Mobile BayBears

Capture

1997-2019

 

The Mobile BayBears of Mobile, Alabama, played 23 seasons in the Southern League. Over that time span, they served as the Double-A affiliate of three major league teams–the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Los Angeles Angels.

The BayBears were born in following the 1996 season, when the Southern League’s Port City Roosters were moved into brand new Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, a ballpark named for one of Mobile’s proudest sons. The new team identity, hewing close to the minor league trends of the time, chose a CamelCase nickname that combined a local natural feature with an animal. The use of the bear was also a throwback to old teams called the Mobile Bears, a moniker that had been last used in the 1960s.

BayBears was always a weird name, but the team fully committed to a unified brand. The original package featured a primary logo with a gray, long-snouted cartoon bear growling and holding a bat menacingly while wading in waist-high water–presumably a bay on the Gulf Coast. Early cap logos had the bear resting his arm on a capital letter M 5851composed of water. A conservative navy blue and red combination was the team’s basic color scheme, though splashes of teal/aqua (like that of the water-M) were present in the early years. As the team coasted into the new millennium, the brand became more conservative, with the cartoon bear being largely replaced by either the initials MB or by a simple old English M on the caps.

The BayBears joined the San Diego Padres system, and the relationship lasted an even ten years. It was not the most productive period for prospect development–one usually expects more from a Double-A team over the course of a decade. Jake Peavy, whose hometown is Mobile, is far and way the biggest-name alum from the Padres era. Other future all-stars who honed their skills at Hank Aaron stadium during this time are Gary Matthews, Matt Clement, and Jason Bay.

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In 2007, Mobile shifted to a new affiliation with the Diamondbacks. This relationship also lasted ten seasons, and was much more productive on the player side, starting with the great Max Scherzer on the mound in that first season with Arizona. Other big-league all-stars and notables to come through Mobile during this time include Carlos González, Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Wade Miley, Trevor Bauer, Patrick Corbin, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Cook, A.J. Pollock, Adam Eaton, Nick Ahmed, Ender Inciarte, Mitch Haniger, Jake Lamb, and David Peralta. Not too shabby.

The BayBears did a complete brand overhaul in time for the 2010 season. Red was booted out of the color l84rhh3tdeghphu17c2n9bwf2scheme, and the team committed to a two-tone light/dark blue look. The cartoon bear was replaced by a ferocious and more realistic bear logo with gnashing teeth and solid white eyes of death. This id-driven, nihilistic beast was featured in logos where it was pouncing over a bear-sized baseball, swinging a bat, and simply staring into your mortal soul.

The 2016 PDC signing period was very quiet overall, including no changes at the Triple-A level.2018 JA At Double-A, the only change was a three team switcheroo in which the Arkansas Travelers went from the Los Angeles Angels to the Seattle Mariners, the Jackson Generals went from the Mariners to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the old BayBears went from the Diamondbacks to the Angels. All told, there were three seasons in which Mobile was affiliated with Los Angeles. At this point, none of the players on the rosters of these Angel-affiliate teams have gone on to significant success at the major league level, but there is a very good chance that some will rise to major league notoriety.

The end of the BayBears came with plenty of advance notice. In early 2018, the franchise was sold to an ownership group that intended to move the team to Madison, Alabama. As the 2018 season played out, there was a name-the-team contest for the team that would take the field two years hence. Shortly after the 2018 season, the winner was announced: the Rocket City Trash Pandas. The second of two lame-duck seasons for Mobile took place in 2019, the entirety of which was played while already knowing what the relocated team would be called. The BayBears were finally put out of their misery after the season. The Rocket City Trash Pandas play in the Southern League to this day, and the Mobile BayBears will be remembered for the gentle splash they made in minor league history.

 

 

 

Ephemera

 

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Mobile BayBears 1998
1998 Star Struck poster

 

1997 manager

 

 

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1998 Gary

 

 

1998 melo

 

 

1999 patch
Paw patch

 

2000s peavy2
Jake Peavy, the best of the Padres era

 

2000s peavy1
I’m curious about that sleeve patch

 

2000s peavy
Peavy in a jersey with Padres-esque font

 

2002 Bay
Jason Bay, 2002

 

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Max Scherzer at the dawn of the D’backs era. Note the vestigial Padres font on jerseys that would soon be phased out.

 

2007 Max
Mad Max in Mobile

 

2007 Cargo
CarGo, ’07

 

2007 JU
Justin Upton, ’07

 

2007 Upton

 

 

2008 Parra

 

 

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A whole new kind of BayBear in 2010

 

2011 Paul Goldschmidt
An unbelievably stacked 2011 roster included Goldschmidt…

 

2010-11 Miley
…Wade Miley…

 

2011 Patrick
…Patrick Corbin…

 

2011-12 Bauer
…Trevor Bauer…OK, let’s just appreciate it this way…

 

2011 pg

 

2011 miley

 

2011 corbin

 

2011 bauer

 

2011 cook

 

2011 eaton

 

2011 pollock

 

2011 Goldschmidt
Wow.

 

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2013 NA
Defensive whiz Nick Ahmed in 2013

 

2013 ahmed

 

Jake Lamb
Jake Lamb, 2014

 

2014-16 david peralta
David Peralta

 

2015 mitch
2015

 

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2018 Adell
Any future stars from the Angels era?

 

 

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