The Visalia Rawhide are a minor league baseball team in Visalia, California, U.S. They are a Class A - Advanced team of the Arizona Diamondbacks operating in the California League and have recently agreed to renew their affiliation through 2016.
The Rawhide play their home games at Recreation Park which opened in 1946 and seats approximately 2,700 fans. In 2009, the City of Visalia completed a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion of Recreation Ballpark supported by a 10-year lease with the ballclub, the longest lease in franchise history.
After two years of fan surveys, polls, focus groups, and direction by players, the team announced a name change to the Visalia Rawhide, representing one of the richest agricultural regions in the world and the top dairy-producing area in the country. This change went into effect for the 2009 season; for the previous fourteen seasons, the team was known as the Oaks.
Casey Jones/Casey at the Bat
The Visalia Ballclub also keeps alive the tradition of the Mighty Casey, the main folklore hero of "Casey at the Bat" and the "Mudville Nine", even wearing the old-fashioned Mudville Nine uniforms once per season as part of a turn back the clock promotion.
Visalia is one of the 4 oldest cities of the Cal League, along with San Jose, California (the San Jose Giants/Bees); Modesto, California (the Modesto Nuts/A's) and the previous past in Lodi, California north of Stockton which goes back 70 years to 1941.
The Visalia Rawhide mascot is a Holstein Bull named Tipper. Tipper was introduced on October 15, 2008. Tipper represents the tens of thousands of Holsteins in Tulare County, the top dairy-producing area in the country. Tipper's home is a ballpark barn - a 40' x 20' red barn which is part of the outfield fence - doubles carom off the side of the barn, and home runs land on the roof, leading to a new twist on the old baseball adage "couldn't hit the broadside of the barn" which now represents weak hitters instead of wild pitchers. The traditional red barn was built as a "community barn raising" to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity and stand as an icon for the agricultural heritage of the valley.
Major league affiliates
The Rawhide are heard terrestrially on KJUG AM 1270 and over the internet through their website www.rawhidebaseball.com
Many well-known Major League Baseball players have been with the Visalia organization during their careers, including Paul Goldschmidt, Eddie Guardado, Kent Hrbek, Randy Johnson, Evan Longoria, Kirby Puckett, Max Scherzer, Nick Swisher, Juan Uribe, Justin Upton, Barry Zito and Sean Doolittle.
As a minor league affiliate of the Oakland A's at the time, the Visalia Oaks were mentioned twice during the 2011 movie Moneyball (which took place in 2002). In the 1988 film Bull Durham, Visalia was mentioned as a potential managing job for aging catcher Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner.
- Visalia Rawhide Official Site
- FutureBacks.com - In-depth Rawhide coverage