Southern Oregon Timberjacks
The Southern Oregon Timberjacks of Medford, Oregon, was a team identity that existed for four years in the Northwest League. In that brief period of time, they served as Class A-Short Season affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.
The Timberjacks sawed their first log following the 1995 season, when the Southern Oregon Athletics franchise made the choice to add a little flair to their Oakland-based brand. They chose the name “Timberjacks”–sort of a vague variation on lumberjacks that tied into the region’s logging industry and history. Green was a trendy color in Nineties sports, and the hue fit in with the new brand as well as the continued affiliation with the Oakland A’s. Brown was used as an accent color, and the team’s wordmark alluded to wood grain.
The timeless logo featured a picturesque Oregon forest with looming mountains. Lumbering through the forest was a gigantic bearded Caucasian man wearing a baseball uniform and holding a large rough-cut wooden club. The Paul Bunyan-esque character (a timberjack, apparently) appeared to be in a post-swing pose, gazing out into the distance to see where in Idaho his baseball had landed.
As is typical in the lower minors, the list of future major leaguers who played for the Timberjacks is pretty short–especially considering the team was only around for four seasons in the late Nineties. Southern Oregon was fortunate to have one big-name player, Tim Hudson, take to the turf at Miles Field in Medford during these years, with other somewhat notables being Luis Vizcaíno and Eric Byrnes.
Following the 1999 season, in the last moments of the old millennium, the Southern Oregon franchise was packed up and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. In a concurrent move, the Pacific Coast League’s Vancouver Canadians franchise was moved to Sacramento, where the River Cats have played ever since. The relocated Timberjacks, meanwhile, took on the same name as the old PCL club in a seamless transition of identity from one league to another. The (new) Vancouver Canadians play in the Northwest League to this day, while the Timberjacks were felled long ago.