Sophomore League
FormerlySouthwestern League (1956–1957)
ClassificationClass D (1958–1961)
SportMinor League Baseball
Inaugural season1958
PresidentGrady Terry (1958–1960)
C.F. Montgomery (1960–1961)
No. of teams12
CountryUnited States of America
Most titles2
Hobbs Pirates (1960–1961)

The Sophomore League was a Class D level minor league baseball league that operated from 1958 through 1961. League franchises were located in New Mexico and Texas. The league evolved from the Southwestern League, which played in 1956 and 1957. The name change was part of a systemic change. The circuit went from being one with almost no ties to major league baseball to a league where every team was a minor league affiliate of a major league team.[citation needed]


The Sophomore League formed in 1958 as a six–team league, evolving from the Southwestern League. The Class D level Sophomore League began play on April 28, 1958, with the Artesia Giants (San Francisco Giants affiliate), Carlsbad Potashers (Chicago Cubs), Hobbs Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals), Midland Braves (Milwaukee Braves), Plainview Athletics (Kansas City Athletics and San Angelo Pirates (Pittsburgh Pirates) as charter members.[1][2]

The Midland Braves won the Sophomore League championship in 1958, managed in part by Baseball Hall of Fame member Travis Jackson.[3]

The Sophomore League expanded to eight teams in 1959, adding the Alpine Cowboys (Boston Red Sox affiliate) and Odessa Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers).[4] On June 9, 1959, the San Angelo Pirates moved to Roswell, New Mexico. The Roswell Pirates finished the season in Roswell. The San Angelo/Roswell Pirates finished 48–77 overall and in last place. The franchise folded after the season.[5] The Alpine Cowboys won the 1959 Sophomore League championship.[6]

Baseball Hall of Fame member Willie Stargell played in the Sophomore League in 1959 for the San Angelo Pirates/Roswell Pirates, his first professional season. Stargell spoke of the difficulties he faced in playing in the league, with the region still having segregated restaurants and hotels. Stargell was threatened at gunpoint on one road trip.[7] At age 19, Stargell hit .275 with 7 home runs and 87 RBI.[5]

As reported in The Sporting News, Carlsbad Potashers player Gil Carter hit a home run in 1959 that was noteworthy due to its distance. "On a hot August night in 1959, former heavyweight boxer Gil Carter smashed a pitch through Carlsbad's high-elevated air and out of Montgomery Field. The ball carried over the left field wall, soared past two city streets and landed in a peach tree. A newspaper reporter later took an aerial photo from a plane and used the picture to estimate the ball traveled 733 feet. Carter's hometown paper, The Topeka Capital-Journal, said "the blast is considered the longest home run in baseball history."[8][9][10]

The official scorer estimated the home run to have traveled 650 feet. However, aerial photographs measurements put the distance at 700–733 feet, which would make it the longest home run ever hit in professional baseball.[11][12][13] The ball itself was signed by Carter and he notes the distance of 733 feet.[14]

The Hobbs Pirates won the last two Sophomore League championships in 1960 and 1961.[citation needed][15]

The Sophomore League presidents were Grady Terry, from 1958 to 1960 and C.F. Montgomery in 1960 and 1961.[16]

Cities represented

Yearly standings

1958 Sophomore League

Team standings W L PCT GB Managers
East Standings
Midland Braves 72 48 .600 Travis Jackson /
Earl Halstead / Ernie White
San Angelo Pirates 61 59 .508 11.0 Al Kubski
Plainview Athletics 50 70 .417 22.0 Vincent Plumbo
West Standings
Artesia Giants 63 57 .525 Jodie Phipps
Hobbs Cardinals 59 61 .492 4.0 Wayne Wallace
Carlsbad Potashers 55 65 .458 8.0 Tony York

Playoff: Midland 3 games, Artesia 1[citation needed]

Player statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Jim Smith Hobbs BA .372 John Ahrens Hobbs W 18
Duncan Campbell
Gary Krupsky
San Angelo
Runs 116 Ervin Moore Plainview SO 175
James McClain Artesia Hits 161 Les Bass Midland ERA 3.47
Craig Sorenson Carlsbad RBI 114 Les Bass Midland Pct .889; 16–2
Kenneth Clark Hobbs HR 27

