Today is the 25th anniversary of the first Senior Professional Baseball Association championship, in which the St. Petersburg Pelicans topped the Palm Beach Tropics 12-4. Lamar Johnson, who last year served as the New York Mets’ hitting coach, hit a home run and drove in three RBIs in that contest.
The Pelicans actually featured a bevy of ex-Mets. Johnson (.372), Steve Henderson (.352) and Len Randle (.349) led St. Pete in offense, and Jon Matlack won 10 games for the club. The Pelicans roster also featured former Mets Dock Ellis (here’s our no-no tie-in), Joe Sambito, Butch Benton, Sergio Ferrer, Gary Rajsich, Jerry Martin and Pat Zachry. It’s like a who’s who of the low-profile ’80s era.
The season was essentially it for the 35-and-older league, as four teams dropped out ahead of the start of the second season. The SPBA folded shortly thereafter.
The Pelicans’ sharp looking dark red and gold uniforms did get a bit of redemption, though. The Tampa Bay Rays, void of many options for throwbacks, wore Pelicans jerseys in a game against the Houston Astros in 2008.