Salt Lake Bees
|Salt Lake Bees
Founded in 1994
Salt Lake City, Utah
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Pacific Coast League (1994–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2001–present)|
|Previous||Minnesota Twins (1994–2000)|
|Minor league titles|
|Conference titles (4)||
|Division titles (8)||
|Nickname||Salt Lake Bees (2006–present)|
|Salt Lake Stingers (2001–2005)
Salt Lake Buzz (1994–2000)
Portland Beavers (1978–1993)
|Colors||Black, gold, and white
|Ballpark||Smith's Ballpark (1994–present)
Spring Mobile Ballpark (2009–2014)
Franklin Covey Field (1997–2009)
Franklin Quest Field (1994–1997)
widow of Larry Miller
|General Manager||Marc Amicone|
The Salt Lake Bees are a minor league baseball team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bees play in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and are the Triple A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels. Home games are played at Smith's Ballpark, (previously Franklin Quest Field, Franklin Covey Field, and Spring Mobile Ballpark), in Salt Lake City. Known to fans as the Apiary, it opened in 1994 and seats 15,411 fans, the biggest in the Pacific Coast League. Steve Klauke is the current play-by-play commentator for the Bees.
The current franchise dates from 1994, when Joe Buzas, a former major league player and the owner of the PCL Portland Beavers, moved the team to Salt Lake City. Known as the Salt Lake Buzz from 1994 to 2000, the team changed its name to the Salt Lake Stingers in 2001. The change was forced by a trademark dilution lawsuit filed by Georgia Tech, whose yellowjacket mascot is named Buzz. The name change coincided with a change of major league clubs, from the Twins to the Angels.
The following year, the Angels won the 2002 World Series and made history in Game 7 when rookie pitcher John Lackey was the game's winning pitcher. Called up from the Stingers earlier in the year, he became the first rookie to win a World Series game 7 in nearly a century.
Buzas owned the team until his death in 2003. The team was purchased by the late Larry H. Miller, who also owned the NBA's Utah Jazz. Miller died in February 2009 and the team is currently owned by his widow, Gail Miller.
On October 27, 2005, the team announced the Stingers would henceforth be known as the Salt Lake Bees, the name of the original PCL franchise which played in Salt Lake City from 1915 to 1926. The official press release read, in part: "Owner, Larry H. Miller, announced today that the Salt Lake Stingers have officially changed the teams name to the Salt Lake Bees. The new logo, colors and uniforms were also unveiled. The change brings Salt Lake baseball back to its original franchise name and look when the state's first Pacific Coast League team was named the Bees in 1915."
During the 2014 season, the Bees celebrated their 20th season as a franchise since the 1994 season.
Bees have long been a symbol of Utah. The original name of the Mormon settlement, Deseret, is said to be the word for "honeybee" in the Book of Mormon; a beehive appears on the Utah state flag; the state motto is "Industry" (for which bees are known); and Utah is widely known as the "Beehive State."
Minor league baseball in Salt Lake City
The Sacramento Solons, though a charter member of the PCL, suffered on the field and at the gate, being exiled at times to Tacoma, Fresno, and San Francisco. After the 1914 season, the forlorn team was sold to Salt Lake City businessman Bill "Hardpan" Lane, who brought PCL baseball to Utah in the form of the newly renamed Salt Lake Bees. On March 31, 1915, the first PCL game was played in the state of Utah, as 10,000 fans poured into Bonneville Park to cheer the Bees to a 9–3 win over the Vernon Tigers.
Though the original Bees never won a PCL pennant, the team drew attendees well, especially considering the small market size. Other team owners, though, resented the cost of travel to Salt Lake City. When the Vernon Tigers abandoned Los Angeles after the 1925 season, it was suggested to Lane that he would do well to transfer his team to southern California. So after eleven seasons, the Bees moved to Los Angeles for the 1926 season. At first known as the Hollywood Bees, the team soon became known as the Hollywood Stars. After ten seasons in Hollywood, the team transferred again, to San Diego, where it played as the San Diego Padres from 1936 to 1968. Salt Lake City was without a baseball team until 1946 when it received a franchise in the Pioneer League.
