Salt Lake Stingers
The Salt Lake Stingers of Salt Lake City, Utah, was a team identity that existed in Pacific Coast League for five seasons. For that entire span, they served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. The identity was born under bizarre circumstances, when the former Salt Lake Buzz were sued for copyright infringement by Georgia Tech university. The school’s mascot is a yellow jacket named Buzz, and they hold a trademark on the word being used in a sports context. The Salt Lake Buzz had already played for a few seasons when a Georgia Tech employee noticed a cap for sale. The university then filed a lawsuit, won, and Salt Lake was compelled to come up with a new identity.
The Buzz identity was an allusion to The Beehive State’s connection with, well, beehives, and when they were forced to change their name, they kept the connection and took the field in 2001 with the nickname Stingers. In the process of the name change, they also updated their visuals. New team colors were red, gold, and sky blue. Their logo featured a honeybee at bat, ready to swing at the next threat of a lawsuit.
While the Buzz had been a Twins affiliate, the change to Stingers was concurrent with a switch to the Angels. This was fortuitous timing, as the buzz-worthy parent club was only one year away from their World Series championship effort. Former Stingers who won a ring with the Halos include John Lackey, Chone Figgins, and Francisco Rodríguez. Other alums, including Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders, buzzed through in later years.
There weren’t many of those later years for the Stingers. Following the 2005 season, they were renamed the Salt Lake Bees, a tip of the antennae to the old team of the same name that had suited up in the PCL in the early 20th century. The Bees still play to this day, while Stingers go down as the middle identity in a trio of honey-sweet Salt Lake identities.