Spokane Indians

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Spokane Indians
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassHigh-A (2021–present)
Previous classes
LeagueNorthwest League (2022–present)
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
TeamColorado Rockies (2021–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles (12)
  • 1890
  • 1960
  • 1970
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1987
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1999
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2008
Division titles (18)
  • 1963
  • 1967
  • 1968
  • 1970
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1982
  • 1987
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2018
  • 2019
First-half titles (1)
  • 2019
Team data
NameSpokane Indians (1903–1920, 1940–present)
Previous names
  • Spokane Hawks (1937–1939)
  • Spokane Smoke Eaters (1902)
  • Spokane Blue Stockings (1901)
  • Spokane Bunchgrassers (1892)
  • Spokane Bunch Grassers (1891)
ColorsRed, navy, light blue, beige
MascotsOtto, Doris the Spokanasaurus, Recycle Man, Ribby the Redband Trout[1]
BallparkAvista Stadium (1958–present)
Previous parks
Ferris Field (1936–1956)
Brett Sports & Entertainment
General managerKyle Day
ManagerRobinson Cancel

The Spokane Indians are a Minor League Baseball team located in Spokane Valley, the city immediately east of Spokane, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest. The Indians are members of the High-A Northwest League (NWL) as an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Spokane plays its home games at Avista Stadium, which opened in 1958 and has a seating capacity of 6,752.

From 1958 through 1982, excluding 1972, the Indians were in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (PCL). They were members of the Class A Short Season Northwest League from 1955 to 1956, in 1972, and from 1983 to 2020. The NWL operated as the High-A West in 2021 and was elevated to the High-A level. They have won 12 league titles: four in the PCL and eight in the NWL. The Spokane region has over a century of history in Minor League Baseball, dating back to the 1890s.[2]


Before 1958[edit]

The 1909 Spokane Indians

Spokane's minor league history dates to 1890, when it fielded a team in the Pacific Northwest League. The Spokane Club won the Northwest League pennant in its first season, overcoming teams from Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma, among others. The nickname Indians dates to 1903, when Spokane joined the Pacific National League, a predecessor to the Pacific Coast League and, at Class A, an elite minor league of the period, equivalent to Triple-A today. The Indians lasted only two seasons at that higher level before dropping to the Class B Northwestern League, which folded during World War I.

In 1937, Spokane became a charter member of the Class B Western International League (WIL),[3] the predecessor of the Northwest League. They played at Ferris Field from 1937 through 1942 and 1946 until folding during the 1954 season on June 21.[4][5][6]

Spokane was a charter member of the Northwest League, which debuted in 1955 as a Class B league. These Indians also played at Ferris Field,[7][8] but folded after just two seasons, and the city went without minor league baseball in 1957.[9]

The 1946 Spokane bus tragedy[edit]

In 1946, the WIL Indians were victims of the worst transit accident in the history of American professional sport. On June 24, the team was on its way west to Bremerton by bus to play the Bluejackets. While crossing the Cascade Mountains on a rain-slickened Snoqualmie Pass Highway (then U.S. Route 10), the bus driver swerved to avoid an oncoming car. The Indians' vehicle veered off the road and down an embankment, then crashed and burst into flames.[3][10]

Nine men died—six of them instantly—and seven were injured. The dead were catcher/manager Mel Cole (age 32), pitchers Bob Kinnaman (28) and George Lyden (23), catcher Chris Hartje (31),[11][12] infielders Fred Martinez (24), Vic Picetti (18) and George Risk (25), and outfielders Bob James (25) and Bob Paterson (23). Despite a severe head wound, infielder Ben Geraghty was able to struggle back up the mountainside to signal for help. Injured survivors also included pitchers Pete Barisoff, Gus Hallbourg and Dick Powers, catcher Irv Konopka, outfielder Levi McCormack, and bus driver Glen Berg.[13]

