Who Were The Tri-City Posse? We Look Back
A recent posting on Craigslist made us think back in the long, rich, and sometimes tumultuous history of professional baseball in the Tri-Cities. This gear is being sold for $5. We wonder if they realize the historical value of these items.
The Tri-City Dust Devils have been an important and fun part of our community. Since 2001, the Devils have had major league affiliation, meaning they were a farm team for a professional MLB operation. Between 2001 and 2014 they were the short-season Class A farm club for the Colorado Rockies of the National League. A number of Rockies who made "The Show" from here included Jeff Francis, Josh Rutledge, Juan Nicasio, Jordan Pacheco, and All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon. The team is part of the Northwest "A" League, which has been around for over 70 years.
Player development contracts, or PDC's, are only allowed to be signed for two years at a time. The San Diego Padres, who have been itching to get back to the Tri-Cities (they had minor league teams in Tri-Cities in the 70's and Walla Walla as well), are now the parent club of the Dust Devils. That deal was signed in 2014.
But prior to that, the place we now know as GESA Stadium, was Posse Stadium. It was built in 1995 as part of the independent (non-major league affiliated) Western Baseball League, and the Tri-City team was known as "The Posse."
The WBL became known more for it's instability than quality of baseball, and during it's seven years of operation, at least 25 teams either changed cities or folded. The league disbanded in 2002, one year after Tri-City affiliated with Colorado. The Rockies moved their team from Portland to Pasco. The Posse were the ONLY team that did not disband or change cities during the league's 7 year history.
I have an old Tri-City Posse hat at home, am NOT letting go of that, because it's a piece of baseball history.
Pro minor league baseball has a rich history here, even before the Posse. from 1950 through 1974, minor league teams played at Sanders-Jacobs Field in Kennewick, which was located at Neel and Clearwater Ave. The field was torn down after 1974. Here's an aerial photo, date unknown, of that field in Kennewick, from the east Benton County Historical Society.
Then the Texas Rangers "A" farm club came here from Walla Walla, and played at Richland High School from 1983-to 1986 as the Tri-City Triplets. The team then moved to Boise in 1987 and became the Boise Hawks, who are part of the Northwest A league.
We were without pro baseball until 1995, when the Posse began...and now you know the REST of the story.