Oklahoma (City) RedHawks
The Oklahoma/Oklahoma City RedHawks of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, were an identity that existed for 17 seasons in the Pacific Coast League. During that time, they served as the Triple-A affiliate for two MLB teams from the Lone Star State next door–the Rangers and the Astros. The RedHawks identity was born following the 1997 season, when the American Association was disbanded and the remaining teams were dispersed to the other Triple-A leagues. When the Oklahoma City franchise joined the PCL, they changed their name to the RedHawks and dropped the “City” from their place name.
As the new team trotted out on the field of brand new Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in ’98, they wore red and black uniforms and had a cap logo with the letter R embellished to vaguely resemble a red-tailed hawk. The team’s nickname, RedHawks, was rendered as one word with the H capitalized. [MLG Note: this lettering style is sometimes called “camel case” due to the “hump” in the middle of the word.] Their jerseys featured the word RedHawks the bird-R of the cap logo.
The RedHawks kept their affiliation with the Texas Rangers, who had been with the 89ers for several years prior. In the eleven years that the Rangers and RedHawks were united, several future big-league all-stars and award winners passed through Chickasaw Bricktown, including Carlos Peña, Francisco Cordero, Michael Young, RA Dickey, Adrian Gonzalez, CJ Wilson, Nelson Cruz, Edinson Volquez, Ian Kinsler, and Chris Davis. With the relative proximity to Arlington, the Rangers also shipped countless big-leaguers to OKC for rehab stints and last gasps.
After the 2008 season, in the waning years of the Rangers era, the RedHawks underwent significant changes to their identity. They added the City back to their place name, and introduced new colors, logos, and uniforms. [MLG Note: this is right on the edge of being two distinct identities. Though it sort of doesn’t meet the 3 of 4 Rule, I still have to consider this a merged identity. I mean, they maintained the RedHawks name, camel case and all. Plus having base colors of red and navy is basically the same as having base colors of red and black.] The team’s uniforms, now with navy blue and other accent colors added to the red, were made to resemble major league uniforms and had a clean look to them. The primary and cap logos were simple, with the letters OKC entwined with bats and the like. They also introduced an alternate logo with a cartoon red-tailed hawk holding a baseball bat in its beak.
The new-look OKC RedHawks stayed with the Rangers for two more seasons, but in 2011, the Rangers and Astros essentially swapped Triple-A affiliates–with the Round Rock Express joining Texas and the RedHawks linking up with Houston. The Astros era was short-lived, but produced a good handful of future stars, including JD Martinez, Dallas Keuchel, and George Springer, as well as several other role players from the Astros’ world championship squad.
The end of the RedHawks came following the 2014 season, when the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group bought the team and named them in their own COTOB image. [MLG Note: in a bizarre coincidence, that same off-season saw another nineties-era colorful bird-of-prey identity (the South Bend Silver Hawks) became defunct in favor of their new parent-club’s name.] The newly christened Oklahoma City Dodgers now suit up in the Pacific Coast League.