Ferdinand Cesarano

great throwback for Tampa Bay: 89-90 St. Pete Pelicans

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I didn't see these items mentioned here, so I thought I'd post about two great throwback days coming up.

Several weeks ago, UniWatch reported that the Tampa Bay Rays would be wearing unis of the St. Pete Pelicans on June 21!

2512465610_77fd6fc928_o.jpg

That uni set, in action:

home:

03F.jpg07F.jpg

road:

01F.jpg

Hell, yeah! The 1989-90 Senior League Champion Pelicans are back! This team was the only champion ever in the history of the Senior Professional Baseball Assoc. ("SPBA", but in practice called the "Senior League" -- even the umps had "SL" on their hats), as the league folded during its second season.

From the above image, it would appear that the Rays are aware of the correct number font. However, I don't know what that patch is on the left sleeve, as it does not seem to have been present on the original uni.

I remember seeing the 1990 championship game in which the Pelicans defeated the West Palm Beach Tropics, who were my favourite team in that league (go Dave Kingman!). (The Tropics, incidentally, sported some pretty beautiful unis in their own right.) The lasting image was of the Pelicans' Lenny Randle running around after the victory, shouting "Bring on the A's! Bring on the A's!"

I hope they can get Bobby Tolan to throw out the first ball!

In other good news, in the comments to today's UniWatch column, someone mentioned that the Lynchburg Hillcats, the Pirates' class-A affilliate in the Carolina League, will be honouring the 1983 Lynchburg Mets tonight by wearing throwback unis.

7c02890ab70f622b9d36d12c160c268e.200.jpg

This is tremendous that the team is acknowledging its history when it was part of another organisation. Also, we should tip our caps to the Pirates for allowing this.

The fact that this promo is even being done means that the fans in that area must be very aware of their history. Kudos all around!

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Thanks for the update. I knew the Rays were doing and 80's Night Turn Back the Clock, but had not clue on the unis. These definitely fit, and looky at what the visiting Astros will wear:

promo_0621_180x120.jpg

Should be a good game.

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I own home jerseys and caps from the Bradenton Explorers, Fort Myers Sun Sox, Orlando Juice, St. Petersburg Pelicans, Winter Haven Super Sox and West Palm Beach Tropics. At the time, I was big into contacting minor-league and alternative league sports franchises and asking if they had authentic jerseys, caps and helmets for sale.

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I own home jerseys and caps from the Bradenton Explorers, Fort Myers Sun Sox, Orlando Juice, St. Petersburg Pelicans, Winter Haven Super Sox and West Palm Beach Tropics. At the time, I was big into contacting minor-league and alternative league sports franchises and asking if they had authentic jerseys, caps and helmets for sale.

I'm about to showcase my baseball geekdom in five...four...three...two...

Weren't the Sun Sox, at one point, called the Solar Sox as well? B)

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Weren't the Sun Sox, at one point, called the Solar Sox as well? B)

FortMeyersSunSox8990.GIF

No. They played the full 1989-90 and curtailed 1990-91 SPBA seasons as the Sun Sox.

You may be thinking of the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox.

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I think these are pretty sweet! Although it seems that if the "St.P" treatment were done on the P in Pelicans rather than above it, there might be a slighter cleaner line to the whole thing. Nevertheless, I'm a sucker for just about any throwback promotion. If the Colorado Rockies did a throwback game wearing mid-60s Denver Bears garb, I'd be in seventh heaven.

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Does anybody know where I could buy one of the Pelicans Hats?

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Of all the unis in that league, I always thought the Pelicans' were the sweetest.

What color pants will the Astros be wearing? If I recall correctly, the rainbow stripes were worn both home and road and there was no gray version. So they'd have to wear white pants tomorrow even though they're the road team to complete the look.

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Great idea for the Pelicans uniforms.

Wow, I can't believe it.

A thread about Tampa Bay baseball that Gothamite hasn't come in and pooped all over it with his anti-Tampa Bay baseball rhetoric.

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Weren't the Sun Sox, at one point, called the Solar Sox as well? B)

FortMeyersSunSox8990.GIF

No. They played the full 1989-90 and curtailed 1990-91 SPBA seasons as the Sun Sox.

You may be thinking of the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox.

You got me Bri! :D

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Can I hear more about this baseball league? It was created for older players like a senior golfers tour? I can't believe I've never heard of it. What famous players participated?

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In the late 80s, this league was started as an answer to golf's Senior PGA tour. I'm going off of memory here, so I may be wrong on a few details, but there was like ten teams that played a schedule that began in late November and lasted until mid or late January. I am pretty sure that all of the teams were based in Florida and played at spring training homes and college ball parks.

Most of the teams were a mix of older players, but some tried to create a classic-team feel. For example, I think the Winter Haven (or Ft. Myers) team was composed mainly of former Red Sox players. Jim Rice played a few games, as did Cecil Cooper (I think) and Bill Lee. What struck me as strange (I was 15 when the league started and watched a few games when I could -- they were broadcast on New England's NESN sporadically) is that most of the well known "stars" of the past played only a handful of games and then retired because they were usually woefully out of shape. The better players of the league were the more mediocre major leaguers.

