Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1985-1988 Pittsfield Cubs

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Pittsfield CubsEastern League (1985-1988)

Born: 1985
December 16, 1988 (Williamsport Bills)

Stadium: Wahconah Park (4,500)

Team Colors:


Eastern League Championships: None

The Pittsfield Cubs were the Class AA farm club of the Chicago Cubs for four seasons between 1985 and 1988.  The arrival of the Cubs marked the return of pro baseball to Pittsfield’s historic Wahconah Park after an eight-year absence.

Although the team only served the Cubs for four seasons, the Berkshires city saw a procession of future Major League stars including Joe Girardi, Mark Grace, Jamie Moyer and Rafael Palmeiro.

After the 1988 season, during which Pittsfield sold the fewest tickets in the eight-team Eastern League, majority owner Stuart Revo announced his ball club would relocate to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the 1989 season.  Pittsfield immediately received a New York Mets farm club to replace the Cubs, though the Pittsfield Mets (1989-2002) would compete at a much lower competitive standard in the short season Class-A New York-Penn League.

The Pittsfield Cubs marked an early minor league investment for New York Yankees limited partner Marv Goldklang.  Goldklang went on to operate and advise numerous long-running minor league clubs during the 1990’s and 2000’s and was one of the key figures in the revival of independent professional baseball during the early-mid 1990’s.


Pittsfield Cubs Memorabilia



Eastern League Media Guides

Eastern League Programs



Written by AC

September 25th, 2013 at 2:31 am

1985-1993 Charleston Rainbows

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Charleston Rainbows ProgramSouth Atlantic League (1985-1993)

Born: August 1984 – Charleston Royals re-brand as the Charleston Rainbows
Re-Branded: Postseason 1993 (Charleston RiverDogs)

Stadium: College Park

Major League Affiliations:

  • 1985-1992: San Diego Padres
  • 1993: Texas Rangers


South Atlantic League Championships: None


The Charleston Rainbows were a Class A farm club in the South Atlantic League (1980-Present) from 1985 to 1993.  The team was previously named for its Major League parent club and known as the Charleston Royals (1980-1984).  In December 1983, owner Ernie Passailaigue travelled to the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville and returned convinced that the best operators in the minor leagues were turning towards distinctive local identities and merchandising for their ball clubs, rather than mimicking the brand of whichever Major League club happened to sponsor them in a particular year.  In August 1984, he announced the name change to the Charleston Rainbows, named for Charleston’s “Rainbow Row” of historic homes on East Bay Street.  One month later in September 1984 came a new working agreement with the San Diego Padres, who would be the Rainbows parent club for most of the next decade.

In the Rainbows first season in 1985, Charleston baseball fans enjoyed a full summer of watching two of the Padres’ top teenage prospects: the brothers Roberto and Sandy Alomar.  Sandy was 19 and Roberto just 17 at the time.  Sandy Alomar went on to win the American League Rookie-of-the-Year award in 1990 with Cleveland and played parts of 20 seasons in the Majors.  Brother Roberto debuted at age 20 in 1988 and played 17 seasons, earning election to the Hall-of-Fame in 2011.

In 1986, the Rainbows established what was then a Charleston pro baseball attendance record of 131,696 fans.  Under the Passailaigue’s, the club depended heavily on so-called “Buyout” nights, where local companies purchased all of the seats in the park at steeply discounted rates and distributed the tickets in the community, often at no charge.  This once-widespread marketing strategy pumps up announced attendance, but many operators believe it also conditions local fans to sit back and wait for free tickets to inevitably come available.

During the winter of 1987-88, the Passailaigue’s sold the Rainbows to another pair of brothers, Larry & Stuart Revo, for a reported $600,000 price tag.  The Revos already controlled two other minor league clubs, the Class AA Pittsfield Cubs of the Eastern League and the Class A Kinston Indians of the Carolina League.  The Revos’ limited partners in their baseball investments included the actor Bill Murray.  One of the Revos’ immediate changes was to reduce ticket prices, but also to cut back on the buyout night strategy to try to establish price integrity for Rainbows tickets.

The Rainbows – who were usually terrible – fielded a terrific team in 1988, finishing with the best record in the Sally League at 85-53.  The Rainbows were swept by the Spartanburg Phillies in the league championship series.  But attendance dropped to 56,909 fans, partly in response to the Revos’ tighter controls on the supply of free tickets.  Attendance wouldn’t get back over the 100,000 mark until the 1990’s.

After two years of ownership, the Revo brothers sold the Rainbows to New York investment banker Marv Goldklang in October 1989 in a deal reported at $800,000.  In 1992, the affiliation between the Rainbows and the San Diego Padres ended after eight seasons.  The Texas Rangers took on the affiliation for the summer of 1993, which would be the Rainbows final summer.  Prior to the 1994 season, the Rainbows re-branded as the Charleston RiverDogs.  College Park closed after the 1996 season, replaced by the modern Joseph P. Riley Jr. Ballpark in 1997.  As of this writing in 2013, the RiverDogs continue to thrive under long-time owner Marv Goldklang and his Goldklang Group.



South Atlantic League Media Guides

South Atlantic League Programs






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