This page is dedicated to what I’m calling vampire identities. These are team identities that become defunct within the NAPBL/affiliated ecosystem, only to pop up again in other baseball leagues–indy leagues, summer collegiate leagues, and heck, even the major leagues.
If you are already familiar with the MLG 3 of 4 Rule, then you will know that when identities go extinct, and then reappear within the NAPBL ecosystem (sometimes even in different leagues), then identity continuity is granted. This page is not a list of those (many) teams, but rather for identities that are resurrected outside of the system.
I’m not sure if vampire identities is the optimal descriptor of this phenomenon. I kicked around zombie identities and Lazarus identities and adopted identities and siphoned identities and retread identities, but went with the vampire analogy. One thing I like about the comparison is that the new teams sort of “suck the blood” from the prior identity. Of course, the same thing happens with resurrected brands within the NAPBL, so it doesn’t perfectly encapsulate this phenomenon. Another thing I like about it is how it gives a sinister or perhaps illicit feel to the practice, and indeed, sometimes these teams have run-ins with copyright laws. I also kind of like how vampire sounds, so I’ll use it for the time being.
Like all live pages here on the MLG site, this is not a comprehensive list unless otherwise noted. Instead, it is merely a collection of teams that I add to as I find more.
In a way, some of these team identities that were adopted by the major leagues could be called multi-level movers since they jumped directly up from the minors to the majors. Others were dormant minor league identities that the majors later co-opted.
Baltimore Orioles. Before the Orioles we know were created, there were a handful of baseball teams in Baltimore that used the same nickname. Some of these could be considered major league teams (like the one that became the New York Yankees) while others competed in the Eastern League and International League. When the American League’s St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore, they displaced the International League Orioles and took on the same nickname–essentially promoting the identity to the majors.
Los Angeles Angels. The Angels were a cornerstone franchise in the glory days of the Pacific Coast League, but were moved away when the Dodgers set up shop in LA. A few years later, the American League expanded and the Los Angeles Angels took flight at the major league level. They would later become the California Angels, then the Anaheim Angels, then the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, before setting back with their original vampire identity in 2016.
Miami Marlins. The Florida State League hosted two minor league teams called the Miami Marlins–one in the sixties and one in the eighties. When the National League expanded in the early nineties, the Miami-based franchise opted to take on the Marlins moniker, though paired with the whole-state place name. The full vampire identity happened in 2012, when the MLB team switched to a city-based place name.
Milwaukee Brewers. This is a similar story to the Baltimore Orioles in that there were a handful of early baseball teams called the Milwaukee Brewers that played stints at both the major and minor league levels. The primary precursor, however, was the American Association’s Milwaukee Brewers; a team that played at the top level of the minors for the first half of the twentieth century. This team was displaced by the National League’s Milwaukee Braves, who would move to Atlanta in the sixties. A few years later, a car salesman named Bud Selig bought the American League’s floundering Seattle Pilots, moved them to Milwaukee, and gave them the same name as the minor league team he grew up cheering for.
San Diego Padres. This is a similar story to that of the Angels, as the Padres were also a mainstay of the Pacific Coast League’s golden era. In this case, however, the National League simply expanded by two in 1969, and the PCL’s San Diego franchise was moved to Eugene, Oregon. The new NL team took on the same foreign language nickname, and in a way, the Padres were called up to the big leagues.
There was something of a mini renaissance for independent minor leagues in the 1990s, and much of that was spurred on by Miles Wolff, a living man whose fingerprints are all over minor league history. Wolff is something of a revisionist historian, and liberally ties threads of continuity between defunct identities and their revitalized brethren–in whatever form they appear. Not only that, but two independent leagues helmed by Wolff (the Northern League and the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball) are attempts at resurrecting whole leagues that were once a part of the NAPBL ecosystem. I deeply admire Miles Wolff, so I’ll stop short of saying that he is the unquestioned Dracula of vampire identities.
Aberdeen Pheasants. A handful of teams from Aberdeen, South Dakota called the Pheasants rattled around several low-level minor leagues in the early twentieth century, but the identity found its footing in the defunct Class A Northern League from 1946 to when the league folded in 1971. The identity was resurrected in the short-lived independent Prairie League in the mid-nineties.
Duluth-Superior Dukes. Here’s another old Northern League team that was a Class-A affiliate of three MLB teams in the sixties. The same identity was brought back in Miles Wolff’s independent Northern League in the mid-nineties.
El Paso Diablos. The Diablos were a mainstay of the Texas League for many years and were one of the more iconic minor league identities of the late twentieth century. When they were moved after the 2004 season, the identity was reborn (including trademarks) in the independent Central Baseball League. They then joined the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (AAIPB), a league helmed by vampire identity extraordinaire Miles Wolff.
