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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a baseball team located in Keizer, Oregon, who are charter members of the Mavericks Independent Baseball League, a four-team league entirely based in the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area and playing all their home games at Volcanoes Stadium. From 1997 to 2020, they were members of Minor League Baseball's Northwest League as the Class A Short Season affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. With the reorganization of baseball after the 2020 season, the Volcanoes were not offered a player development license with any Major League Baseball club, though the Volcanoes promised to continue play in 2021, a promise they kept in forming the Mavericks League.

History

The Volcanoes history begins in Bellingham, Washington where the franchise played for eighteen season as an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. In 1994, Seattle shifted their affiliation to Everett, who had been a long time San Francisco Giants farm club. Bellingham swapped parents with Everett and adopted their parent club's name to become the Bellingham Giants. Bellingham had long struggled with attendance and its facility failed to meet league standards. Efforts to secure funding for facility improvements in Bellingham were unsuccessful. In 1996, Bellingham Giants co-owners Jerry Walker and William Tucker announced that they were moving the franchise to Keizer, Oregon, a city of 22,000 people located immediately north of Salem. Keizer had striven to assert itself as an independent, thriving city for 12 years since the former Salem suburb had become an incorporated municipality. City officials, led by Mayor Dennis Koho, and civic leaders worked toward getting a new baseball stadium located and built in Keizer. The area had lacked a suitable facility for pro baseball since the early 1960s, when the Salem Dodgers vacated historic Waters Field (which burned down in 1966). Area fans chose the nickname "Volcanoes" in a contest. The new franchise was designated as a "Salem-Keizer" team, despite its location, in order to incorporate both the history and the prestige of the larger city and state capital. The Volcanoes continued their player development contract with the San Francisco Giants, a relationship that continued through 2020. In their inaugural season of 1997, the Volcanoes posted a record of 40–36 and finished third in the south division standings. The 1998 season was a banner year for Salem-Keizer. The Volcanoes finished the year at 43–33, tied with the Southern Oregon Timberjacks. In a one-game play-off the Volcanoes bested the Timberjacks to earn the south division title. Salem-Keizer defeated the Boise Hawks in the best-of-three series en route to a Northwest League championship. In 2001, the Volcanoes won the south division title. The team went on to sweep the Boise Hawks in the championship series to claim their second Northwest League crown. The Volcanoes won the Freitas Award as the best short-season Class A baseball franchise. The Volcanoes celebrated their 10th season in Salem-Keizer by ending the regular season with a league record 55 victories, a league record. The team set franchise records of most consecutive games won with 12 and most runs in an inning (10), in the seventh inning of a 19–3 rout of the Canadians on August 30. In that game, catcher Adam Witter hitting the team's first ever cycle. The Volcanoes capped the 2006 season by defeating the Boise Hawks, three games to one, winning the league championship. Salem-Keizer broke their own record for wins in a season, finishing the season with a 57–19 mark, a .750 overall record; the best in baseball that year. They won their second consecutive championship in a row by defeating the Tri-City Dust Devils, three games to one. The team was honored with the Best Short-Season and Best Overall Team in the 2007 Minor League Baseball Awards. The Volcanoes finished 2008 with third consecutive west division title. In an effort to three-peat as Northwest League champions, the team came up short a dropped the championship series to the Spokane Indians. Salem-Keizer posted a 49–27 record to win its fifth straight division title. Led by a pitching staff that recorded a 0.69 ERA over the four-game set, the Volcanoes defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils to with the league championship. In the first decade of the new millennium the Volcanoes made an unprecedented six postseason appearances, winning four Northwest League championships. In 2013, the Volcanoes won the south division title, but lost to Boise in the division series. After a five-year drought, Salem-Keizer returned to the postseason in 2019 by winning the first half south division. The Volcanoes were defeated in the division series by the eventual league champion Hillsboro Hops. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Minor League Baseball season was cancelled. Following the cancelled season, Major League Baseball took direct control of Minor League Baseball. The Northwest League was elevated to the High-A classification and contracted to six teams. The Volcanoes were not extended an invitation to continue as a franchise affiliated with a major league organization. The team, however, has plans to continue in some other form, such as collegiate summer baseball or independent baseball, in 2021. On January 26, 2021, the team announced the formation of a new professional independent league called the Mavericks League. It is a four-team league consisting of the Volcanoes and Campesinos de Salem-Keiser (founding members), as well as two returning teams from the past, the Salem Senators (founded in the 1940's) and the Portland Mavericks (founded in the 1970's).

