Lynn Sailors

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Lynn Sailors cap (top) and jersey (bottom) insignia

The Lynn Sailors were an American minor league baseball team affiliated with the Seattle Mariners (1980–1982) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1983, as the Lynn Pirates).[1] They were a member of the Double-A Eastern League and played at Fraser Field in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Lynn Sailors (1980–1982)[edit]

The Lynn Tigers of the New England League, the city's last professional baseball franchise, folded in the middle of the 1949 season.

After more than 30 years without a professional team, Lynn returned to minor league baseball in 1980, when the owners of the West Haven Yankees moved the franchise to Boston's North Shore. The Seattle Mariners, founded as an expansion team in 1977, were slowly building out their farm system, and did not field a Double-A affiliate before 1980. During the 1979–1980 offseason, the New York Yankees moved their Double-A affiliation to the Nashville Sounds of the Southern League, and the Mariners replaced them as sponsors of the relocated West Haven franchise, the Lynn Sailors. (Complicating matters further, the Oakland Athletics placed an expansion Eastern League team in West Haven called the Whitecaps and the Glens Falls White Sox also entered the EL in 1980.)

The three Sailors teams were competitive, but sparse media coverage was partially to blame for the less-than-enthusiastic showing at the gate. The maiden edition of the Sailors drew 50,786; it would be the high-water mark for the franchise's four-year history, but still ranked next to last in the Eastern League. In the fall of 1981, after Sailor attendance dropped to 38,468, Mike Agganis, nephew of former Red Sox player and Lynn sporting legend Harry Agganis, purchased the franchise. The 1982 Sailors captured the Eastern League North Division pennant by 512 games and swept Glens Falls in the opening round of the playoffs, before falling to West Haven in the finals. But attendance dropped to an all-time low: 23,791—more than 28,000 fans fewer than the league's second-poorest draw.

After the season, the Mariners left Lynn and signed a player development contract with the Chattanooga Lookouts, also a Southern League franchise.

Lynn Pirates (1983)[edit]

In 1983 the Pirates were forced to move their Double-A affiliation from the Buffalo Bisons (then in the Eastern League) and succeeded the Mariners in Lynn as parent club of the renamed Lynn Pirates.[1]

The Pirates made the playoffs with the second-best overall record in the Eastern League. They swept the Bisons in the best-of-three opening round before losing, two games to one, to the New Britain Red Sox in the finals. Because of poor regular-season attendance in Lynn (only 31,575 came through the turnstiles), all the postseason games were played on the road. The Lynn Pirates' last game was a 3–0 playoff loss at New Britain—a three-hit, 10-strikeout shutout by Roger Clemens, then finishing his first pro season. After the playoffs, the Lynn franchise moved to Burlington, Vermont, for 1984, affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, and became the Vermont Reds.[1] The Sailors/Pirates franchise spent five seasons (1984–1988) in Burlington, and is now the Akron RubberDucks.[2]

Professional baseball did not return to Lynn until 1996 when the Massachusetts Mad Dogs of the independent Northeast League began play at Fraser Field.

Year-by-year record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1980 66–71 6th Bobby Floyd
1981 62–76 6th Bobby Floyd
1982 82–57 2nd Mickey Bowers Lost league finals
1983 77–62 2nd Tommy Sandt Lost league finals

Notable players[edit]

As Seattle Mariners affiliate (1980–1982)[edit]

As Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate (1983)[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
None
Seattle Mariners
Double-A affiliate

1980–1982
Succeeded by
Chattanooga Lookouts
Preceded by
Buffalo Bisons
Pittsburgh Pirates
Double-A affiliate

1983
Succeeded by
Nashua Pirates