Walla Walla Padres

The Walla Walla Padres were the primary name of a minor league baseball team in the northwest United States, located in Walla Walla, Washington. Named after their parent club, the Padres were members of the Class A short-season Northwest League for ten years, from 1973 through 1982.

Walla Walla Padres
19731982
Walla Walla, Washington
Minor league affiliations
ClassClass A Short Season
LeagueNorthwest League
DivisionNorth (1977–1982)
South (1975–1976)
East (1974)
Major league affiliations
Previous teamsSan Diego Padres
Minor league titles
League titles (2)
  • 1973
  • 1976
Division titles (4)
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1976
  • 1979
Team data
ColorsBrown, gold, white
     
BallparkBorleske Stadium
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Patricia Nelly (1976-1982)
Verne Russell (1970-1975)

HistoryEdit

In 1969, with the expansion of Major League Baseball, Walla Walla sought the prospect of bringing professional baseball to the community. On January 12, 1969 it was announced that the Walla Walla Valley Baseball Club had officially been awarded membership into the Northwest League[1] The franchise played three seasons as an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies until 1971. In 1972, in an odd arrangement, the club played as an affiliate of Triple-A Pacific Coast League Hawaii Islanders. Following the season, Walla Walla signed a player development contract with the San Diego Padres, who had previously partnered with Tri-City.

Adopting the namesake of their parent club, Walla Walla became the Padres.[2] In their first season affiliated with the Padres, Walla Walla won the league title in 1973.[3] The Padres claimed the Northwest League crown again in 1976,[4] defeating the fabled Portland Mavericks two games to one in the championship series. Walla Walla sought a third title in 1979,[5][6][7] but fell to the Central Oregon Phillies.

After years of declining attendance the franchise was sold following the 1982 season to New Jersey-based Big Six Sports.[8] The new ownership group promptly moved the club west to Richland, rebranded them as the Tri-Cities Triplets, and signed a player development contract with the Texas Rangers. The San Diego Padres shifted their NWL affiliate to Spokane, which had just lost its Triple-A team to Las Vegas. Professional baseball continued in Walla Walla with the independent Blue Mountain Bears in 1983, but after one season, they moved west and became the Everett Giants in 1984.

Early Walla Walla BaseballEdit

The history of baseball in the Walla Walla Valley dates back to the late 19th century. The Walla Walla Walla Wallas of the Pacific Interstate League played in 1891. The Walla Wallas continued play in the 1908 Inland Empire League and the 1902 Inland Empire League team played with the nickname "Sharpshooters". In 1912 the Western Tri-State League was formed with the Walla Walla Bears playing in the circuit for three season before disbanding.[9][10][11][12]

BallparkEdit

Walla Walla teams played at Borleske Stadium, located at 409 West Rees Avenue in Walla Walla, Washington. The stadium is still in use today.[13]

Season-by-season recordEdit

Season PDC Division Finish Wins Losses Win% Post-season Manager Attendance
Walla Walla Padres
1973 SDP North 1st 51 29 .638 League champion by virtue of best record Cliff Ditto 33,259
1974 SDP East 2nd 47 37 .560 Cliff Ditto 28,295
1975 SDP South 2nd 48 31 .608 Cliff Ditto 25,662
1976 SDP South 1st 46 26 .639 Defeated Portland in championship series 2-1 Cliff Ditto 28,971
1977 SDP Affliate 2nd 41 27 .603 Cliff Ditto 27,272
1978 SDP North 2nd 45 24 .652 Cliff Ditto 51,488
1979 SDP North 1st 40 30 .571 Lost to Central Oregon in championship series 2-1 Curt Daniels 20,358
1980 SDP North 3rd 35 34 .507 Curt Daniels 15,188
1981 SDP North 3rd 29 41 .414 Bill Bryk 28,909
1982 SDP North 3rd 32 38 .457 Jim Skalen 18,771
Division winner League champions

Notable playersEdit

Two future hall of famers played for the team: shortstop Ozzie Smith (1977) and outfielder Tony Gwynn (1981). Their NWL batting averages were .301 for Smith and .331 for Gwynn.

Other future major leaguers included Joe McIntosh (1974–1975), Eric Show (1978), Ron Tingley (1977–1978), Bob Geren (1979–1980), Mark Parent (1979), Greg Booker (1981), John Kruk (1981), Jimmy Jones (1982), Gene Walter (1982) and Mitch Williams (1982). Gene Walter (1982), and Mitch Williams (1982). Geren and Parent both became managers with different teams (Geren with the Oakland A's of MLB and Parent with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League).

Notable alumniEdit

Baseball Hall of Fame alumniEdit

Other notable alumniEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "It's Official! Pro Baseball in Walla Walla!". Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  2. ^ "Padres switch". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. September 14, 1972. p. 37.
  3. ^ "Northwest League standings: final". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). September 1, 1973. p. 4.
  4. ^ "Walla Walla wins NWL". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. September 7, 1976. p. 6C.
  5. ^ "Phils brace for shot at NWL title". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). staff and wire reports. August 31, 1979. p. 13.
  6. ^ Pritchett, John (September 1, 1979). "NWL season reduced to 3 games". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). p. 12.
  7. ^ Welch, Bob (September 4, 1979). "Phillies win themselves a flag". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). p. 15.
  8. ^ Skip, Nichols. "NWL approves owner for Walla Walla team". newspaperarchive.com. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  9. ^ "Walla Walla Sharpshooters - BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com.
  10. ^ "Walla Walla, WA - BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com.
  11. ^ "Pacific Interstate League (No Classification) Encyclopedia and History". Baseball-Reference.com.
  12. ^ "1891 Walla Walla Walla Wallas Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  13. ^ "Walla Walla Sweets Baseball: History". 2014-08-19. Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2020-07-20.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Northwest League franchise
(1973-1982)
Succeeded by