What I Remember
I remember the wind. If Adelanto, CA wasn’t the middle of nowhere in 1991 then, as they say, you could see it from there. A group of investors that included baseball’s Brett brothers bought the Cal League’s Riverside franchise and built a brand new stadium for it in Adelanto, a small community about 9 miles north of Victorville in the southern reaches of the Mojave desert.
Mavericks Stadium was brand new and, by all accounts, state-of-the-art when we arrived on a Tuesday night. The stadium included all individual molded plastic seats – no bleachers, just like major league facilities, it had skyboxes and a restaurant and it was set down into the earth so that you walked down to your seats when entering the stadium and out of the ever-present wind. But all around the field were power lines and desert and although there were plans displayed in the town offices for a high-speed rail line that would take residents to Los Angeles for jobs, I don’t think that ever transpired. If you are wondering what the shelf life of state-of-the-art is, it is apparently less than 30 years – at least in this case. The Mavericks drew fewer and fewer fans as the ballpark aged and the team played its last game in 2016 before the Cal League contracted and two franchises (High Desert and Bakersfield) were shifted to the Carolina League.
High Desert Mavericks 4 Reno Silver Sox 1
I love the mention of the Mavericks’ starting pitcher Luis Galindez in the notes section at the end of this story. Galindez went 4-3 that season with High Desert and returned the next year to go 11-6. But after that he would pitch just one more game (at the rookie league level) before retiring from baseball. But somewhere today, perhaps, he’s got a copy of this article which shows that he was a strikeout ahead of Bakersfield’s Pedro Martinez for the league lead on this April day.
The Mavericks went on to win the league title in its inaugural season and, in a nice bit of baseball symmetry that provided a happy ending to what I think of as kind of a sad story, also won the Cal League in its last season in 2016.
The Box (Click arrows to see more images)
After a very nice few days in Southern California we headed out on Tuesday morning on the beginning stages of a long and circuitous drive east. A little more than three weeks later we would be in Miami.