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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

6/16/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Salt Lake City Bees

Time Period - 1951 to 1957

Venue : Derks Field

City : Salt Lake City, UT


Franchise History :

The franchise began in 1914 when Salt Lake businessman Bill Lane purchased the Sacremento Solons of the Pacific Coast League and brought them to Utah. The independent (unaffiliated) franchise was moved to Los Angeles in 1926. Salt Lake City was awarded a new franchise in the Utah-Idaho League where the second version of the Bees played as an independent team thru 1928 before disbanding.

In 1939 the third version of the Bees came to fruition as a member of the Pioneer League. The Phillies became the first pro affiliation in the city in 1951 and played in the Class C Pioneer League thru the 1957 season. In 1958 the Phillies discontinued franchise ties and the Bees affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates and moved back to the Pacific Coast League. They affiliated with the Pirates thru 1960, the Cleveland Indians became the affiliate for the 1961 and 1962 seasons with the Chicago Cubs affiliating from 1963 to 1965.

After a one year hiatus the franchise played as the Salt Lake City Giants as a San Francisco affiliate in the Pioneer League from 1967 to 1968. They affiliated with the San Diego Padres in 1969 and returned to the Pacific Coast League as the Bees in 1970.

The California Angels became the franchise sponsor in 1971 renaming the team the Angels at first and then the Gulls in 1975. The affiliation lasted thru the 1981 season. The Seattle Mariners took over from 1982 to 1984 ... in 1985 the third iteration of the franchise was moved to Calgary and became the Calgary Canons.

The Salt Lake City Trappers franchise was born in 1985 and played as an independent pro team in the Pioneer League thru the 1992 season. In 1987 the Trappers set a pro baseball record by winning 29 consecutive games. Comedian Bill Murray owned a minority share of the club. The Trappers team moved to Ogden in 1993.

Joe Buzas moved the Portland Beavers to Salt Lake City in 1994 again as a member of the Pacific Coast League ... a new stadium was built for the transferred club. They were known as the Buzz - named in honor of the long time Bees franchise however were forced to change the name to the Stingers in 2001 due to a trademark dilution lawsuit filed by Georgia Tech University who’s mascot is also named Buzz. In 2006 the club was renamed again as the Bees ... the fourth version. The Minnesota Twins maintained an affiliation from 1994 to 2000. In 2001 the Los Angeles Angels became the franchise sponsor and remain so today ... the Bees continue to play as members of the Pacific Coast League.


The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :

Community Park opened in 1915, it was renamed Derks Field in 1947 for John C. Derks, the long-time Salt Lake Tribune sports editor who brought professional baseball back to Salt Lake City. The grandstand was completely open, it had no roof or overhang whatsoever. The park was destroyed by an arsonist’s fire in 1946 but was rebuilt immediately.

The stadium was home to many teams till it’s end in 1993 when it was razed for a new ballpark built on the same site. Smith’s Ballpark opened for play in 1994 in it’s place and continues today as the home of the Pacific Coast League Salt Lake City franchise.

Derks Fields was located at 65 W. 1300 St, with a seating capacity if 5,300 that was expanded over the years to 10,500. Field dimensions were 340 to LF, 425 to CF and 370 to RF.


The Seasons :


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Hub Kittle ... 84-52, 1st place ... Attendance: 134,737. Lost in the Playoffs to the Great Falls Electrics 2 games to 0

23 year old Bob RHP Greenwood went 21-7 in 32 games ( 256 IP ) with a 3.30 ERA. He would go on to pitch in 12 major league games with the Phillies from 1954 to 1955 posting a 7-4 record in 39 IP ( 3.92 ERA ).

34 year old RHP Bob Barkelew posted an 18-10 record with a 2.13 ERA ( 2nd best in league ) in 32 games (253 IP). Barkelew had a long and successful minor league career ( 1938 to 1955 ) earning 151 wins in 270 decisions but never played in the big leagues.


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Hub Kittle ... 60-71, 6th place ... Attendance: 93,920.

36 year old manager Hub Kittle also pitched in 36 games, the RHP tallied 79 IP and recorded a 6-6 record with an outstanding 1.94 ERA ( 2nd best in the league ).

22 year old RHP John Anderson went 14-9 in his initial pro season with a 2.81 ERA in 32 games (205 IP). He would go on to pitch in 24 major league games in 1958, 1960 and 1962 with the Phillies, Orioles, Cardinals and Colt .45s.


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Ed Murphy & Charlie Gassaway ... 69-62, 4th place ... Attendance: 93,161. Won the League Championship by defeating Ogden Reds 2 games to 0 in playoffs and the Great Falls Electrics 3 games to 0 in Championship Series.

21 year old middle infielder Lee Tate hit .287 in 485 AB’s. He played 51 games in the major leagues from 1958 to 1959 with the St. Louis Cardinals making 97 plate appearances over those two seasons.


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Charlie Gassaway ... 78-53, 1st place ... Attendance: 128,001. Defeated the Idaho Falls Russets 2 games to 1 in playoffs but lost to the Great Falls Electrics 3 games to 2 in Championship Series.

37 year old RHP Burt Barkelew went 16-6 in 30 games (199 IP) with a 3.39 ERA.

22 year old RHP Don Erickson was the only player on the roster who would go on to play Major League Baseball. He posted a 13-12 record in 39 games (226 IP). Erickson’s major league career consisted of 9 games with the 1958 Phillies ( 11.2 IP ) with an 0-1 record.


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Hub Kittle ... 84-52, 1st place ... Attendance: 134,737.

26 year old outfielder Wallace Rushing made the last season of his career a good one as he posted a .345 batting average in 391 AB’s with 10 home runs and 70 RBIs.


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Bobby Sturgeon & Svend Jessen ... 61-70, 6th place ... Attendance: 89,040.

21 year old RHP Dallas Green recorded a 17-12 record in 33 games (239 IP). The 17 wins was the third highest mark in the league. Dallas went on to become a Phillies legend, he pitched in 8 big league seasons from 1960 to 1967 with the Phillies, Senators and Mets. He also managed 8 major league seasons with the Phillies, Yankees and Mets.


Pioneer League (C) ... Manager : Frank Lucchesi ... 70-62, 3rd place ... Attendance: 103,307.

19 year old RHP Art Mahaffey went 9-7 in 22 games (157 IP) posting a 4.53 ERA.

20 year old first baseman Fred Hopke hit .337 in 508 AB’s with 10 home runs and 90 RBIs ... he played 10 minor league seasons - 7 were at the AAA level. He retired after spending 1965 with Syracuse in the International League.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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