Occasionally, there are minor league team nicknames that are either identical to or similar to that of major league teams, with no actual connection between the major or minor. In some cases, such as the Indianapolis Indians, the minor league identity is about as old as the major league identity, and the two simply coexist over the decades. These are what we call FauxTOBs, a play on the MLG acronym COTOB, for chip-off-the-old-block.
Furthermore, sometimes there are MiLB teams that seem to be DimDers of their major league counterpart, with no connection between the team’s origin and that of a major league team. As a play on the baseball phrase non-tender, we’ll call these Non-DimDers.
FauxTOBs (incidental MLB team pre-existence)
Green Bay Bluejays
FauxTOBs (incidental MLB team co-existence)
Mission Reds. Played in the Pacific Coast League from 1926-1937, but never had a major league parent club, in Cincinnati or otherwise.
Modesto Reds. The first Modesto Reds booted up in 1914, in an era where MLB affiliation was not really a part of the minor leagues. Modesto’s first parent club was the St. Louis Browns in 1948. As the Reds, the franchise had affiliation stints with six MLB teams, butVenice never the one in Cincinnati.
Spokane Indians. The first version of this identity started in 1903, during the glory days of the Cleveland Naps. Spokane has had 10 different stints with MLB parent clubs, but never the one in northern Ohio.
Tacoma Tigers. The first Tacoma Tigers slugged it out in the PCL for a few seasons after the turn of the century, right after the American League’s Detroit club started up. The now-Rainiers were called the Tigers from 1980-1994, but they were a Cleveland and Oakland affiliate for all those years.
Venice/Vernon Tigers. The PCL’s Vernon/Venice franchise was called the Tigers from 1909-1925, but never had a parent club in Detroit or anywhere else.
FauxTOBs (incidental MLB team post-existence)
Sometimes major league team identities and nicknames go defunct, but it hasn’t happened all that much since the American League entered the MLB picture in 1901. After an MLB identity is abandoned, there may be minor league teams that come along and take the old identity, without any apparent connection with the old MLB team. We haven’t seen any Colt .45’s or Browns or Devil Rays pop up since those nicknames were retired, but there have been a few others.
After the Kansas City Cowboys came the Magic Valley Cowboys
After the Syracuse Stars came the Huntsville Stars
After the Troy Trojans came the Batavia Trojans
After the Seattle Pilots came the Clinton Pilots, Peninsula Pilots, Riverside Pilots, Wichita Pilots
After the Washington Senators came the Harrisburg Senators
FauxTOBs (with incidental affiliation!)
Charleston Senators. Named in honor of West Virginia’s capital, this identity started up in 1910. The team’s first affiliation was with the Tigers in the 30s, followed by stints with the (Boston) Braves, Indians, Reds, White Sox, and Tigers again. In 1960, Charleston linked up with–you guessed it–the Washington Senators. The incidental Senator/Senator affiliation was short-lived, though, as the Charleston club went belly up after that one season.
Indianapolis Indians. Indy was a staple of the American Association in the earlier part of the 20th Century, and the Indians moniker dates back to 1902. That year, the American League’s Cleveland franchise was called the Broncos, and they changed their name to the Naps in ’03 before settling on the Cleveland Indians in 1915. The Indians and the Indians were affiliated for a few years in the 1950s.
Orlando SunRays (not to be confused with the Orlando Rays, who were a Tampa Bay DimDer
Salem Redbirds (were never affiliated with St. Louis)
Utica Blue Sox (though the Blue Sox were technically a DimDer for the Phillies, I’m calling them a Non-DimDer as well because even though they were affiliated with both the Red Sox and White Sox, the Blue Sox moniker is unrelated to either)
Non-DimDers with incidental affiliation
Eau Claire Bears (despite being affiliated with the Cubs for a few years in the 30s, the Bears nickname pre-dates the affiliation and was held through affiliations with the Red Sox and Braves. Besides, it would be weird to have a major league team be a diminutive form of their farm club.)
Visalia Oaks (despite being affiliated with Oakland for a stretch, the team was called the Oaks when they began as a Twins affiliate)
Non-DimDers with incidental affiliation and pre-emptive affiliation
Green Bay Bluejays. This is a bizarre case. The Bluejays were a new team in 1946 and were affiliated with the Phillies. One would assume that the nickname was a DimDer of Philly’s short-lived attempt to rebrand as the Blue Jays in the late forties, much like other Phillies affiliates of that era: the Bradford Blue Wings, Salina Blue Jays, Schenectady Blue Jays, Utica Blue Sox, etc. But no, Green Bay’s nickname was incidental. There was a team called the Green Bay Bluejays in 1940 (called the Blue Sox in ’41) that existed before Philadelphia started dabbling with the bird nickname. This would (sort of) make them the rare pre-emptive DimDer, er, non-DimDer, I guess.
Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino. The Sixers are currently an Angels affiliate and the cheeky nickname-place name reversal makes them a DimDer, right? Not so fast. Though it is very likely that the nickname was a riff on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Sixers were a Mariners affiliate when they came up with the mouthful of a moniker. They didn’t join up with the Angels until 2011–at which point the parent club was already making the switchover to just Los Angeles. In a way, this makes them both a preemptive DimDer and a Non-DimDer with incidential affiliation.