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The Wilmington Blue Rocks are currently the minor league baseball team for the city of Wilmington, DE. The team belongs to the Carolina League, a class A Advanced league, and is a farm team of the Kansas City Royals. The current incarnation of the team was founded in 1992 with their first season in 1993, but the name Blue Rocks goes back further.

The origin of organized baseball in Delaware dates back to the time of the Civil War, with several professional, semi-pro, and amateur teams forming and dissolving over the years. The (original) Delaware Blue Rocks were founded in 1940, a collaboration between Bob Carpenter and Connie Mack, then manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. The name "Blue Rocks" was taken from the blue granite that was mined in the Wilmington area. Carpenter built one of the best (at the time) minor league ballparks in the nation at 30th Street and Governor Printz Boulevard, and Mack organized the team to be a part of the Inter-State League and to serve as a farm club for the Athletics.

The Delaware Blue Rocks lasted thirteen seasons, through 1952. The first six seasons (they played straight through World War II) they did admirably well, with finishes in the top half of the league every year but 1941. They won the Inter-State League Pennant in 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1950, but after their season in 1950, many of the Delaware fans switched allegiance to the major league Philadelphia Athletics, who won the National League title that year. Blue Rocks attendance fell through 1951 and 1952, and the Blue Rocks called it quits prior to the 1953 season. The baseball park was torn down in the 1960's, long before I was born. Delaware then went without local professional baseball for forty years.

The idea for a new Blue Rocks team originated in the late 1980's with Steve Taylor, a Delaware native, state senator, and former pitcher for a New York Yankees farm team (his pitching career was cut short by injury). He wanted to start a minor league franchise in Delaware, and after failing to convince Delaware Tech and the University of Delaware to allow use of their facilities, he floated the idea of a stadium in Wilmington past the Delaware legislature. The state agreed to fund a new baseball stadium in the city, partly as a vanity project for the state, and partly as a revitalization of Wilmington's decaying downtown. The stadium owners then acquired the Carolina League's Peninsula Pilots as the city's team in 1992. The stadium was built in the fall and winter of 1993, and was originally called Judy Johnson Field at Legends Stadium. The Blue Rocks finally returned in 1993 as the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The field is now called Judy Johnson Field at Dan Frawley Stadium, Dan Frawley being the (now deceased) former mayor of Wilmington during the start of the project.

Out of the past six seasons, the Blue Rocks won the Carolina League Mills Cup Championship in 1996 and 1998, and played to a 2 games to 2 tie in 1999 against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans before the season was canceled due to Hurricane Floyd. In 2001, they were again in the Championship against the Salem Avalanche of Salem, VA, to whom they lost three games to two. (Bummer!)

Sources:
http://www.bluerocks.com/
http://www.rocksfans.com/
http://www.delawarestadiumcorp.com/history001.asp
http://pages.prodigy.com/wilm/baseball.htm
Thanks for VT_hawkeye for the correction on the 2001 series results.

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