Dust Devils the Latest in a Long History of Pro Baseball Teams in Tri Cities
Braves, Atoms, Triplets, Posse...all names of teams that preceeded the Tri City Dust Devils.
Most of you know the Dust Devils have occupied GESA Stadium since 2001, as an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies of the National League.
But the history of pro baseball dates back to the early days after World War II, when the Tri-City Braves took to the field in 1950. The Braves were a member of the Western International League, a predecessor of the current Northwest A League. Then in 1955, the joined the Northwest League. They remained as the Braves until 1960, then were called the Angels for one year in 1961, Braves in '62 then Angels until 1965.
That year, and you can see a picture of these players as you enter the grandstands at GESA Stadiium, they became known as the Tri-City Atoms - in honor of the atomic heritage of the community.
Then in 1969, they were called the A's, and the Tri-City Padres from 1970-72. As I recall there used to be a baseball field on the Northwest corner of what is now 10th and Union in Kennewick, because as a child driving by, we used to see their stadium sign.
In 1973 they became the Tripletts, in honor of the three cities, then the Ports in 1974. After that, minor league baseball cooled in the area until the early 1980's when the team resurfaced as the Tripletts, and for two years played as an affiliate of the Texas Rangers from 1983-85. They played two more years as an independent team, and after my senior year in college, I worked for them in the summer of 1986 hauling beer kegs into the concession stands! They played their games at Richland High School's field next to Bomber Bowl on Lee Blvd.
With high school porches, it wasn't uncommon for these Northwest A league players to drop bombs into the ditch behind the Les Schwab tire store behind the field! In 1987, the Tripletts relocated to Boise and became the current day Boise Hawks.
Who could forget the stint of the Tri-City Posse? The independent Western Baseball League started strong, but unfortunately after a few seasons became known more for teams who folded than remained in the league. But, the Posse were responsible for getting GESA Stadium built (It was known as Posse Stadium before the credit union stepped in). Anyone remember the Posse Pig mascot? He was quite possibly one of the most TERRIFYING team characters to ever grace a stadium! The league folded around 2000-2001, about the time the Posse became the Dust Devils.
I still have a Posse hat, and booster club shirt at home somewhere. Since 2001, we've enjoyed stability and success with the Dust Devils, who've won a number of Division and League titles, and sent at least 47 players to The Show. Most currently, Charlie Blackmon, the outfielder, is having an All-Star season. Several others are starting or in the pitching rotation for the club, who are battling near the top of the NL West.
So, when you head out to GESA Stadium, know that many have come before the Dust Devils, and that's why baseball has been, and continues to be, such a strong sport in the Mid-Columbia.