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July 23, 2014

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30 years of pro baseball in Las Vegas

1980s

  • April 1, 1983: Cashman Field opens near downtown with an exhibition game between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. The game is attended by 13,878 — a sign of the excitement the new facility and Triple-A franchise brought to Southern Nevada.
  • April 10, 1983:Ozzie Stars The Las Vegas Stars, sporting their brown, gold and burnt orange uniforms, debut with an 11-8 victory against Salt Lake City before a crowd of 10,622 fans. The Stars, riding an emotional home crowd excited for professional sports, swept the four-game series with Salt Lake City in finishing their inaugural season 83-60.
  • September 1986: Managed by Larry Bowa, the Las Vegas Stars beat Vancouver for the Pacific Coast League championship. PCL MVP Tim Pyznarski had one of the best seasons in franchise history, batting .326 with 23 home runs, 119 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.
  • September 1988:Joey Cora The Stars top Vancouver for the second time in three seasons to capture the Pacific Coast League title. Sandy Alomar Jr. is the league's MVP on a team that includes future big leaguers Joey Cora and Shane Mack. The following year, Cora had a franchise record 37-game hitting streak.
  • September 1989:Alomar Sandy Alomar Jr., one of the best players in franchise history, is named the Pacific Coast League's MVP for the second straight year. He is the only player in franchise history to capture back-to-back PCL MVP honors.

1990s

  • July 11, 1990: The Triple-A all-star game is hosted at Cashman Field.
  • 1991:Don Logan Don Logan, one of the most influential members of the local sports community who was inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, becomes general manager. Over the years, he's credited with bringing Big League Weekend to Las Vegas and continuing to work with city officials to attempt to build a new state-of-the-art Triple-A stadium. To the players and executives affiliated over the years with San Diego, L.A. Dodgers and Toronto (Las Vegas' affiliates), he is known in the baseball industry as "Donny Baseball."
  • Sept. 5, 1992: Tim Worrell throws the first no-hitter in Las Vegas history, beating the Phoenix Firebirds in his late-season masterpiece.
  • April 3, 1993: The Chicago Cubs and White Sox set a Cashman Field attendance record during Big League Weekend at 15,025.
  • May 26, 1996: Infielder Mike Sharperson, 34, is killed in a one-car accident. According to reports, the former big league all-star was traveling southbound on Interstate 15 at about 2:45 a.m. when he missed his turn onto Interstate 215. A witness said Sharperson tried to make a right turn onto I-215, but he lost control in the rain and went into a dirt median. He was scheduled to fly later in the day to Montreal, where the Padres wanted him in case third baseman Ken Caminiti was not progressing from a groin injury. The team later retired his jersey No. 15. Inspired by the death of their popular teammate, the Stars closed the year with a 42-30 second half record to make the playoffs.
  • April 22, 1998:Eddie Williams Power-hitting Eddie Williams had one of the best offensive performances in franchise history, belting four home runs and recording 10 RBIs at Calgary.
  • July 3, 1998: A crowd of 14,855 watches the Stars take on the Nashville Sounds for the franchise's popular Fireworks Night. It's the largest crowd in Cashman Field history for a minor league game.

2000s

  • April 2001: The team changes its name from the Las Vegas Stars to the Las Vegas 51s, and switches its affiliation after 18 years from the San Diego Padres to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 51s are the top farm team for the Dodgers from 2001 to 2008, bringing future stars such as Chad Billingsley, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin and others to Las Vegas on their voyage through the minor leagues.
  • September 2001:Phil Hiatt Slugger Phil Hiatt finishes the season with a Las Vegas franchise single-season best 44 home runs. It's also one of the best seasons in Pacific Coast League history. In 1996, Hiatt also hit 42 home runs for Toledo.
  • June 13, 2003: Left-handed pitcher Lindsay Gulin throws the second no-hitter in team history, shutting down Tacoma at Cashman Field.
  • June 8, 2007: The 1983 Las Vegas Stars team, the first club in franchise history, is inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Sept. 22, 2008: The Las Vegas franchise enters into a player development contract with the Toronto Blue Jays to be their Triple-A affiliate. The Dodgers decided to take their Triple-A team from Las Vegas to Albuquerque, leaving Las Vegas without a parent club. Toronto was the last big-league team without a Triple-A affiliate, and with Las Vegas the only Triple-A city without a team, a marriage was formed. In 2010, the deal was extended for two more years and ends after the 2012 season.

– Compiled by Ray Brewer

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