While production is very slow at the major league level, things are heating up in the minor league system of the St. Louis Cardinals. Read below to see what the Peoria Chiefs have in store for this next season.
Minor League Spotlight: Peoria Chiefs
For six home games this next season, the Peoria Chiefs, the Advanced-A Affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, will take on two different team names. This week, the Chiefs announced that they will become the Peoria Orange Barrels and the Peoria Pork Tenderloins for select games throughout the season. This is another great Minor League team taking advantage of being creative with team names and jerseys.
The jerseys were also dropped in the announcements of each corresponding team name. The Orange Barrel jerseys look like big, orange traffic barrels. They often say there are only two seasons in Illinois; winter and construction season. The Pork Tenderloin jerseys might be my favorite, as they showcase a bunch of little pork tenderloin cartoon characters.
We often see Minor League baseball teams have themed games and create a new team identity for those games, but this is the first time in a while we have seen the Peoria Chiefs do this. Changing the team identity for a few games is great for public relations, and to get the community excited. The Chiefs are very important to the Peoria area community, and they provide a great night out in the summer.
In a message put out by the team, the Orange Barrels is in recognition of the construction in the Peoria area, and the construction workers that put in dedicated efforts for the area. The Pork Tenderloins comes from the Midwest delight of a fried piece of tenderized pork, served on a bunch with your choice of toppings. Typically pickles, onion, and lettuce are served on a pork tenderloin. The pork tenderloin is something you can enjoy from the concessions area at Dozer Park.
Peoria Chiefs History
In 1983, the Peoria Suns were founded as a minor league team of the California Angels. They spent two seasons as an affiliate of the Angels. In the 1984 season, they were managed by Joe Maddon, the former Rays, and Cubs manager, and is now back with the team he started with, the Angels.
After the 1984 season, the Chiefs would become the affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Peoria Chiefs saw many great baseball players and coaches through their years as the Cubs affiliate, the likes of Greg Maddux, Joe Girardi, and many others.
The tides would change again in the 1995 season, as the Chiefs had a new Major League team, the St. Louis Cardinals. In this period of time, the Chiefs would see players such as Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, J.D. Drew, and Dan Haren come through Peoria.
After the 2004 season, the Chiefs would go back to the minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and they would stay as their affiliate until 2012. At the beginning of the 2013 season, the Chiefs would return as the affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and they still serve as the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate.
Coming Up This Season
Minor League teams are not affected by the current MLB lockout. One way or another, there will be baseball played in Peoria. In past years we have seen the likes of Nolan Gorman, Kramer Robertson, Nick Plummer, and many more top prospects in the Cardinals organization.
Last season, the emergence of Jordan Walker played a big role in the season of Peoria. Walker is one of the top prospects in the Cardinals organization at the age of 19. Walker could be sent to Peoria to start the season as well, and if that is the case, get out to Peoria to see Walker before he moves up the ranks.
We are all excited to see what up-and-coming players we will see next in Peoria and the Cardinals system. With the signings of many foreign players, could we see Won Bin-Cho in Peoria soon? If you have a chance, come out to Dozer Park in Peoria to check out the Peoria Chiefs and if you are lucky enough, you may see the Orange Barrels and the Pork Tenderloins.