The Lone Star League

The Lone Star League

Ebbets Field Flannels and Lone Star Beer have joined forces to create a collection in celebration of the Lone Star League. A short-lived league that only lasted a season, this Texas tale deserves to be re-told.

Otherwise known as a collection of oddballs and misfits from the boondocks of baseball, the 1977 Lone Star League consisted of 6 teams entirely independent of affiliation with Major League Baseball.

Jim Capehart of the Corpus Christi Seagulls

Designated Class A by the National Association, 4 previous Gulf States League teams consisting of the Corpus Christi Seagulls, Harlingen Suns, Victoria Rosebuds and Beeville Blazers were joined by the newly formed Texas City Stars and the McAllen Dusters to complete the Lone Star League.

For one wild pitch of a season, the Lone Star League of 1977 was sunny, dusty, and thorny. A-blaze under the sun or a-buzz under the stars the League left their mark on loyal Gulf States fandom. It wasn’t just the ballgame that brought the fans to the stands. Disco Nite, Zodiac Nite & Win A Date with a Seagull Nite were common themes.

Texas City Stars roster and themed nite calendar.

Of the six, the Corpus Christi Seagulls were by far the most dominant team. Drawing 92,000 fans to Beeville’s 7,150, they were already the 1976 Gulf States Leage Champions. Collectively used to living four to a 2-bedroom apartment while occupying multiple units of the same complex, and preferring road game dinners of a 6-pack and chips from 7-11 to actual restaurants, the Seagulls were known to be openly contemptuous of other teams’ lesser efforts - here's looking at you McAllen Dusters. 

Poor McAllen. They didn't even have their own field. The lowly McAllen Dusters held practice and hosted games at a field rented from the local school district. One where winds would consistently blow in from left field at 25 mph, kicking up all manner of dusty debris.

Unlike the Dusters, there were the Stars. With a pitcher named “Snake” and an outfielder named “Stork” the Texas City Stars gave the Corpus Christi Seagulls a run for their money (if you can call players making $400 per month money). 

Corpus Christi Seagulls vs. Texas City Stars

Billed as “The Swingin’ Stars” who play “Exciting Professional Baseball” the Stars were managed by “Dirty Al Gallagher”, formerly of the SF Giants and California Angels.   Ol’ Dirty would occasionally write himself into the lineup when he thought it fitting. Also travelling with the Stars was a young Bill Murray, green as grass and on summer vacation from of his inaugural season with Saturday Night Live. Suited up as a Stars player, Bill entertained the crowds with signature freeform antics which included climbing the backstop or outfield fence.

Jeff McKay, Red Shuttleworth, and John Harness of the Texas City Stars

From the start, finances for the Lone Star League of 1977 were stormy before turning absolutely chaotic. By playoff season in September Hurricane Anita blew into town. The Seagulls, #1 in the standings, could not afford to foot the bill for game delay disruptions and canceled. Two other teams followed suit. Within days the Lone Star League had folded.

Ball was played, fun was had, and memories were made rather than Careers.

Hoist one for the Lone Stars.

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