The Salem Senators, 1907-1939
The first incarnation of the Salem Senators was a semi-professional team that started around 1907, and won the Tri-City League championship for two consecutive years. The Senators played many teams on various levels, including college and high school teams.
The Senators Evolve, 1940-1960
Salem tobacco merchant George E. Waters purchased the Bellingham Chinooks and moved them to Salem. This second incarnation of the Senators teams started out as an unaffiliated Class-B Minor league team in the Western International League. Waters would not live through the first season of the team he had brought to Salem.
Unaffiliated minor league players were not paid well. Local businesses picked up some of the slack with promotional incentives. Valley Packing offered a free smoked ham for every home run hit, delivered directly to home plate as the runner returned. Player Mel ‘Ham Bone’ Walsey, took advantage of this promotion, bringing a ham home about 25 times a season.
A slump in the 1949-1950 seasons led the Beavers to try and move the Senators. Local citizens led a movement to buy back the team and keep it in Salem. They sold stock and raised funds to purchase the team for $50,000.
Beavers Farm Team, 1946-1950
As part of the Pacific Coast League, the Beavers had great aspirations of becoming a Major League team. They acquired the Salem Senators from Mrs. Waters in 1946, to serve as a farm team.
Salem Dodgers, 1961-1965
Shortly after the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to LA in 1958, the Salem Senators became a farm team affiliate. The team even took on the name Salem Dodgers. Lack of funds and interest led to the collapse of the team in 1965.
Senators Return, Again, 1977-1981
After a 10 year drought, local stock broker Clint Holland brought professional baseball back to Salem in 1977. The team played its home games at Chemeketa Community College.
The reborn Salem Senators would affiliate with the Angles in 1981. The team went on to win the Northwest League championship in 1982. The young Angels team had a 34-36 record, and beat the 53-17 Medford A’s in the Championship Game. The win is considered one of the biggest upsets in minor league history.
Return of the Dodgers, 1988-1989
In the two short years the Salem team was known as the Dodgers, they featured 6 players that would go on to become major leaguers – Mike Piazza, Hector Ortiz, Henry Rodriquez, Braulio Castillo, Tony Barron and Rafael Bournigal. The Dodgers folded in 1989 due to being unable create a proper facility in the Salem Area and were moved to Yakima where they became the Yakima Bears. The team was moved again in 2012 to Hillsboro, where they became the Hillsboro Hops and regularly play against Salem’s new team, the Volcanoes.