swept out of the semifinals with a 3-0 series loss to the Syracuse Chiefs.[27] Their final game was a 5-4 loss in Memphis.[28] After nine seasons, the Blues' all-time record was 644-595.

The International League revoked Memphis' franchise at a November 8, 1976, meeting of the league's directors because the owner was unable to pay $22,000 owed for league dues plus lodging and transportation bills due to different cities in the league.[29] An audit revealed the team to be nearly $340,000 in debt.[29] Memphis businessman Avron Fogelman attempted to acquire a Texas League franchise for the city, but was unseccessful.[29] He later secured an expansion team in the Double-A Southern League that began play in 1978 as the Memphis Chicks.[1]

Season-by-season results

Table key
League The team's final position in the league standings
Division The team's final position in the divisional standings
GB Games behind the team that finished in first place in the division that season
League champions League champions
Division champions Division champions
* Postseason berth
Season-by-season results
Season League Division Regular season Postseason Manager(s) MLB affiliate Ref.
Record Win % League Division GB Record Win % Result
1968 TL Eastern 67-69 .493 5th 3rd 13 -- -- -- Roy Sievers New York Mets [30]
1969
League championsDivision champions
TL Eastern 66-65 .504 4th 1st -- 3-0 1.000 Won Eastern Division title
Won TL championship vs. Amarillo Giants, 3-0
[31]
Pete Pavlick
John Antonelli
Roy McMillan
New York Mets [32]
1970
Division champions
TL Eastern 69-67 .507 3rd 1st -- 1-3 .250 Won Eastern Division title
Lost TL championship vs. Albuquerque Dodgers, 3-1[31]
John Antonelli New York Mets [33]
1971 DA Central 69-70 .496 4th 2nd 6 -- -- -- John Antonelli New York Mets [34]
1972 TL Eastern 75-64 .540 3rd 2nd -- -- -- John Antonelli New York Mets [35]
1973
League championsDivision champions
TL Eastern 77-61 .558 2nd 1st -- 3-2 .600 Won Eastern Division title
Won TL championship vs. San Antonio Brewers, 3-2
[31]
Joe Frazier New York Mets [36]
1974
Division champions
IL Southern 87-55 .613 1st 1st -- 2-4 .333 Won Southern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Rochester Red Wings, 4-2[23]
Karl Kuehl Montreal Expos [37]
1975 IL -- 65-75 .464 5th -- -- -- -- Karl Kuehl Montreal Expos [38]
1976
*
IL -- 69-69 .500 3rd -- 19 0-3 .000 Lost semifinals vs. Syracuse Chiefs, 3-0[27] Jim Beauchamp Houston Astros [39]
Totals -- 644-595 .520 -- -- -- 9-12 .429 -- -- -- -- --
Franchise totals by affiliation
Affiliation Regular season Postseason
Record Win % Appearances Record Win %
New York Mets (1968-1973) 423-396 .516 3 7-5 .583
Montreal Expos (1974-1975) 152-130 .539 1 2-4 .333
Houston Astros (1976) 69-69 .500 1 0-3 .000
Totals 644-595 .520 5 9-12 .429
Franchise totals by classification/league
Classification/league Regular season Postseason
Record Win % Appearances Record Win %
Double-A Texas League (1968-1973) 423-396 .516 3 7-5 .583
Triple-A International League (1974-1976) 221-199 .526 2 2-7 .222
Totals 644-595 .520 5 9-12 .429

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Memphis, Tennessee Register History". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Chicks Return SA Franchise". The Tennessean. Nashville. November 12, 1960. p. 11. Retrieved 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Tim McCarver Stadium in Memphis, TN". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "1968 Memphis Blues Roster". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Memphis, San Antonio--New Members Win In Texas League". The Paducah Sun-Democrat. Paducah. April 17, 1968. p. A9 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Renko Fires No-Hit Game". The Amarillo Globe-Times. Amarillo. July 22, 1968. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "1968 Texas League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Memphis' Rohr No-Hits Padres in TL Contest". The Marshall News. Marshall. April 21, 1969. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b "1969 Texas League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ "Texas League Awards". Texas League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "1970 Texas League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "1971 Dixie Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ "1971 Texas League (Dixie Association) Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Memphis Hurler Throws No-Hitter at Travelers". Northwest Arkansas Times. Fayetteville. June 26, 1971. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "1972 Texas League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ a b "1973 Texas League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ "1974 Memphis Blues Statistics". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ "Gary Carter Stats". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Blues Move Up To Class AAA". The Leaf-Chronicle. Clarksville. October 9, 1973. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Victoria Toros Franchise History (1974)". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ "International League Accepts Memphis Team". The Leaf-Chronicle. Clarksville. December 3, 1973. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "1974 Memphis Blues Roster". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ a b c "1974 International League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ "International League Award Winners". International League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2020.
  25. ^ "1975 International League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ "1976 Memphis Blues Roster". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  27. ^ a b c "1976 International League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ "Syracuse Triumphs in Semis". The Ithaca Journal. Ithaca. September 7, 1976. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ a b c "Memphis Without Pro Baseball, Seeks Texas League Franchise". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. November 9, 1976. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ "1968 Texas League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ a b c "Texas League Champions". Texas League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ "1969 Texas League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  33. ^ "1970 Texas League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  34. ^ "1971 Dixie Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  35. ^ "1972 Texas League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  36. ^ "1973 Texas League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  37. ^ "1974 International League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  38. ^ "1975 International League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  39. ^ "1976 International League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2020.

External links


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