In 1915, Asheville celebrated its first baseball championship by taking the North Carolina State League title with a 74-46 record. That season also marked the first widespread use of the nickname Tourists in the local newspapers and among the club's fans.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the iconic nickname, the Asheville Tourists will have six jersey giveaway nights during the 2015 season at McCormick Field. Each of the giveaway nights will feature a specific replica uniform from notable seasons over the past century, beginning with the 1915 Jersey Presented by Aaron's, which will be given to the first 1,000 fans in attendance when the Tourists host the Lexington Legends on May 2nd.
The 1915 jersey features a pinstripe design with a dark blue A on the left breast. As with all six of the jerseys, the Tourists' 100th Anniversary logo appears on the right sleeve. The 1915 team won 39 of its first 60 games to take the first-half title of the North Carolina State League and then eliminated any possibility of a playoff by taking the second-half crown as well with a 35-25 mark.
The second jersey, scheduled to be given away on May 30th when the Tourists host the Augusta GreenJackets, recognizes the 1954 team, which won the Tri-State League with an 86-54 record, 13 games ahead of second-place Knoxville. This 1954 Jersey, Presented by Prestige Subaru, features a navy blue "Tourists" in script across the chest and piping running around the neck and along both sides of the buttons.
The 1961 Tourists will be recognized with the third jersey giveaway on June 13th when Asheville hosts the Charleston RiverDogs. The 1961 Jersey, Presented by Express Employment Professionals, not only consists of navy blue pinstripes and a script "Tourists" across the chest but also features a zipper instead of the typical buttons. In its first season as an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1961 team rolled to the South Atlantic League championship under the guidance of legendary manager Ray Hathaway and featured future Hall of Famer Willie Stargell.
The 1968 Tourists jersey will be given away on July 11th. That club was the Cincinnati Reds' Double-A affiliate and won the Southern League championship under manager George "Sparky" Anderson, who was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after guiding the Reds and the Detroit Tigers to World Series Championships. The 1968 uniform is white with a red "Tourists" script across the chest and red numbers on the lower left as well as on the back.
By 1984, the Tourists were the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros in the South Atlantic League. A strong second-half showing allowed Asheville to overcome a rough start to the season to earn its first outright championship since 1968. The 1984 Jersey, Presented by Prestige Subaru, will be given away on July 25th and is royal blue with a white "Tourists" logo across the chest and a number on the lower right, both are outlined in red. The sleeves and neck are highlighted with red and white piping.
The final jersey will recognize the 1994 Tourists and will be given away on August 15th when the Tourists host the GreenJackets. The 1994 Jersey, Presented by Southeastern Sports Medicine, is dark blue with the old Ted E. Tourist logo on the left breast. The numbers on the back are white and outlined in red. The 1994 season marked the first year the Tourists became an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, an expansion team that debuted in the National League in 1993. The Tourists' relationship with the Rockies is the longest of any affiliate in the Colorado farm system and also represents the longest existing working agreement between a minor league team and its major league affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
"Baseball has a long and storied history in Asheville and at McCormick Field, and we're looking forward to remembering our past while making new memories over the course of the 2015 season," said Tourists president Brian DeWine. "Coming off the 2014 Championship, hosting the South Atlantic League All-Start Game Presented by Ingles, and celebrating our 100th year anniversary will make the 2015 season a very special season in this storied franchises history."
Season tickets are currently available at the Tourists' ServPro box office. Single-game tickets will go on sale in March. For additional information, contact the Tourists' front office at (828) 258-0428 or go to theashevilletourists.com.
Please direct any questions or media requests to Doug Maurer at (828) 258-0428 ext. 203 or [email protected]
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