Wichita Aviators (baseball)

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Wichita Aviators
(1905-1933)
Wichita, Kansas
Class-level
Previous
  • Class-A (1909-1933)
  • Class-C (1905-1908)
Minor league affiliations
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles 4 (1905, 1907, 1921, 1930)
Team data
Previous names
Ballpark
The 1907 Wichita Jobbers

The Wichita Aviators were a minor league baseball team based in Wichita, Kansas.

The club played mostly in the Western League. However, the club began play as the Wichita Jobbers, a member of the Western Association. The Jobbers played in the Western Association from 1905-1908, winning the league championship in 1905 and 1907. The 1907 Jobbers were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.[1]

The Jobbers then moved to the Western League, where they played until midway through their 1911 season. That year, the team relocated to Pueblo, Colorado, where they finished out the year as the Pueblo Indians.

However, a team representing Wichita was fielded in 1912 to compete in the Western League. The Wichita Witches played continuously in the league until 1916. The team finished their 1916 season in Colorado Springs, Colorado as the Colorado Springs Millionaires, before returning to Wichita in 1917. The team was again renamed the Joggers from 1918-1920, before retaking the Witches moniker as they won their third league title, the first in the Western League, in 1921. From 1923-1926, the club was renamed the Wichita Izzies, and they took the name the Wichita Larks from 1927-1929.

Multiple Izzies players had or would go on to have major league experience.

1923: Johnny Butler, Joe Casey, Jocko Conlan, Howie Gregory, Ed Hovlik, Ernie Maun, Hugh McMullen, Paul Musser[2]

1924: Fred Beck, Butler, Archie Campbell, Chuck Corgan, Gregory, Hovlik, McMullen, Musser[3]

1925: Campbell, Chet Chadbourne, Corgan, Fred Graf, Gregory, Raymond Haley, Don Hankins, Hovlik, McMullen, Ray Morehart, Ken Penner, Bill Sweeney[4]

1926: Jack Berly, Fred Brickell, Campbell, Pete Compton, Bill Doran, Gregory, Haley, Sweeney[5]

In 1920, the club was renamed the Wichita Aviators, and from 1930-1931 they became an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1931, the Aviators won their second Western league title, and fourth overall league title. The Aviators affiliation changed in 1932 from the Pirates to the Chicago Cubs.

Former Aviators include Indian Bob Johnson, Woody Jensen, Vern Kennedy, Jack Mealey, and Hall of Famer Arky Vaughan.[6]

In 1933 the Wichita Aviators became the Wichita Oilers. After beginning the year 6-13, the club moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where they became the Muskogee Oilers. Overall the Oilers were 26-95, one of the worst records ever posted in the Western League. The club was just 20-82 after leaving Wichita, and only went 8-57 in the second half. The Oilers did not return in 1934 and Wichita would not have another team until the Wichita Indians began play in 1950.

Seasons[edit]

(from Jobbers Baseball Reference Bullpen) (from Witches Baseball Reference Bullpen) (from Larks Baseball Reference Bullpen) (from Izzies Baseball Reference Bullpen) (from Aviators Baseball Reference Bullpen) (from Oilers Baseball Reference Bullpen)

Year Record Finish Manager Notes
1905 79-56 1st William Kimmell League Champs
1906 75-65 3rd William Kimmell / Jack Holland
1907 98-35 1st Jack Holland League Champs
1908 87-53 2nd Jack Holland
1909 71-82 5th Jack Holland
1910 89-78 4th Frank Isbell
1911 15-9 -- Frank Isbell Team moved to Pueblo (77-66) May 22
1912 75-89 7th George Hughes
1913 65-101 8th George Hughes / Charlie Babb / Nick Maddox
1914 63-102 8th Nick Maddox / George Graham
1915 57-80 7th Clyde "Buzzy" Wares / Ham Patterson
1916 55-84 -- Jimmy Jackson Team moved to Colorado Springs (2-10) September 10
1917 61-87 8th Frank Isbell / Bobby Wallace / Joe Berger
1918 41-24 1st Joe Berger League suspended operations July 7
1919 75-65 3rd Joe Berger
1920 92-62 2nd Joe Berger
1921 106-61 1st Joe Berger League Champs
1922 94-73 3rd Joe Berger / Howie Gregory
1923 100-68 3rd Howie Gregory
1924 79-88 6th Howie Gregory
1925 80-84 4th Howie Gregory
1926 58-108 8th Howie Gregory / Pat Haley
1927 91-63 2nd Doc Crandall
1928 94-70 3rd Doc Crandall / Art Griggs
1929 77-79 4th Art Griggs
1930 89-56 1st Art Griggs League Champs
1931 92-58 2nd Art Griggs / Howie Gregory Lost League Finals
vs. Des Moines Demons 4 games to 2.
1932 63-86 6th Jimmy Payton
1933 6-13 -- Rube Marquard Team moved to Muskogee (20-82) on June 6, 1933

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 100 Teams". MiLB.com. 2001. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  2. ^ Roster
  3. ^ Roster
  4. ^ Roster
  5. ^ Roster
  6. ^ Wichita, KS page