I know some of my readers are better baseball historians than I am, so I’m putting out a call for help on this one. Has any full season minor league team played all their home games in a major league stadium during a season in which the major league team also played there? And if that has not happened, is there any compelling reason why it hasn’t?
To use a real world hypothetical example, consider the Peoria Chiefs. Let’s suppose that the Chicago Cubs had ample training and player facilities in a newly renovated Wrigley, enough facilities to house a minor league team as well as a major league one. Suppose as well that the Cubs were looking for a way to maximize revenue from the stadium. Logistically, it seems to me that the Cubs could arrange for the Chiefs to move to Chicago and join the Cubs in Wrigley. Many of the Chiefs games would take place when the Cubs are out of town, and the remainder would allow for day-night, minor-major league doubleheaders. If the Chiefs averaged just five thousand fans a game, that would be over a third of a million more fans that would pass through the Wrigley turnstiles. There are other logistical concerns, but none that are insurmountable. In fact, it seems like a such a possible idea that I began to wonder if it had not already been tried.
The Cubs are probably not the best case scenario for such a plan, but the baseball landscape is littered with possibilities. The Memphis Cardinals could join St. Louis under the Arch, for example. Or New Orleans could move down the coast to play in Houston. There are numerous places where a team could lower their costs and increase fan excitement in the minor league product with this sort of a stadium sharing arrangement, and the deeper you dig into baseball history the more such potentially advantageous cases appear. But has it ever been tried?
I know there are some baseball historians out there. Any ideas?
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Although Iowa fell behind early, they made a game of it. Unfortunately, they still lost 7-6.
Tennessee – The Smokies took an early lead and held on late for the 4-3 win.
Daytona – In a game that became very interesting late, the Cubs fell short 7-6.
Peoria – Despite seven hits, Peoria was shut out 4-0.
Boise – The Hawks wrapped up their home stand with a 7-2 win.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs won easily 9-1.
Performances of the Day
- [Iowa] Ryan Searle made his Triple A debut in this game. He allowed three hits over 2.2 scoreless innings, and struck out two.
- [Iowa] Alfredo Amezaga enjoyed one of his best games as a Cub. He finished 4 for 5 with a double and his 12th stolen base.
- [Tennessee] Tony Zych stuck out three over two innings of one hit relief.
- [Tennessee] The big blow in this game was Justin Bour‘s 16th home run. The three run shot in the third inning put the Smokies ahead for good.
- [Daytona] Robert Whitenack held Lakeland to a single run over the first four innings of the game, and Matthew Spencer followed that up with two scoreless innings of his own.
- [Daytona] We knew it was coming. Javier Baez finally broke out of his High-A slump with a 3 for 4 performance that featured a double and his first Daytona home run.
- [Peoria] The Chiefs’ pitchers allowed just three hits and struck out twelve in this game, but they also walked eleven. The three team errors did not help matters.
- [Peoria] Timothy Saunders returned to the lineup and finished 2 for 3. Dustin Geiger also had two hits.
- [Boise] Pierce Johnson struck out five over two hitless innings; he allowed just one walk.
- [Boise] Willson Contreras had three hits in this one, including a double. Albert Almora and Carlos Escobar both doubled as part of their two hit nights.
- [Boise] Gioskar Amaya reached base four times on three walks and a triple. His line with Boise now reads .317/.392/.523.
- [Arizona] Once again, the Arizona Cubs enjoyed some very good pitching. Anthony Prieto gave up one hit and struck out three over the first three innings. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino allowed a run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven in his five innings of work, and Jin-Young Kim struck out one in a perfect final frame.
- [Arizona] The Cubs dropped Shawon Dunston to third in the order, and he responded with his second home run and a 3 for 5 game.
- [Arizona] Yasiel Balaguert homered and doubled for his two hits on the night. Trevor Gretzky and Carlos Penalver also had a double and two hits.
Other Minor League Notes
- Today Boise begins a long, ten game road trip through their division that will decide their playoff fate. They begin this trip in first place with a five game lead. If they can win at least four times, I think the odds are good that they will still be in first when they return home for their final series. As always, the radio call for every game in this crucial road trip will be broadcast through the Boise Hawks website for free.
- The Arizona Cubs are still in second place, but they remain on track to the make the playoffs. They hold a 4.5 game lead for the league’s only Wild Card slot.
- Remember the name Carlos Penalver. He was one of the Cubs’ more acclaimed international free agents a few summers back, but as is often the case with IFAs we had not heard very much about him since then. The 2012 season is his first in the United States. After a slowish start for Arizona, the young shortstop has started to put together some very good games. I think he has a decent chance to be a starting infielder for Peoria next season.
- Looking for something to do next week? I’ll be visiting the Tennessee Smokies on August 23 and 24, and I’d be happy to talk all things minors with anyone who joins me there. If the Smokies can win a few games this weekend they might still be in the playoff hunt. Even if that does not happen, we should still get to see potential future Chicago Cubs like Junior Lake, Matthew Szczur, Jae-Hoon Ha, and Logan Watkins in action.