Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Northern League 1993’ Category

2002-2003 Berkshire Black Bears

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Berkshire Black BearsNorthern League (2002-2003)

Born: October 2001 – The Massachusetts Mad Dogs relocate to Pittsfield, MA
Moved: December 2003 (New Haven County Cutters)

Stadium: Wahconah Park

Major League Affiliation: Independent

Owner: Jonathan Fleisig

Northern League Championships: None

 

The Berkshire Black Bears were an abortive effort to establish independent professional baseball at historic Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  The Northern League club arrived in Pittsfield close on the heels of the departing Pittsfield Astros of the Major League-affiliated New York-Penn League.

Former Boston Red Sox slugger George “Boomer” Scott managed the Black Bears in the first season in 2002. Scott had a history in Pittsfield. As a 21-year old prospect in 1965, he won the Eastern League triple crown in 1965 with the Pittsfield Red Sox. His managerial tenure would not be as successful. The Black Bears finished in last place with a 24-65 record in 2002. Scott was dismissed at the end of the season.

The team improved only marginally in 2003 under new field manager Darren Bush. The Black Bears 41-51 record left them outside the playoffs once again.

The Black Bears moved to New Haven, Connecticut in December 2003. The franchise eventually folded once and for all in October 2007 after four seasons in Connecticut.

 

Berkshire Black Bears Shop

Foul Ball: My Fight to Save an Old Ballpark by Jim Bouton

 

Downloads

May 2002 Black Bear News Program Insert

 

Links

Northern League Media Guides

Northern League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 4th, 2018 at 2:32 pm

1995-2002 Adirondack Lumberjacks

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Adirondack LumberjacksNortheast League (1995-1998)
Northern League (1999-2002)

Born: 1995 – Northeast League founding franchise
Moved: October 2002 (Bangor Lumberjacks)

Stadium: East Field Stadium

Major League Affiliation: Independent

Team Colors: 

  • Hunter Green & Deep Burgundy (1995)
  • Hunter Green & Black (1999)

Owners: 

Northeast League Champions: 1995
Northern League Champions: 2000

 

The Adirondack Lumberjacks were an independent baseball team based out of Glens Falls, New York from 1995 until 2002. Glens Falls hosted Class AA minor league farm clubs of the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers from 1980 until 1988, plus a Class A St. Louis Cardinals farm team in 1993. But by the mid-1990’s the city’s East Field no longer met modern standards for affiliated Minor League Baseball. Glens Falls was a classic example of a community left behind by the minor league stadium boom of the 1990’s. Like many such communities, it turned to independent ball to fill the void.

The ‘Jacks were founding members of the Northeast League, which included ball clubs from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New England States. In 1999, the Northeast League entered into a merger with the Northern League, an indy circuit in the Upper Midwest. From 1999 through 2002, the former Northeast League clubs played as “Northern League East” and met with Northern League Central’s best team for the overall league championship.

Adirondack Lumberjacks LogoAdirondack defeated the Albany-Colonie Diamonds Dogs to win the first championship of the Northeast League in 1995. In 2000, the Lumberjacks swept the Duluth-Superior Dukes in three games to win the Northern League title. A crowd of 3,182 turned out to East Field to watch the decisive game on September 18, 2000.

One of the key figures in the Lumberjacks era was pitcher-manager Les Lancaster. Lancaster pitched in the Majors from 1987 until 1993, primarily as a reliever for the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in the 1989 NLCS with Chicago. He arrived in Glens Falls in 1998 as 36-year old player-pitching coach. By the end of the year, he was appointed the team’s manager. He was a regular in Adirondack’s starting rotation in 1999, but devoted himself mostly to managing in 2000. During the 2000 championship series against Duluth-Superior, Lancaster activated himself to the roster and pitched a shutout in Game 2.

In late 2002, the team was sold to new ownership and moved to Bangor, Maine. Owner Charles Jacey cited the small size of the Glens Falls market (approx. 60,000 people) as the decisive factor in giving up on the team. The Bangor Lumberjacks played two more seasons and then went out of business in April 2005. Professional baseball has never returned to Glens Falls since the departure of the Lumberjacks.

 

Adirondack Lumberjacks Memorabilia

 

Downloads

June 17, 1995 Adirondack Lumberjacks vs. Yonkers Hoot Owls Game Notes

 

Links

Northeast League Media Guides

Northeast League Programs

Northern League Media Guides

Northern League Programs

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1999-2010 Schaumburg Flyers

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Schaumburg FlyersNorthern League (1999-2010)

Born: 1999 – The Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks relocate to Schaumburg, IL.
Folded: March 2011

Stadium: Alexian Field

Major League Affiliation: Independent

Owners: Richard Ehrenreich, et al.

Northern League Championships: None

 

The Schaumburg Flyers were a minor league baseball team that played in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois from 1999 until 2010.  The Flyers competed in the Northern League, an “independent” circuit whose members had no affiliation with Major League Baseball parent clubs.

