Wichita Aeros

From BR Bullpen


When the American Association expanded in 1970, a team was placed in Wichita, KS and a contest led to the name Wichita Aeros. The team was initially affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, who placed league batting champ Chris Chambliss on the club in their first season. The team won the Western Division crown in 1972 in their first year affiliated with the Chicago Cubs but they fell to the Evansville Triplets in the post-season. The team boasted MVP Pat Bourque, ERA king Joe Decker and Larry Gura.

The club slipped from there, though they remained competitive in 1973 thanks to home run king Adrian Garrett and MVP Pete LaCock. The offense-friendly environment of Wichita led to many other individual titles though the team rarely topped .500 again - Jim Dwyer won the batting crown in 1977, Karl Pagel was MVP and home run leader two seasons later, Mike Richardt had the top batting average in 1981, in 1982 Roy Johnson led in contact hitting while MVP Ken Phelps led in homers, in 1983 Mike Stenhouse was MVP and batting king and finally in 1984 RBI leader Alan Knicely was MVP as well.

In 1981 Wichita switched from the Cubs to the Texas Rangers - that lasted a year, then they became a Montreal Expos farm team for two seasons and finally a Cincinnati Reds affiliate in 1984. The club always played in historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The team could not compete financially and Milton Glickman lost money every year to keep the club in Wichita. Finally he was forced to sell to Bob Rich, who moved the team to Buffalo, NY where they became the very successful Buffalo Bisons.

Source: "The American Association" by Bill O'Neal

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Pitching coach
1970 67-73 8th Ken Aspromonte
1971 66-74 6th Ken Aspromonte
1972 87-53 1st Jim Marshall Lost League Finals
1973 67-68 4th Jim Marshall
1974 67-68 5th Mike Roarke
1975 68-68 5th Mike Roarke
1976 56-79 7th Doc Edwards
1977 68-64 4th (t) Harry Dunlop
1978 58-77 8th Harry Dunlop
1979 57-79 8th Jack Hiatt
1980 61-74 5th (t) Jack Hiatt
1981 65-70 5th Rich Donnelly Dick Such
1982 70-67 5th (t) Felipe Alou
1983 65-71 5th Felipe Alou
1984 78-77 5th Gene Dusan