Teams in the Roanoke Valley
The Salem team relocated to Roanoke in 1943 and for the first time was affiliated with a major league team. In the late 1940's the Roanoke Red Sox or "RoSox" pulled off an upset over the parent Red Sox playing at Maher Field in Roanoke. Their tenure in the region came to an end after the 1953 season.
With no professional baseball in the Valley, Salem jumped on the opportunity to field a team for the 1955 season. The Salem Athletic Club fielded the Salem Rebels, an independent team to play in the Appalachian League at Municipal Stadium. The 1955 team featured Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, whose powerful bat eventually helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1967 World Series. Cepeda was the first of many future Major League stars to come through the Roanoke Valley.
In 1960 the team joined the Pittsburgh Pirates system and also spent some time as a San Francisco Giants affiliate in the early sixties prior to joining the Carolina League in 1968. In 1972, the Rebels name was retired and the team became the Salem Pirates to show a closer affiliation to their major league club in Pittsburgh. That 1972 squad featured future All-Star Dave Parker as Salem compiled a 79-58 record on their way to a Carolina League Championship.
Just two years later Salem once again dominated the Carolina League. The Pirates won both halves of the regular season, winning 87 games overall en route to the 1974 Carolina League Championship.
Salem Redbirds: 1981-1983 (SD Padres) 1984-1986 (Texas Rangers)
Salem changed names again in 1980 as the team switched affiliates to the San Diego Padres and then the Texas Rangers over the net few seasons. The newly named Salem Redbirds made the playoffs in their first two seasons but then suffered through the worst season in Salem history losing over 100 games in 1982. Famous Redbirds include former Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams (1985) and Texas Rangers pitchers Kenny Rogers (1986).
Other notable people within the Salem Rebirds is the ownership duo of Larry Schmittou (Vanderbilt Commodores head baseball coach 1968-1978, Nashville Sounds founder) and country music legend Conway Twitty.
The Salem Redbirds are one of few teams that were nicknamed the Redbirds and were not an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Salem Buccaneers: 1987-1994 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
After continued struggles on the field the Redbirds switched affiliates, moving back with Pittsburgh in 1987 and changing the team name to the Salem Buccaneers.
In its first season back with the Pirates organization the Salem Buccaneers captured the 1987 Carolina League Championship followed by a Division Winner in 1988. Even though the Buccaneers struggled over the following seasons many Major Leaguers came through Salem including San Francisco Giants OF Moises Alou and Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.
Salem Avalanche: 1995-2002 (Colorado Rockies)
Mid-way through the 1995 season, Salem bid farewell to professional baseball at Old Municipal Field. It housed professional baseball in the area for over 60 years before giving way to Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium.
At a final cost of $10.1 million, Salem Memorial Stadium was constructed for the brand new Salem Avalanche, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, in August of 1995. The 2001 season saw Salem's fourth Carolina League Championship as the Avalanche won the title after reaching the playoffs as a Wild Card.
Some notable players include Rockies long-time OF/1B Larry Walker, Chone Figgins, Matt Holiday, Juan Uribe, Aaron Cook, Clint Barmes, and Brad Hawpe.
Salem Avalanche: 2003-2008 (Houston Astros)
In 2003, the team switched affiliates to the Houston Astros organization, keeping the Avalanche name. Prior to the 2006 season, the Avalanche and the City of Salem struck a deal with Lewis-Gale Medical Center to rename Salem's ballpark.
The Avalanche reached the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, their first two appearances as an Astros affiliate and their first back-to-back post-season action since the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Salem played its 14th season in "the new ballpark" in 2008, but it was the sixth and final season as part of the Houston Astros farm system.
There are a few big name people that have come through Salem as an Astros affiliate as well. Players such as Wandy Rodriguez, Luke Scott, Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist and Bud Norris
Salem Red Sox: 2009 - Present (Boston Red Sox)
Prior to the 2009 season, the team changed affiliations from Houston to the Boston Red Sox, and changed its' nickname to Red Sox to reflect their Boston ownership.
Salem ended its' first season as a Red Sox affiliate at 67-72 and in fifth place. The Red Sox finished second in the first half with a 32-37 record and 35-35 in the second half to win the Southern Division Pennant. The Red Sox swept the Winston-Salem Dash in three games to advance to the Mills Cup Finals, but were swept by the Lynchburg Hillcats in three games.
Sox Managers (2009-Present)
Chad Epperson: 2009
- Overall Record (Season): 67-72 (5th overall in season standings)
- First Half: 32-37 (2nd Place)
- Second Half: 35-35 (1st Place)
- Won Southern Division Pennant
- 3-0 vs Winston-Salem Dash to advance to Mills Cup
- 0-3 vs Lynchburg Hillcats to finish runner-up in Mills Cup
Kevin Boles: 2010
- Overall Record (Season): 73-65 (2nd overall in season standings)
- Started the season 21-7
- First Half: 42-28 (2nd Place)
- Second Half: 31-37 (Last Place)
Bruce Crabbe: 2011
- Overall Record (Season): 64-75 (7th Place)
- Started the season 20-7
- First Half: 31-38 (Last Place)
- Second Half: 33-37 (3rd Place)
Billy McMillon: 2012-2013
- Overall Record (Season): 68-69-1 (4th Place)
- First Half: 41-28-1 (2nd Place)
- Second Half: 27-41 (4th Place)
- Overall Record (Season): 76-64 (2nd Place)
- First Half: 33-37 (3rd Place)
- Second Half: 43-27 (1st Place)
- Won second-half pennant
- Won 24 of last 32 regular season games
- Swept Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Potomac Nationals in five games to win the Mills Cup
- Won 29 of the last 37 games overall
- Designated hitter Sean Coyle went 2 for 3 with two doubles and four RBI beat Potomac 6-4 in the championship game, earning MVP honors
Carlos Febles: 2014-2015
- Overall Record (Season): 68-68
- First Half: 35-33 (2nd Place)
- Second Half: 33-35 (2nd Place)
- Lost in the Southern Division Finals two games to one.
- Overall Record (Season): 66-73
- First Half: 38-32 (2nd Place)
- Second Half: 28-41 (Last Place)
Joe Oliver: 2016-Present
- Overall Record (Season): 87-52
- First Half: 46-23 (1st Place)
- Won the first half pennant
- 2nd Half: 44-26 (2nd Place)
- Lost to Myrtle Beach in Southern Division Finals
- Salem had three of the top prospects in the Boston organization at the time to begin the season: outfielder Andrew Benintendi (MLB debut 8/2/16), second baseman Yoan Moncada (MLB debut 9/2/16), and third baseman Rafael Devers (MLB debut 7/25/17)
- Overall Record (Season): 73-66
- First Half: 40-29 (T-1st Place)
- Second Half: 33-37 (3rd Place)
- Overall Record (Season) 63-75
- First Half: 32-36 (3rd Place)
- Second Half: 31-39 (4th Place)