Against All Odds
How the River Cats
Became Sacramento's Hometown
1960 when the Solons vacated Edmonds Field for Hawaii, Sacramento was left without its hometown
team. That is until 2000 when the River Cats adopted the mantle and Pacific Coast League
baseball returned to the River City.
better part of 40 years some of Sacramento’s most esteemed entrepreneurs attempted to fill the
void. For various reasons they came up short. That is until three men—all émigrés as PCL president Branch Rickey termed them—united
behind one vision and coalesced a community around the team on May 15, 2000 at Raley
River Cats became Sacramento’s Hometown Team—Against All
Odds—is the focus of this e-book. Far more than a “baseball” story, this is a modern-day
case study in perseverance, tenacity, business acumen and plain old good
contrasted with valiant attempts by such visionaries as Kings’ owner Gregg Lukenbill, Modesto
A’s owners Fred Anderson and Kevin McClatchy, and even Fred David —the last co-owner of the
original Solons—we can more fully appreciate the success of Warren Smith, Bob Hemond and Art
Savage who founded the River Cats on the west bank of the Sacramento
e-book contains interviews with many of the principals involved in this success story, including
Hemond, Smith, Rickey, McClatchy, Alan Ledford (former River Cats’ president and GM), Willie
Connolly (Fresno Diamond Group chairman), and others allied with factions “across the river” who
attempted to bring professional baseball back to the state capital.
All Odds” also features several new pieces to this 40-year puzzle,
amount paid by Lucky Stores for Edmonds Field and why the city and county of Sacramento each
passed on the opportunity to buy the ballpark;
the Hawaiian Islanders wanted to return to Sacramento and a local liaison kept blueprints for
the proposed Cal Expo ballpark for months in his trunk while waiting for a decision from the
city of Sacramento;
Unannounced negotiations in 1985 between Bob Lurie and Gregg Lukenbill’s SSA to relocate the San
Francisco Giants in Sacramento;
Fred Anderson’s attempt to purchase/relocate the PCL Portland Beavers to
a second West Sacramento site was considered but passed up for the present Raley Field
a financial services company tried to acquire the ballpark’s naming rights sponsorship but
eventually was outbid by Raley’s.
also learn how Kevin McClatchy’s failed attempt (in association with Fred Anderson) to buy the
Oakland A’s led to his purchase of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and in the process passed the
Triple-A torch to Hemond and Smith. Their five-year odyssey, in association with former NHL and
NBA executive Art Savage, succeeded in establishing one of the most successful minor league
baseball franchises in modern history.
All Odds” details their incredible journey.
would first like to read the opening installment to the e-book, click through
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All contents © Rick Cabral