TEP History

When the Diamondbacks were made the newest franchise of Major League Baseball they chose the name Arizona to help everyone understand that they represented the entire state and not just the Phoenix metropolitan area.

As part of an effort to gain statewide fans, the Diamondbacks selected Tucson as their Spring Training home beginning in the 1998 season.

 

Date Event
April 24, 1996 Pima County Board of Supervisors vote to unanimously go ahead with a deal with Agape Christian Community Church to acquire 23 acres of land to include in creating a new Spring Training baseball facility for the Arizona Diamondbacks and an unnamed team likely to be the Chicago White Sox.
February 14, 1997 Ground breaking ceremony held to begin construction of a new Spring Training facility that will be home to the Chicago White Sox who are relocating from Sarasota Florida, and the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks who begin play in 1998.
March 1997 Tucson Electric Power Co. signed a 10-year naming rights deal to name the new Diamondbacks Spring Training facility Tucson Electric Park.
April 1997 Martin Stone, a businessman, land speculator and former owner of the Phoenix Firebirds, purchases the Tucson Toros from Rick Holtzman. The Tucson Toros have a one year player development contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, filling the gap between the end of the Toros' contract with Houston and the beginning of the team's affiliation with the expansion Diamondbacks. Diamondbacks prospect Travis Lee plays in Tucson for part of the season.
February 27, 1998 In front of a sellout crowd, Tucson Electric Park opened with a Cactus League Spring Training game featuring the Chicago White Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks would come from behind to win the game in the ninth inning.
April 1998 The renamed Tucson Sidewinders begin their affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks, playing at Tucson Electric Park. A new mascot is also introduced, Sandy Sidewinder, a snake with arms. The old mascot, Tuffy the Toro, is phased out.
May 1999 Longtime Toros general manager Mike Feder is fired from the Sidewinders by team owner Stone. A local uproar ensues in support of Feder. He is replaced by Jack Donovan. After the season, broadcasting entrepreneur Jay Zucker purchases the Sidewinders from Martin Stone, reportedly for about $7 to $8 million, after Stone is diagnosed with prostate cancer. The new ownership group, led by Jay and Melinda Zucker, is Tucson Baseball, LLC.
April 2007 Bill Plummer, the former manager of the Diamondbacks' former Double-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies, takes over as skipper for the Sidewinders in 2007. Randy Johnson pitches the home opener as part of a brief rehab stint with the Sidewinders, and picks up a win for the team in his second outing on April 20. Hampered by low attendance and concerns over the location and playing field maintenance at Tucson Electric Park, Tucson Baseball LLC sells the Tucson Sidewinders to SK Baseball LLC for $15 M in June 2007. Tucson finishes the 2007 season with a 75–67 record, the second most wins in Sidewinders history. Tucson Baseball LLC completes sale of the team to SK Baseball LLC on September 12, 2007
September 2008 The Sidewinders had a win-loss record of 60–82 for their final season in Tucson, finishing in fourth (last) place in Pacific South division of the PCL. SK Baseball relocated the team to Reno, Nevada for the 2009 season, where they became the Reno Aces
November 2008 The Chicago White Sox had an agreement to move to Glendale in a stadium that was completed in the 2009 season. However, the Sox' lease on TEP was to last through 2012. In order to leave TEP early, the Sox proposed a youth baseball academy backed by Major League Baseball surrounding TEP. On November 18, 2008 the Pima County Board of Supervisors agreed to the White Sox's revised offer of $5 million, thus allowing the team to move to Glendale in time for the 2009 season. The Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, spring training occupant of Tucson's Hi Corbett Field, indicated that they would both need Tucson to have 3 teams in order to continue playing there. Tucson was therefore abandoned as a spring training venue, and all Cactus League games now take place in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Diamondbacks and Rockies share the new Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, which opened in 2011 near Scottsdale.
September 2010 After the end of the naming agreement with the local electric utility, Tucson Electric Power, the stadium was renamed after Eusebio Kino, the Jesuit missionary who first explored southern Arizona in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
October 12, 2010 It was announced that a site in Escondido, California had been selected for the new home of the Portland Beavers. The new ballpark was scheduled to open in April 2013. Until the move to Escondido could be completed the Triple-A Padres would play their home games at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.
January 18, 2011 The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the name change to Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
April 2011 The San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate relocated from Portland, Oregon to Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium and renamed itself the Tucson Padres. They were formerly known as the Portland Beavers. Originally the San Diego Padres organization wanted to arrange for a stadium to be approved and constructed in Escondido, California, however that stadium plan later fell through when California eliminated their redevelopment agencies.
July 30, 2012 The Pacific Coast League gave preliminary approval to MountainStar Sports Group, an ownership group based out of El Paso, Texas, for the purchase of the Tucson Padres. The final sale of the Padres to MountainStar Sports was approved on September 26, 2012. On October 22, 2013 in front of a capacity crowd inside the historic Plaza Theater in Downtown El Paso, the MountainStar Sports Group announced that the team would officially be renamed as The El Paso Chihuahuas.