Huntsville Stars

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Huntsville Stars
19852014
Huntsville, Alabama
HuntsvilleStarsLogo2008.PNG HuntsvilleStarsCapLogo2008.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Previous Double-A (1985–2014)
Minor league affiliations
Previous leagues
Southern League (1985–2014)
Major league affiliations
Previous Milwaukee Brewers (1999–2014)
Oakland A's (1985–1998)
Minor league titles
League titles 1985, 1994, 2001
Division titles 1985, 1986, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007
Team data
Nickname Huntsville Stars (1985–2014)
Colors blue, red, gray, white
                   
Mascot Homer the Polecat
Ballpark Joe W. Davis Stadium (1985–2014)

The Huntsville Stars were a minor league baseball team of the Southern League and were the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They were located in Huntsville, Alabama and named for the space industry with which Huntsville is economically tied (NASA conducts operations at the nearby Marshall Space Flight Center).[1]

The Stars played their home games at Joe W. Davis Stadium, named after the former mayor of Huntsville; built in 1985, the park seats 10,200 fans and is sometimes referred to as "The Joe." The team served as a farm club for two major league franchises. The Stars won the Southern League Championship in 1985 and 1994 as the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland A's and in 2001 with the Brewers.

In January 2014, the Stars were sold to an ownership group, which relocated the team to Biloxi, Mississippi in November 2014, where the team will be known as the "Shuckers".[2] The Stars remained in Huntsville through the 2014 season, but the Brewers affiliate will move to a new ballpark in Biloxi prior to the 2015 season.[3] The sale comes after years of failed attempts to secure a new ballpark for the team in Huntsville.[4]

Team history[edit]

Athletics era (1985–1998)[edit]

The Stars came to Huntsville by way of Evansville, Indiana and Nashville, Tennessee. In June 1984, Larry Schmittou purchased the Triple-A Evansville Triplets and, after the season, moved them to Nashville where they became the Nashville Sounds. His previous Double-A Southern League franchise was relocated to Huntsville. The City of Huntsville, led by Mayor Joe W. Davis, built a brand new 10,000 seat multipurpose stadium which lured the franchise to town. The Triplets' history was retired, the Sounds inherited the Double-A franchise's history, and the Stars began their own history.

Huntsville Stars logo, 1985–2007

The Stars began play in the Southern League as the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics in 1985 with Don Mincher (1938–2012) as the team's General Manager. Mincher, a Huntsville native and 12-year veteran of the Major Leagues, guided the franchise through its infancy as they won the Southern League Championship in their first season. The Stars won the league championship by defeating the Charlotte Knights three games to two. Future superstar José Canseco was the MVP of the league that year.

Terry Steinbach won the MVP award in 1986 solidifying the base of the A's Championship teams of the late 1980s. That same season the Stars met again with Charlotte in the championship series, this time losing the series two games to three.

In 1994, Mincher and a group of local investors purchased the team from Schmittou to keep baseball in Huntsville. The Stars once again won the Southern League title that season. Led by Ernie Young, the Stars swept the Chattanooga Lookouts to win the Western Division, then defeated the Carolina Mudcats three games to one to take the title. In 1997, the Stars made another appearance in the league championship series losing to the Greenville Braves three games to two.

Brewers era (1999–2014)[edit]

Following the 1998 season, the Stars and A's parted ways and the Milwaukee Brewers came to town as the new Stars affiliate. Long regarded as having one of the best Minor League systems around, the Brewers struggled through management changes but still managed to give the Stars their third Southern League title in 2001. With the help of all-time Stars home run leader Josh Klimek, the Stars made the playoffs and went on to defeat their rivals, the Birmingham Barons, in the fifth game of the series for the Western Division crown. The Stars would face the Jacksonville Suns, who dominated the Eastern Division winning both halves and the first round, but due to the September 11 attacks, the championship series was cancelled and the Stars and Suns were declared co-champions.

Huntsville Stars cap insignia, early Brewers era (1999-2007)

In 2000, Mincher became the Interim President of the Southern League when League President Arnold Fielkow left for the NFL. At the conclusion of the 2000 season, Mincher and his group put the Stars up for sale once again. He resigned from his position as President of the Stars and the Southern League removed the "interim" tag to make him league president for 2001. Pulling double duty until the team was sold, Mincher desired to keep the Stars in Huntsville. The group waded through countless offers to buy the Stars looking to find the right investors who would commit to keeping the team in the Tennessee Valley. Early in 2001, Mincher found his man in New York attorney Miles Prentice who also owns the Double-A Texas League Midland RockHounds, serves as a Director for the Texas League, and is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Minor League Baseball. Prentice promised to keep the team in Huntsville despite several offers for new stadiums in various locales.

