Teams shoot for moon with Apollo 11 promos

Golden anniversary of landing launches a galaxy of theme nights

By MiLB.com Staff | July 23, 2019 11:00 AM

On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module touched down on the surface of the moon. In the wee hours of July 21, Universal Coordinated Time, Neil Armstrong descended the module's ladder and had occasion to speak his immortal words: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." 

Fifty years later, mankind took another giant leap -- roughly comparable -- as teams spread far and wide across the Minor League Baseball universe marked the golden anniversary of this remarkable achievement in myriad ways. From the outrageous to the educational, the sky was seemingly the limit.

Starting in South Carolina, the Charleston RiverDogs hosted "the world's largest moon landing" on Saturday as fans were encouraged to "land on their moons" -- that is, sit down -- in unison during the seventh-inning stretch. A special T-shirt giveaway helped make sure the double entendre wasn't lost in space.


In Charleston, they know how to put butts in the seats. (Michael Wiser/Charleston RiverDogs)


RiverDogs fans came, saw and mooned. (Michael Wiser/Charleston RiverDogs)

The Class A Yankees affiliate also afforded interested fans the opportuniuty to leave the game brighter than when they arrived, welcoming NASA planetary scientist Cherie Achilles to the ballpark.


Maryland-based Achilles works on the Mars Rover. (Emma Dau/Charleston RiverDogs)

Meanwhile, the Richmond Flying Squirrels -- Double-A affiliate of the Giants -- paid homage to Apollo 11 and one of San Francisco's most promising players to suit up for home team with the "Duggarnaut" bobblehead, featuring Steven Duggar ready for orbit.

Richmond's Lunar Landing Night also featured a blast-off from the infield dirt and had players fit for flight, as the team wore specialty jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. Proceeds from the auction went to a local STEM education program.


Johneshwy Fargas scored a run while looking liftoff-ready. (Richmond Flying Squirrels)


One fan launched a rocket from the infield on Saturday. (Richmond Flying Squirrels)

At the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees' Apollo 11 Night on Saturday, fans received a foam astronaut helmet and a little free education with science and moon-related lessons throughout the game. 


Bumble was ready to explore the final frontier on Saturday. (Salt Lake Bees)

Also in the Pacific Coast League, Omaha Storm Chasers featured educational opportunities as well -- including a rare one. On hand for their Saturday Lunar Landing Night was one of 50 giant moon maps available through the ShareSpace Foundation and the Aldrin Family Foundation. The Triple-A Chasers also offered a 'Lunar Lady' bobblehead featuring mascot Sue Nami in a spacesuit.


Omaha fans got a chance to walk on the moon, in a sense. (Omaha Storm Chasers)


Sue Nami modeled with a miniature, spaced-out version of herself. (Omaha Storm Chasers)

On Friday, the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats presented Moon Landing Night, giving their videoboard a lunar makeover with a fresh backdrop for their logo and players' head shots, and a video of a rocket launch. They also took over the moon with a pregame announcement video.

The Double-A Montgomery Biscuits gave away commemorative patches to the first 1,000 fans through the gates on Saturday. The patch may have been the only Apollo 11 theme night item across the entirety of the Minors to feature carbs in space.

The Class A Lake County Captains, who play their home games a few hours' drive from Armstrong's birthplace in Wapakoneta, Ohio, marked the occasion on Friday, giving out 1,500 Skipper Moon Landing bobbleheads.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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