One player from the 1946 team, future major league infielder Jack "Lucky" Lohrke, missed the tragedy because his contract was sold to the PCL San Diego Padres on June 24 and he departed the ill-fated bus during a late lunch stop in Ellensburg, not long before the accident, thus helping to earn his nickname.[14] (Lohrke had previously averted tragedy when he was bumped from a military transport plane which later crashed.) Two Indians' pitchers, Milt Cadinha and Joe Faria, were making the trip to Bremerton by automobile and were not aboard the team bus when it crashed.[13]

The Indians, relying on players loaned from other teams, managed to finish the season and placed seventh in the league. A special charity, the Spokane Baseball Benefit Association, donated $114,800 to the injured survivors and dependents of the nine players who died.[13]

Beth Bollinger of Spokane wrote a novel titled Until the End of the Ninth, which is based on the true story of the 1946 bus crash and its aftermath.

Pacific Coast League (1958–1971, 1973–1982)[edit]

When the Los Angeles Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to the west coast in 1958, they moved their PCL affiliate, the Los Angeles Angels, north to Spokane. While with the Dodgers for 14 seasons, the Indians won league titles in 1960 and 1970, and were runners-up in 1963, 1967, and 1968.

The 1970 Indians, managed by Tommy Lasorda,[15] won 94 of 146 games (.644) in the regular season to win the northern division by 26 games,[16] then swept the Hawaii Islanders in four games in the PCL playoffs.[17] The team included Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey, Bobby Valentine (PCL MVP), Tom Paciorek, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Doyle Alexander.[17][18][19]

Following the 1971 season, the club was moved south to New Mexico and became the Albuquerque Dukes. Spokane, which had been in the Northwest League for its first two seasons in 1955 and 1956, returned to the NWL in 1972 as a Dodger affiliate,[20][21] but only for one season, as a new PCL franchise arrived in 1973 from Portland, becoming the affiliate of the Texas Rangers.[22] The 1973 team, which included Bill Madlock and Lenny Randle, won the west division by eleven games and swept Tucson in three games in the championship series.[23] The following year's club successfully defended the title with another three-game sweep, this time over Albuquerque.[24]

The Indians' second stint in Triple-A lasted ten seasons and included affiliations with the Rangers, which changed to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976, Seattle Mariners in 1979, and California Angels in 1982. Taking their first division crown since 1974,[25] the Indians defeated Tacoma in the first round,[26] but fell to Albuquerque in the championship series in six games.[27] Soon after that season,[28][29] the team moved south to Las Vegas and became the Stars. The team's general manager was Larry Koentopp, former head coach and athletic director at Gonzaga.[30] He was the leader of a local ownership group that purchased the team after the 1978 season.[31][32] The team was purchased for $259,000 in 1978 and was sold in 1993 for $6.1 million.[33]

Northwest League (1983–2020)[edit]

Season opener at a 2008 Indians game against the Everett AquaSox at Avista Stadium

A new NWL franchise was awarded to Spokane for the 1983 season and the Indians have won eight league titles; the first four were consecutive, from 1987 through 1990.[34] The Indians won their seventh NWL championship in 2005, despite a 37–39 (.487) record during the regular season. They became only the second team in league history (after the 1982 Salem Angels) to win the championship with a losing regular season record. Spokane won the east division,[35][36] then beat league-leading Vancouver on the road in games four and five of the championship series to win the title.[37][38]

In 2008, the Indians captured their eighth league title with a thrilling four-game series victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. After dropping the first game, Spokane rallied to an 11–10 win in 10 innings to even the series. In game three, the Indians fell behind 10–2 before rallying for nine unanswered runs to win again 11–10. Spokane won the title with a 6–5 victory in 10 innings in the fourth game.

The Indians were featured in the "Spokane Alphabet" reverse glass painting by Washington artist Melinda Curtin. They were the "I" in the alphabet, cementing their place as an important part of the city of Spokane.

