Page 31 - Salem Magazine Spring 2014
P. 31

   The Rebels dominated the 1955 season with an 84-38 win/loss record and won the Appalachian League Championship. Just as things were looking up for minor league baseball in Salem, the Appalachian League folded and the 1956 season was cancelled.
Baseball in Salem
1964 - 1971
APPALACHIAN (1964-67) / CAROLINA (1968-71)
SALEM REBELS
PITTSBURGH PIRATES (1964-1971)
 The absence of professional baseball extending from Salem to Johnson City, TN was short-lived as the Appalachian League re-formed as a short-season rookie league in 1957. The Pittsburgh Pirates assigned their new signees to the Salem Rebels. Three seasons later, the affiliation changed to the San Francisco Giants. Despite the affiliation changes, the Rebel nickname and the Confederate flag remained a constant staple in town.
“In the Appalachian League, we always had good crowds,” said Carey Harveycutter, who worked at Municipal Field starting at age 8 in 1960. “There wasn’t nearly as much to do around here. Baseball wasn’t on TV all the time and life was slower. It was a nice night out.”
During this boom in attendance, many improvements were made to Municipal Field. A new scoreboard was built, more concrete stands were poured down the base lines and new seats were added behind home plate. The seats, purchased from a stadium in Schenectady, New York, had once been in Yankee Stadium.
The Pittsburgh Pirates affiliation returned in 1964. The next season, the Rebels won the 1965 Appalachian League pennant. All-star players like Cepeda, Jim Ray Hart, Randy Hundley and Dave May played for the Rebels.
Joining the Carolina League
The Town of Salem was granted a new city charter by the Virginia General Assembly to become the City of Salem in 1968. That same year, Falwell convinced the Salem Athletic Club to have the Rebels moved up to the Single-A full-season Carolina League to fill a void left by the Asheville Tourists, who moved up
Kent Tekulve was a popular relief pitcher for the Rebels in 1970. Known for his submarine delivery, Tekulve
won a World Series ring with the 1979 Pirates and now works as a TV analyst.
“We had a loyal group of fans that showed up for every game,” Parker recalled. “The Salem community took us under their wing. People loved baseball in that area and it showed. I played with some great guys and we made it a fun season.”
  the best record in the Carolina League, featured 10 future major league players including a 21-year-old outfielder named Dave Parker.
to Double-A.
The Pirates were on board
with Salem’s jump to the Carolina League and transferred their Single-A affiliation from Raleigh, NC to Salem. Several players who played on the 1966 and 1967 teams played in Salem again during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. Players like MLB All-Stars Don Money, Dave Cash and Kent Tekulve played for the Rebels in those first seasons.
1B BOB ROBERTSON SS DON MONEY*
P BOB MOOSE
P GENE GARBER 2B DAVE CASH*
OF GENE CLINES
1B RICHIE HEBNER OF RICHIE ZISK*
P BRUCE KISON
OF RENNIE STENNETT P KENT TEKULVE* 3B ART HOWE
1964 1965 1965 1965 1966, 68 1966 1966 1967, 69 1970 1970 1970 1971
11 (PIT, SEA, TOR)
16 (PHI, MIL)
10 (PIT)
19 (PIT, KC, PHI, ATL)
12 (PIT, PHI, MON, SDP)
10 (PIT, NYM, TEX, CHC)
18 (PIT, PHI, NYM, DET, PIT, CHC) 13 (PIT, CHW, TEX, SEA)
15 (PIT, CAL, BOS) 11 (PIT, SFG)
16 (PIT, PHI, CIN) 11 (PIT, HOU, STL)
Fan attendance picked up with the move to the Carolina League. After the 1971 season, the team dropped the Rebels nickname to become the Pirates, reflecting their affiliation with Pittsburgh. The 1972 Salem Pirates, who posted
126-149 APPALACHIAN RECORD (.458 W-L%) 288-272 CAROLINA RECORD (.514 W-L%)
www.salemva.gov | SPRING 2014
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