About The Travs
The Arkansas Travelers
The Arkansas Travelers enjoy one of the longest running histories of any minor league franchise. Since 1901 the Travs failed to field a team only seven years, the last absence coming in 1962 when the venerable Southern Association folded.
The Travelers have been a member of five professional baseball leagues, beginning in 1901 as a charter member of the Southern Association. Following the collapse of the circuit, the 1963-65 Travelers took a leap up to Class AAA joining forces with the Philadelphia Phillies in the International League and Pacific Coast League. The Travs also joined the American Association, but didn't play in the league. Since 1966 the Travs have been a member of the Texas League. The club's 43 consecutive seasons ranks first amongst all active Texas League teams.
The name "Arkansas Travelers" is derived from the famous minstrel known as the Arkansas Traveler, who roamed the Ozark Mountains selling his wares and singing songs. The team was originally known as the Little Rock Travelers, and was renamed for the entire state in 1957 becoming the first professional sports franchise named for a state.
The "Travelers" nickname is one of the oldest in professional sports. In fact, the Travelers have never taken a different nickname making it the second-longest running continuous nickname in Minor League Baseball.
The Travelers have been the Class AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since 2001. During that time, the Travs own two Texas League championships (2001, 2008). Recordbreakers, all-stars and post-season heroes have worn the Travelers uniform as an Angels minor leaguer including single-season saves record holder Francisco Rodriguez and 2008 AL All-Stars Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana. Right-hander John Lackey, who threw the first pitch for the Travs as an Angels affiliate in 2001, became only the second rookie to win the seventh game of the World Series for the 2002 Angels championship squad. All-Star reliever Bobby Jenks, who saved four games in the 2005 World Series for the champion White Sox also pitched for the Travelers from 2001-2003.
The Travs have been a part of eight other Major League farm systems throughout the years. From 1966-2000, the Travs were the Class AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The second-longest active affiliation when it ended, the Travs/Cards partnership lasted 35 years. The Phillies were the affiliate in Little Rock during the three-year stint at Class AAA. The Travs also worked under agreements with the Baltimore Orioles (1961), Kansas City A's (1957-58), Detroit Tigers (1948-55), Boston Braves (1947), Chicago White Sox (1946) and Boston Red Sox (1937-39).
The Travelers official game cap debuted in 2007 along with the inaugural season at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. The cap is navy blue with a red, interlocking "LR" first worn on the caps of the 1951 Little Rock Travelers. That logo was revived on the Travs batting helmets in 2004. In recognition of their new location in North Little Rock after the move to Dickey-Stephens Park, a white north star was added in the middle of the logo along with the word "North" scripted across the top.
Dickey-Stephens Park, which opened in 2007, is the third park to be known as the "Home of the Travs". The Travelers originally played at Kavanaugh Field from 1896 through 1931. Little Rock's Central High School's Quigley Stadium was built on the former Kavanaugh Field in 1936. Bill Dickey, Travis Jackson and Tris Speaker all played at Kavanaugh Field while donning a Travs uniform.
In 1932 the team moved into "an all-new steel and concrete facility" in what originally was named Travelers Field. For the next 76 years, this ballpark hosted thousands of Travelers games along with games involving college and Negro League teams.
In 1966 Travelers Field was renamed to honor the late Ray Winder, who in 52 years rose from ticket seller to owner and eventually savior of the Travelers. It was Ray Winder who spearheaded the return for the Travelers to Little Rock, as a fan-owned enterprise, after a brief hiatus during the 1959 season.
In 1990, Ray Winder Field hosted the largest crowd ever to witness a baseball game in Arkansas, more than 12,000, to watch Fernando Valenzuela's rehabilitation start. After 74 years, Ray Winder Field hosted its farewell baseball game with 8,307 in attendance on September 3, 2006.