Some sources claim that the Utica Blue Sox changed their name for the 1996 season. Let’s check it out.
Evidence of name change
Exhibit A: Wikipedia
Wikipedia always comes with the disclaimer about open-editing that we are used to, but we all still use it and check it most every day. Here is what has been on the Utica Blue Sox Wikipedia page (as of 2020) for several years:
Also, the sidebar of the Wikipedia page says:
Exhibit B: Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball
The second edition of the Encyclopedia came out in 1997, shortly after the season in question. Curiously, the tome was edited by Miles Wolff, who had owned a stake of the Blue Sox in the 1980s. It’s fairly likely that Wikipedia drew information from the Encyclopedia (at least for that sidebar) because the team is listed as “Blue Marlins” here.
Evidence of no name change
Exhibit A: Baseball Reference
B-Ref doesn’t mess around. They simply have a continuation of just “Blue Sox.”
Exhibit B: Schedule
I found this ’96 schedule on eBay. No funny business here.
Exhibit C: Program
A helper named Paul alerted me to this ’96 program on eBay. No funny business here.
Barring further evidence, I don’t think the Blue Sox were called anything other than Blue Sox in 1996. If pressed to guess, I’d say that there were probably some people within the organization (or the Marlins organization) who wanted to change the name, and maybe Miles Wolff got wind of that and added it to the Encyclopedia. Maybe Wikipedia is just picking up on that? Hard to say. It’s close to being case closed, but I’m going to keep it an Unsolved Mystery for fun.