In 2003, the Stars played against the Carolina Mudcats in the Southern League championship series where they lost three games to two. They made another championship attempt in 2006, losing three games to two against the Montgomery Biscuits. In 2007, Stars manager Don Money was named the Southern League's Manager of the Year as voted upon by the league's field managers, radio broadcasters, and print media. Also in 2007, the team captured its division title (beating the Tennessee Smokies three games to two) and went on to the SL championship series where they lost to Montgomery, three games to two.

To start the 2008 season, the Stars set a new team record for best start, by sweeping their first series with the Mississippi Braves 5 games to nothing to start the season 5–0.[5] On April 26, 2008, the Stars turned their second triple play in franchise history, the last coming in 2002. The Stars won the 2009 first-half title, qualifying them for the playoffs, but lost the North Division Title to the Tennessee Smokies, 1–3. In their final season, the Stars won the North Division 2014 first-half title but fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts 3-2 in the best-of-five North Division title series.

Season-by-season record[edit]

Huntsville Stars Season-by-Season Record
Year Regular Season Post-season
Record Win % Finish* Record Win % Result
1985 78–66 .542 2nd 6–3 .667 Won Western Division Championship vs Knoxville Blue Jays, 3–1
Won SL Championship vs Charlotte Orioles, 3–2
1986 78–63 .553 1st 5–4 .556 Won Western Division Championship vs Knoxville Blue Jays, 3–1
Lost SL Championship vs Columbus Astros, 2–3
1987 74–70 .514 1st 0–3 .000 Lost Western Division Championship vs Birmingham Barons, 0–3
1988 59–85 .410 5th
1989 82–61 .573 2nd  ?  ? Lost Western Division Championship vs Birmingham Barons, ?–?
1990 79–65 .549 1st
1991 61–83 .424 4th
1992 81–63 .563 2nd 1–3 .250 Lost Western Division Championship vs Chattanooga Lookouts, 1–3
1993 71–70 .504 4th
1994 81–57 .587 1st 6–1 .857 Won West Division Championship vs Chattanooga Lookouts, 3–0
Won SL Championship vs Carolina Mudcats, 3–1
1995 70–74 .486 3rd
1996 66–74 .471 5th
1997 77–62 .554 1st 5–5 .500 Won West Division Championship vs Mobile Bay Bears, 3–2
Lost SL Championship vs Greenville Braves, 2–3
1998 72–68 .514 2nd 0–3 .000 Lost West Division Championship vs Mobile Bay Bears, 0–3
1999 64–77 .454 5th
2000 64–75 .460 5th
2001 75–63 .543 3rd 3–2 .600 Won West Division Championship vs Birmingham Barons, 3–2
SL Championship series vs Jacksonville Suns canceled due to September 11, 2001 attacks.
Both teams are declared co-champions.
2002 70–69 .504 4th
2003 75–63 .543 1st 5–5 .500 Won West Division Championship vs Birmingham Barons, 3–2
Lost SL Championship vs Carolina Mudcats, 2–3
2004 65–75 .464 4th
2005 60–79 .432 4th
2006 67–71 .486 4th 4–3 .571 Won North Division Championship vs Chattanooga Lookouts, 3–0
Lost SL Championship vs Montgomery Biscuits, 1–3
2007 75–62 .547 3rd 5–5 .500 Won North Division Championship vs Tennessee Smokies, 3–2
Lost SL Championship vs Montgomery Biscuits, 2–3
2008 73–67 .521 4th
2009 63–75 .457 5th 1–3 .250 Lost North Division Championship vs Tennessee Smokies, 1–3[6]
2010 67–73 .479 6th
2011 64–73 .467 8th
2012 65–74 .468 8th
2013 59–79 .428 8th (tie)
2014 77–63 .550 4th 2–3 .400 Lost North Division Championship vs Chattanooga Lookouts, 2–3
Totals 2,049–2,024 .503  ?  ? 3 League Championships
Note: * Finish denotes their position in the overall league standings.
? denotes missing information.

Retired numbers[edit]

  • 5Don Mincher, General Manager (1985–2001) and owner (1994–2001), Retired June 6, 2008[7]
  • 42Jackie Robinson., Retired throughout professional baseball on April 15, 1997

Notable former players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Huntsville Stars". Bush League Factor. June 20, 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  2. ^ Hill, Benjamin (24 November 2014). "Biloxi's new team has a name: the Shuckers". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Fordin, Spencer (September 17, 2014). "Brewers renew contracts with Biloxi, Brevard County". MLB.com. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ "It's Official: Huntsville Stars Sold, Expected to Move to Biloxi in 2015". Ballpark Digest. January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ Pollock, Brett. "Stars Start Season With Series Sweep." Huntsville Stars. April 7, 2008. Retrieved on June 22, 2009.
  6. ^ 2010 Media Guide (PDF). Huntsville, AL: Huntsville Stars. April 8, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Stars Retire No. 5 in Honor of Mincher." Huntsville Stars. June 6, 2008. June 11, 2008.

External links[edit]