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Louisville Colonels

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The Louisville Colonels were a Major League Baseball team that played in the American Association throughout that league's ten-year existence from 1882 until 1891, first as the Louisville Eclipse (1882-1884) and later as the Louisville Colonels (1885 -1891); they then joined the National League after the AA folded and played through the 1899 season. It was also the name of several minor league baseball teams that played in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 20th century.

19th-century major league teamEdit

The Colonels won the 1890 pennant in the AA, during a season in which the league was considered only the third-best behind the NL and the Players League, and appeared in an early version of the World Series which resulted in three wins for each team. The previous year, they finished eighth and last, and in fact became the one and only team to rise from the cellar to the pennant in one season. And with a record of 27-111, they were the first team in major-league history to lose 100 games in a season.

In 1892 the team moved to the National League as part of a league merger, and played there until 1899. In 1900 Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the defunct Louisville club, acquired controlling interest of the Pirates and brought 14 players with him, including future Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke.

In September 1882, Louisville pitchers threw two no-hitters in the span of nine days; Tony Mullane on Sept. 11, followed by Guy Hecker on Sept. 19. Other Louisville pitchers who threw no-hitters were Ben Sanders on August 22, 1892, and Deacon Phillippe, a rookie, on May 25, 1899. Pete Browning hit for the cycle twice for Louisville, on Aug. 8, 1886 and June 7, 1889.

Notable Colonels playersEdit

* - denotes Louisville Colonels player in the Hall of Fame Template:Louisville Colonels

Twentieth century minor league teamsEdit

In the 20th century, the Louisville Colonels has been the name of several minor league baseball teams in Louisville. In 1909 the Colonels won the American Association pennant, as they also did in 1921, 1925, 1926 and 1930 while featuring players such as Joe McCarthy, Billy Herman and Earle Combs; Combs hit .344 in 1923 and .380 in 1924 before joining the New York Yankees in 1925. Pee Wee Reese was a rookie with the 1938 Colonels. The Colonels were one of few minor league teams to play throughout World War II and they won pennants in 1944 and 1945. In 1944 the Colonels played in the Junior World Series against Baltimore and the game drew attendance of 52,833 - 16,265 more than any single World Series game that year. In 1946 the Colonels played a role in the desegregation of baseball when they faced the Montreal Royals and Jackie Robinson in the 1946 Junior World Series. Sadly, Robinson later recalled his appearance in Louisville as among his worst experiences with hostile crowds. Through the 1940s and 1950s the Colonels were part of the Boston Red Sox farm system, and they won the pennant in 1954 but the Red Sox transferred its farm team to San Francisco after the 1955 season.

Starting in 1956 the Colonels were affiliated with the Washington Senators. They moved to Fairgrounds Stadium in 1957. In 1959 the Colonels became affiliated with the Milwaukee Braves. They won (in 1960, with pitcher Phil Niekro) one of three appearances in the Junior World Series in that time, but in 1962 the American Association folded.

In October 1967, Walter J. Dilbeck purchased the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and moved them to Louisville, renaming them the Colonels. This last Louisville Colonels team played in the minor league International League until 1972 when they were relocated to Pawtucket, Rhode Island and became known as the Pawtucket Red Sox. During this last incarnation, stars included Carlton Fisk, Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant, and Cecil Cooper. The franchise came to an end when the Kentucky State Fair Board announced that their stadium would be renovated for football. Ironically, baseball returned to Louisville when the same stadium was renovated for baseball in 1981 and the Springfield Redbirds came to Louisville as the Louisville Redbirds, later called the Louisville Bats, setting minor league attendance records and outdrawing several major league teams.

The most recent incarnation of the Louisville Colonels is a team in the Men's Senior Baseball League.

AffiliationsEdit

The Colonels were affiliated with the following major league teams:

Year Affiliation(s)
1936-38 Pittsburgh Pirates
1939-55; 1968-72 Boston Red Sox
1956 Washington Senators
1958 Baltimore Orioles
1959-62 Milwaukee Braves

1992-present: The Men's Senior Baseball League (MSBL) Louisville Colonels celebrated their 15th anniversary. The team has grown to include three age divisions. 18+, 25+, and 38+, keeping the Colonels name alive in the 21st century.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Red Sox
AAA affiliate

1968–1972
Succeeded by:
Pawtucket Red Sox
Preceded by:
Minneapolis Millers
Boston Red Sox
AAA affiliate

1939–1955
Succeeded by:
San Francisco Seals

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