Following the 1985 season, the team was bought by the Brett brothers (John, Ken, Bobby, and George).[39]

High-A West and back to the Northwest League (2021–present)[edit]

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Indians were organized into the High-A West along with five other teams previously of the Northwest League.[40] They qualified for the playoffs by finishing with a second-place 67–49 record,[41] but they were defeated by the Eugene Emeralds, 3–1, in the best-of-five championship series.[42] The franchise was recognized with the Minor League Baseball Organization of the Year Award.[43]

The High-A West was rebranded back to the Northwest League in March 2022 as MLB moved to revert all of its minor leagues to their historical names.[44]


Otto, one of the many mascots of the Spokane Indians
  • 1987: Defeated Everett 2–1 to win championship
  • 1988: Defeated Southern Oregon 2–1 to win championship
  • 1989: Defeated Southern Oregon 2–1 to win championship
  • 1990: Defeated Boise 2–1 to win championship
  • 1999: Defeated Portland 3–0 to win championship
  • 2003: Defeated Salem-Keizer 3–0 to win championship
  • 2005: Defeated Vancouver 3–2 to win championship
  • 2008: Defeated Salem-Keizer 3–1 to win championship
  • 2010: Defeated Yakima 2–0 in semifinals; lost to Everett 2–1 in finals
  • 2018: Defeated Everett 2–1 in semifinals; lost to Eugene 3–0 in finals
  • 2019: Lost to Tri-City 2–1 in semifinals
  • 2021: Lost to Eugene 3–1 in finals

Logos and uniforms[edit]

The team's colors are red, navy blue, light blue, and beige. In the 2006 offseason, the Indians began a process to redesign their logo and uniforms. As per tradition, they began by avoiding the use of any American Indian imagery, but early in the process, the Spokane Nation contacted the team about officially supporting the team. In the process, the tribe gave permission to the team to adopt subtle and tasteful imagery, in order to pay homage to the team's history and new connection with the tribe. The cooperation included the creation of a secondary logo written in Salish, the traditional language of the Spokane.[45]


Players Coaches/Other


  • 10 Blake Adams
  •  9 Zach Agnos
  • 12 Tyler Ahearn
  • 35 Luis Amoroso
  • 45 Anderson Bido
  • 30 Brayan Castillo
  • 24 Chase Dollander
  • 43 Mason Green
  • 25 Braxton Hyde
  •  6 Victor Juarez
  • 27 Davison Palermo
  • 41 Felix Ramires
  • 31 Sergio Sanchez
  • 32 Carson Skipper
  • 16 Connor Staine
  • 22 Sean Sullivan
  • 18 Carlos Torres


  •  7 Bryant Betancourt
  •  4 Cole Carrigg
  • 19 Jose Cordova
  •  3 Jesus Ordonez


  • 11 Dyan Jorge
  •  2 Kyle Karros
  • 15 Parker Kelly
  • 20 Jean Perez


  •  8 Trevor Boone
  • 44 Jesus Bugarin
  • 14 Juan Guerrero
  • 35 Robby Martin Jr.
  •  1 Braiden Ward


  • 37 Robinson Cancel


  • 38 Blaine Beatty (pitching)
  • 23 Joe Mikulik (bench coach)
  • 21 Tom Sutaris (hitting)

60-day injured list

  • -- Luke Taggart

7-day injured list
* On Colorado Rockies 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated February 12, 2024
→ More rosters: MiLB • Northwest League
Colorado Rockies minor league players

Notable alumni[edit]

