Evansville Triplets

The Evansville Triplets were a minor league baseball team of the American Association from 1970 to 1984. Due to expansion in the Major Leagues, there was a need for two additional Triple-A teams; this led to expansion in the American Association for the 1970 season. Triple-A baseball would exist in Evansville, Indiana, for the first time. In order to select a name for the new franchise, a contest was held and a $500 savings certificate was offered to whoever gave the best name for the team; the name Evansville Triplets was selected from over 3,000 entries. The name would represent not just Indiana, but the tri-state area (including Kentucky and Illinois).

In its first season, the Triplets were the Triple-A farm team for the Minnesota Twins; they then spent three seasons as the Triple-A farm team for the Milwaukee Brewers. However, the Triplets enjoyed their greatest success as the top minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, winning two American Association pennants, three division titles and the 1975 Junior World Series. In its last season, Evansville was the Triple-A farm team for the Detroit Tigers. In 1985, the Triplets were purchased by Larry Schmittou and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to become the Nashville Sounds.

Schmittou and team owners arrived at terms in June 1984 to purchase the Evansville Triplets of the American Association, with plans to move the franchise from Evansville to Nashville for the 1985 season. In order to prove to the team’s Nashville banks, which would back the purchase, that the move was financially viable, Schmittou commissioned a survey to evaluate the potential turnout for a Triple-A team versus a Double-A team. Though the research proved to team owners that the move was a sensible decision, the banks were not impressed. As a result, the team switched banks and went ahead with the purchase and relocation. The Triplets’ legacy was retired, and the team that was moved to Nashville, the Triple-A Sounds, carried on the history of the Double-A team that preceded it.

Schmittou considered moving Nashville’s existing Southern League (AA) franchise to Evansville but city leaders declined necessary improvements to aging Bosse Field, currently the third-oldest ballpark in continuous operation behind Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. City leaders in Huntsville, Alabama, including then Mayor Joe W. Davis, were instrumental in building a new stadium there and Schmittou moved the team to Huntsville, where it became the Huntsville Stars. The stadium was named after the mayor (Joe W. Davis Stadium). It stands today as the home of the Stars, and it is currently the oldest stadium in the Southern League. Former Major Leaguer Don Mincher, a native of Huntsville, was the team’s first General Manager.

Jim Leyland managed the Triplets for three years (1979–1981)

Alumni on 1984 Detroit Tiger World Series Winners

  • Rod Allen
  • Juan Berenguer
  • Tom Brookens
  • Marty Castillo
  • Barbaro Garbey
  • Kirk Gibson
  • Howard Johnson
  • Ruppert Jones
  • Aurelio Lopez
  • Dwight Lowry
  • Jack Morris
  • Lance Parrish
  • Dan Petry
  • Milt Wilcox
  • Carl Willis

Other Alumni

  • Fernando Arroyo
  • Rich Auerbach
  • Doug Baker
  • Bert Blyleven
  • Del Crandall – Manager (1970–71)
  • Mark Fidrych
  • Mike Laga
  • Gene Lamont
  • Ron LeFlore
  • Charlie Manuel
  • Darrell Porter
  • John Wockenfuss
  • Early Wynn – Manager (1970, Interim)
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