6/9/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Walla Walla Bears & Phillies
Time Period - 1969 to 1971
Venue : Borleske Stadium
City : Walla Walla, WA
Franchise History :
The initial professional franchise in Walla Walla was the Walla Walla Walla Walla’s that played in 1891 in the one season Pacific Interstate League. Later there were teams in the Inland Empire League ... the Sharpshooters, Walla Walla’s and the Bears in the Western Tri-State League but after the 1914 season there was a long absence of pro baseball.
The Phillies brought pro baseball back to the Sweet Onion City in 1969 when they formed an affiliation named the Walla Walla Bears in the Northwest League. The Phillies played two more seasons - renaming the franchise as the Phillies in 1970 but left Walla Walla after 1971.
In 1972 the Islanders franchise was born as an affiliate of the Hawaii Islanders - the AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres. In 1973 the Padres merged their directly affiliated Northwest League team, the Tri City Padres with Walla Walla and became the Walla Walla Padres ... they played in the Northwest League as a Padres affiliate thru the 1982 season.
The Walla Walla Bears reformed as an independent franchise in 1983 but then disbanded after one season of play. That was the last year of professional baseball in the city.
The Stadium the Phillies played in : Borleske Stadium
The Stadium was built in 1926 and named for Whitman College legendary athlete and coach Raymond Vincent Borleske. Borleske also served as Mayor of Walla Walla from 1948 to 1954. It’s located at 409 W Reese Ave and is the current home of the Walla Walla Sweets - a collegiate summer baseball team in the West Coast League. The stadium also hosts games for the local Whitman College Baseball team and the Walla Walla High School football team.
Seating capacity is 2,376 and the field dimensions are 315 to LF, 415 to center and 333 to right with LCF being 353 and RCF at 378.
The Seasons :
Northwest League ... Manager: Howie Bedell ... 37-42, 3rd place ... Attendance: 27,882.
23 year old corner infielder Edward Goldstone finished second in the league in batting average with a .343 mark in 242 AB’s ... the graduate of Yale University would retire from baseball after the 1971 season with Peninsula. Edward has reached the AA level of play with Reading in 1970 playing one game there. He went on to become an educator in the Bridgeport, CT area and served 21 years as a high school principal.
Northwest Penn League ... Manager: Gary Powell ... 39-41, 2nd place - North Division ... Attendance: 32,043.
22 year old 1B/OF Bob Beall led the league in hitting with a .389 batting average in 262 AB’s , also led the league in OPS - 1.125 and OBP - .556 ... he would go on to play in 148 major league games spanning from 1975 to 1980 with the Braves and Pirates.
Northwest Penn League ... Manager: Gary Powell ... 47-32, 2nd place - North Division ... Attendance: 32,195.
21 year old 1B/OF Dane Iorg led the league in hitting with a .367 batting average in 275 AB’s ( his first year as a pro ) ... he went on to play in 10 major league seasons beginning with the Phillies in 1977. Over the course of his big league career he also played for the Cardinals, Royals and Padres.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball