The Eugene Emeralds (nicknamed the Ems) are a minor league baseball
team in the northwest United States
, based in Eugene, Oregon
. The Emeralds are members of the High-A West
and are affiliated with the San Francisco Giants
. Eugene plays their home games at PK Park
Founded in 1955 as a charter member of the Northwest League, the Emeralds were named in a contest, won in January by 11-year-old Bowen Blair.
They won the inaugural pennant as an independent,
and remained in the NWL for fourteen seasons, through 1968. The Emeralds were the first minor-league team to play in Eugene since the disbanding of the Eugene Larks, who played at Bethel Park for just two seasons, 1950 and 1951.
The Emeralds played in northwest Eugene in 4,000-seat Bethel Park, at Roosevelt Boulevard and Maple Street (), later torn down for the construction of a highway that wasn't built.
In 1950 and 1951, Bethel Park was the home of the Eugene Larks of the Class D Far West League; its outfield is present-day Lark Park. Its final game in 1968 on August 29 drew 897 fans for a one-hitter and a 7-0 Emeralds win. The NWL changed to a short season league in 1966, and that season opened in Eugene against the Lewiston Broncs. The second pick in the 1966 MLB draft, future hall of famer Reggie Jackson played his first professional games at Bethel Park, as a 20-year-old center fielder, following his sophomore season at Arizona State. Hitless in the opener, the next game he got his first pro hit, a single in the first, and later a home run to right field in the ninth. He was with the Broncs for less than two weeks, then went to Modesto in the California League.
In the 1969 season, the Emeralds were promoted to AAA status in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) as the primary affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Ems returned to the Northwest League five years later when the PCL moved the AAA team to Sacramento for the 1974 season, while the Phillies moved their AAA farm team to the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. Eugene was an independent/co-op team (Phillies, San Francisco Giants) in 1974, then became an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds in 1975.
Entering Triple-A in 1969, the Emeralds moved from Bethel Park to Civic Stadium. The 6,800-seat facility was owned by the Eugene School District and was built in 1938 as a venue for high school football, which was played there until 1968. Civic Stadium also hosted semi-pro baseball teams, sponsored by local timber companies, until Bethel Park was built in 1950. Facing an outdated stadium and high-maintenance costs, in 2010 the Eugene Emeralds moved into PK Park, the new baseball stadium across town that was built by the University of Oregon. The Emeralds new home, PK Park, is adjacent to Autzen Stadium and near the Willamette River. They share the new facility with the Oregon Ducks collegiate baseball team, whose regular season ends in May. This left an antiquated Civic Stadium without any active tenants. A vacant Civic Stadium was destroyed by fire in 2015.
In 2009, playing for the Emeralds, Nate Freiman led the league for the season in RBIs (68), extra-base hits (33) and total bases (140).
A new logo, based upon Sasquatch, was adopted by the Emeralds in 2012. In 2013, the Emeralds partnered with Voodoo Doughnut to offer a bacon maple bratwurst as a specialty food item. Following the 2014 season, the Emeralds switched from being an affiliate of the San Diego Padres to the Chicago Cubs, who signed Eugene to a two-year deal through 2016. The player development contract was extended through the 2018 season on June 14, 2016.
In 2016, the Emeralds were awarded two "Golden Bobbleheads" for Minor League Baseball's Best Community Promotion and Best Overall Promotion. The awards were due to their work with Children's Miracle Network and their honorary player that year, Hayden Kumle.
The Emeralds won the NWL title in 2018 despite finishing , last in the overall standings. They clinched a wild card playoff spot with a record in the second half, second behind Hillsboro, who had finished first in both halves. The Emeralds proceeded to sweep both Hillsboro and Spokane in the postseason en route to the title. Dubbed the "Bad News Ems," the .408 regular season winning percentage was the worst ever for a NWL champion. Following that season, the Emeralds were awarded the 53rd Annual Larry MacPhail Award, this award is in recognition for the franchises top promotional effort.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minor League Baseball season was cancelled. In the winter of 2020 as part the reorganization of minor league baseball, Eugene received an invitation to play as the High-A affiliate of San Francisco Giants. In a further change, they were organized into the High-A West along with five other teams previously of the Northwest League.
*1974: Defeated Bellingham 2–1 to win league championship.
*1975: Defeated Portland 2–0 to win league championship.
*1979: Lost to Grays Harbor 1–0 in finals.
*1980: Declared co-champion with Bellingham.
*1985: Lost to Everett 1–0 in finals.
*1986: Lost to Bellingham 1–0 in finals.
*1996: Lost to Yakima 2–0 in finals.
*2000: Lost to Yakima 3–2 in finals.
*2011: Lost to Vancouver 2–1 in semifinals.
*2016: Defeated Hillsboro 2–1 in semifinals; defeated Everett 2–1 to win league championship.
*2017: Defeated Hillsboro 2–0 in semifinals; Lost to Vancouver 3–1 in finals.
*2018: Defeated Hillsboro 2–0 in semifinals; defeated Spokane 3–0 to win league championship.
Hall of Fame alumni
* Jim Bunning (1973, MGR) Inducted, 1996
*Mike Schmidt (1972) Inducted, 1995 ] [
*Jesús Alou (1961)
*Adbert Alzolay (2015)
*Matt Andriese (2011)
*Kevin Appier (1987) MLB All-Star]
*Jason Bartlett (2001) 2009 AL All-Star
*Anthony Bass (2008)
*Bob Boone (1972) 4 x MLB All-Star [
*Larry Bowa (1969) 5 x MLB All-Star; 2001 NL Manager of the Year] [
*Tim Byrdak (1994)
*José Cardenal (1961)
*Lance Carter (1994) 2003 AL All-Star
*Dylan Cease (2016)
*Bruce Chen (1996)
*Adam Cimber (2013)
*Franchy Cordero (2014)
*Juan Cruz (1999)
*Eric Davis (1980–1981) 2 x MLB All-Star] [
*Mark DeRosa (1996)
*Rob Dibble (1983) 2 x MLB All-Star, 1990 NLCS MVP] [
*Alex Dickerson (2014)
*Dick Dietz (1962)
*Denny Doyle (1969)] [
*Logan Forsythe (2008)
*David Freese (2006) MLB All-Star; 2011 World Series Most Valuable Player
*Nate Freiman (2009)
*Oscar Gamble (1970–72)
*Tom Gordon (1987)] [ 3 x MLB All-Star
*Trevor Gott (2013)
*Khalil Greene (2002)
*Tayron Guerrero (2013)
*Jedd Gyorko (2010)
*Shane Halter (1991)
*Bob Hamelin (1988) 1994 AL Rookie of the Year
*Ian Happ (2015)
*Chase Headley (2005)
*Austin Hedges (2011)
*Greg Hibbard (1986)
*Larry Hisle (1971) 2 x MLB All-Star
*Nico Hoerner (2018)
*Jay Howell (1976)
*Nick Hundley (2005)
*Grant Jackson (1964)
*Eloy Jimenez (2015)
*Brandon Kintzler (2004-2005)
*Corey Kluber (2007) 2 x MLB Cy Young Award & 3 x All-Star
*Mat Latos (2007-2008)
*Wade LeBlanc (2006)
*Charlie Leibrandt (1978)
*Jon Lieber (1992) 2001 NL All-Star
*Jose Lobaton (2004-2005)
*Greg Luzinski (1971) 4 x MLB All-Star] [
*Vimael Machin (2015-2016)
*Mike Marshall (1965) 1974 NL Cy Young Award
*Brian McRae (1986) (2009) 2018 MLB All-Star
*Miles Mikolas (2009) 2018 MLB All-Star
*Dave Miley (1981)
*Willie Montañez (1970) MLB All-Star
*Mélido Pérez (1985)
*Odális Pérez (1995) 2002 NL All-Star
*Jace Peterson (2011)
*Kevin Quackenbush (2011)
*Joe Randa (1991)
*Horacio Ramirez (1998)
*Hunter Renfroe (2013)
*Franmil Reyes (2013)
*John Rocker (1995)
*Larry Rothschild (1975)
*Jeff Russell (1980) 2 x MLB All-Star
*Eric Sogard (2007)
*Mario Soto (1975) 3 x MLB All-Star] [Mario Soto Minor Leagues Statistics & History | Baseball-Reference.com]
*Cory Spangenberg (2014)
*Mike Sweeney (1992–1993) 5 x MLB All-Star
*Andre Thornton (1968) 2 x MLB All-Star)]
*Trea Turner (2014)
*Will Venable (2005)
*Nick Vincent (2007) [https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=vincen001nic]
*Eugene Emeralds players (1955–present)
*Eugene Larks players (1950–1951)
Statistics from Baseball-Reference
Category:Baseball teams established in 1955
Category:Former Pacific Coast League teams
Category:Sports in Eugene, Oregon
Category:San Francisco Giants minor league affiliates
Category:Chicago Cubs minor league affiliates
Category:San Diego Padres minor league affiliates
Category:Philadelphia Phillies minor league affiliates
Category:1955 establishments in Oregon
Category:Former Northwest League teams
Category:Professional baseball teams in Oregon
Category:High-A West teams