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A little story to begin today. If you read my babblings regularly, you know of course that in addition to being a big Fresno Grizzlies supporter, I am also a huge fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. I fell in love with baseball at Grizzlies games in high school, and eventually became a Cards fan because … well, it’s a long story. Anyway, five years ago, I made my first trip to St. Louis, and visited a Cardinals exhibit at the Arch. I walked into a room, and to my surprise, I saw this:
I sort of thought I was hallucinating, and then I was baffled. Then I found out that the Fresno Cardinals were a minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1940s and 50s, because back then, St. Louis was the city farthest west with an MLB team.
I bring this up because today I want to talk about the rich history of baseball in Fresno. It’s something that the Fresno Grizzlies have been celebrating all season. The first professional baseball team popped up in Fresno in 1898. In the early 1900s, there were teams like the Fresno Tigers and Fresno Raisin Eaters. Then came the Cardinals in the 1940s and ‘50s. Then in 1958, there began a long run with the Giants that, with some interruptions, went through 2014. The Fresno Grizzlies are, of course, now enjoying a very successful run as an affiliate of the Houston Astros.
I’d love for you all to learn about the full history of baseball in Fresno, but I’m not going to make you read a whole long blog about it. Instead, check out this fun video that the Grizzlies made:
The Grizzlies are marking the best parts of this history with an extra special giveaway this Saturday, June 20th. A custom Where Champions Are Grown Ring will feature the two MLB teams that have won (multiple) World Series trophies while affiliated with Fresno.
Which two teams are those, you ask? Well, you already know the answer to one: The San Francisco Giants. And the other is, of course, what has got me all excited: The St. Louis Cardinals.
While affiliated with Fresno, the Cards were World Series Champions in 1942 and 1946. They actually won in 1944 as well, but the Fresno Cardinals had suspended play because of World War II. As for the Giants, I assume you all know by now which years they won, but in case you don’t, they won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
I got to check out the ring early, and it is seriously cool. It features the Farm Grown logo on the front, embedded with sparkly stones, then the Giants logo and their World Series years on one side, and the Cardinals logo and their championship years on the other. It comes on a custom display stand but can actually be worn. Frankly, it’s waaaay to big for me to wear as a ring, but I’m going to put it on a necklace to wear to games, like I do with my Cardinals World Series ring.
You can snag your own ring by being one of the first 1,500 fans at Chukchansi Park on June 20th. You can also check the Grizzlies’ Facebook page to see some of the giveaways they’re holding for the ring.
I’m proud that my Redbirds are a part of our history here, but I’m even more proud of Fresno for being such a baseball town.