Rio Grande Valley White Wings

From BR Bullpen

1976 Gulf States League[edit]

In 1976 Harlingen, TX was represented in the short-lived Gulf States League by the Rio Grande Valley White Wings. After a 12-25 first half, manager Ted Uhlaender's club improved to 20-15 in the second half. They drew 15,996 fans, 4th in the league. John Hart (8-6, 3.55) was seventh in the league in ERA, while no player from the club made the top 10 in average.

1994-2001 Texas-Louisiana League[edit]

A team by the same name was created in the new Texas-Louisiana League in 1994. They went 40-48 under manager Alan Ashby and had no All-Stars, though OF Ron Jones (.347/?/.569) was second in the TLL in average and showed very good pop. Their second season, they drew 71,818 fans (5th in the league) and had a 53-46 record. They missed the southern division first half title in the first half by one game. The balanced attack produced no All-Stars.

In 1996, the WhiteWings were 50-48. They lost in the first round of the playoffs by 11-2 and 10-1 scores to the Lubbock Crickets. Their attendance (81,884) was second only to the Amarillo Dillas. John Pacella managed the team. For the first time, they had a couple All-Stars - 1B John O'Brien and SS Lipso Nava. Nava hit .331/?/.539, stole 29 and hit 17 homers whiel O'Brien had his third straight solid year for the team, batting .315, slugging .565 and clubbing 25 homers, the most in the TLL. Al Osuna (8-2, 2.66) finished second in the league in ERA.

The 1997 season resulted in a 39-53 finish for the WhiteWings. Attendance slipped to 4th (75,639) in the six-team league. Mike Brumley was the manager of the team, which again boasted two All-Stars - SP Ryan Whitaker and OF Bryan Warner. Warner split league MVP honors with Chris Cassels of the Tyler Wildcatters. Warner hit .392/?/.720, scored 75 and drove in 94 while hitting 25 homers and tying for the league extra-base hit lead (57). He was second in average. Whitaker was 11-6 with a 5.70 ERA. 3B/1B Pat Koerner (.292/?/.466) was Rookie of the Year.

In 1998, Rio Grande Valley went 36-48 and was back to second in attendance (86,656) behind Amarillo. Eddie Dennis took the reigns while they now had three All-Stars - OF Jay Davis (.405/?/.711, 26 HR 35 2B, 25 SB), SP Jason Fawcett (7-4, 4.83) and RP Joe Stutz (5-5, 3 Sv, a league-leading 3.04 ERA).

The 1999 edition of the outfit went 45-38, 4th in the 7-team Texas-Louisiana League. 77,886 fans came to the home games (third in the league). Dennis returned as manager. There were again All-Stars - C Eddie Fitzpatrick, OF Sergio Cairo (who finished the year with the Ozark Mountain Ducks) and P Mario Rodriguez. Cairo hit .349/?/.503, Fitzpatrick .237 with little pop (.274 SLG). Rodriguez (6-1, 3.13) led the league in ERA.

The next year, the WhiteWings went 63-49 in the regular season under Dennis and 103,535 fans came out (again third). They beat the San Angelo Colts 2 games to 1 in the first round of the playoffs and toppled the first-place Amarillo Dillas 3 games to 1 in the finals. All-Stars were 2B Hector Roa, OF Manny Lopez and P Yfrain Linares (14-5, 2.59, 206 K in 163 IP, the league leader in ERA), the league's Pitcher of the Year. Lopez batted .336, slugged .505 and stole 19 bases while Roa hit .329, slugged .498 and scored 89.

The 2001 White Wings fell all the way to 40-56 and finished last in the second half. Dennis's team also fell to 5th in attendance (84,448). The only All-Star was OF Tyrone Pendergrass (.332/?/.539, 52 SB) while Linares fell to 4-7, 3.60.

2002-2003 Central League[edit]

The T-LL became the Central Baseball League in 2002 and Rio Grande Valley posted a miserable 37-59 record while only 59,130 fans showed up to see the club, now managed by Jerome Frisbee. They now had no All-Stars. They started 2003 on a good note (27-21, tied for the best record in the West) but fell to 17-31 (last in the whole league) in the second half under new skipper John Harris. 54,281 fans passed the turnstiles, almost last in the league. 3B John Ballon (.302/?/.503) gave them one All-Star, while Alex Guzman (5-3, 18 Sv, 1.44) was impressive out of the bullpen. The team folded after that year.

2006-2007 United League[edit]

When the United League formed in 2006, a new edition of the Rio Grande Valley White Wings came in and went 38-52, 6th of six teams. Eddie Dennis returned to lead the team he had guided so many times before. Following the 2007 season, the team was renamed the Harlingen White Wings.

Source: 1977 Baseball Guide, 1995-2004 Baseball Almanacs

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year League Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1976 Gulf States League 32-40 5th Ted Uhlaender
1994 Texas-Louisiana League 40-48 Alan Ashby
1995 Texas-Louisiana League 53-46 Alan Ashby
1996 Texas-Louisiana League 50-48 John Pacella Lost in 1st round
1997 Texas-Louisiana League 39-53 Mike Brumley
1998 Texas-Louisiana League 36-48 Eddie Dennis
1999 Texas-Louisiana League 45-38 Eddie Dennis
2000 Texas-Louisiana League 63-49 Eddie Dennis League Champs
2001 Texas-Louisiana League 40-56 Eddie Dennis
2002 Central Baseball League 37-59 John Harris
2003 Central Baseball League 44-52 John Harris
2006 United League Baseball 38-52 Eddie Dennis
2007 United League Baseball 50-45 Eddie Dennis Lost League Finals
2011 North American League 51-37 4th Eddie Dennis Lost League Finals
2012 North American League 51-44 3rd Eddie Dennis Lost in 1st Round
2013 United League Baseball 32-43 4th Chris Paterson
2014 United League Baseball 50-27 1st Chris Paterson League Champs