7,600-seat Alexian Field was constructed at a cost of approximately $20 million to lure the club from Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1999.  Popular former White Sox slugger Ron Kittle was the Flyers’ field manager for the first three seasons of the team’s existence from 1999 through 2001.

Team owner Rich Ehrenreich began to fall behind on lease payments for Alexian Field in 2007.  By the end of the 2010 Northern League season, the team’s accumulated debt and penalties exceeded $900,000.  Efforts to sell the team to poorly vetted buyers fell through in 2010 and led to litigation.  Meanwhile, the Northern League folded after the 2010 season. The Flyers announced plans to play on in a dubious sounding enterprise known as the North American League. Before the Flyers could join the new league, the city evicted the team from Alexian Field over unpaid bills. The Flyers went out of business in March 2011.

After a summer without baseball in 2011, the Flyers were replaced by the Schaumburg Boomers of the independent Frontier League in 2012.

 

Links

Northern League Media Guides

Northern League Programs

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Written by AC

November 21st, 2014 at 8:57 pm

1993-2002 Duluth-Superior Dukes

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Duluth-Superior DukesNorthern League (1993-2002)

Born: 1993 – Northern League founding franchise.
Died: September 2002 – The Dukes relocate to Kansas City, MO.

Stadium: Wade Stadium

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

This long-running indy ball club lasted for ten seasons but never had a winning record.  Nevertheless, the Duluth-Superior Dukes won one Northern League crown in 1997 and played for another in 2000.

The Dukes were a brand revival of the original D-S Dukes, who played from 1960 to 1970 as a Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox farm club.  Like the Dukes of the 1960’s, the modern day Dukes made their home at historic Wade Stadium, a Depression era Works Progress Administration ballpark erected in 1940-1941.

Notable players included former Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Randy Tomlin (1997), female pitcher Ila Borders (1997-1998) and Jose Canseco’s twin brother Ozzie Canseco (1998).

After years of poor attendance to match their losing records, owner John Ehlert moved the club in September 2002 to take advantage of a new minor league ballpark on offer in Kansas City.  The franchise has been known as the Kansas City T-Bones since the 2003 season and has now played more seasons in Kansas City than it did in Duluth-Superior.

 

==Links==

Northern League Media Guides

Northern League Programs

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1996-2000 Madison Black Wolf

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Northern League (1996-2000)

Born: 1995 – Northern League expansion franchise.
Moved:
2001 (Lincoln Saltdogs)

Stadium: Warner Park (3,200)

Team Colors:

Owners: Patrick Sweeney, Jimmy Buffett, et al.

 

Madison, Wisconsin lost minor league baseball in 1994 when the Madison Hatters of the Midwest League moved to Battle Creek, Michigan.  Warner Park sat empty during the summer of 1995 before a group led by local attorney Patrick Sweeney brought pro baseball back to town in 1996.  The new ball club was the Madison Black Wolf, an expansion team in the independent Northern League.  Sweeney and his partners – who included singer Jimmy Buffett – paid a $500,000 entry fee to join the four-year old league.

Unlike the Midwest League, where Madison hosted farm clubs of the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals from 1982 to 1994, the Northern League was “independent”.  This meant that none of the clubs had an affiliation with a Major League Baseball parent club.  The quality of play in the Northern League was considered equivalent to a Class A farm club in the affiliated minor leagues, but the indy circuit occasionally made headlines during the 1990’s by attracting ex-Major League All-Stars looking to pro long their careers, such as Darryl Strawberry, Jack Morris, Pedro Guerrero and Leon Durham.

The biggest name on the Black Wolf was former Major League center fielder Alex Cole, who stole 40 bases for the Cleveland Indians as a rookie phenom in 1990 and (briefly) inspired Indians management to move back the fences at Municipal Stadium.  Cole’s Major League career faded by 1996 and he played a couple of dozen games for the Black Wolf in 1997.  (Cole’s pro career would end four years later when he was arrested by federal agents on heroin trafficking charges while getting dressed for a ballgame in Bridgeport, Connecticut).

The Black Wolf lasted five summers in Madison.  They made the playoffs during their debut season in 1996, losing to the St. Paul Saints in thefirst round.  From 1997 to 2000, the team endured four straight losing campaigns under managers Wayne Krenchicki and “Dirty” Al Gallagher.  The franchise was sold and relocate to Lincoln, Nebraska in 2001, where it continues to operate today as the Lincoln Saltdogs.

Professional baseball has never returned to Madison since the demise of the Black Wolf after the 2000 season.  However, Warner Park now hosts the Madison Mallards amateur team in the Northwoods League, which is one of the most popular and successful collegiate wooden bat franchises in the country.

 

==Links==

Northern League Media Guides

Northern League Programs

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Written by AC

November 9th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

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