The next win notched by the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) will be a historic one: it will be the 1,000th win in franchise history.
Only four independent teams reached that mark: the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (American Association) and the Bridgeport Bluefish and Somerset Patriots (Atlantic League). The Saints play the Sioux City Explorers on this morning at Lewis and Clark Park, with a franchise record of 999-905.
The long climb to 1,000 wins began with victory number one in the team’s very first game on June 15, 1993 against the Duluth-Superior Dukes at Wade Stadium. With the game tied at three heading to the top of the 10th inning the Saints loaded the bases for Leon Durham. The former Major Leaguer deposited a deep drive over the right field wall to give the Saints a 7-3 lead. They would hang on for a 7-4 victory, the first of many to come that season and over the next 20.
Some history from Saints broadcaster Sean Aronson:
The first team to win game 1,000 in Independent Baseball was the Bluefish. They accomplished the mark on June 27, 2012 with a 2-1 victory over the York Revolution. The Bluefish got two RBI singles from Elliott Ayala in the second and sixth innings to jump out to a 2-0 lead. The Revolution would get one back with a run in the eighth, but left the tying run stranded at third. The Patriots also squeaked out a one run victory in game one of a double header against the Sugar Land Skeeters. In a game scheduled for seven innings Jeff Nettles’ fielder’s choice in the sixth inning plated Dan Hannigan for the 6-5 lead and the eventual final score on July 24, 2012.
The Goldeyes found their 1,000th win to be of the dramatic variety. Against their rivals from Quebec on June 16, 2013, Nick Liles’ chopper to third scored Fehlandt Lentini as the throw was a little late. The two-run bottom of the ninth allowed Quebec to become the third Independent League franchise to earn win 1,000.
Joining the Goldeyes last season were the RedHawks who defeated the Saints on July 25 with a walk-off homer by Buddy Sosnoskie. That dramatic home run at Newman Outdoor Field capped off win number 1,000.
It’s proving to be a milestone season for the Saints; the team opened its last season at Midway Stadium on Thursday night with a win over Gary-SouthShore. We were there and will have a report later this week.
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