One must-catch Minor League throwback promo in each organization

May 21st, 2024

On the field, Minor League Baseball is all about the future: See tomorrow’s stars, today. This forward-looking mentality is often combined with ballpark celebrations of past eras, via salutes to defunct teams, retired players and beloved pop culture properties. Jump in the way-back machine and join us as we explore 30 upcoming Minor League promotions that pay tribute to the past, one from a team in every Major League organization.


Blue Jays: New Hampshire Primaries, Aug. 23 (Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats)
Prior to their inaugural 2004 season, Manchester, New Hampshire’s new Eastern League team announced that they would be known as the Primaries (a reference to the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary). Fans reacted negatively, and the name was quickly changed to the Fisher Cats. The team will play as the Primaries in August, giving fans another chance to wonder what could’ve been. Tickets »

Orioles: Tidewater Tides Turn Back the Clock, June 25 (Triple-A Norfolk Tides)
From 1963-92, Norfolk’s team was known as the Tidewater Tides. The International League team regularly stages promotions in honor of this era, the bulk of which occurred when they were a New York Mets affiliate. This year’s iteration occurs on June 25; hot dogs, popcorn and soda can be obtained for the “throwback” price of 50 cents. Tickets »

Tampa Bay: Durham Black Sox Night, June 14 (Triple-A Durham Bulls)
The Black Sox, active during the 1920s and 30s, were one of several Negro League teams to call Durham home. The Bulls pay tribute on June 14, wearing Black Sox uniforms that feature a cap logo in which the team name is written out in white over the outline of a black sock. Tickets »

Red Sox: Fan Appreciation Day with 1925 uniforms, Sept. 14 (Double-A Portland Sea Dogs)
The Sea Dogs’ annual Fan Appreciation game with a “Field of Dreams” theme features the home team’s players emerging from a cornfield constructed along the outfield wall. This nostalgic nod to the film of the same name includes the Portland players wearing 1925 throwback replica jerseys as they cross the field and climb into the stands to greet fans while the Sea Dogs' broadcaster, in vintage costume, delivers a rendition of the film's unforgettable speech. Tickets »

Yankees: The Sandlot Night, Aug. 17 (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders)
The RailRiders were among many Minor League teams that staged a 25th anniversary tribute to “The Sandlot” in 2018, bringing in actor Patrick “Ham Porter” Renna for the occasion. This year they’re doing it again, with the guest of honor being Chauncey “Squints” Leopardi. The first 2,500 fans through the gates receive a Squints bobblehead. Tickets »


Guardians: Cleveland Sports History Night, Aug. 18 (High-A Lake County Captains)
The Lake County Captains, who operate out of the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake, have long paid tribute to the city’s sports history. Details regarding this year’s promo haven’t been released, but past iterations have included distinguished guests as well as tongue-in-cheek salutes to less illustrious moments. Cleveland sports fans know that sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. Tickets »

Royals: Bob Gibson Bobblehead Giveaway, July 13 (Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers)
Why are the Omaha Storm Chasers, a longtime Royals affiliate, giving away a Bob Gibson bobblehead? It’s simple: Gibson is an Omaha native and, not only that, pitched for the Triple-A Omaha Cardinals from 1957-59. A statue of him greets Storm Chasers fans as they enter the team’s home of Werner Park. Tickets »

Tigers: Jamie Farr 90th Birthday Celebration, July 1 (Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens)
Toledo native Jamie Farr played Corporal Klinger on M*A*S*H, the hit '70s and '80s TV series -- a spinoff of a movie from 1970, which was based on a novel from 1968 -- set during the Korean War. Not coincidentally, the Klinger character could often be seen wearing a Toledo Mud Hens hat. Farr’s love for his hometown team has never abated, and the Mud Hens are returning the love with a 90th birthday bash featuring a Farr bobblehead giveaway and specialty jerseys. Tickets »

Twins: Wranglers Throwback Night, June 29 (Double-A Wichita Wind Surge)
The Wichita Wind Surge played their debut season in 2021, operating out of a new ballpark built on the same location as the city’s previous ballpark, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. That facility was home to the Wichita Wranglers, a Double-A team that played its final season in 2007. The Wind Surge pay tribute on June 29, taking the field in Wranglers unis. Tickets »

White Sox: MiLB at Rickwood Field, June 18 (Double-A Birmingham Barons)
Birmingham’s Rickwood Field opened in 1910, serving as the home of the Barons and Negro League Black Barons. The Barons played one game at Rickwood Field annually from 1996-2019, and now the ballpark is entering a new era. Birmingham hosts Montgomery at Rickwood Field on June 18, with the teams honoring the Negro Leagues by playing as the Black Barons and Grays, respectively. Two days later the ballpark hosts its first-ever MLB game, between the Giants and the Cardinals. Tickets »