Macon Peaches. There have been many baseball teams in Macon, Georgia that have been called the Peaches over the years, and the most recent affiliated team to use that identity played in the South Atlantic League in the early eighties. About twenty years after that identity became defunct, a retread Macon Peaches played one season in the short-lived independent Southeastern League in 2003.
Minot Mallards. In 1950, Satchel Paige had a brief stint with this North Dakota team when they were a member of long-defunct Mandak (Manitoba/Dakota) League. The identity took flight again in the fifties with the Class A Northern League before folding in 1962. Another Minot Mallards popped up in the aforementioned indy Prairie League in the nineties.
Sioux Falls Canaries. There were teams called the Canaries that played in the South Dakota city in a variety of low-level leagues before settling in the Northern League. The identity came back in the nineties with the Northern League and then yet again in the current AAIPB.
St. Paul Saints. When Wolff needed a cornerstone franchise for the new Northern League in the nineties, he turned to Minnesota’s capital city and brought back an identity from a team that played in the former American Association (essentially Triple-A), where they competed against their rival Minneapolis Millers before the Twins displaced both teams. In ’05, the identity continued in the new/indy version of the American Association.
Winnipeg Goldeyes. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a team identity from the Class A Northern League in the mid-twentieth century was rebooted in the, wait for it, independent Northern League in the nineties.
SUMMER COLLEGIATE LEAGUES
Summer collegiate baseball has come a long way from the days when the Cape Cod League was pretty much the only game in town. Nowadays, we see collegiate leagues popping up all over the country; with teams inhabiting stadiums that were deemed unacceptable for affiliated ball. A handful of old identities have been vampired as well.
Elmira Pioneers. This member of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League plays in the same ballpark and shares a name with the former affiliated Elmira Pioneers of the New York-Penn League, who were most recently a Marlins affiliate in 1995.
High Point-Thomasville HiToms. The old city cluster Hi-Toms (with hyphen) played in the North Carolina State League (’48-’52), the Tar Heel League (’53), and the Carolina League (’54-’58, and again in ’68). The current HiToms (with CamelCase) have played in the Coastal Plain League since 1999.
Jamestown Jammers. When the New York-Penn League team moved to West Virginia, a new Jammers was created in the summer collegiate Prospect League. One year later, they shifted to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
Lodi Crushers. The California League had a club in Lodi called the Crushers from 1966-1969. The vineyard-themed moniker was vamped in 2016 in the summer collegiate Great West League. This version of the Crushers only lasted one season.
Peninsula Pilots. There was a Carolina League franchise based in Hampton, Virginia, that called itself the Peninsula Pilots in two separate stints in the later twentieth century. In 2000, the identity was reborn in the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League.
St. Cloud Rox. Here’s another old Northern League identity, but this Minnesota-based franchise in the Northwoods League has nothing to do with Miles Wolff.
San Francisco Seals. This one is deeply, deeply lame. A rinky-dink team in the rinky-dink Great West League decided it was a good idea to vampire one of the most storied franchises in the history of the minors. I’m hoping this team just folds. Or changes their name, I guess.
Utica Blue Sox. The Blue Sox, one of the weirdest teams in minor league history, were once owned by Miles Wolff. But that’s not why we’re talking about them now. Like so many other abandoned New York-Penn identities, the Sox found a new drawer in the Perfect Game league.
Amarillo Gold Sox and Amarillo Sox. The old Texas League identity was going to be resurrected in Miles Wolff’s American Association in 2010. However, a summer collegiate team in Marysville, California, already had the trademark and challenged the proposed vampire identity. Instead, the American Association opted for simple Amarillo Sox, sort of a DimDer vampire identity.
Dallas/Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers and Texas Rangers. Before the major league identity was founded, their were minor league teams (both Triple-A and Double-A) known variously as the Dallas Rangers and Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers. The American League team used the same nickname and played in the same general metro area, but expanded their place name to include the whole state.
Newark Co-Pilots and Newark Pilots. The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League took a similar nickname to that of their predecessor in the upstate New York city. The old Co-Pilots were a DimDer of the Seattle Pilots, but they kept the identity for about a decade with the Brewers. I don’t know for sure if the new Pilots are a reference to the old Co-Pilots, but even if they are, it’s not a perfect match due to the dropping of the Co-.
Shreveport Captains and Shreveport-Bossier Captains. The S-B Captains kicked around in the indy American Association from 2006-2011. They took on the same nickname of the old Texas League club and even played in the old stadium. But adding Bossier to the place name makes them only half of a vampire.