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:
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes:
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ stadium, the Epicenter, is built right next to the San Andreas Fault. When the team announced to move to Rancho Cucamonga from San Bernadino after the 1992 season, fans were asked to select a name for the new team and on September 30, 1992, it was announced that six people had suggested the name “Quakes,” which was chosen by the teams’ management as the winner from over 200 different choices. A fitting name it is indeed, as the ballpark sits adjacent to a number of earthquake fault lines.
IMO this club has the best logo and certainly the best cap in MiLB.
Reading Fightin’ Phils:
Baseball in Reading dates back to 1858.
In 1967, the Philadelphia Phillies decided to end their relationship with Macon of the Southern League and place their Class-AA affiliate in Baseballtown. Out of the 118 minor league teams affiliated with a Major League parent club that year, only Reading and three others have remained associated with the same organization through the 2004 season. The team is owned and operated by the parent club and the team chose to adopt the Phillies nickname in 2012.
In 2007 it was announced that the Arizona Diamondbacks’ AAA team would leave Tucson for Reno after the 2008 season. The team adopted the name Aces. The word has a double meaning. First of all an ace pitcher. But the word ace also refers to a playing card because of Reno’s gambling industry.
Richmond Flying Squirrels:
After the AAA Richmond Braves moved to Gwinnett the void was filled after a year. The San Francisco Giants decided to move their AA team, the Connecticut Defenders to Richmond.
The name the Richmond Flying Squirrels was chosen through a Richmond Times-Dispatch readers “name-the-team-contest”, which ended on October 15, 2009. Other finalists were the Rock Hoppers, Hambones, Rhinos, Flatheads, and Hush Puppies. (The name Hambones was later ruled out of the contest after the city’s uproar and the NAACP finding that “the Hambones” could be seen as a derogatory term directed towards the African-American community.)
Rochester Red Wings:
The Red Wings are one of the oldest minor league teams around. The team dates back to 1899 when the team was called Rochester Broncos. The team was also know as Rochester Tribe (1922–1928), Rochester Colts (1921) and Rochester Hustlers (1908–1920) In 1929 the team got affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, which may explain their name. The team has never changed the name since.
Rocket City TrashPandas
A new name on the list. The Rocket City TrashPandas are the AA, Southern League affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. The team was formerly known as Mobile BayBears. After the BayBears got a new owner, it was announced it would move the team to Madison in the Huntsville area. After the Huntsville Stars moved to Biloxi, there was a void to fill. The TrashPandas did.
The name TrashPandas is slang for raccoon, which is living in the area. The logo, a raccoon wearing a space suit and sitting in a trash can that is launched refers to the space industry of the area. The name TrashPandas was chosen from five options in a name the team contest. ThunderSharks, Space Chimps, Moon Possums and Comet Jockeys were the other options.
The intention was the team would have its inaugural year in 2020.
Rocky Mountain Vibes:
The Rocky Mountain Vibes are formerly known as the Helena Brewers. The team was moved to Colorado Springs after the Colorado Springs SkySox moved to San Antonio to become the Missions where they took the place of the AA Missions that moved to Amarillo to become the SodPoodles. A name the team contest resulted in five options: Colorado
Springs Happy Campers, Colorado Springs Lamb Chops; Colorado Springs Punchy Pikas, Colorado Springs Throttle Jockeys, and the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Even though the name Rocky Mountain Vibes, the name was chosen by the brass of the club. The name is related to the proposed Happy Campers moniker in reference to the happy feelings or “good vibes” one may feel when enjoying outdoor activities.
One of the many Braves’ farm teams operated by and named after the parent club.
Round Rock Express:
The Round Rock Express is a class Triple-A Pacific Coast League minor league baseball team in Round Rock, Texas, owned by RSR Sports (Nolan Ryan, Don Sanders, Reid Ryan) and founded by Reid Ryan, son of Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. The team is affiliated with the Texas Rangers, for whom Nolan Ryan serves as the president and principal owner. The team is named after Nolan Ryan’s fastball, which nickname was the Express.