Main event: How the Texas Rangers and Oklahoma City partnered up

The Oklahoma City Triple-A baseball franchise has been a Texas Rangers affiliate for 28 years, but that could change after this season. Ryan Aber breaks down the different scenarios and looks at the history of Oklahoma City's major league partnerships.
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer, Modified: July 18, 2010 at 8:26 pm •  Published: July 18, 2010

It's one of the longest currently enduring partnerships between an MLB team and its Triple-A affiliate, but it almost didn't happen.

In 1983, Oklahoma City's partnership with the Phillies ended after a seven-year run.

The franchise was courted by several big league teams, including the Astros, Padres, Blue Jays and even the Phillies making a last-ditch effort to stay affiliated with the then-89ers.

But it came down to the Rangers and the Cubs.

At the time, the Cubs' Triple-A franchise wasn't firmly established in Des Moines, Iowa, and the owners of the then-Oklahoma City 89ers, Bing Hampton and Patty Cox Hampton, also served as vice presidents for the Chicago Cubs.

In the end, though, the proximity between Arlington and Oklahoma City, plus the Rangers' offer of the best Player Development Contract in Triple-A at the time started an affiliate relationship that has endured for nearly 30 years.

Since then, all but three others teams have changed affiliations. Only the Royals (Omaha), Red Sox (Pawtucket) and Cubs (Iowa) have kept their Triple-A affiliations for longer.

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