Minor League History: Big State League

As the name may indicate, the Big State League was home to Texas baseball teams.
The league started in 1947 at the hight of a short lived minor league boom and lasted eleven seasons through 1957. Regarding the problems that  minor league baseball faced in the fifties, you can say that this time span is rather long.

The league was a Class B league and in all seasons but the last (1957), the league contained eight teams. In the league’s final season, it contained just six.

Cities represented:

Abilene, TX Abilene Blue Sox 1956-1957, moved from West Texas-New Mexico League 1946-1955
Austin, TX Austin Pioneers 1947-1955
Beaumont, TX Beaumont Exporters or Beaumont Shippers (depending on source) 1956; Beaumont Pirates 1957
Bryan, TX Bryan Majors 1953; Bryan Indians 1954
Corpus Christi, TX Corpus Christi Clippers 1954-1957
Del Rio, TX Del Rio Indians 1954
Gainesville, TX Gainesville Owls 1947-1951
Galveston, TX Galveston White Caps 1954-1955, moved from Gulf Coast League 1950-1953
Greenville, TX Greenville Majors 1947-1950, moved from East Texas League 1946; Greenville Majors 1953
Harlingen, TX Harlingen Capitals 1954-1955, moved from Gulf Coast League 1951-1953 and Rio Grande Valley League 1950
Longview, TX Longview Cherokees 1952-1953
Lubbock, TX Lubbock Hubbers 1956, moved from West Texas-New Mexico League 1938-1942, 1946–1955
Paris, TX Paris Red Peppers 1947, moved from East Texas League 1946; Paris Panthers 1948; Paris Indians 1952-1953
Port Arthur, TX Port Arthur Sea Hawks 1955-1956, moved from Evangeline League 1954 and Gulf Coast League 1950-1953; Port Arthur Redlegs 1957
Sherman, TX and Denison, TX Sherman-Denison Twins 1947-1951
Temple, TX Temple Eagles 1949-1954; Temple Redlegs 1957
Texarkana, TX Texarkana Bears 1947-1953, moved from East Texas League 1946
Texas City, TX Texas City Hubbers 1955; Texas City Exporters 1956
Tyler, TX Tyler East Texans 1951-1953; Tyler Tigers 1954-1955
Victoria, TX Victoria Eagles 1956; Victoria Rosebuds 1957, moved to Texas League 1958-1961
Waco, TX Waco Dons 1947; Waco Pirates 1948-1953, 1954–1956
Wichita Falls, TX Wichita Falls Spudders 1947-1953, moved to Longhorn League 1954; Wichita Falls Spudders 1956-1957

None of the teams lasted for the full run but Waco was the member that lasted as longest standing team in this league, until 1956.

big state
Article in the Victoria Advocate of May 31, 1956

Many of the teams were affiliated to MLB clubs, but some were operating on their own. There were even clubs that were affiliated to other minor league clubs. The Galveston White Caps for example, were affiliated to the Dallas Eagles of the Texas League and so were the Gainesville Owls in 1950). The Eagles were a farm team of the New York Giants from 1955-1957.

In 1957 the league started as a six team league but on May 23 the Wichita Falls Spuddes disbanded. Seven days later the league started to crumble further as the Port Arthur Red Legs  moved to Temple to become the Temple Red Legs. In August the Red Legs folded as well, leaving the league with four teams.

1954 Big State League Passe-Partout

The first cracks started to show in 1953 when the Waco Pirates moved to Longview and the Greenville Majors moved to Bryan during the season.
In 1954 the Bryan Indians moved to Del Rio. In the course of the 1955 season, two teams withdrew: The Galveston White Caps on June 12 and the Tyler Tigers on July 1st. The Beaumont Exporters moved to Texas City on July 2 but returned to Beaumont six days later. The Lubbock Hubbers filled the void that the Exporters created in Texas City by moving there on July 8.

Big State League champions:

1947 Texarkana Bears – Wichita Falls Spudders  4 – 2
1948 Sherman-Denison Twins – Wichita Falls Spudders  4 – 3
1949 Waco Pirates – Texarkana Bears  4 – 1
1950 Texarkana Bears – Greenville Majors  4 – 2
1951  Gainesville Owls – Sherman – Denison Twins  4 – 1
1952 Tyler East Texans – Austin Pioneers  4 – 0
1953 Wichita Falls Spudders – Tyler East Texans  4 – 3
1954 Waco Pirates – Corpus Christi Clippers  4 – 3
1955 Corpus Christi Clippers – Waco Pirates  4 – 0
1956 Port Arthur Sea Hawks – Corpus Christi Clippers  4 – 3
1957 Victoria Rosebuds – Corpus Christi Clippers  4 – 1




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