One of the most successful sports franchises in Oregon history is the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Playing in the Northwest League from 1997 thru 2020, the Volcanoes won 7 Divisional Championships, 5 Northwest League Championships, and have seen 112 players pass thru on their way to the major leagues including super-stars Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Joe Nathan, Joe Panik, Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong among many, many more.
Similar to the Salem Senators being created, due to a relocation from Bellingham, Washington to Salem, so were the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. In 1997, Volcanoes owners Jerry and Lisa Walker, along with their partner, Bill Tucker, relocated the Bellingham Giants and built a beautiful new stadium in Keizer – architecturally award-winning Volcanoes Stadium. Thru 2020, the Volcanoes participated exclusively in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League of Professional Baseball.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes have won many outstanding awards such as the 2001 Best Class A Short Season franchise in America, the 2007 National Team of the Year, and 2017 Minor League Baseball’s Best Promotion. The 2006 Volcanoes set an all-time Northwest League Record in winning percentage posting a 55-21 record (.724) only to be broken the very next year when the 2007 Volcanoes posted a 57-19 mark (.750). For the period 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 – the Volcanoes were not out of first place, not even for a single day at any time during the season, for 4 consecutive years!!!! The Volcanoes set an all-time attendance mark on July 4, 2006, when 5,627 fans attended the teams Patriotic Tribute – the largest crowd ever to attend a sporting event in Salem-Keizer.
The Volcanoes have been home to the award-winning Cancer Awareness Weekend going on its 20th year. Founded by cancer survivor, Volcanoes owner, Lisa Walker, along with oncologist Dr. Bud Pierce, this widely-recognized weekend recognizes and honors hundreds of cancer survivors with on-the-field ceremonies and gifts. In 2005, Lisa was awarded the prestigious Rawlings National Woman Executive of the Year at Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas for her extensive efforts in recognizing cancer survivors.
In 2019, Jerry Howard, of the Volcanoes staff, was awarded the illustrious Charles K. Murphy National Patriot Award, at BaseballWinter Meetings in San Diego, California,for his many years of recognizing and honoring our service men and women, and all Veterans, during the Volcanoes’ annual 4th of July Patriotic Tribute.
2020 brought another milestone to the Volcanoes organization, as Mickey Walker, son of Jerry and Lisa Walker, was named Chief Executive Officer of the Volcanoes, and a new generation now leads the Volcanoes forward.
Yes, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are still going very strongly, and good, wholesome family entertainment remains in the greater Willamette Valley. Thanks to the Walker family, and thousands of dedicated and loyal fans, this storied franchise continues to “PLAY BALL”.