Baseball and Trains - as Americana as it gets! 

by Ray Del Papa




No, I do not mean Horseshoe Curve; the city of Altoona PA. has an AA baseball team called the Altoona Curve. They are an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates and they play in the Eastern league. However the team’s logo is a series of baseballs going around railroad tracks. Their mascots’ names are Steamer, who wears number K-4 and whose head is shaped like a locomotive stack, and Diesel Dawg – his number is K-9.




That is not all; there is an AAA team that is called the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. I could not fine a mascot for them; maybe it should be a person that (for you steel buffs) looks like a Bessemer converter!



Minor league baseball has always taken on a hometown flavor unique in sports. Just watch the movie “Bull Durham” and you will see what I am talking about. Here are a few “what-if” names that would fit in with railroad towns and minor league baseball.



Danville Old 97’s                     Danville Va.

Rock Island Lines                     Rock Island Il.

Pocatello Humps                      Pocatello Id.  

Paducah Geeps                          Paducah Kt.         

Roanoke J A Y’s                       Roanoke Va.

Santa Barbara Daylights          Santa Barbara Ca.

San Bernardino War Bonnets    San Bernardino Ca.


Ok, this was for fun, but not outside the realm of possibilities. It would be great to see the Roanoke Jays to honor all those home town famous J steam locomotives (#611) that were built in the Norfolk and Western Roanoke shops.  Maybe they could be a farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays! Now it’s your turn to come up with some names.

from the April, 2011 SMARTT Newsletter

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