Spokane Indians

Spokane Indians

MiLB infobox
name = Spokane Indians
founded = 1983
city = Spokane, Washington
misc =

class level = Single-A (1983-present)
past class level=
current league = Northwest League (1983-present)
conference =
division = Eastern Division
past league =
majorleague = Texas Rangers (2003-present)
pastmajorleague = Kansas City Royals (1995-2002)
*San Diego Padres (1983-1994)
nickname = Spokane Indians (1983-present)
pastnames =
ballpark = Avista Stadium (1983-present)
pastparks =
leaguechamps = 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2008
divisionchamps = 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2008
misc6 =
owner = Spokane Indians Baseball Club
manager = Tim Hulett, Sr.
gm = Chris Duff
The Spokane Indians are a minor league baseball team in Spokane, Washington, USA. They are a Class A team in the Northwest League and have been a farm team of the Texas Rangers since 2003. The Indians play home games at Avista Stadium. Opened in 1958, Avista Stadium seats 7,202 fans.

Spokane was home of one of the charter teams of the Northwest League in 1955, but the team folded in 1956. Between 1958 and 1971, the Indians were a Triple-A Pacific Coast League baseball club affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers, before the club was moved to Albuquerque in 1971, and later Portland. The 1970 team, managed by Tommy Lasorda, won 94 of 146 games and swept the Hawaii Islanders in the PCL playoffs.

Spokane returned to the NWL in 1972, but a new PCL franchise arrived from Portland, where it lasted until 1982 when it moved to Las Vegas to become the Las Vegas Stars and later the Las Vegas 51s.

The Indians won the 2005 Northwest League championship despite having a record of 37-39 during the regular season, becoming only the second team in NWL history (the Salem Angels of 1982 were the first) to win the championship crown with a losing regular season record.

In 2008 the Indians captured the Northwest League Title with a thrilling 3-1 series victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. After dropping game one, the Indians rallied to capture game two by a score of 11-10 in 10 innings. In game three, the Indians fell behind 10-2 before rallying for 9 unanswered runs winning by an 11-10 margin once again. The Indians won the 2008 title in game 4 by securing a 6-5 victory in 10 innings.

History before 1956

Spokane's minor league history dates to 1892, when it fielded a team in the Pacific Northwest League. The nickname "Indians" dates to 1903, when Spokane joined the Pacific National League - a predecessor to the PCL and, at Class A, an elite minor league of the period, equivalent to Triple A today. The Indians lasted only two seasons at that higher level before dropping to the Class B Northwestern League, which folded during World War I.

In 1937, Spokane became a charter member of the Class B Western International League, the predecessor of the Northwest League, which played from 1937 through 1942 and 1946 through 1955.

The 1946 Spokane bus tragedy

On June 24, 1946, the WIL Indians were victims of the worst transit accident in the history of professional baseball. The team's bus was on its way to Bremerton, Washington to play the Bluejackets. On a rain-slicked Snoqualmie Pass Highway in the Cascade Mountains, the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming car and the bus veered off the road and down an embankment before crashing and bursting into flames. Nine men died - eight of them instantly - and six were injured. The dead were manager Mel Cole, pitchers Bob Kinnaman and George Lyden, catcher Chris Hartje, infielders Fred Martinez, Vic Picetti and George Risk, and outfielders Bob James and Bob Paterson. Despite a severe head wound, infielder Ben Geraghty was able to struggle back up the mountainside to signal for help. The Indians, relying on players loaned from other teams, managed to finish the season and placed seventh in the league. One player from the 1946 team, future major league infielder Jack "Lucky" Lohrke, earned his nickname when his contract was sold to the PCL San Diego Padres on June 24 and he departed the ill-fated bus hours before the accident. Beth Bollinger of Spokane wrote a fictional novel entitled "Until The End Of The Ninth," which is based on the true story of the 1946 bus crash and its aftermath.

Logos and uniforms

In the 2006 offseason, the Indians began a process to redesign their logo and uniforms. As per tradition, they began by avoiding the use of any American Indian imagery, but early in the process of redesign, the Spokane tribe contacted the team about officially supporting the team. In the process, the tribe gave permission to the team to adopt subtle and tasteful imagery, in order to pay homage to the team's history and new connection with the tribe. The cooperation, called "historic" by the team, included the creation of a secondary logo written in Salish, the traditional language of the tribe. [http://www.spokaneindiansbaseball.com/news/?id=5849] The team's colors are red, navy blue, light blue, and beige.

External links

* [http://www.spokaneindiansbaseball.com Official Spokane Indians website]
* [http://www.untiltheendoftheninth.com "Until the End of the Ninth]

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