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The Salt Lake Bees are a Pacific Coast League (PCL) minor league baseball team based in Salt Lake City, Utahmarker. The Bees serve as the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They play their home games at Spring Mobile Ballparkmarker, known to fans as the Apiary, which was opened in 1994 and seats 15,500 fans. The current franchise dates from 1994, when Joe Buzas, owner of the PCL Portland Beavers, moved the team to Salt Lake City.

Known as the Salt Lake Buzz from 1994 to 2001, the team changed its name to the Salt Lake Stingers in 2002. The change was forced by a trademark dilution lawsuit filed by Georgia Techmarker, whose yellowjacket mascot is named Buzz. Later that year, the Angels won the 2002 World Series and made history in Game 7 when rookie pitcher John Lackey, called up from the Stingers earlier in the year, was the game's winning pitcher. He became the first rookie to do so in nearly 100 years.

On October 27, 2005, the team announced the Stingers would henceforth be known as the Salt Lake Bees, the name of the original PCL franchise which played in Salt Lake City from 1915 to 1926. The official press release read, in part: "Owner, Larry H. Miller, announced today that the Salt Lake Stingers have officially changed the teams name to the Salt Lake Bees. The new logo, colors and uniforms were also unveiled. The change brings Salt Lake baseball back to its original franchise name and look when the state's first Pacific Coast League team was named the Bees in 1915."

The team was owned by former major league player Joe Buzas until his death in 2003. It was then owned by the late Larry H. Miller, who owned the NBA's Utah Jazz.

Team history

The Sacramento Solons, though a charter member of the PCL, suffered on the field and at the gate, being exiled at times to Tacomamarker, Fresnomarker, and San Franciscomarker. After the 1914 season, the forlorn team was sold to Salt Lake City businessman Bill "Hardpan" Lane, who brought PCL baseball to Utah in the form of the newly-renamed Salt Lake Bees. On March 31, 1915, the first PCL game was played in the state of Utah, as 10,000 fans poured into Bonneville Park to cheer the Bees to a 9–3 win over the Vernon Tigers.

Though the original Bees never won a PCL pennant, the team drew reasonably well, especially considering the small market size. Other team owners, though, resented the cost of travel to Salt Lake City. When the Vernon Tigers abandoned Los Angelesmarker after the 1925 season, it was suggested to Lane that he would do well to transfer his team to Southern California. And so, after eleven seasons, the Bees moved to Los Angeles for the 1926 season. At first known as the Hollywood Bees, the team soon became known as the Hollywood Stars. After ten seasons in Hollywoodmarker, the team transferred again, to San Diego, where it played as the San Diego Padres from 1936 to 1968. Salt Lake City was without a baseball team until 1946 when it received a franchise in the Pioneer League.

When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, the second version of the Hollywood Stars was forced to relocate and, in an ironic twist, were sold and moved "back" to Salt Lake City, becoming the second incarnation of the PCL Bees. In 1959, the Bees won their first-ever PCL pennant, edging the Vancouver Mounties by 1½ games. In 1963, the team began its first season ever as a farm team, becoming a full affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. This second version of the Bees played in the PCL from 1958 to 1965 before moving to Tacoma. As before, the void created by the loss of the PCL was filled by the Pioneer League from 1966 to 1969.

In 1970, the Pacific Coast League returned to Salt Lake City for the third time in the form of the Salt Lake City Padres, the Triple-A farm team for the San Diego Padres. The affiliation only lasted one season, and in 1971, the California Angels moved their Triple-A affiliate from Hawaii (where they had a short, but historic run of PCL dominance) to Salt Lake City and took their parent's name of Angels. Although remaining the top affiliate for the Angels, in 1975 the Angels were renamed the Salt Lake Gulls. The Salt Lake Gulls became the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in 1982 before being purchased and moved to Calgarymarker for the 1985 season. Though the team never achieved a first-place finish, it won PCL pennants in 1971 and 1979, winning the playoffs both years. From 1985 to 1992, Salt Lake City fielded a team in the Pioneer League once again, the Salt Lake City Trappers. In 1987, the Trappers won 29 consecutive games to establish an all-time pro baseball record.

In 1993, Salt Lake City and Portland Beavers owner Joe Buzas made a deal where the city would build a new ballpark on the site of historic Derks Field and Buzas would move his team to Salt Lake City in 1994. The new ballpark, Franklin Quest Fieldmarker, opened in 1994 with the newly renamed Salt Lake Buzz breaking the all-time PCL attendance record. The Buzz became the Salt Lake Stingers in 2002 and, as noted above, adopted the traditional moniker of Salt Lake Bees in 2006.

In 1998, as the Salt Lake Buzz, the team gained national exposure when a fictionalized version of the team was the focus of the film Major League: Back to the Minors.

Also notable: the Bees started the 2008 season with a 21-1 record, believed to be the best start in minor league baseball history.

Tragedy struck the Bees on April 9, 2009 when former team member Nick Adenhart was killed in a car accident near Fullerton, California. Adenhart had pitched only hours before for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, earning a no-decision but allowing no runs. Adenhart had spent most of the 2008 season with the Salt Lake Bees, finishing with a 9 - 13 record and 5.76 ERA in 26 appearances.


Notable Past Players


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