Gastonia Rockets

From BR Bullpen

The Gastonia Rockets briefly played in Gastonia, NC, spending two years as a member of the Tri-State League in 1952-53. In 1952, the Chicago White Sox farm team finished first in their first year with a 89-50 record, edging the Charlotte Hornets by a game and a half. In the playoffs, they fell 3 games to 2 to the Spartanburg Peaches. Managed by Hal Van Pelt (a player-manager), Gastonia scored 809 runs, most in the Tri-State League. OF Fred Leonard (.355/~.419/.479, 94 R, 105 RBI) was second in the league in average and paced the offense and Howie Moss hit .314/~.373/.527 in 49 games. Larry Hoffman (6-3, 1.67) and John Brumm (9-3, 2.13) had the lowest and third-lowest ERAs among pitchers with 45+ IP but neither pitched enough to qualify for the ERA title. 94,778 fans came out, second-most in the circuit.

In '53, they were unaffiliated and fell to 66-81-1, 5th of six teams. Attendance fell to third (69,052). Van Pelt returned as manager but the club was outscored 799-706 this time. 3B Jack Falls was the offensive leader, second in the league in home runs (20) and hitting .326/~.413/.507. Leonard batted .293/~.377/.465 and future big-league pitcher Rudy Hernandez batted .254/~.408/.371 in his last year as a position player.

Sources: 1953 and 1954 Baseball Guides

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1952 89-50 1st Hal Van Pelt Lost in 1st round
1953 66-81 5th Hal Van Pelt