The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a minor league baseball team in Keizer, Oregon, United States. They are a Short-Season Class A team in the Northwest League, and have been an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants since the Volcanoes' inception in 1997. They play their home games at Volcanoes Stadium, which opened in 1997 and seats 4,252 fans.
Founded in 1997
|Current||Short-Season A (1997–present)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Northwest League (1997–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||San Francisco Giants (1997–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (5)|
|Division titles (7)|
|Nickname||Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (1997–present)|
|Colors||Gray, lava red, obsidian, burnt gold, white|
|Ballpark||Volcanoes Stadium (1997–present)|
Baseball in the Salem Area
The Salem-Keizer area has been home to professional baseball since 1940, when the Salem Senators (an homage to Salem's role as Oregon's capital) were formed as a member of the Western International League (WIL). When the WIL reformed into the current Northwest League (NWL) in 1955, the Senators were a charter member of the new circuit. The Salem franchise played as the Senators until 1960, when it became a Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and adopted the parent club's nickname. The Salem Dodgers continued to play until the 1965 season, after which the franchise was dormant for 17 years.
In 1977, former Stockton Ports owner/manager Carl Thompson purchased the Salem franchise and put it back on the field as an NWL member and Dodgers farm club. The revived Senators played until after the 1981 season, when the California Angels became the team's parent club.
The '82 Angels captured the first NWL championship by a Salem-area franchise, and became the first NWL champion with a losing regular-season record, a distinction which lasted until 2005.
The Salem Angels shifted their major-league affiliation and nickname back to the Dodgers after the 1987 season. The Dodgers played in Salem for two seasons, with future major-league star Mike Piazza on the team's 1989 roster.
In 1990, owners moved the Salem Dodgers to Yakima, Washington, mainly due to lack of adequate facilities. The Salem club had played its home games at the Chemeketa Community College field, which lacked a grandstand, permanent concession stands and other amenities. It would be seven years before pro baseball returned to the Salem-Keizer metropolitan area.
Reborn as the Volcanoes
In 1996, Bellingham Giants co-owners Jerry Walker and William Tucker announced that they were moving the NWL franchise to Keizer, Oregon, a city of 22,000 located immediately north of Salem. The Bellingham club, short-season Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, had the NWL's lowest attendance figures during each of its two seasons. The move devastated Bellingham baseball fans, many of whom still harbor hard feelings for the entire Giants organization in general and the Volcanoes in particular.
Keizer had striven to assert itself as an independent, thriving city for 12 years since the former Salem suburb had become an incorporated municipality. City officials, led by Mayor Dennis Koho, and civic leaders worked toward getting a new baseball stadium located and built in Keizer. The area had lacked a suitable facility for pro baseball since the early 1960s, when the Salem Dodgers vacated historic Waters Field (which burned down in 1966).
Volcanoes Stadium was built in less than a year, on a tract of land adjacent to Interstate 5 just northwest of the Keizer interchange. The 4,252-seat facility was ready for the debut of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in 1997. Two years later, the American Institute of Architects honored the Volcanoes with a design award for the stadium.
Volcanoes Stadium also hosts all five of Oregon's state high school baseball championship games. In 1998, the University of Oregon football team played its spring Green-White game in the stadium in early May.
Area fans chose the nickname "Volcanoes" in a contest. The new franchise was designated as a "Salem-Keizer" team, despite its location, in order to incorporate both the history and the prestige of the larger city and state capital.
As of 2009, the Volcanoes have won seven Western Division titles, including four straight between 2006 and 2009. The others came in the 1998, 2001 and 2003 seasons.
Salem-Keizer has won five NWL championships, in 1998, 2001, 2006, 2007, and 2009.
In 2001, the Volcanoes won the Freitas Award as the best short-season Class A baseball franchise in the U.S.
Notable former Salem-Keizer Volcanoes include Brian Horwitz, Joe Nathan, Ryan Vogelsong, Pablo Sandoval, Kurt Ainsworth, Jesse Foppert, Travis Ishikawa, Noah Lowry, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, and Lance Niekro. Since 1997, 84 former Volcanoes have played in the major leagues.
The Volcanoes celebrated their 10th season in Salem-Keizer by ending the regular season with an NWL-record 55 victories. (The record is for the years since the league adopted a 76-game regular season.) The Volcanoes led the NWL in many categories during 2006, and set franchise records of:
- Most consecutive games won (12)
- Most runs in an inning (10), in the seventh inning of a 19-3 rout of the Canadians on August 30. In that game, catcher Adam Witter hitting the team's first ever cycle.
The Volcanoes broke their own record for wins in a season, finishing the season with a 57-19 mark, a .750 overall record; best in baseball that year. They won their second NWL championship in a row by defeating the Tri-City Dust Devils three games to one. The team was honored with the Best Short-Season and Best Overall Team in the 2007 Minor League Baseball Awards.
Salem-Keizer won the division pennant in 2008, but lost the championship series to the Spokane Indians.
The Volcanoes won the NWL title for the third time in 4 years, 3 games to 1 over the Tri-City Dust Devils. Their pitching staff recorded a phenomenal 0.69 ERA over the four-game set.
- 1998: Defeated Boise 3-0 to win championship.
- 2001: Defeated Boise 3-1 to win championship.
- 2003: Lost to Spokane 3-0 in finals.
- 2006: Defeated Boise 3-1 to win championship.
- 2007: Defeated Tri-City 3-1 to win championship.
- 2008: Lost to Spokane 3-1 in finals.
- 2009: Defeated Tri-City 3-1 to win championship.
- 2013: Lost to Boise 2-0 in semifinals.
- Joe Biagini, MLB Relief Pitcher
- Hunter Bishop, Minors Outfielder, first round draft pick
- Emmanuel Burriss, MLB/Minors Second Baseman
- Brandon Crawford, MLB Shortstop
- Kevin Frandsen, MLB Second Baseman
- Conor Gillaspie, MLB/Minors Third Baseman
- Brian Horwitz, MLB/Minors Outfielder
- Travis Ishikawa, MLB First Baseman
- Tim Lincecum, MLB Starting Pitcher
- Joe Panik, MLB Second Baseman
- Buster Posey, MLB Catcher
- Ryan Vogelsong, MLB Starting Pitcher
- Pablo Sandoval, MLB Third Baseman
- Sergio Romo, MLB Relief Pitcher
- Dan Runzler, MLB Relief Pitcher
- Jonathan Sánchez, MLB Starting Pitcher
- Nate Schierholtz, MLB Outfielder
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes roster
- Swett, Herb (May 16, 2019). "Volcanoes host first FanFest". Keizertimes. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
- Clark, Bob (May 3, 1998). "UO starters shine against the reserves". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 1G.
- Echan, Michael via: MLB.com (August 30, 2006). "Volcanoes' Witter hits for cycle - Catcher caps feat with homer in 10-run seventh inning". Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
- "2007 MiLB.com Awards". www.milb.com. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
- Ghiroli via: MLB.com, Brittany (September 10, 2009). "Volcanoes win Northwest crown ... again". www.milb.com. Retrieved April 5, 2018.