Tampa Tarpons

From BR Bullpen


Team History[edit]

The Tampa Tarpons, of the Florida State League and briefly in Low-A Southeast, made history when Rachel Balkovec was named their 2022 manager - the first female manager in Organized Baseball history. The New York Yankees farmhands play their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL.

The Tampa Yankees in 1994 returned FSL ball to Tampa six seasons after the Tampa White Sox moved to Sarasota, FL. In 1998, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays arrived in what is now their protected territory. In 2018, the long-time moniker of Tampa's previous FSL franchise replaced "Yankees". The nickname had been used by the previous Tampa FSL franchise from 1957 through its 1988 departure. When the big-league Tampa Bay Devil Rays were exploring a nickname change before simply dropping the "Devil", the considered "Tarpons" as a piece of Tampa baseball history. The Rays have even worn Tarpons throwback uniforms for Turn Back the Clock Night.

The man-on-second-in-extra-innings rule MLB required the minors to adopt in 2018 caused the Tarps to lose a game in a way that should be impossible. Tarpon starting pitcher Diego Garcia threw seven perfect innings; the game being a minor-league double-header, that was "regulation" that day - but Tampa hadn't scored either. Per the invented-runner rule, Luke Williams trotted to second to start the 8th. Reliever Christian Morris didn't "allow" him to reach base, but he was nevertheless there when Henri Lartigue smacked a grounder back to the mound. Morris threw to second as Williams broke for third, and second baseman Diego Castillo dropped the ball trying to relay it to third. That put Lartigue on first - via a fielder's choice that should have been impossible. Morris got the next out with another grounder, but the next grounder went to first and Lartigue beat the throw to the plate[1].

The 1965 Tarpons were the first minor-league team for which Johnny Bench played. Drafted that year, the Reds great would go on to win the 1968 National League Rookie of the Year Award and the 1970 and 1972 NL Most Valuable Player Award. Bench became known for redefining the position of catcher. Few backstops were great hitters before him - with the notable exception of Josh Gibson in the Negro Leagues - but Bench not only hit for decent average and tremendous power, he was also recognized as a great pitch-caller and for introducing new techniques behind the plate that helped make him one of the great defensive receivers of all time as well.

MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization lowered the Tarpons, and most of the FSL, one level.

Like seven of the other nine FSL teams, the Jays are owned by their parent club.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Historical logo
Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1957 84-54 1st Charlie Gassaway League Champs
1958 74-69 4th Charlie Gassaway none
1959 78-55 1st Charlie Gassaway Lost League Finals
1960 68-67 4th Moose Johnson
1961 90-44 1st Johnny Vander Meer League Champs
1962 66-54 3rd Johnny Vander Meer (40-35) / Hersh Freeman (26-19)
1963 49-71 8th Hersh Freeman none
1964 68-71 4th Pinky May
1965 67-69 5th Pinky May (24-23) / Richard Schmidt (2-1) / Jack Cassini (41-45) none
1966 47-94 10th Lou Fitzgerald
1967 55-71 7th George Scherger
1968 74-62 4th George Scherger
1969 65-67 7th Bunky Warren
1970 64-68 6th Dick Kennedy
1971 79-61 4th Russ Nixon Lost in 1st round
1972 66-64 4th Russ Nixon Lost in 1st round
1973 73-71 6th Russ Nixon
1974 68-64 4th Russ Nixon Lost in 1st round
1975 72-59 3rd Russ Nixon Lost League Finals
1976 76-60 1st Ron Brand Lost League Finals
1977 65-70 7th Jim Hoff
1978 61-73 9th Mike Compton
1979 74-60 3rd Mike Compton
1980 64-67 5th George Scherger
1981 79-54 2nd Jim Lett Lost in 1st round
1982 71-59 3rd Jim Hoff Lost League Finals
1983 56-71 8th Jim Hoff
1984 74-65 4th Marc Bombard Lost League Finals
1985 73-62 5th Marc Bombard
1986 79-57 4th Marc Bombard Lost in 1st round
1987 64-76 11th Marc Bombard
Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Hitting coach Pitching coach Coach
2018 70-67 7th Pat Osborn Eric Duncan Jose Rosado Jose Javier Michel Hernandez
2019 64-71 9th Aaron Holbert Joe Migliaccio Jose Rosado Kevin Mahoney Michel Hernandez
2020 Season cancelled
2021 73-43 1st David Adams Lost League Finals Kevin Martir Brett DeGagne Michel Hernandez, Ryan Hunt
2022 Rachel Balkovec Kevin Martir Grayson Crawford Michel Hernandez, Antonio Pacheco

Related Sites[edit]