|Formerly||Southwestern League (1956–1957)|
|Classification||Class D (1958–1961)|
|Sport||Minor League Baseball|
|President||Grady Terry (1958–1960)|
C.F. Montgomery (1960–1961)
|No. of teams||12|
|Country||United States of America|
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.
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.
The Midland Braves won the Sophomore League championship in 1958, managed in part by Baseball Hall of Fame member Travis Jackson.
The Sophomore League expanded to eight teams in 1959, adding the Alpine Cowboys (Boston Red Sox affiliate) and Odessa Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers). 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. The Alpine Cowboys won the 1959 Sophomore League championship.
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. At age 19, Stargell hit .275 with 7 home runs and 87 RBI.
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."
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. The ball itself was signed by Carter and he notes the distance of 733 feet.
The Hobbs Pirates won the last two Sophomore League championships in 1960 and 1961.
The Sophomore League presidents were Grady Terry, from 1958 to 1960 and C.F. Montgomery in 1960 and 1961.
1958 Sophomore League
|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|
|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
|Jim Smith||Hobbs||BA||.372||John Ahrens||Hobbs||W||18|
|James McClain||Artesia||Hits||161||Les Bass||Midland||ERA||3.47|
|Craig Sorenson||Carlsbad||RBI||114||Les Bass||Midland||Pct||.889; 16–2|
1959 Sophomore League
|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|
|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 /
|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.
|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|
1960 Sophomore League
|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.
|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|
1961 Sophomore League
|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.
|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|
((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)