St. Paul Saints
|St. Paul Saints|
|League||American Association (North Division)|
|Location||Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|League championships||4 (1993, 1995, 1996, 2004)|
|Division championships||4 (1997, 2000, 2003, 2006)|
|Colors||Blue, black, white
|General Manager||Derek Sharrer|
The St. Paul Saints are a professional baseball team based in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the United States. The Saints are a member of the North Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Saints have played their home games at Midway Stadium since 1993, when the modern-day team started as a member of the Northern League. In 2006 the team was a founding member of the modern American Association.
Before the arrival of the Minnesota Twins in 1961, there was a long history of minor-league baseball teams called the St. Paul Saints, as well as their crosstown rivals the Minneapolis Millers. One incarnation of the Saints participated in the Union Association, a short-lived major league, in 1884. A second incarnation was active in the Western League from 1894 to 1899, and became a forerunner of the modern Chicago White Sox. The third and most long-lived incarnation of the Saints was active in the American Association from 1915 to 1960.
The current inception of the St. Paul Saints was formed in 1993 in the Northern League, one of several independent leagues not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Saints are known for promotions that are sometimes over-the-top even by the standards of minor league baseball. In this regard, Mike Veeck, formerly the team's principal owner and still owner of a large interest in the team, is seen as following in the footsteps of his father Bill Veeck, who was famous for conceiving outlandish promotions as an owner of the Major League teams the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox. The current majority owner, Marvin Goldklang, also owns a stake in four other minor league baseball teams: the Fort Myers Miracle, Sioux Falls Pheasants, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Charleston RiverDogs. Comedian and actor Bill Murray is also a part owner.
Despite the considerable naysaying at their inception, the Saints became one of the most successful teams in the Northern League and all of independent baseball. In 2002-2004, the Saints saw severely reduced attendance, owing partially to renewed interest in the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, who won the 2002, 2003, and 2004 American League Central Division championships. In spite of an initially cool, if not outright hostile reception, the Saints and their Major League neighbor (less than 10 miles away) have worked together for several years to promote the sport of baseball.
The Saints have figured prominently in the creation of modern independent baseball. The team has been featured in books ("Rebel Baseball" by Steve Perlstein, 1993; "Slouching Toward Fargo" by Neal Karlen, 1998) and a cable network series ("Baseball, Minnesota", FX Network, 1996–97). Mike Veeck wrote a book that covered the mantra "Fun is Good" (2005) and describes the business approach he has used for many years.
In June 2009 the Saints began a push to build a new stadium in Downtown Saint Paul. The proposed 7,500 seat stadium would be located in the Lowertown neighborhood near a planned maintenance facility for the METRO Green Line light rail. While baseball stadiums are usually designed to face east so batters don't have to stare into the evening sun, the new stadium is currently designed to face southwest, relying on downtown skyscrapers to shield the batters' eyes. The city of Saint Paul requested $25 million in its 2010 bonding wish list to the Minnesota Legislature.
St. Paul Saints (1894-1899)
As described in Lee Allen's book, The American League Story (Putnam, 1962), the team began as the Sioux City franchise in a minor league called the Western League. The WL had reorganized itself in November, 1893, with Ban Johnson as President. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next 5 seasons.
In 1900, the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The NL actually gave permission to the AL to put a team in Chicago, and on March 21, 1900, Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to the South Side, where they became the Chicago White Sox.
St. Paul Saints (1901-1960)
Another team called the Saints played minor league baseball in the American Association from 1901 to 1960. The Saints finished first in the American Association nine times, and won the Little World Series in 1924. During this period, the Saints were a farm club of the Chicago White Sox (1936–1942), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1957), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–1960). The Saints played streetcar home and away double headers with their local rivals, the Minneapolis Millers. When the Minnesota Twins came to town in 1961, the Saints became the Omaha Dodgers and the Millers became the Seattle Rainiers. Lexington Park served as the Saints' home stadium for most of those years.