All-in-all it was a fun league, no one took things too seriously (it appeared) and I remember that articles about the league focused on players talking about how cool it was too see their buddies again and to be actually playing baseball. It sounded like an extended high school/college reunion. Unfortunately, most fans didn't really care too much to watch a bunch of old guys relive their glory days and the crowds stayed away. Teams folded and moved in the second year and the league eventually disbanded.

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Of all the unis in that league, I always thought the Pelicans' were the sweetest.

What color pants will the Astros be wearing? If I recall correctly, the rainbow stripes were worn both home and road and there was no gray version. So they'd have to wear white pants tomorrow even though they're the road team to complete the look.

If the Astros wore what they wore for a 2006 throwback game in San Diego, it will be the white pants with the rainbow stripes down the side. Unfortunately, I have the feeling the Astros will be wearing their regular helmets, which takes away from the throwback look. And they'll have black shoes, too, which they only wore in 1975 with the rainbows before switching to white shoes in '76. However, this photo has them in black shoes, which was incorrect because they were wearing '76 jerseys (which is marked by the NL centennial patches).

http://static.flickr.com/83/206281297_44ab7403f0.jpg?v=0

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In the late 80s, this league was started as an answer to golf's Senior PGA tour. I'm going off of memory here, so I may be wrong on a few details, but there was like ten teams that played a schedule that began in late November and lasted until mid or late January. I am pretty sure that all of the teams were based in Florida and played at spring training homes and college ball parks.

Most of the teams were a mix of older players, but some tried to create a classic-team feel. For example, I think the Winter Haven (or Ft. Myers) team was composed mainly of former Red Sox players. Jim Rice played a few games, as did Cecil Cooper (I think) and Bill Lee. What struck me as strange (I was 15 when the league started and watched a few games when I could -- they were broadcast on New England's NESN sporadically) is that most of the well known "stars" of the past played only a handful of games and then retired because they were usually woefully out of shape. The better players of the league were the more mediocre major leaguers.

All-in-all it was a fun league, no one took things too seriously (it appeared) and I remember that articles about the league focused on players talking about how cool it was too see their buddies again and to be actually playing baseball. It sounded like an extended high school/college reunion. Unfortunately, most fans didn't really care too much to watch a bunch of old guys relive their glory days and the crowds stayed away. Teams folded and moved in the second year and the league eventually disbanded.

Thanks. I'd never heard of this before, interesting.

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I own home jerseys and caps from the Bradenton Explorers, Fort Myers Sun Sox, Orlando Juice, St. Petersburg Pelicans, Winter Haven Super Sox and West Palm Beach Tropics.

Pics, pls.

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I own home jerseys and caps from the Bradenton Explorers, Fort Myers Sun Sox, Orlando Juice, St. Petersburg Pelicans, Winter Haven Super Sox and West Palm Beach Tropics.

Pics, pls.

They're currently packed away at my in-laws' place back home in New England. I'll have to try and remember to dig them out when I'm there this summer.

When I think back on the amount of money I spent on various minor-league/alternative league baseball, football, hockey and soccer jerseys between 1986 and 1999... well, I just wonder how I managed to save enough money to drink quality beer? Lord knows I didn't make nearly as much cash back when I sold a lot of the stuff off. The SPBA stuff is part of a much smaller collection of memorabilia that I kept.

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I love the St Pete Pelicans jersey - I need one now!!!

If you can find a copy, there is a book called 'Extra Innings' by David Whitford that is about the one (and a bit) seasons of the SPBA - seem to remember that when it folded there was talk about them establishing teams in California/Arizona as well.

There is also a story ('The Unnatural' by Peter O Whitmer of Tropic Magazine) about a Florida lawyer, Joe Mincberg, who tried out as a walk-on for the Miami Tropics without any pro-experience at all - apparently he had to submit a formal motion for a continuance during a cocaine-smuggling trial as 'Counsel has an opportunity to try out for the Tropics professional baseball team' - which was granted. His entire professional career (as far as I can tell) was a 1-for-5 (with 3 strikeouts) appearance against the Orlando Juice in December 1989 - the lone hit coming off Jack Billingham (formerly of the Cincinnati Reds)

Like Brian in Boston, I seem to have picked up weird and wonderful alternative league memorabilia along the way - the XFL/Canadian Baseball League/USFL/WLAF - including the SPBA cards (and a fridge magnet I recall)!

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If you can find a copy, there is a book called 'Extra Innings' by David Whitford that is about the one (and a bit) seasons of the SPBA - seem to remember that when it folded there was talk about them establishing teams in California/Arizona as well.

During the SPBA's curtailed second season, the league did establish teams in California and Arizona: the San Bernardino Pride and the Sun City Rays, respectively.

The SPBA's franchise lineup each season...

1989-90

Bradenton Explorers

Fort Myers Sun Sox

Gold Coast Suns (split home games between Miami and Pompano Beach)

Orlando Juice

St. Lucie Legends

St. Petersburg Pelicans

West Palm Beach Tropics

Winter Haven Super Sox

1990-91

Daytona Beach Explorers

Florida Tropics (road team)

Fort Myers Sun Sox

San Bernardino Pride

St. Petersburg Pelicans

Sun City Rays

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Peter Golenbock also wrote a REAL good book on the SPBA called "The Forever Boys". I have a copy of it in my library at home, and the book presents many of the players in an interesting light and discusses life after their playing days were over, and their tenure in the SPBA.

I strongly suggest anyone with an interest in the SPBA get this book.

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