Back in 2014, I wrote a series of blog posts about the origin of minor league team names. Since then, the minor league landscape has changed a lot. Clubs moved, adopted new names. All reasons to have a new series in which the new names are added and explained.
This time the letter: F
Grand Junction Rockies:
Team owned by and operated by the Colorado Rockies. Which explains the name.
Great Falls Voyagers:
After the club signed a PDC with the Chicago White Sox, the club decided to change the name. The principal reason for adopting the new name was to better reflect the team’s association with and commitment to the Great Falls community. A big study of possible names was undertaken by a special committee. After considering numerous possibilities, Voyagers was chosen because of its connection to Legion Park. In 1950, Nick Mariana, the general manager of the Great Falls Baseball team, filmed two silvery objects above the ballpark. The Mariana film is one of the strongest cases supporting the existence of UFOs.
Great Lake Loons:
In January 2006, it was confirmed that the Devil Rays would be sold to the non-profit Michigan Baseball Foundation and relocated to Midland, Michigan. The team has been renamed the Great Lakes Loons after a name-the-team contest that received entries as far from Arizona and California. The main reason the team relocated was because of the lack of interest from the Battle Creek community. A loon is a migrating bird that lives in the area of the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan to name one).
New on this list:
After over 60 years without professional baseball, Greeneville, Tennessee got a team when the Martinsville Astros of the Appalachian League became the Greeneville Astros in 2004. But after the 2017 season, the Houston Astros would dissolve their Appy League affiliate. The Cincinnati jumped in and filled the void. Like the Astros, the Reds named the Greenville team after the parent club. The Greenville Reds are partially owned by the parent club.
When the Greensboro team moved into their new stadium, they changed the name to Grasshoppers. It is one of the many name changes the Greensboro teams have had over the decades. The team took the opportunity to rebrand with a new name, logo, and colors. Grasshoppers have no real significance to the area. The club just thought it had a good ring with Greensboro and they are able to be creative with the name/logo.
I would like to thank Katie Dannemiller of the Grasshoppers, who mailed the information above.
After the team switched to the Red Sox as the parent club, the team decided that it was time for a name change too. On October 27, 2005, the club’s brass announced that the team’s name would change to the Drive. The name was chosen due to the presence of BMW US Manufacturing and Michelin in the area and, more generally, due to Greenville’s rich automotive past. Residents have criticized the new name for its lack of historical relevance and failure to reflect community traditions.
Also new on the list.
One of the many teams owned and run by the Atlanta Braves and that was named after the parent club. But in 2018 the club changed its moniker into Stripers. After the Richmond Braves were moved to Gwinnett, a suburb of Atlanta, the attendance numbers stayed behind. Eventually, the brass of the club decided it was time for a name change in an attempt to boost the attendance numbers. A name the team contest would bring the new name. The six finalists were: Buttons, Big Mouths, Gobblers, Hush Puppies, Lamb Chops, and Sweet Teas. Much to the surprise of the fans, the brass of the club announced that it would go with the name Stripers. A striper is a striped bass that can be found in nearby Lake Lanier.