• Steve Potter

8/5/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - The Oklahoma City 89’ers


Time Period - 1976 to 1982


Venue : All Sports Stadium


Cities : Oklahoma City, OK


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Franchise History :

The Oklahoma City AAA level franchise formed in 1962. It first competed in the American Association ( AA ), moved to the Pacific Coast League ( PCL ) from 1963 to 1968, and returned to the AA from 1969 to 1997. After the AA eague disbanded, they rejoined the PCL in 1998. They have been the Triple A level major league affiliate of the LA Dodgers since 2015.

The franchise's original name made reference to the land run of 1889 which led to the founding of Oklahoma City. After the Houston Buffaloes were purchased for territorial rights by the Houston Colt .45s the big league club decided to move the Buffs elsewhere ... in July of 1961 they came to Oklahoma City.

The Phillies had a seven year player development agreement with the franchise from 1976 to 1982.

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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :

All Sports Stadium

Location: Fair Grounds & 89er Drive, May Avenue & 10th Street, on the State Fair Grounds.

Capacity: 11,000

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 340-425-340

All-Sports Stadium was built in 1958 and was primarily used for baseball. It was also a popular outdoor concert venue. The stadium was closed in 1997 and demolished in 2005.

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The Seasons :

1976 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Manager : Jim Bunning ... 72-63 , 2nd place ... Attendance : 122,287.

Twenty year old outfielder Lonnie Smith hit .308 in 483 AB’s and stole 26 bases in just his third season of pro baseball. Fellow outfielder 22 year old Rick Bosetti led the league in stolen bases with 42 and hit .306 in 504 AB’s ... both would go on to play in the major leagues ... Smith for seventeen seasons and Bosetti for seven.

1977 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Manager : Cal Emery, Connie Ryan and Bill Connors ... 70-66 , 2nd place ... Attendance : 113,243

23 year old catcher Bill Nahorodny hit 17 home runs and drove in 69 in his second consecutive season at OKC ... he would play in parts of nine major league seasons with the Phillies, White Sox, Braves, Indians, Tigers and Mariners.

1978 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Manager : Mike Ryan ... 62-74 , 3rd place ... Attendance : 172,996

22 year old outfielder Lonnie Smith hit .315 in 480 AB’s and led the league with 66 stolen bases.

25 year old LHP Dan Warthan went 13-8 in 27 games ( 196 IP ) ... he would pitch in the major leagues for four seasons ( Expos, Phillies & Astros ) but would become a major league pitching coach as well serving with the Pirates, Mariners, Padres, Tigers, Dodgers, Mets and Rangers.

1979 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Manager : Lee Elia ... 72-63 , 1st place ... Attendance : 193,782. Lost to Evansville Triplets in playoffs 4 games to 2

23 year old Lonnie Smith hit .330 in 451 AB’s, 25 year old Catcher Keith Moreland hit .302 with 20 home runs and 109 RBIs.

20 year old RHP Marty Bystrom went 9-5 in 26 games ( 172 IP ) and 22 year old RHP Dickie Noles was 6-4 in 12 starts before being promoted to the big leagues for the first time that season and pitching in 14 games with the Phillies.

All four players would be significant contributors to the 1980 World Series Champion Phillies.

1980 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Manager : Jim Snyder ... 70-65 , 2nd place ... Attendance : 200,938

23 year old RHP Bob Walk was 5-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 8 games ( 49 IP ) which earned him a promotion to the big leagues where he went 11-7 in 27 games ( 151.2 IP ) and earned a WS start and a ring ! He pitched in 14 major league seasons with the Phillies, Pirates and Braves.

1981 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Manager : Jim Snyder ... 69-67 , 3rd place ... Attendance : 191,502

24 year old outfielder Bob Dernier hit .302 in 497 AB’s and led the league in stolen bases with 72 ... he went on to play in ten big league seasons with the Phillies and Cubs.

21 year old infielder Ryne Sandberg hit .293 with 9 home runs, 62 RBIs and 32 stolen bases ... he went on to become a Hall of Famer over a 16 year big league career.

1982 :

American Association ( AAA ) ... Managers : Ron Clark, Cot Deal and Tony Taylor ... 43-91 , 4th place ... Attendance : 180,932

23 year old infielder Julio Franco hit .300 with 21 homers, 66 RBIs and 33 stolen bases ... he went on to play in 23 major league seasons and post a career .298 batting average in 2,527 games with 2,586 hits with the Phillies, Indians, Rangers, White Sox, Braves and Mets.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️





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