Tucson Sidewinders

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1998-2008

 

The Tucson Sidewinders of Tucson, Arizona, played eleven years in the Pacific Coast League. For their entire existence, they served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team identity was born following the 1997 season, when the Tucson Toros franchise rebranded. The change happened in conjunction with the opening of a new ballpark and a new affiliation with the in-state Diamondbacks, who were still glinting with that new-team shine.

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The Sidewinders identity was heavily influenced by their parent club, with the team nickname itself being a derivative (or DimDer) of the D’Backs’ snake-based brand. In fact, another nickname for the team was the “Baby ‘Backs.” Though I’m not sure if it was intentional, there is a baseball connection with the name as well, since sidearm pitchers are often called sidewinders. They borrowed their colors from Arizona, with particular emphasis on copper and turquoise. Their primary logo was the word Sidewinders, with both S’s forming the opposite ends of a copper snake as it wound around a baseball bat. One final nod to the Diamondbacks was a diamond used in place of a dot above the lower case i in the word. For caps, the S formed by the snake’s head and neck was displayed over black, and team uniforms were generally a conservative white and black vested motif.

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Part of the reason for the Baby ‘Backs designation was that the team often featured rehabbers and last gapsers, as is common with Triple-A teams located geographically near the parent club. As far as up-an-coming prospects that suited up for the Sidewinders, the biggest name is future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, with other notables including Brandon Webb, José Valverde, Carlos Quentin, Miguel Montero, Carlos González, and Justin Upton.

The tale of the Tucson Sidewinders came to its end following the 2008 season, when the team was moved to Reno, Nevada. The Reno Aces play in the Pacific Coast League to this day, and the Sidewinders have long since slithered into the cracks of minor league history.

 

 

Ephemera

 

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2002 valverde
Valverde, ’02

 

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A young CarGo

 

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Turquoise fever

 

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Scherzer in ’08

 

 

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