The Las Vegas Aviators professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League, Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, will celebrate their 40th Anniversary season in the Silver State during the 2023 campaign.
The Aviators organization have the proud distinction of being Nevada’s longest-enduring professional sports franchise. Las Vegas Triple-A baseball was born on April 10, 1983 before a crowd of 10,622 at Cashman Field. The team will use a special logo to commemorate the 2023 season. The primary logo shows the number 40 along with Las Vegas landmarks across the top.
“We are excited about the 40th Anniversary logo,” Aviators President/COO Don Logan said. “This franchise has a very proud tradition with all of the great players that have been a part of this organization as members of the Padres, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Mets and Athletics.
“We have provided the best in fun, family-oriented entertainment for the citizens of Southern Nevada since 1983, and along the way we have proudly lent our support to countless charitable initiatives and will continue to do so. The PCL possesses a rich tradition and provides a high caliber of competition in Triple-A baseball and has always provided a great product for the fans to come out to the ballpark to enjoy. The fan support we’ve had for 39 seasons has solidified that fact. In 2022, we proudly announced that the Las Vegas franchise had 93 players in the big leagues that once played for the 51s/Aviators.”
THE HISTORY (1983-2022): The Stars was the franchise’s original nickname for the first 18 seasons from 1983-2000 and had a player development contract with the San Diego Padres. The team then unveiled a new alien theme logo, based on the semi-secret government base known as “Area 51” which is located 160 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Media reports of UFO sightings and alien activities have been rumored at the base. Prior to the 2001 season, the franchise changed the nickname from the Stars to 51s and signed a PDC with the Los Angeles Dodgers and spent eight seasons as their affiliate (2001-08).
The 51s then signed a PDC with the Toronto Blue Jays for four seasons (2009-12). Toronto then signed a new “PDC” with Triple-A Buffalo of the International League following the 2012 season. Las Vegas then signed a PDC with the New York Mets and played six seasons as their top affiliate (2013-18). Following the 2017 season, the Mets purchased the Triple-A Syracuse franchise in Syracuse, N.Y., announcing they would begin play in the IL in 2019.
Prior to the start of the 2019 season, the Las Vegas franchise experienced a total rebranding that included not just a new affiliate, but also a new nickname, logo and stadium.
On December 8, 2018, the 51s officially became the Aviators, a name that pays tribute to Howard R. Hughes Jr., whose legacy includes significant aviation-related firsts and accomplishments. The organization also left Cashman Field near Downtown Las Vegas after 36 seasons for brand-new Las Vegas Ballpark in Downtown Summerlin. The inaugural season at Las Vegas Ballpark was a smash, as the Aviators led all Minor League Baseball in total attendance (650,934) and per-game attendance (9,299).
The Las Vegas franchise has reached the 300,000 mark in “home” attendance in all 39 seasons (1983-2019, 2021-22). In three regular seasons at the Las Vegas Ballpark, the attendance total is 1,597,524, which includes 64 sellouts.
The Aviators led all minor leagues in attendance in 2019; Triple-A West in 2020 and the PCL in 2022. The all-time total attendance now stands at 13,598,535.
Visit their website at https://www.milb.com/las-vegas