Throwback nights are promotional staples throughout Minor League Baseball, providing some bursts of nostalgia in today’s game. Some teams around MiLB have interesting throwback nights planned this year, bringing former monikers and uniform designs back for a night or as part of a larger series of promotions. We look at some of the notable entries in this edition of Promotions Watch.
This year marks the 50th season of the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League). In honor of this occasion, the team has unveiled five flashback jerseys that will be worn on select nights in 2018. The flashback jerseys planned for this season include the 2011 Storm Chasers (to be worn April 20), 2010 Omaha Royals (May 25), 1999 Omaha Golden Spikes (June 22), 1985 Royals (July 20), and 1969 Royals (August 24).
The Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) traditionally take an active approach to honoring their history, and that trend continues this year with Throwback Thursdays. On Throwback Thursdays this season, the Sounds will don uniforms modeled on the look of the 1978 Sounds.
Another recurring throwback promotion comes from the El Paso Chihuahuas (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), who will honor the bygone El Paso Diablos (Class AA; Texas League) with Diablos Days. Diablos Days will take place on Wednesday home games, featuring the Chihuahuas taking the field in a throwback uniform inspired by the 1987 Diablos. A Diablos cap giveaway will take place on May 9.
Elsewhere, the Down East Wood Ducks (High A; Carolina League) will wear Kinston Indians (High A; Carolina League) uniforms for select home games. That will take place as part of the Wood Ducks’ Throwback Thursdays.
One of the more unique throwback nights comes from the Danville Braves (Rookie; Appalachian League), who will honor the Danville 97s (High A; Carolina League) on August 11. In 1998, the 97s shared American Legion Field with the Braves, a one-year stopover for a franchise that relocated from Durham to make way for the Class AAA International League version of the Bulls. The 97s moved to Myrtle Beach for the 1999 season, where they remain today as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
As part of their 50th season celebration, the Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will take the field as the Iowa Oaks for select games. Fans can also look forward to a replica Oaks jersey giveaway on July 14.
The Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League) will honor the Norfolk Tars of the Piedmont League with Turn Back the Clock Nights. Turn Back the Clock Nights are scheduled for June 25 and August 21. In another notable throwback promotion at the Class AAA level, the Albuquerque Isotopes (Pacific Coast League) will honor the Albuquerque Dukes with Dukes Retro Night. That tribute to the city’s former Pacific Coast League franchise will take place on July 7.
June 30 should be a busy night at Canal Park, as it is when the Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League) will take the field in Canton-Akron Indians uniforms. The club will sport one of its former looks during an evening that also includes a celebration of the film Major League, complete with a Clu Haywood bobblehead giveaway.
On June 2, the San Jose Giants (High A; California League) will wear throwback jerseys modeled on the team’s uniforms from 1998. This is part of a larger anniversary celebration of the team’s 1998 California League Championship, with a team reunion and a replica championship ring giveaway also planned for that evening.
In a similar vein, the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A; Midwest League) will take the field in throwback jerseys on May 12. That is part of a promotion that will include a replica 1996 championship ring giveaway.
This year, the Peoria Chiefs (Low A; Midwest League) will wear baby blue throwback jerseys each Sunday, with the team auctioning them off on August 26. Meanwhile, the Florida Fire Frogs (High A; Florida State League) are planning a Kissimmee Cobras jersey as part of their slate of specialty uniforms for 2018. From 1995-2000, the Cobras branding was used by a former Florida State League franchise that played at Osceola County Stadium.
With this being their last season of Class AAA baseball, the Colorado Spring Sky Sox (Pacific Coast League) are taking a unique approach that will honor the city’s baseball history. Elmore Sports Group is planning franchise shifts for 2019, including a move of the Sky Sox 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) to replace the Sky Sox in Colorado Springs and Security Service Field.
We covered the promotion in January, but elements of it are worth highlighting in this story, as the team is planning a year-long celebration of the 45-year Colorado Springs baseball history, including nods to the Colorado Springs Millionaires and other minor-league teams. The Sky Sox will wear uniforms of each team during every Friday home game, starting in April with the Millionaires, a uniform look that has not 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 purchase the jerseys via auction.
This season will see the return of one of baseball’s best traditions, as the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) will host the Rickwood Classic at Rickwood Field on May 30. Last year’s Rickwood Classic was cancelled because of structural issues with the historic ballpark, but the event is returning this year.
The theme of the 2018 Rickwood Classic is the “Fabulous Fifties,” and a tribute to a Birmingham team that was affiliated with the New York Yankees from 1953-1956. The Barons will don throwback grey uniforms and caps with font in the vintage Yankees navy blue script, while Bucky Dent will be on hand for a special appearance.
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