Lame-duck seasons are no fun. But the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have a unique approach to marking the last season of Triple-A baseball: a season-long promo stressing continuity with pro ball when the Pioneer League comes to Security Service Field in 2019.
Elmore Sports Group is planning major changes for 2019 that calls for the Sky Sox to move to Wolff Stadium in San Antonio, the San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League) franchise to a new Amarillo ballpark, and the Helena Brewers (Rookie; Pioneer League) replacing the Sky Sox in Colorado Springs and Security Service Field. So pro baseball isn’t leaving Colorado Springs; it’s just being adjusted to a short season that’s probably better suited to the market and climate.
But the Sky Sox still need to play out the 2018 season while managing expectations for 2019. Part of the solution: a year-long celebration of the 45-year Colorado Springs baseball history and a toast to 45 more years of MiLB ball, including call-outs to the Colorado Springs Millionaires and other minor-league teams.
“‘Cheers to 45 More Years’ is a 2018 campaign designed to share with and educate our fans about baseball’s amazing history in Colorado Springs from the early days of the 1900’s to today,” said Sky Sox President and General Manager Tony Ensor in a press statement. “We want to honor this history in a fun and unique way while building excitement about our new future in the Springs beginning 2019.”
The 45 years are not continuous; they begin in 1901 with the Millionaires and span 45 seasons. The Millionaires played between 1901 and 1916, with pro ball returning in 1950 with the emergence of the first Sky Sox, a Western League team affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. After the Sky Sox won the pennant in 1958, their third in eight seasons, the region went without pro baseball again as the league folded and the team ceased operations. Thirty years later, in 1988, owner Dave Elmore brought the second incarnation of the Sky Sox back to town from Hawaii to play in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) as an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, according to a press release from the team.
To pay homage and display the history of Colorado Springs professional baseball, the 2018 Sky Sox will wear uniforms of each team era every Friday home game. On Opening Day and every Friday in April, the team will take the field as the Millionaires, with a uniform look that hasn’t been worn in over a century. The Sky Sox will continue the pattern by wearing the 1950’s White Sox era replica in May, 1980’s Cleveland Indians era replica in June, 1990’s Rockies era replica in July, 2000’s Rockies rebranded “Socko” jersey replica in August, and the current Milwaukee Brewers era jersey throughout September. At the end of each month, fans will have the opportunity to keep a part of Colorado Springs baseball history as each once-in-a-lifetime jersey will be auctioned to the public.
“It’s not just the uniforms, but we’ll ask our staff, fans and community to join in on the fun and dress in period clothing from that era,” Ensor said. “Our promotions will be centered on playing music from that era, inviting people back from those eras — players and dignitaries — and highlighting facts and history of Colorado Springs from those eras.”