Third Best League: Gary SouthShore RailCats

Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gary, IN
American Association
US Steel Yard (6,139)

The SouthShore RailCats have possibly the longest name in baseball.  And maybe they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be named for a region or the city.  Like, in a meeting, someone asked, “Do we want to be like the San Francisco Warriors, or the Golden State Warriors?” and the first response was “Why not both?” But I’m kind of here for it.  No, I know “SouthShore” refers to the freight line, and not the region.  But, I think that adds even more charm to the team’s identity.  I’m also quite a big fan of the team’s colorway.  The deeply red, almost purple maroon with green looks great together and belongs distinctly to Gary.

Gary joins the 3BL as the western-most entry, coming in on the heels of the Evansville Otters, who would be their intrastate rivals, living at the opposite, bottom end of the Hoosier state.  They also lead the charge of what I believe will be quite a few entries from the American Association of Professional Baseball.  But the RailCats came into existence before the AA, originally members of the Northern League, they were part of the league exodus of 2010 that lead to unfortunate demise of the NoL.  Prior to the league jump in 2010, Gary had been a bit of a force in the North.  Joining the league in 2002, they were forced to play their whole first season on the road because of construction delays (the team won a record 35 games, most of any team to play an exclusively road schedule for an entire season).  Once US Steel Yard stadium was constructed, the ‘Cats settled in, and were able to reel off 5 consecutive post-season appearances between 2005 & 2009, winning 2 league championships.

Criteria Scores
Stability: 9/10 
– In the 22 years since they started playing, the only instability has come from the city of Gary failing to make deadlines in stadium construction and the league jump.  Other than that, rock steady. Adding to their statement of consistency, enter Greg Tagert, who managed the ‘Cats from 2005 through 2021. Lamarr Rogers, who replaced Tagert, is just the third manager in the team’s history (the other being Gary Templeton, who lead the team through a very rocky first 3 seasons).

On Field Success: 6/10 – Three league championships, and a couple more division titles is pretty much all the RailCats bring with them.  The team’s strength is more in it’s consistency rather than it’s achievements.


Geography: 8/10 – Sitting in the northwest corner of Indiana puts the RailCats in a position to be natural rivals with instate rivals in Evansville, but also access to interstate rivalries with teams in Chicago and southern Wisconsin.

Stadium: 9/10 – It’s a great looking stadium, with a lot of the common minor league stadium amenities.  Plus, they’ve got a goddamn Bennigan’s in the stadium.  I can’t remember the last time I was at a Bennigan’s…

Logo & Look: 9/10 – I mentioned earlier how much I like the colorway.  The current logo has an endearingly hand drawn feel.  The lettering is imperfect, but right.  The steel-bat swinging cat lands on the right side of homemade versus Brandiose’d and overdone.  It feels perfectly minor league.  It works, it fits, and it feels right.

Total Score: 41/50

This league is going to be midwest heavy.

Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *