Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Lone Star League’ Category

1976-1977 Corpus Christi Seagulls

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Corpus Christi SeagullsGulf States League (1976)
Lone Star League (1977)

Born: 1976 – Gulf States League founding franchise.
Died: 1977 – The Lone Star League ceases operations.

Stadium: Cabaniss Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Terry Ferrell


Thanks to former Corpus Christi Seagulls pitcher Raymond Harrison for posting this great Polaroid shot from 1976 to the Fun While It Lasted Facebook Page.  (He also provided the “Win A Date With A Seagull!” news clipping below).   Without Raymond’s search through the attic, we might never have found an image for his obscure pro club.

The Seagulls were the best team in one of the wackiest leagues of the 1970’s.  The ball club was founded in the year of the bicentennial as part of the six-team Gulf States League, which had teams in Texas and Louisiana.  The Gulf States League was an oddball loop within “organized” minor league baseball.  Although part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, which governed the farm teams for all of Major League Baseball, all six teams in the Gulf States League played as independents.  They didn’t have Major League Baseball parent clubs and therefore they had to forage for whatever left over talent they could find.

The Seagulls coach was Leo Mazzone, who would later go on to great acclaim as a pitching coach with the great Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990’s and with the Baltimore Orioles in the 2000’s.  Under Mazzone, the Seagulls won the Gulf States League championship in 1976, as much by simply surviving until the end of the season as anything else.  The Baton Rouge club folded midway through the season.  The Seguin Toros club attracted national media attention when its spendthrift owner refused to shell out for hotel rooms during a series in Corpus Christi.  He demanded his players make a 250-mile round trip drive each night instead.  The players revolted by camping out on a public beach between games instead.

Corpus Christi Seagulls

The Gulf States League re-organized in 1977 as the Lone Star League with all of the clubs now based in Texas.  Once again it was a six-team league, classified as single-A ball by the National Association, but still without Major League parent clubs.  Mazzone returned and the Seagulls were the best team in the league again.  But shabby finances crippled the league for a second straight summer and the playoffs were cancelled.   The Lone Star League and the Seagulls  faded quietly into history thereafter.

The Seagulls had a combined record of 103-54 during their two seasons of existence.



Gulf States League Programs

Lone Star League Programs


1977 Texas City Stars


Texas City StarsLone Star League (1977)

Born: 1977 – Lone Star League founding franchise.
Folded: 1977

Stadium: Robinson Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Van Schley


The Texas City Stars were an obscure independent minor league baseball team that lasted for only season in the summer of 1977.  The Stars were part of the Lone Star League, a Texas-only circuit that played at the Class A level.  All six teams in the Lone Star League were “independent”, meaning they had no Major League parent club affiliations.

The Stars player-manager was 31-year old Dirty Al Gallagher, who was the 1965 1st round draft choice of the San Francisco Giants.  Dirty Al played parts of four seasons in the Majors from 1970 to 1973 and was the only Stars player who had made it to the Big Leagues (or ever would).

“The Stars roster was filled largely with players released by Major League teams… guys whose careers had foundered in the minors, like second baseman Steve Verban who’d made it to double-A with the Cubs, Jeff McKay who’d hurled in the Giants system, and the endlessly amusing Rhod “The Stork” Wallace who’d once been a hot prospect in the Angels’ organization,” ex-Stars coach Red Shuttleworth told FWiL in 2014.  “When pressed on several fronts, Gallagher activated himself … both as a position player and as a pitcher.”

Texas City Stars

Photo courtesy Red Shuttleworth

The Stars had a record of 35-41 in their only season of play, good for 5th place in the six-team league.  The league effectively folded when the first place Corpus Christi Seagulls refused to play in the playoffs for financial reasons.

“The league was a poor-attendance zoo/circus performed in falling-apart ballparks,” said Shuttleworth.  “It was enema baseball… where most of the players could try to get baseball out of their systems.”

The Texas City Stars were the first baseball team investment for owner Van Schley.  In May 1977 Schley described the independent baseball philosophy to New West Magazine:

“The Lone Star League is the league of the future, the liberation of the player from the antiquated farm system – the master/slave relationship.”

As the quote prophesied, Schley went on to become one of the leading lights of the independent baseball movement.  In the late 1980’s he backed the independent Salt Lake Trappers, playing against affiliated competition in the Pioneer League.  Schley’s band of unsigned castoffs won a record 29 straight games and earned a big write up in Sports IllustratedIn 1993, Schley helped form the Northern League and its flagship franchise, the St. Paul Saints.  More than 100 of Schley’s independent ball signings later went on to sign contracts with Major League organizations.



2014 Texas City Stars memories from former coach Red Shuttleworth



Red Shuttleworth has a collection of terrific 35mm color photos of the  Stars posted on his blog.

Lone Star League Programs


1977 Victoria Rosebuds

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Lone Star League (1977)

Born: 1977 – Lone Star League founding franchise.
Folded: Postseason 1977

Stadium: Riverside Stadium

Major League Affiliation: None

Owner: Jack Bartlett

Lone Star League Championships: None


The 1977 Victoria Rosebuds were a doomed minor league baseball team that played in the Lone Star League, an all-Texan independent league that operated for one summer only before disbanding.   The Rosebuds replaced the Victoria Cowboys (1976) at Riverside Stadium, who met the same one-and-done fate a year earlier.

Owner Jack Bartlett of California revived the traditional local “Rosebuds” name, which was used by various Victoria ball clubs in the early 20th century and again from 1957 to 1961.  25-year old Tom Zimmer, son of Boston Red Sox manager Don Zimmer, was the Rosebuds’ player-manager.  No members of the team ever made the Major Leagues.

The Rosebuds finished the 1977 season with a 38-42 record, which was third best in the Lone Star League.  The league was in stark financial straits by the end of the regular season and decided to disband without holding playoffs.



Lone Star League Programs


Written by AC

May 11th, 2014 at 2:08 am


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