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:
Unfortunately, no new teams starting with a V have been added to the Minor League landscape.
The Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League came into business in 2000 as a low A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics and adopted the name of the previous AAA franchise that moved to Sacramento after the 1999 season to become the RIverCats. In the meantime the club has become Low A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Vermont Lake Monsters:
In 1993, Burlington businessman Ray Pecor, the owner of Lake Champlain Transportation Company in Burlington since 1976, purchased the Jamestown Expos and moved the franchise to Burlington, retaining the Expos name.
The Montreal Expos announced on September 29, 2004, that they would move to Washington, DC after the 2004 season. They would rename themselves the Washington Nationals. Minor League Baseball gives clubs 60-days after the end of the season to change their names and logos. Vermont did not have enough time for an identity change and retained the nickname Expos for the 2005 season.
During the 2005 season, the club announced its plan to change the nickname and solicited suggestions from its fans. The team received 30,000 fan suggestions for the new name. The New York Times reported that the two leading contenders were “Green Mountain Boys” and “Lakemonsters”.
They announced the new name, “Lake Monsters”, and revealed the new team colors and uniforms on November 15, 2005. The Expos colors of red, white and blue were replaced with the Lake Monster colors of navy blue, Columbia blue and green.
The name Lake Monsters refers to Champ, or Champie, or Big Rem, the name given to a reputed lake monster living in Lake Champlain, a natural freshwater lake in North America, partially situated across the U.S.-Canada border in the Canadian province of Quebec and partially situated across the Vermont-New York border. While there is no scientific evidence for the cryptid’s existence, there have been over 300 reported sightings. The legend of the monster is considered a draw for tourism in the Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York areas.
The logo on the left is the newest logo of the team. It shows that Minor League baseball is more about attracting kids and families. This logo was especially designed to boost the sales of merchandise among kids. Likely the club will cease to exist as an affiliated team in 2021 as it is on the list of 42 teams that will be contracted by MLB owners.
In 2009, after fourteen seasons, known as the Oaks, the Visalia team changed it’s name in Rawhide.
Two years of fan surveys, polls, focus groups, and direction by players,lead to a name change to the Visalia Rawhide, representing one of the richest agricultural regions in the world and the top dairy-producing area in the country.