Saturday, July 07, 2012

Northwest League Baseball--The Walla Walla Islanders

Walla Walla would get Minor League Baseball in 1969, the same year Major League Baseball first came to the Seattle (The Pilots).  At first, the Walla Walla Bears were affiliated with Philadelphia. When that tie ended, Walla Walla began an unusual affiliation with a Pacific Coast League team, The Hawaii Islanders.  The season before, Hawaii had the Bend Rainbows in the Northwest League. In the picture above, actor Kurt Russell, who at the time was appearing in Disney films, was trying to make a second career as a baseball player.  Tom Trebelhorn, would later have success as a manager in the "bigs".  Team Owner, Verne Russell (no relation to Kurt) is also pictured on the left in a tie.  The team played at Borleske Stadium.  It was a great place to spend a summer evening. 
The next season,  the team would begin a long affiliation with the San Diego Padres.

9 comments:

Danny Barer said...

Escape from Walla Walla!

Anonymous said...

I used to go watch them when they played against the Tri-City Triplets, just to watch Kurt Russell play.

Mike Barer said...

I don't remember Tri City's team being the "Triplets" at that time. Maybe, I remember the Tri city Atoms, then the Tri City A's. Triplets is a cool name, but my favorite name is Tri City Dust Devils.
The Lewiston Broncos were part of the NWL about that time, most of the other teams adopted the name of their respective Major League "parent club".

Anonymous said...

Just pulled an old 1972 baseball guide out of a dusty corner of my closet. This one I had signed by Kurt Russell while he played for the Islanders. I wonder what it's worth? We lived a couple of blocks from Burlesque stadium and I used to sneak in to watch the games. I'm sure they knew, but it kept a 10 year old kid out of trouble.

mhetter said...

It was the Tri-city Padres My brother was Batboy in those days

Mike Barer said...

It was the Walla Walla Padres starting in '73 or 74. I remember it clearly.

Alfred Cummins said...

Mike, in relation to the Lewiston Broncos, most would not realize than Reggie Jackson played there for a short time. I met a man several years ago that also played in Lewiston and with Reggie. (I hope I'm not getting forgetful in my older age).

Mike Barer said...

It could be, Tony Gwinn, Ozzie Smith, and actor Kurt Russell had stops in Walla Walla.

Tamara Christine said...

I only remember them as the Padres but it sounds like I would have only been 3-4 years old when Kurt played for them. Given my grandad's penchant for taking us to as many of the local ball games as he could whenever we would visit (which was often), it is quite likely that I did at some point see Mr. Russell play. My ex's buddy would tell how Mr. Russell lived next door and he would go pester him until he gave him an errand to run for him. LOL!