Fort Worth Cats (Texas League)

The Fort Worth Cats (originally the Fort Worth Panthers) were a minor league baseball team that mostly played in the Texas League from 1888 through 1964. They were affiliated with the Indianapolis Indians in 1933, the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1946 to 1956, and the Chicago Cubs from 1957 to 1958. The team joined the American Association in 1959 and then merged with the Dallas Rangers in 1959 to become the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers. The teams separated again in 1964 when the Cats rejoined the Texas League, but they merged again the following year and became the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs. The 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924, and 1925 Panthers teams were selected as among the top 100 minor league teams of all time.[1]

Fort Worth Cats
(1888–1890, 1892, 1895–1898, 1902–1942, 1946–1959, 1964)
Fort Worth, Texas
Minor league affiliations
  • AA (1964)
  • AAA (1959)
  • AA (1946–1958)
  • A1 (1936–1942)
  • A (1921–1935)
  • B (1911–1920)
  • C (1907–1910)
  • D (1906)
  • C (1904–1905)
  • D (1902–1903)
  • C (1896–1898)
  • B (1892, 1895)
Major league affiliations
Minor league titles
Dixie Series titles (8)
  • 1920
  • 1921
  • 1923
  • 1924
  • 1925
  • 1930
  • 1937
  • 1939
League titles 13
Team data
  • Fort Worth Cats (1932–1942, 1946–1959, 1964)
  • Fort Worth Panthers (1888–1890, 1892, 1895–1898, 1902–1931)
  • LaGrave Field (1926–1964)
  • Panther Park (1915–1925)
  • Morris Park (1911–1914)
  • Haines Park (1907–1910)


The Fort Worth Panthers, also called the Fort Worth Cats, played mostly in the Texas League from its founding in 1888 until 1959. The club won league championships in 1895 and 1905. During the late 1910s and early 1920s, Major League Baseball teams would play in Fort Worth against the Panthers on their way from spring training to their home parks. Texas fans enjoyed watching such major leaguers as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Rogers Hornsby play in their home town.

The Panthers had a winning streak from 1919 to 1925 when they won the regular season title seven years straight. In 1919 they failed to win the playoff for the season, but won the pennant and represented the Texas League in the Dixie Series for the next six years. The Dixie Series was a championship series between the league champions of the Southern Association and Texas Leagues, both of which had established themselves as some of the best in baseball. Amon Carter and other fans would arrange special trains to ensure that avid fans had transportation to these games. Five of the first six championships were won by Fort Worth with their only loss coming in 1922 to Mobile.[2]

Doyle Williams, an FBI agent who portrayed Governor John Connally in the Warren Commission's 1964 reenactment of the Kennedy Assassination, briefly played in the Cats organization in the mid-1930s.[3][4] The club won both the Texas League and the Dixie Series in 1930, 1937, and 1939. Rogers Hornsby was the Cats' manager in 1942, but World War II put an end to much of minor league baseball.

Following the War, the Cats became a minor league franchise of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1948, the Dodgers sent Bobby Bragan to manage the team, which won its last Texas League, but lost the Dixie Series to Birmingham. The first African American player to play for the team was Maury Wills in 1955.

When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957, it caused them to shuffle their minor league teams. The Fort Worth franchise was traded to the Chicago Cubs. In 1959, Fort Worth left the Texas League to join the American Association, but they merged with the Dallas Rangers the following year. Fort Worth regained a Texas League franchise for 1964 only, after which there was no professional baseball in Fort Worth for 36 years until a new Fort Worth Cats franchise was founded.

Year-by-year recordEdit

(from Baseball Reference Bullpen)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1932 68–81 4th Dick McCabe / Art Phelan
1933 63–88 7th Walter Holke (14–22) / Jake Atz (49–66)
1934 59–92 7th Del Pratt
1935 64–95 8th John Heving / "Pid" McCurdy
1936 76–78 5th "Pid" McCurdy / Homer Peel
1937 85–74 3rd Homer Peel League Champs
1938 61–99 8th Homer Peel / Cecil Coombs / Jackie Reid
1939 87–74 4th Bob Linton League Champs
1940 52–108 8th Bob Linton
1941 78–76 5th Bob Linton
1942 84–68 3rd Rogers Hornsby Lost in 1st round
1946 101–53 1st Ray Hayworth Lost League Finals
1947 95–58 2nd Les Burge Lost in 1st round
1948 92–61 1st Les Burge / George Dockins / Bobby Bragan League Champs
1949 100–54 1st Bobby Bragan Lost League Finals
1950 88–64 2nd Bobby Bragan Lost in 1st round
1951 84–77 4th (t) Bobby Bragan
1952 86–75 2nd Bobby Bragan Lost in 1st round
1953 82–72 3rd Max Macon Lost in 1st round
1954 81–80 4th Al Vincent Lost League Finals
1955 77–84 6th Tommy Holmes
1956 84–70 3rd Clay Bryant Lost in 1st round
1957 70–84 6th Lee Handley
1958 89–64 1st Lou Klein Lost in 1st round
1964 51–89 6th Alex Grammas


  1. ^ "Top 100 Teams". 2001. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2016-04-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ The Dolphus Starling, Minnie Lee Williams family: an autobiography 1990, Call number 929.2 WILLIAMS, Ft. Worth Public Library
  4. ^

External linksEdit