During the six decades of the original American Association minor league, the Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints engaged in vigorous rivalry known as the Streetcar Series.
St. Paul Saints roster
|Active (22-man) roster||Coaches/Other|
Notable Former Saints Players
- Leon "Bull" Durham (1993–1994, formerly with the Chicago Cubs)
- Minnie Miñoso (1993, 2003, former Negro League and Major League player)
- Kevin Millar (1993, formerly with the Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays; Millar was on the 2010 Saints Preseason roster, hoping to make the final roster, but left during the preseason to join the MLB Network.)
- Rey Ordoñez (1993, signed by and played for the New York Mets)
- Darryl Motley (1995, formerly with the Kansas City Royals)
- Darryl Strawberry (1996, formerly with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees)
- Jack Morris (1996, formerly with the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Cleveland Indians)
- J. D. Drew (1997–1998, signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, currently playing for the Boston Red Sox)
- Matt Nokes (1998, formerly with the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees)
- Ila Borders (1997, first woman to pitch in a men's professional baseball league)
- Tanner Scheppers (2009, drafted in the first supplemental round of the 2009 MLB Draft Texas Rangers)
- Shane Costa (2011, formerly with the Kansas City Royals)
- Glenn Davis (1994, formerly with the Houston Astros)
- Dave Stevens legless player with Saints, 1996
In an attempt to gain publicity in a metropolitan area that hosts four major pro sports teams and a major college program, the Saints have grabbed headlines numerous times for their unique promotions.
- A May 11, 2013 exhibition game between the Saints and Gary SouthShore Railcats was played without umpires. The team instead had a judge, in a judicial robe, call balls and strikes from behind the pitcher. Calls at first and third bases were made by a "jury" of 12 Little Leaguers, with the judge able to overrule any calls.
- On July 23, 2011, the Saints celebrated National Hot Dog Day and parodied Anthony Weiner and his first sexting scandal. The first 1,501 fans age 18 or older received "Tweeting Wiener Boxer Shorts", depicting a blue bird taking a picture of a hot dog, or "wiener". The bird was deliberately drawn to resemble the logo of Twitter, the social media site that Weiner used to send links to indecent photos.
- The Saints announced a giveaway for their May 23, 2009 game against the Sioux Falls Pheasants of 2,500 bobblehead dolls dressed as the Sesame Street character Count von Count, supposedly celebrating the 40th anniversary of the series. The Saints' version of this doll, however, has the face of Al Franken on one side and Norm Coleman on the other and is named "Count von Re-Count"—referring to the prolonged recount in the 2008 U.S. Senate election between the two men. The Saints made further jabs at the race:
- The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Dean Barkley, who ran in that election as a third-party candidate.
- Fans were asked during the game to spin the heads of their dolls to either Coleman or Franken. Attorneys were present to count the "votes" from this process, a jab at the extensive involvement of attorneys in the recount process. The team's official web site stated that fans could challenge the "results" at the team's Fan Services booth during the game.
- The team also facetiously stated on its site that it would not make the results of that night's game official until mid-June—around the time that the entire Minnesota Supreme Court was scheduled to rule on Coleman's appeal of a panel ruling that Franken had won. (The Court issued its ruling in Franken's favor on June 30, with Coleman then conceding.)
- In May, 2008, the Saints announced the giveaway of 2,500 bobble foot dolls, ostensibly to celebrate National Tap Dance Day. The dolls, which feature two feet visible beneath the door of a bathroom stall, have been covered in the national news for their reference to Senator Larry Craig, notorious for soliciting sex in a Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport restroom in August 2007.
- In August, 2007, the Saints announced that rubber dog toys would be given out as a jab to the federal dogfighting case involving Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.
