Franchise Ball News

Remembering The River Rats, Dark Knights, and Destroyers

Dec 27th 2020 By Alexandria Country Yankees

Well, not too long ago, the Yonkers River Rats owner, who also owns the Peoria Destroyers and Ventura Dark Knights, sally quit. The Destroyers lasted 32 seasons, the River Rats for 25, and the Dark Knights for 14. We now remember them.

The Destroyers were founded in Season 61 with the dream of becoming the best FB team to stalk the planet. However, their first season was not exceptionally impressive, as they finished 22-23 and in 3rd place. However, skillful management and a motivated owner helped them turn it around and they finished 37-23 with their first division title. They followed it up with a 39-21 record and another division championship. Season 64 was also a 39-21 campaign, but they had more in mind than just a first round exit, which was the case in each of their first 2 seasons. The 6th seeded Destroyers managed 3 1-run wins to win the league. Peoria won 5-3 to get to the semis, but the Rochester Spoofly beat them 7-5. The Destroyers kept winning, going 42-18 and 39-21, but they lost in the first round of the
League Playoffs for the 4th time in 5 seasons. That streak ended quickly, as Peroia went 44-16 and beat 2 familiar faces (Bellingham Reruns and Springfield Eagles) en route to their 2nd league title. However, they lost in the first round of the Worlds to the Scapegoats, 6-2. They then went 45-15 to capture another division, but unbeknownst to the public was that a 2nd team was in the making: the Yonkers River Rats.

The River Rats began play in 69, going 37-23 and finishing 3rd, their only season without a division title. Meanwhile, the Destroyers led the world with 52 wins and captured their 3rd league title. However, after disappointments in the Worlds, they finally broke through, winning their 1st round matchup against a fluke dead team (the Kansas City Royals, who folded after Season 69), 18-7, and got a bye to their first ever World Series. Peoria made it close both games, but 6-4 and 8-7 losses gave the Spokane Warriors their 2nd straight title and 3rd overall. The Destroyers then took a break from the world stage for 2 seasons and allowed the River Rats to take center stage. The Rats, in just their 3rd season, took 9-8, 17-12, and 4-3 victories to win the league and dispatched the Arlington Outlaws in the Worlds, 20-5, but were defeated by the St. Louis Browns in the semis, 6-2.

There wasn’t any more World Playoffs action in Yonkers for 4 more seasons, but the Destroyers came back in force, going 51-9 and breezed through the League Playoffs. A 7th inning rally propelled Peroia to a 9-7 victory over the Kansas City KC Kings, and masterful pitching by Adrian Loftin made the Destroyer’s struggles against the Spokane Warriors a thing of the past with a 6-1 victory. This set up a World Series matchup against the Honolulu Island Winds (aka Shimakaze), and appeared to be done after a 15-11 defeat in Game 1, but took Game 2 thanks to 2 homers by Hall of Famer Gonzalo Mintz, which set up a decisive Game 3. All the scoring action took place in the 5th and 6th, and 5 Peroia pitchers combined for a 6-hit shutout for the 5-0 win and their first World Series. People danced in the streets and got drunk.

After 2 “normal” seasons (“only” division titles), the River Rats burst back on to the scene (while Peroia remained quiet for 2 seasons) going 44-16 and coasting through the league playoffs and into the worlds. This time, they were not to be denied, earning 2 decisive wins over the Buffalo bigacts and Victoria Vernon vipers before earning a bye to the World Series, where they faced the Chicago Atom Smashers. While balanced scoring was key to their 7-4 win, a 3-run 6th proved to be decisive in the 3-2 clincher. Once again, huge celebrations ensued. The Destroyers won in 76, but lost just one game away from the WS.

Then there was Season 77. Both teams won their leagues and seemed destined to play each other that year. However, it was not to be, as the Oceanside Waves shocked the Destroyers, 3-2, while the Los Angeles Lions killed the Rats, 6-0, on the way to their only World Championship. The River Rats couldn’t keep up the success, but the Destroyers could, winning the league in 78 for a 3-peat, but again losing in the semis. Then came a 3rd team: the Albuquerque Wombats, later known as the Ventura Dark Knights.