Angels: Gulls Throwback Night, July 12 (Triple-A Salt Lake Bees)
The Salt Lake Bees are celebrating their 30th anniversary this season, and as part of the festivities they’re commemorating different eras of their city’s baseball history, which goes back to long before the current franchise arrived. July 12 will see the team play as the Gulls, members of the Pacific Coast League from 1975-84. Tickets »

Astros: Skylanders Jersey Giveaway, June 8 (High-A Asheville Tourists)
McCormick Field, the home of the Asheville Tourists, is celebrating its centennial season in 1924. The first team to call the ballpark home was the Asheville Skylanders, who reassumed the Tourists name the following season. The first 1,000 fans in attendance at June 8’s game receive a Skylanders jersey. Tickets »

Athletics: Page Fence Giants Night, July 2 (High-A Lansing Lugnuts)
The Page Fence Giants were a barnstorming Black baseball team founded by pioneering player Bud Fowler, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022. Active from 1895-98, the team was sponsored by the Lansing-area Page Fence Company. The Lugnuts will wear replica 1895 Page Fence jerseys on July 2, continuing what has become an annual tradition. Tickets »

Mariners: Frogstock, Aug. 3 (High-A Everett AquaSox)
Frogstock, an annual Everett AquaSox event since 1998, is a sprawling ballpark celebration of Woodstock and the music of the 1960s. Each year the team takes the field in tie-dye jerseys, adding an appropriately psychedelic flair to the occasion. Tickets »

Rangers: Classic TV Night, Aug. 23 (Double-A Frisco RoughRiders)
A Double-A team celebrates the A-Team. The RoughRiders salute to classic television will be highlighted by an appearance by a Mr. T impersonator as well as a replica of the A-Team’s iconic black (and red striped) van. The real Mr. T would surely pity the fool who decides not to attend this game. Tickets »

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Braves: Late 1900s Night, Aug. 29 (Single-A Augusta GreenJackets)
A number of Minor League teams are holding '90s Night promos this year. The GreenJackets' enthusiasm for the final years of the 20th century, though, apparently cannot be relegated to just one decade. The team promises, "a fly night planned for you, home skillet. Oh snap!" Tickets »

Marlins: Fairbanks Fairies Throwback Night, Aug. 16 (High-A Beloit Snappers)
The Snappers are throwing it way back, celebrating their region's baseball history with a night in honor of the Fairbank Fairies. The Fairies existed in semi-pro and industrial iterations from 1914-27, sometimes rostering Major League and Minor League players as they stormed to multiple championships and, over one seven-season period, winning every single series they played. Tickets »

Mets: Binghamton Mets Throwback Night, June 16, (Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies)
The Binghamton Mets, also known as the B-Mets, were a Minor League staple from 1992-2016, with an iconic logo featuring a bee charging through a letter B. On a Sunday afternoon in June, the Rumble Ponies pay homage to the old B-Mets, who count among alumni notables from Nelson Figueroa to David Wright to Collin McHugh. Tickets »

Nationals: Judy Johnson Night, Aug. 16 (High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks)
Judy Johnson, a Negro Leagues legend and the first Delawarean inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, is Wilmington's most famous baseball-playing son, but he's undercelebrated in American culture at large. The Blue Rocks, who have a statue of him at the ballpark and play on Judy Johnson Field at Frawley Stadium, are doing everything they can to change that -- including this Judy Johnson Night with a tribute to the Negro Leagues. Tickets »

Wilmington unveiled a statue of Hall of Famer Judy Johnson on April 14, 1995.Wilmington Blue Rocks

Phillies: Reading Keystones, May 23 and recurring (Double-A Reading Fightin Phils)
Last season, as Reading celebrated its 275th anniversary, the Fightin Phils marked the occasion with a new throwback identity -- the Reading Keystones. The Keystones were an International League franchise from 1923-32, and the identity (which Reading is donning on Thursday home games this year, too) pays tribute to the city's roots as a historic baseball burg as well as deepening its connection with the Keystone State it calls home. Tickets »

Reading Fightin Phils


Brewers: Fauxback Night, July 12 (High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)
The history that wasn't quite can be as fun to celebrate as the history that was. Wisconsin's old-school uni set and merch is a surefire favorite for anybody who's a fan of retro aesthetics -- which, when it comes to baseball, who isn't? The illustrated rattler curling around a baseball bat recalls midcentury animation, guaranteeing a transportive affect when the team takes the field at picturesque Fox Cities Stadium on July 12. Tickets »

