“For 36 seasons, over 300,000 fans have attended Las Vegas 51s games (per season).” -Jim Gemma
LAS VEGAS (June 16, 2018) —Before the announcement of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas in 2016, before the Vegas Golden Knights’ first puck drop at T-Mobile Arena in 2017, before the Lights FC won their inaugural home opener vs. Reno FC, and before the Las Vegas Aces’ tipped off at the Mandalay Bay, there was a triple-A minor league baseball team, that made a major impact on the city of Las Vegas; that is the Las Vegas 51s.
The Las Vegas Stars now (51s), was Las Vegas’ first professional sports team established in 1983, before my existence and many other Vegas transplants. They created many jobs for locals, gave popular broadcasters like Colin Cowherd a start back in 1987, and families a team to cheer for in the summer.
The Stars inaugural season was quite successful, as the Vegas Golden Knights 2017-‘18 campaign, posting an (83–60) record and winning the first half championship for the Southern Division leading to a playoff berth, eventually losing to the Albuquerque Dukes. The following season, the Stars posted another successful campaign going (71–65) and winning their second division championship (first half), but ultimately losing in the league semifinals to the Hawaii Islanders.
I spoke with Jim Gemma of the Las Vegas 51s, what initially was supposed to be a recorded interview for http://slackiebrown.com — as a text quote, turned out to be a great exchange on the history of the 51s and the future of Las Vegas baseball.