Michigan City White Caps

From BR Bullpen


In 1955, the Hannibal Citizens of the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League declared bankruptcy and folded. The team was purchased and moved to Michigan City, IN where they became known as the Michigan City White Caps and joined the Midwest League. The Citizens had been independent of MLB affiliation, but the White Caps started their short history as a New York Giants affiliate. The 1956 White Caps were an expansion team to the Midwest League and were the first Indiana based MWL franchise. That year was the White Caps most popular season, the team attracted 48,765 fans that year. On April 12, 1957 Bobby Bolin threw the White Caps' only no-hitter, defeating the Dubuque Packers 11-0 over 7 innings. On May 6 of that same season the Caps' had another notable game, scoring 13 runs in the fifth inning to defeat the Clinton Pirates 15-3. The White Caps maintained their Giants affiliation throughout their four year tenure, even through the Giant's relocation to San Francisco, CA in 1958. Following the 1959 season, the Whitecaps franchise folded. Despite two new teams opening in the MWL in 1960 neither officially replaced the Michigan City franchise, which had struggled since its 1952 inception as the Hannibal Stags.

The Michigan City White Caps were home to several notable players throughout the years. Manny Mota holds the title of the Michigan City White Caps' best hitter. In 1957, he hit 7 home runs and 91 RBI, with an average of .314. Mota's RBI record still stands, but that same season his teammate John Orsino hit 20 home runs. In 1959, Rick Joseph finished the season with a .320 average. Other notable names to come through Michigan City were Jose Tartabull, Matty Alou, and Buddy Kerr who in 1958 won the MWL Manager of the Year award. Possibly the greatest player the Michigan City White Caps ever saw was Juan Marichal. In 1958 he won the Midwest League Pitcher of the Year award. That season he set the still standing team records for Wins, Strike outs, ERA, and Win/Loss record. Marichal threw 246 strikeouts for a 1.87 ERA, and earned 21 wins and only 8 losses throughout the 1958 season. Marichal went on to the most notable Major League career.

In 1994, 35 years after the folding of the Michigan City franchise, the White Caps name was restored to the Midwest League when the West Michigan Whitecaps began playing in the Grand Rapids, MI area.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1956 55-71 8th Allan Shinn
1957 68-57 4th Richard Klaus
1958 69-54 2nd Buddy Kerr Lost League Finals
1959 51-74 8th Buddy Kerr