Ballpark

The Volcanoes play at Volcanoes Stadium located in Keizer, Oregon. The facility was built in less than a year, in time for the debut of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, on a tract of land adjacent to Interstate 5 just northwest of the Keizer interchange. The stadium seats 4,252-seat. In 1999, the American Institute of Architects honored the Volcanoes with a design award for the stadium. Volcanoes Stadium also hosts all five of Oregon's state high school baseball championship games. In 1998, the University of Oregon football team played its spring Green-White game in the stadium in early May.

Baseball in the Salem Area

The Salem-Keizer area has been home to professional baseball since 1940, when the Salem Senators (an homage to Salem's role as Oregon's capital) were formed as a member of the Western International League (WIL). When the WIL reformed into the current Northwest League (NWL) in 1955, the Senators were a charter member of the new circuit. The Salem franchise played as the Senators until 1960, when it became a Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and adopted the parent club's nickname. The Salem Dodgers continued to play until the 1965 season, after which the franchise was dormant for 17 years. In 1977, former Stockton Ports owner/manager Carl Thompson purchased the Salem franchise and put it back on the field as an NWL member and Dodgers farm club. The revived Senators played until after the 1981 season, when the California Angels became the team's parent club. The 1982 Angels captured the first NWL championship by a Salem-area franchise, and became the first NWL champion with a losing regular-season record, a distinction which lasted until 2005. The Salem Angels shifted their major-league affiliation and nickname back to the Dodgers after the 1987 season. The Dodgers played in Salem for two seasons, with future major-league star Mike Piazza on the team's 1989 roster. In 1990, owners moved the Salem Dodgers to Yakima, Washington, mainly due to lack of adequate facilities. The Salem club had played its home games at the Chemeketa Community College field, which lacked a grandstand, permanent concession stands and other amenities. It would be seven years before pro baseball returned to the Salem-Keizer metropolitan area.

Season-by-season record



Notable alumni

*Joe Biagini, MLB Relief Pitcher *Hunter Bishop, Minors Outfielder, first round draft pick *Emmanuel Burriss, MLB/Minors Second Baseman *Brandon Crawford, MLB Shortstop *Kevin Frandsen, MLB Second Baseman *Conor Gillaspie, MLB/Minors Third Baseman *Brian Horwitz, MLB/Minors Outfielder *Joe Nathan, MLB Relief Pitcher *Travis Ishikawa, MLB First Baseman *Noah Lowry, MLB Starting Pitcher *Tim Lincecum, MLB Starting Pitcher *Joe Panik, MLB Second Baseman *Buster Posey, MLB Catcher *Ryan Vogelsong, MLB Starting Pitcher *Pablo Sandoval, MLB Third Baseman *Kurt Ainsworth, MLB/Minors Starting Pitcher *Jesse Foppert, MLB/Minors Starting Pitcher *Sergio Romo, MLB Relief Pitcher *Dan Runzler, MLB Relief Pitcher *Jonathan Sánchez, MLB Starting Pitcher *Nate Schierholtz, MLB Outfielder *Lance Niekro, MLB First Baseman Since 1997, 84 former Volcanoes have played in the major leagues. Two former Volcanoes also played in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic: Joe Nathan (U.S.) and Jonathan Sánchez (Puerto Rico).

References



External links


Salem-Keizer Volcanoes official websiteMavericks League official website
{{Authority control Category:Baseball teams established in 1997 Category:Keizer, Oregon Category:San Francisco Giants minor league affiliates Volcanoes Category:1997 establishments in Oregon Category:Former Northwest League teams Category:Professional baseball teams in Oregon