Monday, November 19, 2018

Magic Valley Cowboys

Last week I posted Ken Henderson's card on my 1966 blog. One of the minor league teams he played for was "Magic Valley". That jogged my memory of seeing that team listed on the back of some Phillies' cards in the mid-1960s. so I decided to investigate this magical place.

Magic Valley is an area in south-central Idaho. The Magic Valley Cowboys were a minor-league franchise off-and-on from 1952-71. (On a few of the players' cards below, the team's location is referred to as "Twin Falls" instead of "Magic Valley".)

From 1952-58 it was a Cubs' class-C team, where the likes of John Buzhardt, Bob Will, and Bill Pleis passed through.

From 1961 to 1963 it was a Phillies' outpost.
In 1961 Dick Allen and Adolfo Phillips played class-C ball there. The following year, Phillips returned, and was joined by Hank Allen and Johnny Morris.
In 1963 it was reorganized as a class-A team, featuring Alex Johnson, Jeff James, Al Raffo, and Mike Marshall. (Yes, Marshall was once Phillies' property!)

The Cowboys became a Giants' rookie-league affiliate from 1964 to 1966, featuring future major-leaguers Ken Henderson, Bob Schroeder, Ron Bryant, Chris Arnold, Don Hahn, and Bob Reynolds.

Next, the Braves took over the team from 1968-70, and it became home to Mike McQueen and Grady Little ('68), Mickey Rivers and Larvell Blanks ('69), and Adrian Devine and Rod Gilbreath ('70).

1971 was the last year for the Magic Valley Cowboys. Now unaffiliated, it included future big-leaguers Jerry Remy and Butch Metzger.