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Fort Worth Cats
Founded in 2001
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort worth cats.png
Team Logo
Fort Worth Cats cap logo.PNG
Cap Insignia
League affiliations
Name
  • Fort Worth Cats (2001-present)
Other nicknames
  • The Cats
Team Colors
  • Blue, white, red

              

Ballpark
Championships
  • League titles: 3 (2005, 2006, 2007)
Owner(s)/Operated By: Carl Bell
General Manager: John Bilbow
Manager: Chad Tredaway
Media: KHFX, 1460 Fox Sports Radio
Website: www.fwcats.com

The Fort Worth Cats are a professional baseball team based in Fort Worth, Texas, in the United States. The Cats are a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Since the 2002 season to the present, the Cats have played their home games at LaGrave Field. Under the management of Wayne Terwilliger (2005) and Stan Hough (2006-7) the team won the 2005 Central Baseball League championship and the 2006 and 2007 American Association championships. They are often viewed as an alternative to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex's MLB representative, the Texas Rangers.

Contents

The Fort Worth Panthers

The Ft. Worth Panthers, also called the Ft. Worth Cats, were a minor league baseball team which played in the Texas League from its founding in 1888 until 1959. The club won league championships in 1895, 1905, and 1906, but from 1920 - 1925, the Panthers won every Texas League pennant, and defeated the Southern Association champion in the Dixie Series in all but one year.

During the late 1910s and early 1920s, Major League Baseball teams would play in Ft. Worth against the Panthers on their way from spring training to their home parks. Texas fans enjoyed watching such major leaguers as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby play in their home town.

The Panthers had a winning streak from 1919 to 1925 when they won the regular season title seven years straight. In 1919 they failed to win the playoff for the season, but represented the Texas League in them for the next six years, in what was known as the Dixie Series. The Dixie Series was a championship series between the league champions of the Southern and Texas Leagues, both of which had established themselves as some of the best in baseball. Because of this, the Series was a big ordeal in the early twenties- Amon Carter and other fans would arrange special trains to ensure the avid fans had transportation to these games. Five of the six Series Championships were won by Fort Worth their only loss coming in 1922 to Mobile. [1]

The Panthers won both the Texas League and the Dixie Series in 1930, 1937, and 1939. Rogers Hornsby was the Panthers' manager in 1942, but World War II put an end to much of minor league baseball.

Following the War, the Panthers became a minor league franchise of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1948, the Dodgers sent Bobby Bragan to manage the team, which won its last Texas League and Dixie Series championships. The first African American player to play for the Panthers was Maury Wills, in 1955.

When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957, it caused them to shuffle their minor league teams. The Ft. Worth franchise was traded to the Chicago Cubs. In 1959, Ft. Worth left the Texas League to join the American Association, but they merged with the Dallas Rangers the following year. Ft. Worth regained a Texas League franchise for 1964 only, after which there was no professional baseball in Ft. Worth for 36 years.

The Fort Worth Cats today

The new Cats began play just north of downtown Fort Worth in 2001. Cats' owner Carl Bell commissioned a new ballpark to be built directly on top of the former stadium's location. Home plate is exactly where it was in 1926 when the old facility opened. On May 23, 2002 the Cats opened up the season at the original site of LaGrave Field in their brand new home. While waiting for the new LaGrave Field to be completed, the team played at Lon Goldstein Field.

Under the management of Wayne Terwilliger, the Cats defeated the San Angelo Colts for the 2005 Central Baseball League championship after beating the Pensacola Pelicans in the first-round playoffs. It was Fort Worth's first championship since 1948. They won both halves with identical 30-17 records, a franchise record for wins in a season. The Cats also made the playoffs in 2003, his first season as manager.

Luke Hochevar pitched for the Cats in 2006, making four starts (1-1, 2.38 ERA) prior to being drafted #1 overall in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft by the Kansas City Royals.

In 2006, the Cats won their second straight title and the first title in the American Association. The Cats beat the St. Paul Saints 3 games to 2 in the championship series.

On Sept. 8, 2007, the Cats defeated the St. Paul Saints 4-1 in the fifth game of the American Association Championship playoffs to capture a second straight American Association Championship. The Cats have won 6 straight decisive Game 5's and are 13-0 in games in which they face elimination the last 3 seasons. They have been down 2 games to 1 in 5 of the last 6 series, winning the first game, losing the next 2 and winning games 4 and 5. They were down 2-0 to the El Paso Diablos in the 2007 Division Series before winning 3 straight at LaGrave Field. The General Manager is John Bilbow. Emil Moffatt is the radio voice of the Cats. The team's mascot is Dodger, whose namesake is a tribute to the Cats' affiliation with the great Brooklyn Dodgers' teams in the 1940s and 1950s.

Modern championship titles

Year League Manager
2007 American Association Stan Hough
2006 American Association Stan Hough
2005 Central Baseball League Wayne Terwilliger

Retired numbers

Note: Cats' first base coach Wayne Terwilliger currently wears the Number 5 jersey and will continue to wear that number.

External links

References

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