(1896; 1906-1908; 1911; 1921-1925; 1928-1932; 1947-1950; 1952)
Class D (1952; 1947-1950; 1924; 1906-1908)
Class C (1925; 1928-1932; 1922-23)
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||1906, 1921, 1930, 1948, 1949|
The Independence Yankees was the most notable nickname of the minor league baseball teams that played in Independence, Kansas for numerous seasons between 1896 and 1952. In 1930, Independence was the site of the first night game in organized baseball. Independence played as an affiliate of the New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns. Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee Mickey Mantle played for Independence in 1949.
Baseball in Independence started with a team in the Kansas State League in 1896. From 1906 to 1911 Independence teams played in four leagues with four different nicknames. Then from 1921-1932, the Independence Producers played in the Southwestern League (1921-1924) and the Western Association (1925-1932) The 1921 Producers finished with a record of 100-38.
On July 2, 1930, Independence Producer pitcher Colonel Bob House had nineteen strikeouts against Springfield, Missouri, which was a league record for strikeouts in a single game. Four days later the Producers had eight home runs in a game against Muskogee, Oklahoma, setting a league record.
The Independence Yankees were formed in 1947 as an expansion team in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. The team remained in the league as an affiliate of the New York Yankees (1947-1950) and St. Louis Browns (1952). The team did not play in 1951, and took the name Browns in 1952 when the league and its teams folded after the season.
Despite only 20 seasons of minor league teams, Independence had successes on the field. The 1906 Independence Coyotes won the Kansas State League championship with a 69-48 record. They changed leagues when the KSL folded, but changed their name to Champs for 1907.
The 1921 Independence Producers finished with a record of 100-38 in taking the Southwestern League Championship. The team is ranked #77 on the All Time Top-100 Teams by MiLB.com and Baseball Historians Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright.
The 1930 Producers were the Western Association Champions, defeating Joplin, Missouri in the championship series. It was the first time the series had been played at night.
The 1948 and 1949 Independence Yankees won the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League Championship in back-to-back seasons. They finished 74-46 in 1948 under Burleigh Grimes and 71-53 under Harry Craft in 1949. The 1949 squad had 17-year old Mickey Mantle at shortstop.
Mickey Mantle began his professional career for Independence as a 17-year-old shortstop in 1949. Mantle hit .313 with 7 home runs for the Independence Yankees, helping the team to a 71-53 record and the league championship.
Beginning in 1921, Independence teams played at Riverside Stadium on East Oak Street. The stadium was later named Producers Park and Shulthis Stadium. It was built in 1918 by A.W. Shulthis. The stadium reportedly hosted the first night game in organized baseball, on April 28, 1930. Now part of the athletic field for Unified School District 446, the original grandstand remained as part of a new multipurpose complex until it was demolished in 2015.
Notable Independence alumni
Baseball Hall of Fame alumni
- Don Taussig (1950)
- Bill Virdon (1950), 1955 National League Rookie of the Year
- Lou Skizas (1949)
- Harry Craft (1949, manager)
- Bob Wiesler (1949)
- Jim Finigan (1948)
- Harry Bright (1947)
- Cy Blanton (1931) two-time major league All-Star (1937, 1941); National League earned run average leader (1935)
- Joe Vance (1931) Played in MLB and National Football League
- Bill Lewis (1930)
- Bill Walker (1922) 1935 major league All-Star; two-time National League earned run average Leader (1929, 1931)
- Glenn Wright (1921)
- Gene Packard (1908)
- "Packard Breaks World's Record". Independence Daily Reporter. August 10, 1908.
- "Bob House". Independence Daily Reporter. July 3, 1930.
- "Producers Set League Record with 8 Homers". Independence Daily Reporter. July 7, 1930.
- "Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "1952 Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League". Baseball-reference.com\accessdate=2016-04-03.
- "Producers Win Two Games and the Pennant". Independence Daily Reporter. September 11, 1930.
- "Mickey Mantle Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "Independence Yankees - BR Bullpen". Baseball-reference.com. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "Riverside Stadium Minor League History". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-04-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Shultis Stadium / Riverside Stadium - Independence Kansas - Former home of the Independence Yankees / Browns". Digitalballparks.com. 2001-08-11. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- Richard Clark. "Historic Grandstand Torn Down In Independence, Kansas". NewsOn6.com. Retrieved 2016-04-03.