6/21/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Eugene Emeralds
Time Period - 1964 to 1973
Venue : Bethel Park ( 1964 to 1968 ) and Civic Stadium ( 1969 to 1973 )
City : Eugene, OR
Franchise History :
Professional baseball first came to Eugene in 1950 in the form of the Eugene Larks, a team that played as an independent club in the Far West League. The club lasted just two years however as the League folded after the 1951 season.
The Emaralds franchise was born in 1955 as a charter member of the Northwest League. The Emeralds played in the league from 1955 to 1968 before moving to the AAA level Pacific Coast League in 1969 where they played thru the 1973 season. In 1974 the club returned to the Northwest League and remains as a member there today.
Over the years the team’s affiliations have been :
San Francisco Giants - 1959 to 1962
Chicago Cubs - 1963
Philadelphia Phillies - 1964 to 1965
Philadelphia Phillies & St. Louis Cardinals Co-Op - 1966
Philadelphia Phillies - 1967 to 1973
Cincinnati Reds - 1975 to 1983
Kansas City Royals - 1984 to 1994
Atlanta Braves - 1995 to 1998
Chicago Cubs - 1999 to 2000
San Diego Padres - 2001 to 2014
Chicago Cubs - 2015 to Present
The Stadiums the Phillies teams played in :
Bethel Park :
Bethel Park was one of the last wooden parks used in minor league baseball. It was built in 1949 at the corner of Seneca and Roosevelt Roads in West Eugene. Field dimensions were 336 to LF, 401 to CF and 336 to RF.
The stadium became home to the Eugene Larks in 1950 and then the Eugene Emeralds from 1955 to 1968. Bethel Park was known as a pitcher’s park and often had high wind conditions ... during night games there were “black spots” in the outfield which tormented fielders.
After the 1968 season it was torn down for what was initially expected to be part of a highway ... later Lark City Park was built on part of the old outfield.
Civic Stadium :
In 1969 concurrent with the move of the Emeralds to the AAA Pacific Coast League Civic Stadium became the new home for the Phillies Eugene franchise. The stadium had been solely used for Football for the previous 20 years ... significant updates were made prior to the Emeralds taking the field. Light standards were purchased and added as well as 800 theatre style box seats from San Diego’s Westgate Park which was being razed. The press box was relocated from the Grandstand roof and incorporated into the seating area. Playing field updates were made, the concession area was paved, new paint and new fencing and a new scoreboard - a metal hand turned one was installed.
The ballpark had been originally built in 1938 ... it took on a new life and served as home for the Emeralds until 2009 when they moved to the University of Oregon’s ball park. Afterwards plans were being made to restore Civic Stadium but they failed to get funding ... unfortunately it met it’s demise when arsonists burnt the stadium to the ground on June 29th, 2015. In October of 2018 the Eugene Civic Alliance broke ground on the site to construct a sports complex and Kidsports headquarters.
The Seasons :
Northwest League (A) ... Manager : Bob Wellman ... 77-63, 2nd place ... Attendance: 65,884. Lost in playoffs to Yakima Bears 3 games to 0.
24 year old outfielder James Perkins led the team with a .332 batting average in 193 AB’s which was third best in the league ... he played 7 minor league seasons before retiring in 1968. 24 year old infielder Chuck Green was third in the league in RBIs (100) ... he played 10 minor league seasons before retiring in 1969.
Northwest League (A) ... Manager : Bob Wellman ... 71-65, 3rd place ... Attendance: 45,098.
22 year old RHP Mike Marshall was in his first season as a full time Pitcher after playing the previous four years at shortstop. He went 6-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 36 games ( 59 IP ). He would go on to pitch 14 seasons in the major leagues with the Tigers, Pilots, Astros, Expos, Dodgers, Braves, Rangers and Twins winning a Cy Young Award in 1974 with Los Angeles when he went 15-12 with 21 saves and recorded a 2.42 ERA while appearing in 106 games. 😳
Northwest League (Short Season A) ... Manager : Hal Luby ... 44-40, 2nd place ... Attendance: 28,409.
The Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals formed a co-op agreement for the season as each team furnished players to the Emeralds. 20 year old RHP Daniel Cramer went 10-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 15 games ( 124 IP ) ... he threw 11 complete games ... Cramer would play 3 minor league seasons before retiring in 1968.
Northwest League (Short Season A) ... Manager : Bobby Malkmus ... 50-34, 2nd place ... Attendance: 31,249.
22 year old RHP Wayne Swango went 12-3 with an incredible 0.88 ERA in 18 games ( 133 IP ) ... he tossed 11 complete games including 3 shutouts ... after spending the 1968 season at Kinston - an affiliate of the Yankees in the Carolina League - he was out of baseball.
18 year old Catcher Buck Martinez finished 2nd in the league in batting average ( .357 in 269 AB’s ) ... he would go on to play in 17 major league seasons from 1969 to 1986 with the Royals, Brewers and Blue Jays and became the Manager of the Blue Jays from 2001 to 2003 ... he’s currently the play by play voice of the Blue Jays television broadcasts as well as doing national games for TBS and the MLB Network.
Northwest League (Short Season A) ... Manager : Nolan Campbell ... 41-32, 2nd place ... Attendance: 22,169.
18 year old first baseman Andre Thornton played his second season of pro baseball and appeared in 56 games collecting 222 plate appearances ... he hit 5 home runs and had 31 RBIs ... Andre would go on to play in 14 major league seasons with the Phillies, Cubs, Expos and Indians and hit 253 home runs while driving in 895.