- In April 2006, the Saints announced that rubber boats would be given out during a May 27, 2006 game, ostensibly to honor the 30th anniversary of the television show The Love Boat. However, details of the promotion indicate that it was intended as a jab at the 2005 boat scandal involving the Minnesota Vikings, where several members of the team were allegedly involved in illicit behavior on a private cruise. The promotional rubber boats used the same color as the Vikings uniforms (purple and yellow) and were named Minnetonka Queen (a reference to Lake Minnetonka, where the cruise took place).
- In August 2004, the Saints held a Bobblehead Election to tap into the campaign buzz around the election year. Fans were told to select either a John Kerry or George Bush bobblehead as their "vote." The stunt was capped off with a speech by the winning bobblehead. A real donkey and a donkey dressed like an elephant (the Saints were unable to obtain a real elephant) added to the atmosphere.
- In August 2003, the Saints held "Randy Moss Hood Ornament Night", poking fun at Randy Moss, then a wide receiver for the Vikings. Earlier that year, Moss was involved in an incident where he bumped a traffic control officer with his car while he attempted to make a turn.
- During the 2002 Major League Baseball labor negotiations, the Saints gave away seat cushions with pictures of commissioner Bud Selig on one side and player's association Executive Director Donald Fehr on the other.
- In 2002, in response to Selig's controversial decision to end the MLB All-Star Game in a 7-7 tie, the Saints gave out neckties (or "ties") with Bud Selig's image.
- In the 1996 film Space Jam, Bill Murray is wearing a Saints cap during The Ultimate Game.
- Founded: 1993 (Northern League inaugural team)
- Home ballpark: Midway Stadium (formerly: Municipal Stadium)
- Cap Logo design: StP script similar to the St. Louis Cardinals
- Uniform colors: Home: Cream with blue "Saints" on front with name(black) and #(blue)on back, Away: Grey with blue "ST. PAUL" on front, Alternate/Sunday: Blue jersey with cream "StP" logo on players lower left shoulder and cream number on back.
- Uniform design: Saints in script ('93-'02 was similar to original American Association version)
- Northern League Champions: 1993, 1995, 1996, 2004
- Division Champions (AA North): 2006
- Current Mascot: Mudonna
- Ballpark Organist: Andrew Crowley
- Current Radio Station: 1220 AM KLBB, Stillwater, MN
- Current Ball Pig: Stephen Colboar
- Gavin Fingleson, Olympic baseball silver medal winner
- Havens, Chris (June 26, 2009) "Wish list: New home for Saints" Star Tribune. Retrieved on June 27, 2009
- Orrick, Dave (June 25, 2009) "Now batting for the Saints: Bill Murray" Saint Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved on June 27, 2009
- Kimball, Joe (June 25, 2009) "Bill Murray shows his stripes; pushes stadium, skips mayor" MinnPost.com Retrieved on June 27, 2009
- McClure, Jane (July 1, 2009) "City Unveils 2010 bonding requests" Villager
- Rovell, Darren (April 17, 2006). "Another last laugh for the St. Paul Saints". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2006-04-18.
- Townsend, Mark (April 27, 2013). "St. Paul Saints to replace umpires with judge and jury during May 11 exhibition game". Big League Stew. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
- Chin, Richard (June 17, 2011). "St. Paul Saints go ahead with 'Tweeting Wiener Boxer Shorts' giveaway despite congressman's resignation". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
- Associated Press (2009-05-23). "Saints' gimmick jabs at Senate race". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- "Minn. team's promotional giveaway features 'bobble foot' in toilet stall". USA Today. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
- "Saints Continue to Slide at Home Lose 7-3". 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "St. Paul Saints mascots: Kim 'Lardashian' and Kris 'Hamphries'". 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
- Official Site
- nlfan.com Saints Guide (Northern League '93-'05)
- aabfan.com Saints Guide (American Association '06-)
- aabfan.com - yearly league standings & awards (American Association)
- nlfan.com - yearly league standings & awards (Northern League)
|Northern League Champions
St. Paul Saints
|Northern League Champions
St. Paul Saints
1995 - 1996
|Northern League Champions
St. Paul Saints
Gary SouthShore RailCats