The New Orleans Baby Cakes have become the poster children (or poster babies) for outrageous minor league baseball nicknames. But this Friday, the team will revive one of the sport’s classic identities. The Baby Cakes will play as the New Orleans Pelicans—not an homage to the contemporary identity adopted by the city’s NBA team, but rather a throwback to the baseball team that played from 1887 to 1959 (and again for one season in 1977, a team whose roster included Tony LaRussa).
Over the years, the Pelicans roster featured the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson (wearing #12 in the photo above in 1910), Bob Lemon, and Earl Weaver. The Pelicans were affiliated with the Cardinals, Yankees, Pirates, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Indians before the franchise moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, after the 1959 season.
The Baby Cakes, Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, played as the New Orleans Zephyrs (a name they brought with them from their days in Denver) from 1993 until last season. The announcement of the change to Baby Cakes, which is pretty outrageous even in a minor league baseball landscape replete with wacky nicknames, was startling. Perhaps cognizant of this, the team unveiled their classic Pelicans throwbacks when they revealed their new uniforms during the offseason.
Friday’s uniforms, replicating the look from 1942, are one of two sets the team will wear this season. The other, with an interlocking NO cap, is from an earlier iteration of the team.