Baseball Hall of Fame alumni

Notable alumni

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Spokane Indians, KC The Stratotanker Mascots". Spokane Indians. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Price, Jim (June 21, 2003). "Birth of the Indians". Spokesman-Review. Spokane Valley, Washington. p. H2.
  3. ^ a b Price, Jim (June 21, 2003). "Beginnings and sad endings". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. H4.
  4. ^ May, Danny (June 13, 1939). "What the outfielders saw of Spokane's largest crowd at Ferris Field". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. (photo). p. 1.
  5. ^ "WI loop to carry on with 8 teams". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. June 22, 1954. p. 19.
  6. ^ "Indians return home but not to play tilts". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. June 23, 1954. p. 16.
  7. ^ May, Danny (May 1, 1955). "Chiefs nip Tribe in opener, 8–7". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 1, sports.
  8. ^ May, Danny (September 8, 1956). "Tribe drops finale at Ferris Field, 8–5". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 12.
  9. ^ May, Danny (February 16, 1957). "Spokane Indians fold; need $75,000 miracle". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 8.
  10. ^ "8 Spokane baseball players dead in crash of their bus". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. June 25, 1946. p. 1.
  11. ^ "Hartje, driver still in danger". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. June 26, 1946. p. 1.
  12. ^ "WIL resumes play, Tigers move up". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. June 27, 1946. p. 12.
  13. ^ a b c J. G. Taylor Spink, ed., 1947 Baseball Guide and Record Book. St. Louis, Missouri: The Sporting News, 1947, p. 207
  14. ^ Colford, Ann M. (September 23, 2006). "Spokane Indians baseball team bus crash kills nine on Snoqualmie Pass on June 24, 1946". HistoryLink.org. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  15. ^ "Playoff-bound Indians dominate All-Star lineup". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. (photo). September 4, 1970. p. 1.
  16. ^ "Pacific Coast League: final standings". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 4, 1970. p. 17.
  17. ^ a b "Indians return to Spokane after sweep of Islanders". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 9, 1970. p. 12.
  18. ^ "Bobby Valentine gets Coast MVP". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 4, 1970. p. 16.
  19. ^ "1970 Spokane Indians". Baseball Reference. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  20. ^ Missildine, Harry (December 13, 1971). "Baseball set for Spokane". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 1.
  21. ^ Lynch, Mike (February 3, 1972). "Ken Merkel heads club". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 15.
  22. ^ "Ex-POW will toss 1st ball tomorrow". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. April 12, 1973. p. 29.
  23. ^ "Celebration sedate one for PCL champ Indians". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. September 7, 1973. p. 13.
  24. ^ Stewart, Chuck (September 7, 1974). "Spokane captures PCL flag; busy Dunning hurls victory". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 10.
  25. ^ Washington (September 2, 1982). "PCL: final standings". Spokane Chronicle. p. 32.
  26. ^ Blanchette, John (September 2, 1982). "Tribe ready to put up Dukes". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. 17.
  27. ^ Blanchette, John (September 13, 1982). "Indians make it difficult, but Dukes win PCL again". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. 20.
  28. ^ Blanchette, John (September 14, 1982). "Indians gambling on Vegas". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 23.
  29. ^ "Spokane team move okayed". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. UPI. September 15, 1982. p. 15.
  30. ^ Jordan, Jeff (May 10, 1977). "Koentopp quits Gonzaga baseball position". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 15.
  31. ^ Washington (September 30, 1978). "Tribe purchased by local group". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 11.
  32. ^ Stewart, Chuck (January 24, 1983). "'Fun' subsided fast". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. 18.
  33. ^ "Koentopp family hires detective in search of missing woman". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. August 29, 1996. p. C5.
  34. ^ Stalwick, Howie (September 8, 1990). "Indians win record fourth straight title". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. B1.
  35. ^ Larson, J.D. (September 8, 2005). "Somehow, some way, Indians make playoffs". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
  36. ^ "NWL: final standings". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 8, 2005. p. C4.
  37. ^ Larson, J.D. (September 12, 2005). "It's only appropriate: Indians win". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
  38. ^ Larson, J.D. (September 13, 2005). "Indians win NWL pennant". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
  39. ^ Stalwick, Howie (November 9, 1985). "It's official: Bretts owners". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C5.
  40. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  41. ^ "2021 High-A West". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  42. ^ Terranova, Rob (September 25, 2021). "Emeralds Claim Third Championship in Five Seasons". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  43. ^ "Spokane Indians Named MiLB Organization of the Year". Minor League Baseball. December 7, 2021. Archived from the original on December 6, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  44. ^ Hill, Benjamin (March 16, 2022). "Historical Team Names Return to the Minors". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  45. ^ Authenticity, Collaboration, Respect: The Story Behind the Spokane Indians, by Paul Caputo, at SportsLogos.net; published July 19, 2020; retrieved February 22, 2021

External links[edit]