Pacific Coast League (AAA) ... Manager : Frank Lucchesi ... 88-58, 1st place - South Division ... Attendance: 152,256. Lost in Championship Series to Tacoma Cubs 3 games to 1.
The first year of AAA play for the Emeralds saw the team win a division title before losing to Tacoma in the league Championship Series.
The club was stacked with 24 former or future big leaguers on the roster including 23 year old shortstop Larry Bowa who hit .287 in 568 AB’s ... he led the league in stolen bases with 48 ... of course any Phillies fan knows he went on to become a legend in red pinstripes ... 16 years in the big leagues ( 14 with the Phillies ) amassing 2,191 hits and two gold gloves ... he later managed the Phillies from 2001 to 2004 and has also served as a coach ... presently a Senior Advisor to the GM ... we are fortunate to get to see him still coaching the minor leaguers on occasion at Carpenter Complex ... true Phillies royalty ⚾️👍👊🏻
32 year old first baseman Cal Emery led the league in Batting Average (.400), OBP (.509) and OPS (1.098) in 324 plate appearances ...
25 year old second baseman Denny Doyle was named the league’s MVP as he led the loop in Total Bases (257) and Hits (182) and was 4th in Doubles ( 29) ... he would go on to play in 8 major league seasons from 1969 to 1977 with the Phillies, Angels and Red Sox.
Pacific Coast League (AAA) ... Managers : Bob Wellman & Lou Kahn ... 66-80, 3rd place - North Division ... Attendance: 101,142.
One of my favorite Phillies ... 22 year old Willie Montanez played in 119 games and hit .276 in 434 AB’s with 24 doubles, 9 triples, 16 home runs and 80 RBIs ... he would play in 14 major league seasons from 1970 to 1982 with the Phillies, Giants, Braves, Mets, Rangers, Expos, Padres and Pirates ... I used to emulate his glove flip on fly balls as a first baseman 🤓
23 year old 1B/OF Joe Lis led the league in home runs (36) and was second in RBIs ( 107 ) while posting a .324 batting average in 487 AB’s ... he would go on to play in 8 big league seasons from 1970 to 1977 with the Phillies, Twins, Indians and Mariners.
22 year old slick fielding infielder John Vukovich was second in the loop in home runs (22) and drove in 96 runs while hitting .275 in 520 AB’s ... we know he too would go on to become a Phillies legend 👍👊🏻
Pacific Coast League (AAA) ... Manager : Andy Seminick ... 66-79, 4th place - North Division ... Attendance: 86,843.
20 year old 1B Greg Luzinski hit 36 home runs and drove in 114 while recording a .312 batting average in 594 AB’s and led the league in Total Bases (319) ... he would go on to play in 15 major league seasons from 1970 to 1984 with the Phillies and White Sox smashing 307 home runs while driving in 1,128
Fellow 20 year old ... Outfielder Mike Anderson also hit 36 home runs and drove in 100 runs while recording a .334 batting average in 482 AB’s ... Mike would play in 9 big league seasons with the Phillies, Cardinals and Orioles spanning from 1969 to 1979.
A 27 year old fella who would become very popular later in Philly led the league in batting average (.372), OBP (.462), Slugging (.764) and OPS (1.227 ) while a member of the Portland Beavers in the Twins organization ... he would play in 6 major league seasons with the Twins and Dodgers and another 6 in Japan where he would hit 189 home runs ... we got to know him as the Manager of the Phillies from 2005 to 2013 ... the one and only Charlie Manuel 👍🤓 ... it’s been our privilege to also see him on occasion at the Complex in recent years teaching hitting to the fellas ... ain’t no wonder he can teach it ... the big man could flat out rake ⚾️💪
Pacific Coast League (AAA) ... Andy Seminick ... 79-69, 1st place - North Division ... Attendance: 168,094. Lost in playoffs to Albuquerque Dukes 3 games to 1.
22 year old third baseman Mike Schmidt hit .291 in 436 AB’s with 23 doubles, 6 triples, 26 home runs and 91 RBIs ... his Hall of Fame Major League career spanned 18 seasons from 1972 to 1989 in which he hit 548 home runs and drove in 1,595 runs ... that’s pretty good eh 🤔 ... he also won 10 gold gloves as a third baseman ...
25 year old Joe Lis was back in AAA and led the league in OBP (.473), Slugging (.775) and OPS ( 1.247 ) in 273 plate appearances while posting a .338 batting average ( 2nd in league).
24 year old Catcher Bob Boone hit .308 in 513 AB’s with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs ... he would go on to play in 19 major league seasons from 1969 to 1990 with the Phillies, Angels and Royals. He would also manage in the big leagues with the Royals from 1995 to 1997 and the Reds from 2001 to 2003. He later served as Assistant GM and VP of Player Development for the Washington Nationals.
Pacific Coast League (AAA) ... Manager : Jim Bunning ... 64-79, 4th place - West Division ... Attendance: 124,458.
19 year old RHP Larry Christenson pitched in his first season at the AAA level and recorded a 7-6 record in 16 starts ( 100 IP ) with a 5.13 ERA ... he would be in the major leagues later in the year and would pitch in 11 big league seasons ( 1973 to 1983 ) with the Phillies appearing in 243 games and posting 83 wins including a 19-6 record in 1977.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️