• Steve Potter

6/3/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Central Oregon & Bend Phillies




Time Period - 1979 to 1987

Venue : Vince Genna Stadium

City : Bend, Oregon

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Franchise History :

In 1979 the Phillies reached an agreement to field a short season team in the Northwest League with the club named the Central Oregon Phillies. The franchise was originally owned by Gene Davis but was purchased by Jack Kain in 1981. Kain changed the team name to the Bend Phillies. Mary Kain became the team owner when Jack was named the President of the Northwest League.

Minor league baseball was originally played in Bend 1970 and 1971 when the Bend Rainbows performed as a minor league affiliate of the Triple A level Hawaii Islanders ... the Rainbows played in the Northwest League those two seasons. Actor Kurt Russell played for the Rainbows as a second baseman during the 1971 season.

Prior to the Phillies fielding a team the Oakland A’s played in Bend for the 1978 season as the Timber Hawks. The Phillies continued their exclusive affiliation with Bend thru the 1986 season however in 1987 the franchise was a co-op team receiving half of their players from the Phillies along with manager Mel Roberts but also had players from the Dodgers, Padres, Pirates and Rangers. The California Angels fielded a team in Bend for the 1988 & 1989 seasons named the Bend Bucks.

In 1990 the Bend Bucks went to a co-op arrangement and received players from the Phillies, Athletics and Giants ... nine organizations supplied players for the 1991 season. The expansion Colorado Rockies took over the franchise agreement in 1992 and played in Bend thru the 1994 season as the Bend Rockies. In 1995 the Cains moved the franchise to Portland becoming the Portland Rockies.

The Bend Bandits were formed in 1995 as an Independent Minor League team and played in the Western Baseball League for two seasons.

A collegiate summer team - the Bend Elks formed in 1999 as a founding member of the wooden bat West Coast League and have played in Bend from 2000 to present day.

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The Stadium the Phillies played in :

Vince Genna stadium is located on SE 5th Ave and Roosevelt Ave in Bend Oregon. It was built in 1964 and operated as Municipal Stadium till being renamed in 1992 to honor Vince Genna who was the city of Bend’s director of parks and recreation and a long time American Legion baseball coach who’s teams played at the stadium. The field dimensions are 330 feet to left field, 390 feet to center and 330 feet to right field. It seats approximately 3,500.

The stadium is owned by the Bend Metro Park and Recreation department and is a natural grass playing surface.

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The Seasons :

1979

Northwest League, South Division . . . Manager: Tom Harmon . . . 43-28, first place . . . Attendance: 18,610. League Champions defeating the Walla Walla Padres in championship series 2 games to 1

20 year old Julio Franco tied for the league leadership in home runs with 10 and was 7th in batting average at .328 and led the league in total bases with 153.

23 year old Herb Orensky was second in the league with 7 triples, 21 year old Anthony McGill was third in RBIs with 55 and second in stolen bases with 26 ... Franco had 22 steals. Orensky was fourth in the loop in slugging at .523

Franco and Alejandro Sanchez were the only two players on the roster to eventually play in the major leagues.

Herb Orensky was a high school standout at Sharon Hill High School in Delaware County and then played both football and baseball at the University of Delaware ... he’s still active in local PA men’s baseball leagues.

1980

Northwest League, South Division . . . Manager: PJ Carey . . . 31-39, third place . . . Attendance: 28,486.

19 year old Juan Samuel was second in the league in home runs with 17 and third in total bases with 150. 20 year old Jerry Willard was second in doubles with 21 and sixth in RBIs with 59, he was third in the league in batting average with a .368 mark and second in OBP at .481. 19 year old Jeff Stone was third in the league with 32 stolen bases.

Those three all went on to play in the big leagues as did 19 year old pitcher Bill Johnson.

1981

Northwest League, North Division . . . Manager: PJ Carey . . . 31-39, second place . . . Attendance: 19,719.

Two 19 year olds on the roster, INF Rick Schu and RHP Rocky Childress went on to become major leaguers. 19 year old Bernardo Howard led the club with a .311 batting average ( 5th in league ) while 19 year old infielder Bryan Hoppie was second in the league with 37 stolen bases trailing only future big league star Eric Davis who swiped 40 that season for Eugene as a 19 year old as well.

1982

Northwest League, North Division . . . Manager: Roly DeArmas . . . 30-40, second place . . . Attendance: 28,334.

19 year old outfielder Chris James, 18 year old outfielder Keith Hughes, 20 year old infielder Greg Jelks, 20 year old RHP Mike Maddux and 19 year old RHP Jose Segura were players on the roster that went on to play in the major leagues.

James tied for sixth best in the league with a .317 batting average, led the loop in doubles with 19, was second in home runs with 12 and third in RBIs with 50.

1983

Northwest League, Oregon Division . . . Manager: Jay Ward . . . 32-37, third place . . . Attendance: 29,063.

21 year old outfielder Kevin Ward led the team in hitting with a .307 batting average, he would later play in the majors with the Padres in 1991 and 1992. 20 year old RHP Johny Abrego was the only other player on the roster to play in the show.

1984

Northwest League, South Division . . . Manager: Ramon Aviles . . . 38-36, second place . . . Attendance: 32,201.

Three 21 year old pitchers on the roster, right handers Marvin Freeman and Todd Frohwirth and lefty Shawn Barton. 21 year old infielder Keith Miller also made it to the majors as did 21 year old outfielder Tom Newell however Newell switched to pitching to make it there.

1985

Northwest League, Oregon Division . . . Manager: PJ Carey . . . 39-35, second place . . . Attendance: 30,507

21 year old outfielder Ron Jones excelled in his first pro season hitting .315 in 328 plate appearances with 10 home runs and 60 RBIs ... he was 2nd in the league in RBIs that season.

22 year old outfielder Rick Parker, 17 year old RHP Jason Grimsley and 19 year old LHP Wally Ritchie were the other players on the roster that eventually played in the majors.

1986

Northwest League, Oregon Division . . . Manager: Ed Pebley . . . 21-56, fourth place . . . Attendance: 29,763.

18 year old RHP Andy Ashby, 20 year old RHP Chuck Malone, 22 year old RHP Brad Moore and 20 year old RHP Steve Scarsone were the four rostered players who went on to play Major League Baseball.

1987 - Co-Op team with Dodgers, Pirates, Padres and Rangers

Northwest League, North Division . . . Manager: Mel Roberts . . . 33-42, second place . . . Attendance: 36,131

21 year old third baseman Gary Maasberg hit .328 in 268 AB’s with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs ... 22 year old outfielders Keith Greene was second in the league with 27 stolen bases tying outfielder Ruben Amaro of Salem ( Angels affiliate )

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