1959 Sophomore League

Team standings W L PCT GB Managers
North Standings
Carlsbad Potashers 72 54 .571 Walt Dixon
Hobbs Cardinals 70 54 .565 1.0 Thurman Tucker
Plainview Athletics 60 65 .480 11.5 Bobby Hofman
Artesia Giants 50 75 .400 21.5 Jodie Phipps
South Standings
Alpine Cowboys 88 34 .721 Eddie Popowski
Midland Braves 56 70 .444 34.0 Jimmy Brown
Odessa Dodgers 54 69 .439 34.5 Roy Hartsfield
San Angelo Pirates /
Roswell Pirates
48 77 .384 41.5 Al Kubski /
Joe Bauman / Walter Millies

Playoffs: Alpine 2 games, Hobbs 0; Carlsbad 2 games, Midland 0.
Finals: Alpine 2 games, Carlsbad 0.[6][17]

Player statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Emiliano Telleria San Angelo/Roswell BA .358 Don Schwall Alpine W 23
Bob Stotsky Alpine Runs 132 Terry Barber Odessa SO 214
Bob Stotsky Alpine Hits 156 Jack Warner Carlsbad ERA 2.41
Bob Carruthers Plainview RBI 119 Jack Warner Carlsbad Pct .812; 13–3
Gil Carter Carlsbad HR 34

1960 Sophomore League

Team standings W L PCT GB Managers
Alpine Cowboys 76 52 .594 Dick Kinaman
Hobbs Pirates 70 58 .547 6.0 Al Kubski
Carlsbad Potashers 66 64 .508 11.0 Verlon Walker
Artesia Giants 62 68 .477 15.0 George Genovese
Albuquerque Dukes 57 72 .442 19.5 Bert Thiel
Odessa Dodgers 57 74 .435 20.5 Edward Serrano

Alpine won the 1st half. Hobbs won the 2nd half.
Playoff: Hobbs 2 games, Alpine 1.[18][19]

Player statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Gil Garrido Artesia BA .362 Ken Whitmore Hobbs W 16
Roberto Pena Hobbs Runs 121 Jose Santiago Albuquerque SO 217
Jesus Alou Artesia Hits 188 Jose Santiago Albuquerque ERA 3.30
Dick McLaughlin Odessa RBI 109 Frank Bork Hobbs Pct .789; 15–4
Lewis Bishop Carlsbad HR 23

1961 Sophomore League

Team standings W L PCT GB Managers
Hobbs Pirates 77 48 .616 Al Kubski
El Paso Sun Kings 73 57 .562 6.5 George Genovese
Albuquerque Dukes 64 63 .504 14.0 Grady Wilson
Alpine Cowboys 62 63 .496 15.0 Mel Parnell
Carlsbad Potashers 56 71 .441 22.0 Lou Klein / Walt Dixon
Artesia Dodgers 48 78 .381 29.5 Spider Jorgensen

Hobbs won the 1st half. Albuquerque won the 2nd half.
Playoff: Hobbs 3 games, Albuquerque 0.[20][21]

Player statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Tommie Martz Hobbs BA .387 Jim Little Hobbs W 17
Jose Cardenal El Paso Runs 159 Fred Hatter Alpine SO 201
Jose Calero El Paso Hits 180 John Drysdale Artesia ERA 3.32
Mike Maloney Albuquerque RBI 109 Jim Little Hobbs Pct .850; 17–3
Jose Cardenal El Paso HR 35

Baseball Hall of Fame alumni


  1. ^ "1958 Sophomore League".
  2. ^ "1958 Sophomore League (SL) Minor League Baseball Standings on".
  3. ^ "1958 Midland Braves minor league baseball Roster on".
  4. ^ "1959 Sophomore League (SL) Minor League Baseball on".
  5. ^ a b "1959 San Angelo/Roswell Pirates Statistics".
  6. ^ a b "1959 Sophomore League".
  7. ^ "Willie Stargell – Society for American Baseball Research".
  8. ^ "Where was baseball's longest home run? A five-city mystery". Sporting News. 11 January 2016.
  9. ^ "This Day in History - History - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball".
  10. ^[bare URL]
  11. ^ "The longest homerun in baseball history was measured at 733 ft". 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Elysian Fields Quarterly - The Baseball Review".
  13. ^ "Gil Carter".
  14. ^ "Gil Carter home run baseball - Kansas Memory - Kansas Historical Society".
  15. ^ The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball. Lloyd Johnson & Miles Wolff, editors (Third ed.). Baseball America. 2007. ISBN 978-1932391176.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  16. ^[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "1959 Sophomore League (SL) Minor League Baseball Standings on".
  18. ^ "1960 Sophomore League (SL) Minor League Baseball Standings on".
  19. ^ "1960 Sophomore League".
  20. ^ "1961 Sophomore League (SL) Minor League Baseball Standings on".
  21. ^ "1961 Sophomore League".