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The Hawaii Islanders were a AAA minor league baseball team, based in Honolulu, Hawaiimarker, that played in the Pacific Coast League from 1961 through 1987. The Islanders were originally an affiliate of the Kansas City Athletics. They played their home games at Honolulu Stadiummarker, Honolulu's Aloha Stadiummarker and later at Les Murakami Stadiummarker. After being one of the most successful minor league teams, the Islanders faltered and ultimately moved to the mainland as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 1988.

History

The Islanders were originally an amateur team, but on December 17, 1960, the Sacramento Solons, a longtime PCL stalwart, moved to Honolulu. Minor league baseball was then in free fall, as sparse attendance, rampant major league TV broadcasts, expansion and franchise shifts at the major league level, and retrenchment in farm system support caused the contraction of many leagues, and the utter collapse of others. By the end of the 1960s, however, Hawaii was the model franchise for the minors. In 1970, the Islanders, then an affiliate of the California Angels, won 98 games and drew over 400,000 fans to lead the PCL and the minors as a whole.

Due to being 2500 miles from their nearest opponent, the PCL had a unique schedule for the Islanders. Initially, teams made one four and one seven game visit to the Islands with the Islanders doing the same. Later, as the league expanded, the Islanders played 8 game series against each team in order to cut down on travel costs.

The travel costs also applied to radio coverage. In the early years of the team in the 1960s, the Islanders radio announcer would use the old method of "re-creating" the road games in the Honolulu radio studio, which was used by most major league teams during the 1930s and 1940s In those days, the team's radio play by play man was Harry Kalas, who had just gotten out of the service. When Harry later moved on to the Mainland (with the Houston Astros and later the Philadelphia Phillies), he was replaced as Islanders play by play man by a youngster named Al Michaels.

The 1970 team was named #38 out of the top 100 Greatest Minor League Teams of All Time as selected by MiLB.com.

But being located thousands of miles from the mainland PCL ultimately proved too much of a challenge. The Islanders achieved success and stability as a longtime affiliate of the Angels and the San Diego Padres, but when those teams found tie-ups closer to home, Hawaii shifted from organization to organization. It was also affiliated over the years with the Kansas City A's, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Its last club, in 1987, finished last in its division and last overall in attendance (a little over 116,000) in the PCL.

Prior the 1988 season, the team moved to Colorado Springs, Coloradomarker, and became the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, where they've been ever since.

Aftermath and influence

Five years after the Islanders left Hawaii, the minor league Hawaii Winter Baseball was founded in 1993 and played their games from October to December. The league was affiliated with the Major Leagues and continued play until it folded in 2008.

Golden Baseball League bound?

There are rumblings, yet to be confirmed or denied, that Hawaii will be getting a Golden Baseball League franchise for 2010. The league office has yet to make any kind of announcement, but word is starting to spread. Plus, it's uncertain if the team will be called the Islanders.

Notable alumni



Year-by-Year Record

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1961 68-86 6th Tommy Heath / Bill Werle none
1962 77-76 5th Irv Noren none
1963 81-77 4th Irv Noren
1964 60-98 10th Bob Lemon
1965 75-72 6th (t) George Case
1966 63-84 10th George Case
1967 60-87 12th Wayne Terwilliger
1968 78-69 3rd Bill Adair
1969 74-72 4th Chuck Tanner
1970 98-48 1st Chuck Tanner Lost League Finals
1971 73-73 4th (t) Bill Adair
1972 74-74 5th Rocky Bridges
1973 70-74 5th Rocky Bridges / Warren Hacker / Roy Hartsfield
1974 67-77 6th Roy Hartsfield
1975 88-56 1st Roy Hartsfield League Champs
1976 77-68 2nd Roy Hartsfield League Champs
1977 79-67 2nd Dick Phillips Lost League Finals
1978 56-82 8th Dick Phillips
1979 72-76 8th Dick Phillips Lost League Finals
1980 76-65 5th Doug Rader Lost League Finals
1981 72-65 3rd (t) Doug Rader Lost in 1st round
1982 73-71 5th Doug Rader
1983 72-71 5th Tom Trebelhorn
1984 87-53 1st Tommy Sandt Lost League Finals
1985 84-59 1st Tommy Sandt Lost in 1st round
1986 65-79 9th Tommy Sandt
1987 65-75 9th Bob Bailey


Cultural References

The Islanders baseball team is mentioned on a number of occasions in the 80's television series of "Magnum PI". The main character played by Tom Selleck was a baseball fan for the Islanders and often he wore a Detroit Tigers ball cap.

External links



References


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