When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, the second version of the Hollywood Stars was forced to relocate and, in an ironic twist, were sold and moved "back" to Salt Lake City, becoming the Salt Lake City Bees. In 1959, the Bees won their first-ever PCL pennant, edging the Vancouver Mounties by 1½ games. In 1963, the team began its first season ever as a farm team, becoming a full affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. This second version of the Bees played in the PCL from 1958 to 1965 before moving to Tacoma. As before, the void created by the loss of the PCL was filled by the Pioneer League from 1967 to 1969.
In 1970, the Pacific Coast League returned to Salt Lake City for the third time in the form of the new Salt Lake City Bees, the Triple-A farm team for the San Diego Padres. The affiliation only lasted one season, and in 1971, the Padres and California Angels swapped their Triple-A affiliates in Salt Lake City and Hawaii (where they had a short, but historic run of PCL dominance). Rather than continue as the Bees, the team took their parent's name of Angels and won the PCL title in 1971. After four seasons as the Angels, the team was renamed the Salt Lake City Gulls in 1975. The Gulls became the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in 1982. Though the team never achieved a first-place finish, it won PCL pennants in 1971 and 1979, winning the playoffs both years.
Following the 1984 season, the team was sold and moved to Calgary, Alberta, and became the Calgary Cannons in 1985. The Cannons played 18 seasons in Calgary, then moved to Albuquerque in 2003 and became the Isotopes.
Out of the PCL after 1984, Salt Lake City again fielded a team in the rookie-level Pioneer League, the Salt Lake City Trappers, from 1985 to 1992. In 1987, the Trappers won 29 consecutive games to establish an all-time pro baseball record. Following a near decade-long absence, the PCL returned to Salt Lake City for a fourth time in 1994.
In 1993, Portland Beavers owner Joe Buzas made a deal where the city would build a new ballpark on the site of historic Derks Field and Buzas would move his team to Salt Lake City in 1994. The new ballpark, Franklin Quest Field, opened in 1994 with the renamed Salt Lake Buzz drawing 713,224 fans to home games during their inaugural season – breaking the PCL single-season attendance record that had stood for 48 years. The Buzz became the Stingers in 2001 and the Bees in 2006.
In 1998, the franchise gained national exposure when a fictionalized version of the team was the focus of the film Major League: Back to the Minors, starring Scott Bakula. (Though named the Buzz and an affiliate of the Twins, the team in the movie was based in South Carolina, where it was filmed.)
The Bees started the 2008 season with a 21-1 record, the best start in minor league history, according to MinorLeagueBaseball.com.
Tragedy struck the Bees on April 9, 2009, when former team member Nick Adenhart was killed in a car accident near Fullerton, California. Adenhart had pitched only hours before for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, earning a no-decision but allowing no runs. Adenhart had spent most of the 2008 season with the Salt Lake Bees, finishing with a 9-13 record and 5.76 ERA in 26 appearances.
In 2009, the Bees celebrated their 8,000,000th fan at Spring Mobile Ballpark. The fan, nine-year-old Cade Pies, got to throw out the first pitch and received five season tickets.
Salt Lake Bees roster
Notable past players
- Salt Lake City Angels – (1971–74)
- Salt Lake City Gulls – (1975–84)
- Salt Lake City Trappers – (1985–92)
- Portland Beavers – (1978–93)
- Lange, Scott (24 April 1998). "Like Buzz, if I could be like Buzz...". The Technique. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
- Baseball Reference.com – Salt Lake City – accessed 2012-01-12
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- "Angels Rookies: Dreams really do come true for them rookies go from minors to being in World Series". Los Angeles Daily News. 2002-10-19. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
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- Jorgensen, Loren (2008-08-30). "Celebration letdown: Grizzlies ground Bees". Deseret News. Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
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- Carlson, Brian (2009-04-10). "Charges expected for driver accused of killing a former Salt Lake Bees pitcher". KTVX. Newport Television LLC. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- "Saunders leads Bees to win". Deseret News. Deseret Digital Media. 2007-05-07. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- Johnston, Jerry Earl (2009-07-01). "Salt Lake Bees: Kendrick likes his Utah ties". Deseret News. Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved 13 March 2010.