The Dark Knights toiled in obscurity, going 4 seasons before obtaining a division title. Meanwhile, the others continued to make noise, and the River Rats went 45-15 in 81 after “mediocre” win totals of 43 and 42 in the previous 2 seasons. This must have motivated them, as they won the league easily and dispatched 2 worthy opponents before earning a bye to the World Series, where they faced the record holders in division titles (67) and league titles (21), the Hartford HTFD_YANKEES. Game 1 was a pitchers duel, but Morgan Woodward prevailed, throwing a 7-hitter with 14 Ks to carry the Rats to a 2-0 triumph. Pitching dominated Game 2 as well, but 4 solo homers by 4 different people gave Yonkers a 2nd World title, a 4-2 victory as Kasey Flowers, now with the Bombers, got the save.

This was the last World title for the franchise, but success was still abundant. Yonkers won the league in 83, 87, 89, and 91 but lost to the Shima in a 3-game World Series in 83, were edged by the Ohawks in the 87 Semifinals, got dispatched by the Giants in the 89 Semis, and were stunned by the Terrace Thunder in 91. The Destroyers also thrived, winning the league in 83, 87, and 88 but fell to the River Rats in 83, 7-3, the Springfield Eagles in 87, also 7-3, and to the Wind Surge in 88, 11-9. They still won divisions, but it wasn’t the same, largely because of everyone’s greatest fear: 200 million dollar bids by the one and only… Cincinnati Reds.

59 games into Season 92, Yonkers was done with taking shit. Years and years of people bidding insane amounts of money on franchise players who the teams had gone to hell and back to get. After all that hard work to create a contender, the franchise owner decided to quit, saying over the span of 3 posts (slightly edited for grammar and clarity).

“Tired of Reds and dealing with it. Has up to 2 bil. His new thing is bidding last minute. So if you don’t catch it you cannot grant a contract during the 10 [minute] rule. He just takes the fun out of it. I like keeping players and trying to get into the hall. It’s fun having your favorite players etc. but these 200 mil bids are the last straw. Pisses me off somebody is ok spending that kind of money on a sim game. Just to f with people. Come here to relax and be around. Not deal with all that crap”- Yonkers River Rats.

Or, as he put it more mildly in another quote (again slightly edited).

“Been the worst month of my life. Seem families struggling including mine. Get on FB and some jackass [Reds] has spent over 2,000 bucks and bidding 200 mil on players. I am distancing myself from ignorance like that. Not worth it.”- Yonkers River Rats

Of course, there was still some season left, and all 3 teams played out their postseasons. Tye Destroyers finished 47-13 but were stunningly swept in the 1st round by the Little Rock Winners. The River Rats were 48-12 and... The Dark Knights were 38-22 and were swept by the St. Johns Deadly Sins.


Peroia Destroyers
Seasons: 32
Record: 1421-474 (.750)
Division Titles: 30
League Titles: 10
World Titles: 1

Yonkers River Rats
Seasons: 25
Record: 1070-369 (.744)
Division Titles: 23
League Titles: 8
World Titles: 2

Ventura Dark Knights
Seasons: 14
Record: 467-315 (.597)
Division Titles: 4
League Titles: 0
World Titles: 0

The Franchise
Seasons: 71
Record: 2958-1158 (.719)
Division Titles: 57
League Titles: 18
World Titles: 3

Ultimately, this franchise could’ve been the greatest of all time for sure. They are definitely up there, because although the Bombers, Warriors, and Dolphins were all great, they only had 1 team to make into a contender. The River Rats managed to get 2 great teams and another solid one. You can’t say that about any of the teams mentioned above. Had it not been for the Reds placing 200 million bids (maybe not just the Reds, but most notably the Reds), he may still be with us. As they say, though, “shit happens”.

News Conversation
Farewell Yonkers River Rats, Peoria Destroyers, and Ventura Dark Knights!
2 years ago
2 years ago
Guess I'm the only Hudson Valley boy left. Gotta represent now the other Yonkers team is gone.
2 years ago
Giants : 
2 years ago
sour grapes
2 years ago
hold up. for real?
2 years ago
Giants : 
lmao wtf
2 years ago
Funny, when my team won their two WS, the people had sex in the streets! Lol!
2 years ago
Storm : 
Nice article
2 years ago
Thanks Giants!
2 years ago
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