Bend Bucks

From BR Bullpen

1988 bend bucks.jpg

After a wretched 1986 season the Philadelphia Phillies ended their affiliation with the Northwest League team from Bend, OR. The former Bend Phillies became the independent Bend Bucks. Despite the lack of major-league prospects, the Bucks finished second in the four-team Eastern Division at 33-42 (though they were 20 and a half games behind the Spokane Indians). Mel Roberts was the manager - when the team played the Boise Hawks (managed by Derrel Thomas) it marked the first time in minor league baseball history that both teams had an African-American manager. 3B Gary Maasberg was the star with a .328/~.407/.519 year.

The club affiliated with the California Angels in 1988, replacing the Salem Angels as California's NWL club. The team set a Bend attendance record with 40,442 fans to see Don Long's charges. The team's record improved to 38-38, though their standing fell to a tie for third/last in the reorganized southern division. The Bucks had 3 of the league's top 4 in ERA that year - Wes Bliven (6-3, 2.04) led the circuit, Don Vidmar (3-4, 2.08) was second and Todd James (4-3, 2.32) was fourth. Gary DiSarcina hit .305 as the club's shortstop.

Long returned to manage Bend in 1989 and the team returned to the southern cellar with a 33-42 record. The team again had a future big-league regular at short in the form of Damion Easley (.298 with an OBP around .410). Jeff Kipila (.269/~.385/.508) hit 15 home runs, second in the NWL that season.

California's Player Development Contract with the Bucks expired after the 1989 season and the team returned to an independent status under co-owners Jack and Mary Cain. Mike Bubalo guided the team to another last-place record, this time 29-47. Bill Stein became the manager in 1991 and the team improved slightly to 30-46, still last in the southern division of the Northwest League. The team did have a .315 season from OF Ryan Turner and DH Leon Glenn led the league with 15 homers. Glenn was named to the All-Star team after a .225/~.319/.454 year.

In 1992 the Bend team became the first minor-league club of the Colorado Rockies and they were renamed the Bend Rockies.

Bend is one of the few non-affiliated teams to take part in the amateur draft.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1987 33-42 5th Mel Roberts
1988 38-38 5th (t) Don Long
1989 33-42 6th Don Long
1990 29-47 8th Mike Bubalo
1991 30-46 7th Bill Stein