The Lewiston Broncs were a minor league baseball team in the northwest United States, based in Lewiston, Idaho, and played from 1952 through 1974. Locally, the team was known as "Lewis-Clark" to include the adjacent twin city of Clarkston, Washington. The team's ballpark was Bengal Field, a few blocks southeast of the high school.
|Previous||Short-season Class A (1966–1974)|
Class A (1963–1965)
Class B (1955–1962)
Class A (1952–1954)
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Northwest League (1955–1974)|
Western International League
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||3 (1961, 1970, 1972)|
|Bengal Field (1952–1974)|
|Lewiston Baseball Club, Inc.|
The parent organization was Lewiston Baseball Club, Inc., formed in 1952 by Lewiston businessmen Sam Canner Sr., Jack Lee, Billy Gray, George Thiessen, and others. Gray later sold his shares to Thiessen. Prior to its arrival in Lewiston, the team was the Tacoma Tigers, owned by William Starr of San Diego, and were affiliated with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League (PCL).
The Broncs were a member of the Western International League ("Willy") from 1952–54, and its successor, the Northwest League, from 1955–74. The Broncs won the NWL championships in 1961, led by catcher–manager John McNamara, the future MLB skipper, and again in 1970 and 1972.
The Broncs had two distinctions:
- They played in the smallest town in America to have a professional baseball team (1960 census = 12,691^); and
- They were the only professional baseball team to be operated without a business manager. During their entire existence, they were run by a board of directors centered on the stockholders.
The team colors were blue and white and the ballpark was Bengal Field; at 11th Avenue and 14th Street, it is now the football-only venue of Lewiston High School, with a grandstand on its west sideline. When it was a baseball stadium for the Lewiston Broncs, home plate was in the northeast corner of the property at 15th Street, resulting in an unorthodox southwest alignment (home to center field). (The recommended alignment is east-northeast.) LHS played baseball there through 1983.
The Broncs were affiliated with four major league franchises:
|1953||St. Louis Browns|
|1960–66||Kansas City Athletics|
|1967–70||St. Louis Cardinals|
A roster check in 1967 showed that 40% of the players and coaches of the Kansas City Athletics had been in Lewiston at one time or another. Reggie Jackson was perhaps the most famous Lewiston Bronc of all-time; Mr. October played 12 games at age 20 for Lewiston in 1966. The Broncs' rosters included Rick Monday, manager John McNamara, Vearl ("Snag") Moore, Thorton ("Kip") Kipper, Antonio Perez, Ron Koepper, Delmer Owen, Dick Green, Bud Swan, Bert Campaneris, John Israel, Dave Duncan, Al Heist and as a player, later coach-manager Robert ("Gabby") Williams. In 1967, the Broncs started a four-year affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals, who went to the World Series those first two seasons, both going seven games; they won in 1967, but were a game short in 1968.
Hall of Fame alumniEdit
- Bert Campaneris (1963) 6 x MLB All-Star
- Reggie Cleveland (1967)
- Dave Duncan (1965) MLB All-Star
- Bob Forsch (1969-1970)
- Dick Green (1961)
- Steve McCatty (1973-1974) 1981 AL ERA Leader
- Rick Monday (1965) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Dwayne Murphy (1973) 6 x Gold Glove
- Blue Moon Odom (1965) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Lewiston Broncs players (1952–1974)
The Broncs and their parent company were dissolved in January 1975, after years of financial losses due to poor win-loss records, resulting in low attendance. Micromanagement interference from A's owner Charlie O. Finley, at all levels of the organization, was the cause. The result for the Broncs was lost games due to the best players being quickly moved up to other A's minor league franchises in Single-A (Burlington Bees) and Double-A (Birmingham A's).
The A's maintained a presence in the Northwest League in 1975 with a new franchise in southwestern Idaho as the Boise A's, managed by former Bronc Tom Trebelhorn. After two seasons in Boise at Borah Field, the team moved to Medicine Hat in eastern Alberta in 1977 and joined the Pioneer League. The Medicine Hat A's switched affiliations after one season to become the Medicine Hat Blue Jays in 1978. There was no A's affiliate in the NWL in 1977; in 1978 it was the Bend Timber Hawks, who moved south in 1979 and became the Medford A's.
Prior to the Broncs, Lewiston's first two seasons in the minor leagues were with teams named the Indians, in the Class B WIL in 1937, and in the Class C Pioneer League in 1939. The first night game at Bengal Field was 83 years ago, the opening game in 1937 on April 27.
- "Danforth wins 20th game". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. September 3, 1961. p. 8.
- "Lewiston completes deal to buy Tacoma baseball franchise". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). November 30, 1951. p. 8.
- "Lewiston ready to buy Tacoma team franchise". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. November 30, 1951. p. 11.
- "Bronc ability well-rounded for Willy League opening". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. April 16, 1952. p. 8.
- "Broncs bring pro baseball back to Lewiston tonight". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. April 22, 1952. p. 8.
- "Broncs beat Yakima 12-4, capture first championship". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. September 10, 1961. p. 10.
- "Broncs defeat Phils 6-4 in final game". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. September 1, 1970. p. 12.
- "Broncs beat Tribe to end season". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. September 1, 1972. p. 19.
- "Objectives of the Game – rule 1.04". Major League Baseball. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- Sahlberg, Bert (April 15, 1984). "Home isn't what it used to be". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1C.
- Hollister, Hal (December 17, 1969). "Orchards tracts now part of city". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 14.
- Lee, Sandra L. (January 1, 2005). "Old grudges are slow to pass; Lewiston Orchards annexation". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- "Reggie Jackson – minor league statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Rick Monday, Jackson end holdouts, sign contracts". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. March 7, 1969. p. 23.
- "Broncs land major pact", Spokane Daily Chronicle, (Washington), p. 13, September 23, 1966
- Barrows, Bob (January 10, 1975). "Directors' vote kills Bronc baseball". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. B1.
- Barrows, Bob (January 11, 1975). "Broncs' demise no sudden thing". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. B1.
- "Pro ball returns to Boise after absence of 11 years". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). June 18, 1975. p. B1.
- "Former Broncs boss Trebelhorn takes over Portland Beavers". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). June 21, 1982. p. 2C.
- "Teams added for Pioneer". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. October 14, 1976. p. 34.
- "Lewiston to see first game under the lights tonight when Indians meet Spokane Hawks". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. April 27, 1937. p. 8.
- "Spokane Hawks trim Lewiston". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. April 28, 1937. p. 13.
- "Lewiston ball club in first home game". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. May 5, 1939. p. 5.
- "Join us in celebrating". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. (advertisement). May 5, 1939. p. 8.
- "Undefeated Lewiston team will meet Boise Pilots tonight". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. May 5, 1939. p. 10.
- "Mel Marlowe whitewashes Indians as Salt Lake City takes series". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. September 1, 1939. p. 8.
- "New W.I. League opens tonight". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. April 27, 1937. p. 13.
- Baseball-Reference.com – minor league teams – Lewiston, Idaho
- Nat Notes – Northwest League
- Northwest League of Professional Baseball 2012 Media Guide
- (Information on page 28 supports the fact that the franchise's official nickname was Broncs, not Broncos).