The Vancouver Mounties were a high-level minor league baseball club based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that played in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) from 1956–62 and 1965–69. Its home field was Capilano Stadium. During the Mounties' first two seasons, 1956–57, the PCL still was a member of an experimental organized baseball ranking, the Open Classification, as it made a bid for Major League status. However, in 1958 the PCL reverted to Triple-A when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California.
Vancouver, British Columbia
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Pacific Coast League (1956–1962; 1965–1969)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Vancouver Mounties (1956–1962; 1965–1969)|
With their two terms during the 1950s and 1960s, Mounties were the first and second of Vancouver's three Triple-A baseball teams. The city had previously hosted numerous clubs at lower levels, including the Horse Doctors (1905; 1907), Beavers (1908–17 and 1922, although the team was alternatively known as the "Champions" and "Bees" in 1912–13 and 1915), Maple Leafs (1937) and Capilanos (1939–42; 1946–54). The Capilanos, owned by Seattle brewer Emil Sick, were a Western International League farm club of Sick's PCL Seattle Rainiers and named after his Vancouver brewery. Sick also built Capilano Stadium, which opened in 1951.
The Mounties were affiliated with a number of Major League Baseball parent clubs: the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Braves, Minnesota Twins, the Athletics of both Kansas City and Oakland, and as a co-op club working with the expansion Seattle Pilots and Montreal Expos in 1969.
The first edition of the Mounties was created after the 1955 season when the Oakland Oaks, a PCL member since 1903, relocated because of falling attendance and a dilapidated home stadium. But the 1956 Mounties, a last-place team, drew only 53,000 fans—almost a third of the Oaks' home gate during their last year in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, a contending team in 1957 caused a spike in attendance to over 300,000 fans, tops in the Pacific Coast League. This pattern continued through 1962: Vancouver fans supported the Mounties during years when they ranked high in the PCL standings, and stayed away when the team was at the bottom.
In 1962, the Mounties finished seventh in the eight-team league in both win-loss record (72–79) and attendance (88,000). During the off-season, massive changes swept the minor leagues. The Triple-A American Association folded its tent completely. Four of the Association's six franchises survived, including the Dallas-Ft. Worth Rangers, which joined the 1963 Pacific Coast League—where it displaced the Mounties and inherited their Twins' affiliation and playing roster.
However, this same franchise would struggle in Dallas in 1964 and return the PCL to Vancouver the following season to become the second edition of the Mounties. Attendance held at between 120,000 and 140,000 fans for competitive, but non-playoff, clubs from 1965–67, but below .500 seasons in both 1968 and 1969 dropped fan support to 83,000, then 63,000 paying customers. In 1970, the club moved to Salt Lake City and became the Angels.
Vancouver was without professional baseball in the 1970s until 1978, when it received an expansion PCL franchise, the Vancouver Canadians, owned by Harry Ornest. After 22 seasons, the club moved south after 1999 to Sacramento and became the River Cats. They were immediately replaced by the current Canadians franchise in 2000, in the Class A-Short Season Northwest League.
- George Bamberger, manager and longtime MLB pitching coach
- Sal Bando, All-Star third baseman
- Jim Bouton, pitcher, author of landmark book Ball Four; his two-week stint with the club in April 1969 forms part of the book
- Ed Charles, third baseman, 1969 "Miracle Mets'
- Pat Gillick, Hall of Fame executive
- Bobby Knoop, All-Star second baseman
- Tony La Russa, Hall of Fame manager; over 2,700 wins in 33 seasons
- Charley Lau, influential hitting coach
- Denis Menke, All-Star shortstop
- Lefty O'Doul, manager. At 59, during his term as skipper of the 1956 Mounties, O'Doul (who batted .349 during his 11-year big-league career), was a pinch hitter for one at bat; he hit a triple, the last hit of his career.
- Blue Moon Odom, All-Star pitcher
- Brooks Robinson, Hall of Fame third baseman
|1956||67–98||Eighth||52,893||Lefty O'Doul||No playoffs held|
|1957||68–71||Second||306,145||Charlie Metro||No playoffs held|
|1958||79–73||Third||245,590||Charlie Metro||No playoffs held|
|1968||82–69||Second||238,970||Charlie Metro||No playoffs held|
|1960||68–84||Seventh||144,278||George Staller||No playoffs held|
|1961||87–67||Second||200,143||Billy Hitchcock||No playoffs held|
|1962||72–79||Seventh||88,075||Jack McKeon||No playoffs held|
- John Mackie, The Vancouver Sun, 2014.06.14
- "Mountie club slates battle for franchise". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. 7 December 1962.
- Empey, Dave (9 April 1969). "It's an itch of impatience". Vancouver Sun.
- Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3.
- Baseball Reference – Vancouver minor league teams