Port City Roosters

From BR Bullpen


After failing to find a home in Lexington, KY or Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the Nashville Xpress moved to Wilmington, NC in 1995 and became the Port City Roosters. The Southern League team was the first professional baseball team in the city since 1950. Managed by Dave Myers, the club went 62-80 its first year, finishing 8th in the 10-team league. The Seattle Mariners farm team drew 110,233 fans, the fewest in the circuit. They played games on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington field, hardly a AA-class ballpark. The bright spots for the team were 1B James Bonnici (.283/~.377/.484, the league leader with 36 doubles and 246 total bases), All-Star SS Desi Relaford (.287/~.361/.389, 25 SB, voted the #9 prospect in the league by managers) and P Osvaldo Fernandez (12-7, 3.57, a league-high 160 K in 157 IP). Other players to become regulars in the majors included Derek Lowe (1-6, 6.08) and C Jason Varitek (.224/~.339/.360). The most famous name around at the time was OF Craig Griffey, who hit just .177/~.287/.221 in 96 games. After the season the team tried to move to Springfield, MO but voters turned down a stadium welfare scheme.

In 1996 Orlando Gomez was the new manager but things went even worse as the club went 28-42 in both halves to finish with the worst record in the SL. Attendance fell to 68,463, less than half of any other member of the Southern League. Varitek (.262/~.348/.406, a team-high 12 homers, 67 RBI, 63 runs and 66 walks) improved in his second year with the team, as did Griffey (.222/~.303/.308, 20 SB) and Lowe (5-3, 3.05). OF Jose Cruz Jr. (.282/~.375/.409) passed through during the year. In 1997 the club moved to Mobile, AL and became the Mobile BayBears.

Sources: 1995-1997 Baseball Almanacs

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Hitting Coach Pitching Coach
1995 62-80 8th Dave Myers Darrin Garner Ron Romanick
1996 56-84 10th Orlando Gomez Henry Cotto Bryan Price