Cardinals: Peoria Distillers Weekend, Aug. 9-11 (High-A Peoria Chiefs)
The Distillers baseball club, playing in the Illinois town that was known as "The Whiskey City" with dozens and dozens of operating distilleries up until Prohibition, first took the field in the 1890s and were a big draw in the Central League and Three-I League in the first couple decades of the 20th century. The Chiefs don Distillers throwback unis annually, and this year the promotion lasts a full week. Tickets »

The Chiefs have been throwing it back as the Distillers since 2017.Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs

Cubs: Elvis Night at the Ballpark, May 31 (Double-A Tennessee Smokies)
Ready to get all shook up? The Smokies celebrate Elvis Presley in an annual theme night that's been known to include specially-crafted jerseys, costume contests, Elvis-themed fireworks shows and, of course, plenty of music. This year's version promises a chance to win tickets to Graceland for the first 1,000 fans (18 and older) and fun with "Elvis Tribute Artist (It's a Tribute not an Impersonation)" Chris Bishop. Now, where did you put your blue suede shoes? Tickets »

Pirates: '79 Pirates Tribute Night, Sept. 15 (Double-A Altoona Curve)
The "We Are Family" Pirates of 1979 used rhythm and panache to surge from fourth place in the NL East in June to win the World Series. This era-defining team, highlighted by Dave Parker, Willie Stargell and John Candelaria, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, and the Curve are bringing the party to the Double-A level. The team will wear tribute jerseys, which will be auctioned off to fans. Tickets »

Reds: RiverBats Night, Aug. 24 (Triple-A Louisville Bats)
Kentucky's biggest city is a baseball history hotbed, having been home to a charter member (the 1876 Louisville Grays) of the National League and in the century and a half since having hosted innumerable Minor League franchises. This August, the Bats pay tribute to one that many locals remember vividly, although it was not around for long: The Louisville RiverBats of 1999-2001. The first 1,000 fans through the gates take home a RiverBats mini cooler. Tickets »


D-backs: Oaks Throwback Weekend, July 19-21 (Single-A Visalia Rawhide)
Going to a Rawhide game at Valley Strong Park any night can feel like a throwback in the best possible way -- the facility dates to 1946 and provides an intimate and classic smalltown baseball feel. The Visalia Oaks, whose unis the Rawhide adopt for a series each year, are a noteworthy example of the historic clubs that have populated this park, playing in the Cal League of '77-92 as a Twins affiliate and '95-2008 under assorted parent clubs. Tickets »

Dodgers: 89ers Night, May 23 and recurring (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
The Oklahoma City Baseball Club is playing as the 89ers, bringing back a Minor League team name that was in use from 1962-97, and which in turn was a throwback in its own right. The 89ers moniker is a nod to the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, an event that simultaneously founded Oklahoma City and led to its explosive development. This Thursday's 89ers Night at OKC will feature a special old-time-'stachey surprise. Tickets »

Giants: Campout Night (Single-A San Jose Giants, June 29)
As readers of the Ben's Biz Beat Minor League Newsletter know, San Jose's Excite Ballpark is a unique must-catch throwback experience any game, featuring innumerable murals throughout the stadium that depict people, moments and factoids from San Jose's baseball history. One night a year, families also get to participate in an old-fashioned campout on the outfield grass. Tickets »

Padres: Fort Wayne Daisies Throwback Night, June 8 (High-A Fort Wayne TinCaps)
If you know the movie A League of Their Own, you know about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, but in recent years the Fort Wayne TinCaps have been providing a much richer, more interactive and localized history lesson to fans by celebrating Fort Wayne's AAGPBL club. Throwback unis are just the start -- the team brings in surviving Daisies players, displays memorabilia, partners with local municipal and historic organizations and much more. Tickets »

Daisies great Dolly Vanderlip Ozburn signed for High-A Fort Wayne players.

Rockies: Roberto Clemente Celebration, Aug. 17 (Double-A Hartford Yard Goats)
A few ballplayers are more than athletes; they're one-man movements whose names evoke an era and a way of living. Roberto Clemente is one of these few. The Yard Goats, who play in a Connecticut city with a large Puerto Rican community, retired Clemente's number in 2017 and have continued to celebrate legacy, often with Luis Clemente, Roberto's son, in attendance. This year's celebrate features the Yard Goats playing as their Copa de la Diversión identity -- the Chivos -- a Clemente knit-cap giveaway, and fireworks. Tickets »