Yakima Bears

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Yakima Bears
Yakima, Washington
YakimaBearsLogo2008.PNG YakimaBearsCapLogo2008.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Previous Class A-Short Season (1990–2012)
Minor league affiliations
Division Eastern Division
Previous leagues
Northwest League (1990–2012)
Major league affiliations
Minor league titles
League titles 1996, 2000
Division titles 1991, 1994, 1996, 2000
Team data
Previous names
Yakima Bears (1990–2012)
Previous parks

The Yakima Bears were a minor league baseball team in the northwest United States, located in Yakima, Washington. They were in the short-season Class A Northwest League and had been a farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2001 until moving to Hillsboro, Oregon after the 2012 season and becoming the Hillsboro Hops. The Bears were previously affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers from the team's creation in 1990 when the Salem Dodgers were moved to Yakima. The Bears played their home games at Yakima County Stadium,[1] which opened in 1993 and succeeded Parker Field.[2]


The history of baseball in Yakima stretches back 96 years ago to 1920 with the short-lived Yakima Indians in the Class B Pacific Coast International League. The Indians lasted only two seasons, closing in 1921 as the league became the Western International League in 1922.

Yakima entered the WIL in 1937 as the Yakima Pippins,[3] reflecting the local area's apple-growing heritage, lasting until the 1941 season due to World War II. In 1946, as the WIL resumed play, Yakima again fielded a team, this time named the Yakima Stars, with their own team airplane.[4] Renaming themselves the Yakima Packers for the 1948 season,[5] the team finally settled on the Yakima Bears in 1949, lasting through the reformation of the WIL into the Northwest League, as the Bears became a charter member of the seven-team Class B NWL in the 1955 season.[6] The team played at Parker Field, constructed in 1937 for the Pippins.[7][8]

The Bears' time in the early years of the NWL were fruitful, as they won six league titles in nine years (1956,[9] 1958,[10] 1959,[11][12] 1960,[13] 1963,[14] and 1964[15]). A fire in March 1962 destroyed the wooden grandstand at Parker Field,[16][17] which was quickly rebuilt.[18] In April 1964, the team was renamed the Yakima Braves,[19] due to an agreement with the Milwaukee Braves, their parent club since 1958. The team played as the Braves for three seasons, through 1966.[7][20] The 1966 season was the first for the NWL as a short season league.[21]

After 23 summers without minor league baseball, Yakima returned to the Northwest League in 1990.[22] The Salem Dodgers moved from Salem after the 1989 season, bringing with them their affiliation with the Los Angeles Dodgers.[23] After three seasons at Parker Field, the new county stadium opened in 1993. In 2001, the Bears changed their affiliation to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Relocation to Hillsboro[edit]

The Yakima Bears had been frustrated by the lack of progress on a new stadium that would meet minor league standards, and a declining local economy.[24] The Triple-A Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League had departed for Tucson after the 2010 season, so the Portland metropolitan area was without minor league baseball. In 2011, the city of Vancouver, Washington, presented a proposal on May 13 for a new ballpark to be built on the Clark College campus, ready to host the Yakima Bears franchise for the 2012 season.[25]

After that deal fell through, the team received an offer sheet from Hillsboro, a suburb west of Portland, in June 2012 with plans to start play there in a new ballpark in 2013.[26] Four months later on October 16, the team announced its upcoming move to Hillsboro and was renamed the Hillsboro Hops for the 2013 season.

Notable ex-Bears[edit]


  1. ^ "Yakima approves new baseball park". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. June 15, 1992. p. C1. 
  2. ^ Geranios, Nicholas G. (November 23, 1991). "Minor league parks face major overhauls". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. p. 2B. 
  3. ^ "Tacoma trims Yakima Pippins". Evening Record. Ellensburg, Washington. Associated Press. August 28, 1937. p. 6. 
  4. ^ "Yakima Stars to move by air". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. May 7, 1946. p. 10. 
  5. ^ "Yakima ball club becomes "Packers"". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. October 13, 1947. p. 15. 
  6. ^ May, Danny (April 26, 1955). "Tribe, Broncs in N.W. bow tonight". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 14. 
  7. ^ a b "Baseball seen dead for Yakima Braves". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. September 14, 1966. p. 40. 
  8. ^ "Deed return is asked of Yakima". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. May 25, 1960. p. 12. 
  9. ^ "Bears divide; Chiefs take 2". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. September 10, 1956. p. 3B. 
  10. ^ "Yakima takes playoff". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. September 7, 1958. p. 1B. 
  11. ^ "Yakima winner of 2d half in photo finish style". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. September 8, 1959. p. 8. 
  12. ^ "Yakima cops NWL crown". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. September 13, 1959. p. 1B. 
  13. ^ "Yakima Bears win pennant, margin close". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. September 6, 1960. p. 8. 
  14. ^ "Yakima takes league honor". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. September 7, 1963. p. 9. 
  15. ^ Harvey, Paul, III (September 11, 1964). "Yakima wins NWL crown by belting Emeralds, 16-7". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 2B. 
  16. ^ "Fire destroys ball park". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. UPI. March 13, 1962. p. 2B. 
  17. ^ "Yakima ballpark burns". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. March 14, 1962. p. 6. 
  18. ^ Harvey, Paul, III (August 12, 1965). "Bus, park burn but Yakima in black". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 2D. 
  19. ^ "Yakima nine now called Braves". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. April 5, 1964. p. 2B. 
  20. ^ "Braves move Yakima club". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 5, 1967. p. 13. 
  21. ^ "Northwest League assured for 1966". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. November 30, 1965. p. 3B. 
  22. ^ "Sports people". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. staff and wire reports. January 16, 1990. p. C2. 
  23. ^ Rodman, Bob (November 24, 1989). "Dodger franchise looks to Yakima". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 2B. 
  24. ^ Courtney, Ross (May 27, 2011). "Bad news, Bears: Team takes one step closer to relocation". Yakima Herald-Republic. Washington. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  25. ^ Fentress, Aaron (13 May 2011). "Single-A Yakima Bears baseball team could land in Vancouver by 2012". The Oregonian. Portland. 
  26. ^ Theen, Andrew (June 6, 2012). "Hillsboro sets stage for baseball's return to the Portland metro area". The Oregonian. Portland. Retrieved June 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]