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Silver Seasons and a New Frontier

The Story of the Rochester Red Wings

Jim Mandelaro and Scott Pitoniak with a foreword by Cal Ripken, Jr

Publication Year: 2010

Taking us back to the early nineteenth century, when baseball was played in the meadows and streets of Rochester, New York, Silver Seasons and a New Frontier retraces the careers of the players and managers who honed their skills at Silver Stadium and later at Frontier Field. The many greats who played for the Rochester Red Wings—Stan Musial, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bob Gibson, Boog Powell, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and Justin Morneau—are among those brought to life in this story rich with quirky performances and poignant moments. This updated version of Silver Seasons: The Story of the Rochester Red Wings, published in 1996, includes three new chapters covering the team’s record-setting tenth International League championship, being named top minor league franchise by Baseball America, and their new affiliation with the Minnesota Twins.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I fi rst became familiar with Rochester as an eight-year-old during the summer of 1969. My dad was managing the Red Wings, then the top minor-league affi liate of the Baltimore Orioles, and after the school year ended in Maryland that spring, our family spent a couple of months living in a...

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Preface to the Second Edition

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pp. xiii-xiv

When we published our fi rst edition of Silver Seasons in 1996, we wrote: It would be hard to fi nd a city with a richer minor-league baseball tradition than Rochester, New York. After what’s transpired in the ensuing fourteen seasons, the search might be even more diffi cult. The game’s roots here can be traced all the way back to the early...

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pp. xv

Joe Altobelli, Priscilla Astifan, Andy and Maureen Baxter, George Beahon, Janette Biehler, Frank Bilovsky, Mike Biondi, Greg Boeck, Bob Brown, Jack Buck, Lary Bump, Tom Callinan, Jim Castor, Cliff Bull Studio...

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1 A Game Rooted in Rochester

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pp. 1-21

Rochesterians weren't clamoring for the Baseball Hall of Fame to relocate to their fair city, nor were they demanding that Cooperstown take down its "Birthplace of Baseball" signs. But author Stephen Fox's...

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2 Taking Flight with the Cardinals

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pp. 22-28

Several years after he became president and general manager of the debt-ridden St. Louis Cardinals in 1917, Branch Rickey proposed forming a network of minor-league teams whose main purpose would be to develop players for the big leagues. In baseball's pre-farm system days,...

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3 A Diamond in the Bushes

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pp. 29-35

The anticipation had been building for weeks. After several years of grumbling about the deteriorating conditions at rickety Baseball Park on Bay Street, Rochesrerians were finally getting a new ballpark. And what...

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4 BillyBall

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pp. 36-50

I t became obvious during the 1929 season that the Cardinals' commitment to Rochester went well beyond the building of a new stadium. St. Louis had stocked its top farm club with several talented players who...

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5 The Great Depression

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pp. 51-67

The immensely popular Southworth was gone, but it rook a few days for reality to set in. The Red Wings won their first three games under Toporeer, and he played a big role in the first two. The day after Southworth's...

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6 The Wings of War

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pp. 68-84

There was nothing more for Billy Southworth to prove as a minorleague manager. In his five seasons in Rochester, the Red Wings had not missed the playoffs, and they won four pennants and two Junior World...

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7 Top Hat

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pp. 85-96

Harry "The Hat" Walker was a speedy, left-handed hitting outfielder from Mississippi and the younger brother of Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Fred "Dixie" Walker. Harry got his nickname from major...

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8 Flying the Coop

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pp. 97-110

For twenry-eight years, the SL Louis Cardinals and Rochester Red Wings had enjoyed a mutually satisfying relationship. During the period from 1928 to 1956, the Red Wings won seven International...

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9 Birds of a Feather

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pp. 111-132

Timing is everything in baseball, and it JUSt so happened that at the time the Red Wings and Cardinals were filing for divorce in the fall of 1960, the Baltimore Orioles began searching for a new partner. The Orioles had grown disenchanted with their International League arrangement...

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10 Dream Team

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pp. 133-155

When the Orioles decided to reassign Red Wings manager Cal Ripken, Sr., to Doublc-A Dallas-Fort Worth in 1971, they didn't look far for his replacement. Joe AltObelli had played for the Wings from...

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11 A Successful Blend

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pp. 156-170

Altobelli would manage five more seasons in Rochester, winning another Governors' Cup title and twice finishing with better records than his '71 dub. But nothing could duplicate the feeling of that first championship...

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12 Life after Alto

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pp. 171-179

Altohelli's departure left a void in the Orioles minor-league system. Other organization men such as Jim Schaffer, Billy Hunter and George Bamberger had been plucked away by other teams, leaving the managerial...

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13 The Game That Wouldn't End

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pp. 180-190

Dave Huppert lost track of how many times he got in and our of his catcher's crouch that raw New England night in the spring of 1981. All he knows is that when Rochester Red Wings manager Doc Edwards...

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14 The Good. the Bad. and the Ugly

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pp. 191-208

For twenty-five years, many of the stock certificates that had been purchased to save the Red Wings in 1956 languished in sock drawers, /lIe cabinets, and attics. Shareholders passed away, or passed on their srock, and keeping track of the many stockholders became increasingly...

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15 Cups Runneth Over

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pp. 209-222

The introduction of imerleague play between the American Association and the International League highlighted the 1988 season. In addition to home-and-home series with each opposing league member, the champions...

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16 Building Toward a New Frontier

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pp. 223-226

Bob Matthews first visited Silver Stadium when he was five years old, and it was love at first sight. Matthews became a regular during the [ate '50s and early '60s. Luke Easter was his favorite player, and Matthews would save up his allowance and paper route money each...

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17 Home of Champions

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pp. 227-248

With a new ballpark literally on the horizon, the time had come to say farewell to the old one. The Red Wings had built their marketing campaign around the closing of Silver Stadium, and the “fi nal game” was supposed to take place in August 1995. But political infi ghting stalled...

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18 Bye-Bye, Birdies

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pp. 249-264

The euphoria of 1997 soon turned into the absurdity of 1998. Julio Moreno, the rookie pitching sensation who had recorded wins in the playoff series clinchers against Pawtucket and Columbus in ‘97, blew out his shoulder attempting to lift weights. The six-foot, 155-pound...

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19 Birth of Twins

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pp. 265-300

On August 20, 2002, the Red Wings did something for the fi rst time in forty-two years: They fi led for baseball free agency, seeking to sever their ties with the Baltimore Orioles. The Wings had until September...

Extra Innings/Bibliography/Index

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pp. 301-398

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651208
E-ISBN-10: 0815651201
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815609797
Print-ISBN-10: 0815609795

Page Count: 400
Illustrations: 63 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: Second

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Subject Headings

  • Rochester Red Wings (Baseball team) -- History.
  • Minor league baseball -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- History.
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