It’s very rare, but occasionally there will be minor league teams with the exact same place-name and nickname. This is an alignment of two same name cities (e.g. Portland, ME and Portland, OR) and same nicknames (e.g. Huntsville Stars and Las Vegas Stars). What increases the odds of this overlap is the COTOB effect. Especially in the second half of the 20th Century, there were so many minor league teams that shared their nickname with their parent club, so the likelihood of coincidence was greater.
On this page, I’ll collect these teams as I become aware of them. This is a live page, and not (yet) a comprehensive list.
The cities of Burlington, Iowa, and Burlington, North Carolina, have both been well-represented in the minors through the years, and there have been a few instances of the cities using the same nicknames for their teams. While the COTOB effect has been in play, so has one unique moniker: Bees. Bees has been a relatively popular nickname in minor league history, and the alliteration with Burlington was too good to pass up in both of these disparate locales. The Iowa club first used Bees from 1924-1932 in the Mississippi Valley League, then again in the Three-I League from ’54 to ’61. The franchise shifted to the Midwest League in ’62, where they played up through 2019. Excluding a stretch from ’82 to ’92, where the Iowans used four different COTOB names, they’ve been called the Burlington Bees. In the case of the North Carolina club, the Bees nickname briefly buzzed in the 1942 Bi-State League, which folded during the thick of World War II. In 1945, the Burlington Bees resurfaced in the Carolina League, where they kept the name through 1951.
There have been no fewer than three affiliated minor league teams that have been called the Burlington Indians, all of whom took their nickname from their affiliation with the American League’s Cleveland franchise. The first team called the Burlington Indians was from Burlington, Iowa, and played in the long-defunct Central Association from 1947-1949. The second team in question hailed from Burlington, North Carolina, and played in the Carolina League from 1958-1964, though this team may not have officially been called the Burlington Indians. Newspapers from the time tended to call them the Alamance Indians (after Alamance County) and the team caps featured an A, though some sources (including Baseball Reference and the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball) call this team the Burlington Indians. The third team called the Burlington Indians also played in the North Carolina city, a club that competed in the Appalachian League from 1986-2006.
The final Burlington/Burlington connection comes via a Texas Rangers COTOB effect. First came the one-year wonder Carolina League franchise that was set up for Texas in their first season (1972) after moving from Washington. Though the club took on a COTOB identity, they were a co-op team, with the Philadelphia Phillies contributing players to round out the roster. Though Baseball Reference and other sources list them as being an exclusive Rangers affiliate, a number of players on the team were in Philly’s system, and it is backed up by a blurb in the 1972 Carolina League All-Star game program. After that one season, the franchise was relocated. Flash forward a decade, when the Midwest League’s Burlington Bees signed on with Texas in ’82, and changed their nickname to match their Lone Star parent. This Iowa-based Rangers club was around through 1985. Comparing pictures of the two old teams’ hand-me-down uniforms, including a very similar large block-B on the cap, starts to scramble my 3 of 4 Rule, but let’s not go there. These are two distinct teams that were separated by ten seasons and a few states.
The first team called the Jackson Generals was a Texas League team that played in Jackson, Mississippi, serving as Double-A affiliate of the Astros from 1991-1999. The second Jackson Generals came about when the Southern League’s West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx decided to change their name after the 2010 season. The Diamond Jaxx played in Jackson, Tennessee, and they opted to switch from the directional place name to something more city-specific. For their nickname, they chose one that had kicked around for the first few years of the Diamond Jaxx’s existence. The Jackson (TN) Generals play in the Southern League to this day, alongside the Mississippi Braves, a team that slid into the Jackson, MS market a few years after the original Generals left town. In 2019, the Jackson Generals squared off in a Southern League match-up against Mississippi, and the Braves wore throwback uniforms honoring a Texas League club that went belly-up twenty years hence–the Jackson Generals. Here’s an image of how the game looked.
Here is a simple formula for this rare phenomenon: “Springfield” is one of the most common city names in the US and “Cardinals” is likely one of the most (if not the most) commonly-used minor league team nicknames of the last 100 years or so. Surely, multiple versions of “Springfield Cardinals” were bound to match up. One of the first-ever affiliated farm clubs was set up by St. Louis Cardinals Owner Branch Rickey in Springfield, Missouri, a member of the Western Association circuit. In 1931, this newly-affiliated club changed their name from the Springfield Midgets to the Springfield Red Wings, an early example of a DimDer identity. In ’32, the team was called the Springfield Cardinals, and remained as such (for the most part) through World War II. Just as the Missouri club was fading away, another team called the Springfield Cardinals (also affiliated with St. Louis) emerged in the smallish city of Springfield, Ohio. These Cardinals played in the Middle Atlantic League from 1941-1942 before folding with the rest of the league during the War. Flash forward four decades, and the Midwest League welcomed a new club to Springfield, Illinois that was called, you guessed it, the Cardinals. These Cardinals flew away in 1993 and that franchise now plays as the Great Lakes Loons. In 2005, the big club in St. Louis bought a Texas League team and plopped them down in good ol’ Springfield, Missouri. They gave them their nickname, and the teams plays as the Springfield Cardinals to this day, nearly ninety years after the first Springfield Cardinals.