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What’s the oldest team name in MiLB? Here’s the complete list

Bisons logoA baseball friend had an interesting question for us in conjunction with his team’s upcoming anniversary celebration: what’s the oldest team name in baseball? It’s an interesting question, one subject to many caveats and conditions, but here’s our attempt at a list of the oldest team names in Minor League Baseball still in use, ranked by their first appearance.

Of course, this is subject to those aforementioned caveats and conditions. Note that this list doesn’t measure continuous use of the name, just when the team name was first used. If we were to look at a list covering the continuous use of a team name, we’re guessing the Rochester Red Wings would top the list. (Perhaps we’ll compile that list next.) We fudged a little bit when the same name was used in different ways: for instance, the original name for the Birmingham Barons was the Birmingham Coal Barons, and the original use of Travelers was with the Little Rock Travelers. In some cases multiple franchises used the same name as a way to denote continuity, as was the case with the Durham Bulls and Burlington Bees.

(Disclaimer: We’re not perfect. If you have a documented change for this list, drop us a line at editors@augustpublications.com.)

The award for the top spot: the Buffalo Bisons, who first played in 1877 under the auspices of the New York State Association. That team ended up folding before the end of the season.

Buffalo Bisons, 1877
Birmingham Barons, 1885
Chattanooga Lookouts, 1885
Arkansas Travelers, 1895
Indianapolis Indians, 1902
Toledo Mud Hens, 1902
Spokane Indians, 1903
Durham Bulls, 1913
Asheville Tourists, 1915
Salt Lake City Bees, 1915
Mobile Bears, 1918
Harrisburg Senators, 1924
Tennessee Smokies, 1925
Rochester Red Wings, 1929
San Antonio Missions, 1933
Syracuse Chiefs, 1934
Johnson City Cardinals, 1939
Wilmington Blue Rocks, 1940
Stockton Ports, 1946
Billings Mustangs, 1948
Yakima Bears, 1949
Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 1950
Peoria Chiefs, 1953
Eugene Emeralds, 1955
Norfolk Tides, 1961
Burlington Bees, 1962
Jacksonville Suns, 1962
Reading Phillies, 1967
Elizabethton Twins, 1974
Columbus Clippers, 1977
Pawtucket Red Sox, 1977
Tulsa Drillers, 1977
Dunedin Blue Jays, 1978
Nashville Sounds, 1978
Kingsport Mets, 1980
Hagerstown Suns, 1981
Iowa Cubs, 1982
Huntsville Stars, 1985
Boise Hawks, 1987
Helena Brewers, 1987
Kinston Indians, 1987
San Jose Giants, 1988
St. Lucie Mets, 1988
Frederick Keys, 1989
Carolina Mudcats, 1991
Kane County Cougars, 1991
High Desert (Adelanto) Mavericks, 1991
Binghamton Mets, 1992
Fort Myers Miracle, 1992
Quad Cities River Bandits, 1992
Bowie Baysox, 1993
Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1993
Charlotte Knights, 1993
Danville Braves, 1993
Daytona Cubs, 1993
Hickory Crawdads, 1993
New Orleans Zephyrs, 1993
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, 1993
Augusta Greenjackets, 1994
Brevard County Manatees, 1994
Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs, 1994
Clinton LumberKings, 1994
Hudson Valley Renegades, 1994
Jamestown Jammers, 1994
Lake Elsinore Storm, 1994
Ogden Raptors, 1994
Portland Sea Dogs, 1994
South Bend Silver Hawks, 1994
Tampa Yankees, 1994
Trenton Thunder, 1994
West Michigan Whitecaps, 1994
Bakersfield Blaze, 1995
Beloit Snappers, 1995
Bristol White Sox, 1995
Everett AquaSox, 1995
Lynchburg Hillcats, 1995
Tacoma Rainiers, 1995
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, 1995
Auburn Doubledays, 1996
Delmarva Shorebirds, 1996
Lancaster JetHawks, 1996
Lansing Lugnuts, 1996
Lowell Spinners, 1996
Savannah Sand Gnats, 1996
Akron Aeros, 1997
New Britain Rock Cats, 1997
Princeton Rays, 1997
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 1997
Batavia Muckdogs, 1998
Fresno Grizzlies, 1998
Jupiter Hammerheads, 1998
Memphis Redbirds, 1998
Oklahoma City RedHawks, 1998
Altoona Curve, 1999
Erie SeaWolves, 1999
Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 1999
Midland Rockhounds, 1999
Missoula Osprey, 1999
Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 1999
Staten Island Yankees, 1999
Williamsport Crosscutters, 1999
Dayton Dragons, 2000
Las Vegas 51s, 2000
Round Rock Express, 2000
Vancouver Canadians, 2000
Brooklyn Cyclones, 2001
Kannapolis Intimidators, 2001
Lakewood Blue Claws, 2001
Lexington Legends, 2001
Sacramento River Cats, 2001
Tri-City Dust Devils, 2001
Aberdeen IronBirds, 2002
Louisville Bats, 2002
Tri-City ValleyCats, 2002
Albuquerque Isotopes, 2003
Frisco RoughRiders, 2003
Inland Expire 66ers, 2003
Lake County Captains, 2003
Palm Beach Cardinals, 2003
Rome Braves, 2003
Clearwater Threshers, 2004
Greeneville Astros, 2004
Idaho Falls Chukars, 2004
Montgomery Biscuits, 2004
New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 2004
Corpus Christi Hooks, 2005
Greensboro Grasshoppers, 2005
Modesto Nuts, 2005
Orem Owlz, 2005
Potomac Nationals, 2005
Springfield Cardinals, 2005
West Virginia Power, 2005
Greenville Drive, 2006
State College Spikes, 2006
Vermont Lake Monsters, 2006
Burlington Royals, 2007
Great Lakes Loons, 2007
Mississippi Braves, 2007
Lakeland Flying Tigers, 2007
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 2007
Casper Ghosts, 2008
Great Falls Voyagers, 2008
Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 2008
Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 2008
Pulaski Mariners, 2008
Salem Red Sox, 2008
Bowling Green Hot Rods, 2009
Charlotte Stone Crabs, 2009
Gwinnett Braves, 2009
Fort Wayne Tincaps, 2009
Reno Aces, 2009
Winston-Salem Dash, 2009
Bradenton Marauders, 2010
Connecticut Tigers, 2010
Richmond Flying Squirrels, 2010
Bluefield Blue Jays, 2011
Jackson Generals, 2011
Omaha Storm Chasers, 2011
Tucson Padres, 2011

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