by David Tesitor
TRINIDAD — After six years of play, the Pecos League professional baseball clubs are ushering in a new look this season, especially in the Northern division, home of the Trinidad Triggers.
Joining the Triggers who joined the league in 2012 are The Garden City Wind (2015) and three new teams also from Kansas, the Train Robbers, formerly of Las Vegas, NV who hopped the freight train for Topeka, and new affiliates, the Salina Stockade and the Great Bend Boom. Gone are the Las Cruces Vaqueros.
Trinidad remains the lone club from the 2015 season. The Santa Fe Fuego returned to the Southern Division and joined the Alpine, TX Cowboys, (2009) the Roswell Invaders, (2011), the White Sands Pupfish (2011). New this season are the Tuscan Saguaros (AZ-2016).
The Pecos League is an independent professional baseball league which operates in cities in the desert/mountain regions throughout New Mexico, southern Arizona, Kansas, west Texas, and southern Colorado. Pecos teams play in cities that don’t have Major League teams or Minor League teams affiliations with major league baseball. The Pecos League is where the Land of Enchantment meets the Lone Star State, and the foothills of the Rockies meet the plains of Kansas.
Players come from all over the US and the world and are a combination of rising stars, falling stars, shooting stars, and athletes with visions of the big league in their eyes. Between 2010 and 2015, the Pecos League promoted over 300 players to higher independent and affiliated teams. Three players from the Triggers are now playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres.
The league was originally set to have six teams, in Alpine, TX, Las Cruces, Roswell, Alamogordo, and Clovis, NM, and Bisbee, TX. Many of those teams have since disbanded, but the league continued to grow. In 2012, the Pecos League took a major step forward into new geographical areas as Andrew Dunn who had ownership in several teams brought in the Santa Fe Fuego and the Trinidad Triggers.
Attempts to bring professional baseball to Pueblo, CO and Del Rio, TX failed as conflicts with youth leagues would not allow the league to play in their stadiums. The year also saw a major step toward legitimized baseball as the league allowed the designated hitter and hired league umpires, while the Pecos Spring League was formed as a source for players. In a final move, the Pecos League signed a contract with Rawlings to have its own baseball created.
Next week: Promoting America’s favorite pass-time; the growth of the league and its impact on other independent leagues