Peninsula Pilots (minor league team)

The Peninsula Pilots was a primary name of the Minor League Baseball franchise located in Hampton, Virginia from 1963-1992. The Pilots played in the Class A Carolina League.

Peninsula Pilots
Hampton, Virginia
Minor league affiliations
Previous classes
  • Class A (1963-1971)
  • Class AAA (1972-1973)
  • Class A (1974-1992)
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles 4 1971, 1977, 1980, 1992
Conference titles 1965
Team data
Previous names
  • Peninsula Senators (1963)
  • Peninsula Grays (1964-1968)
  • Peninsula Astros (1969)
  • Peninsula Phillies (1970–71)
  • Peninsula Whips (1972-1973)
  • Peninsula Pennants (1974)
  • Peninsula Pilots (1976-1985)
  • Peninsula White Sox (1986-1987)
  • Virginia Generals (1988)
  • Peninsula Pilots (1989-1992)
Previous parks

Today, Peninsula is home to the summer collegiate baseball team who have adopted the same Peninsula Pilots moniker and are members of the Coastal Plain League.


The Peninsula Pilots franchise began play in the Carolina League in 1963 as a Washington Senators farm team.

The franchise had many monikers, playing as the Peninsula Senators (1963), Peninsula Grays (1964-1968), Peninsula Astros (1969), Peninsula Phillies (1970–71), Peninsula Whips (1972-1973), Peninsula Pennants (1974), Peninsula Pilots (1976-1985), Peninsula White Sox (1986-1987), Virginia Generals (1988) and Peninsula Pilots (1976-1985, 1989-1992). The teams were members of the Class A Carolina League (1963-1971), Class AAA International League (1972-1973) and Class A Carolina League (1974-1992).[1]

Peninsula teams were an affiliate of the Washington Senators (1963), Cincinnati Reds (1964-1966), Kansas City Athletics (1967), Oakland Athletics (1968), Houston Astros (1969), Philadelphia Phillies (1970-1971), Montreal Expos (1972-1973), Philadelphia Phillies (1976-1985), Chicago White Sox (1986-1987) and Seattle Mariners (1990-1992).[1]

Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Johnny Bench (1966), Gary Carter (1973) and Satchel Paige (1966) played for Peninsula.

The 1980 team was named the 74th best Minor League team of the 20th century in a list by two noted minor league historians, Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright. The team was known as the Peninsula Senators (1963), Grays (1964-1968), Astros (1969), Phillies (1970–71), Whips (1972-1973), Pennants (1974) and White Sox in 1986–1987 while affiliated with the Chicago White Sox, and as the Virginia Generals in 1988 when they operated as an unaffiliated co-op club. They regained their original name in 1989 and major league affiliation returned in 1990 with the Seattle Mariners (1990–1992). The team's existence ended after the 1992 season when they relocated to Wilmington, Delaware and became the Wilmington Blue Rocks.[2]

The ballparkEdit

Peninsula teams played at War Memorial Stadium (1963-1992). Built in 1948, the ballpark is still in use today and is located at 1889 West Pembroke Avenue, Hampton, Virginia, 23661. Today, War Memorial Stadium is home to the summer collegiate baseball team with the same Peninsula Pilots moniker who play in the Coastal Plain League.[3][4]

War Memorial Stadium was first built by Branch Rickey for the Newport News Dodgers, who played at War Memorial from 1948-1958 as members of the Piedmont League. The ballpark has also been known as Peninsula Stadium.[5]

Notable Peninsula AlumniEdit

Baseball Hall of Fame alumniEdit

Notable Peninsula alumniEdit

Year-by-Year RecordEdit

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1976 71-65 2nd Cal Emery none
1977 71-67 2nd Jim Snyder League Champs
1978 90-49 1st Jim Snyder Lost League Finals
1979 68-68 3rd Ron Clark none
1980 100-40 1st Bill Dancy League Champs
1981 71-65 1st Bill Dancy Lost League Finals
1982 90-47 1st Bill Dancy Lost in 1st round
1983 58-80 7th Tony Taylor
1984 73-67 3rd Ron Clark Lost in 1st round
1985 67-68 3rd Ron Clark
1986 60-74 5th Bob Bailey / Duke Sims
1987 66-74 5th (tie) Marv Foley
1988 41-99 8th Joe Breeden
1989 44-89 8th Jim Thrift
1990 57-83 7th Jim Nettles
1991 46-93 8th Steve Smith
1992 74-64 2nd Marc Hill League Champs

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Newport News, Virginia sports teams on".
  2. ^ Bill Weiss; Marshall Wright (2001). "Top 100 Teams". Minor League Baseball.
  3. ^ Viquez, Marc. "War Memorial Stadium – Peninsula Pilots | Stadium Journey".
  4. ^ "War Memorial Stadium in Hampton, VA history and teams on".
  5. ^