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San Antonio Missions

How the San Antonio Missions Got Their Name

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San Antonio Missions

Through Opening Day, we'll be looking at the stories behind some of the greatest team names in Minor League Baseball.

There are a lot of missions in Texas. Perhaps most notable is the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. It's not hard, then, to understand why the San Antonio Minor League Baseball team, currently a Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, adopted the religiously significant moniker and corresponding logo. But just like the missions themselves, the team's use of the name has a rich history.

Baseball first came to San Antonio in 1888 as a charter member of the Texas League. That first year was shaky and the original team folded midway through the season. But the team that opened the year in Austin moved to San Antonio and wrapped up that inaugural season there. Three years later, a new San Antonio team rejoined the Texas League bearing the name Missionaries.

It was an apt name, but the team would be known as the Gentleman, Bronchos, Aces, Bears, and Indians before they reintroduced the reference to the Missions to coincide with their first Major League affiliation with the St. Louis Browns in 1933. The San Antonio team kept the name and the affiliation when the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles, and survived the Texas League's hiatus during World War II. The name also stuck throughout their first stint as an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. It wasn't until they joined the Houston Colt .45s franchise in 1963 that they sported a new moniker: the Bullets, to fit the theme.

The Missions came back into being when the affiliation reverted to the Cubs later that decade. When they joined the Milwaukee franchise in 1972, they adopted the Brewers' nickname for their own. Although the affiliation only lasted one season, the name stuck through years spent as part of the Indians' and Rangers' organizations, until the team joined the Dodgers' family in 1977 and took their name. 

An ownership change before the 1988 season saw the San Antonio Dodgers return to their roots and be reborn as the Missions. A quarter of a century and a couple affiliation changes later, the name still stands, a testament to the long history of baseball in San Antonio.

See all our mascot stories.

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Great Big Story, Youtube
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video
Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
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Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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History
The First High Five Recorded in the History of Sports
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Denis Poroy/Getty Images

We don’t quite know who invented the high five—but we can pinpoint the moment it became inextricably linked with sports, which the short documentary The High Five explores below.

On October 2, 1977, Los Angeles Dodgers leftfielder Dusty Baker scored his 30th home run, making the team the first in history to have four players—Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith—with at least 30 homers under each of their belts. Fellow outfielder Glenn Burke was so overwhelmed with joy and pride, he raised his arm and slapped his flat palm against the victorious athlete’s own palm. The moment transformed Baker and Burke into legends.

Sadly, the latter player faced hard times ahead: Burke was gay, and it’s believed that his sexuality prompted team officials to trade him to the Oakland A's the following year. In Oakland, Burke clashed with team manager Billy Martin, then retired early from baseball. Today, Burke is remembered for his charisma and talent—and for transforming a simple gesture into a universal symbol. “To think his energy and personality was the origin of that, that’s a pretty good legacy,” sportswriter Lyle Spencer says in the film.

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