By: Jay Kidwell
As baseball players report to spring training and the calendar moves within two months of another Opening Day at Modern Woodmen Park, the Quad Cities River Bandits are warming up for a new affiliation with a celebration of the past 82 years of baseball since their iconic stadium opened on May 26, 1931. The River Bandits are asking fans to help name the All-Time Quad Cities Baseball Team.
Each week leading up to the 2013 home opener as the Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, the River Bandits will ask fans to select one former Quad Cities minor league player for the all-time lineup of alumni who have ever played at Modern Woodmen Park – the ballpark opened as Municipal Stadium in 1931 and was also known as John O'Donnell Stadium from 1971 to 2007. The poll will be available on the team's website (www.riverbandits.com <http://www.riverbandits.com> ) and Facebook (Facebook.com/riverbandits). The River Bandits also plan to use the voting results to help choose a line of select bobbleheads of All-Time Quad Cities greats to be given away during the 2013 season.
"From Shawon Dunston to Joe Mauer, Jim Bunning to Frank Tanana to Johan Santana, and Billy Wagner to Chris Perez, the history of baseball in the Quad Cities includes dozens of alumni who played here on their way to big-league stardom and even the Hall of Fame," said River Bandits owner Dave Heller. "Naming the All-Time Team will give fans in the Quad Cities a special way to celebrate and take pride in the great players who, before playing in a major league stadium, flashed their talents on the same field that will soon be home to the next generation of stars for the Houston Astros."
The voting for each position will begin on Monday of each week and run through the following Sunday. The full schedule of position-by-position voting is:
Feb. 11 – Starting Pitcher
Feb. 18 – Relief Pitcher
Feb. 25 – Catcher
March 4 – First Base
March 11 – Second Base
March 18 – Third Base
March 25 – Shortstop
April 1 – Outfielders
April 8 – Manager
(Home Opener is Thursday, April 11)
The history of baseball in the Quad Cities goes back to the 19th century, when Hall of Famer Bid McPhee played in Davenport prior to an 18-season major league career with Cincinnati. Pitcher Jim Bunning played for the Quad City Tigers in 1951 before a 17-year Hall of Fame career, and Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton also began his career calling games for the Tigers.
Since joining the Midwest League in 1960, the Quad Cities franchise has won five league championships and welcomed more than seven million fans to watch the prospects of the Milwaukee Braves (1960-1961), Los Angeles and California Angels (1962-1978, 1985-1992), Chicago Cubs (1979-1984), Houston Astros (1993-1998), Minnesota Twins (1999-2004) and St. Louis Cardinals (2005-2012).
UP NEXT: Now is the time to lock in your season ticket plan for the 2013 season! Call 563-324-3000 for more information or visit www.riverbandits.com <http://www.riverbandits.com> to download the season ticket order form. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $50. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The River Bandits are currently planning one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since Main Street Baseball first bought the team. A new affiliate, the chance to see last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, Carlos Correa, and a stunning new improvement will make this season one every fan will not want to miss!
Marco LaNave Director of Media Relations