Photograph from the Utah State Historical Society, courtesy of Fred Sagebaum
As the Phillies said goodbye to the Bees after a very successful 7 year run, something special awaited Derks Field. After playing as a Rookie level team since the stadium had opened, Derks Field was now going to make the tremendous jump to Triple-A baseball, under the official jurisdiction of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Little Derks Field however would need to go through some tremendous upgrades in order to bring it up to the capacity of a Triple-A
Stadium. As you can see, it was a tiny little thing when it opened. The next few photographs will show the progress as it underwent construction to expand the grandstand, a process it would go through over and over again. As the new Triple-A version of the Bees took the field, many thought felt that the records of the past may not still be alive by the end of the next few seasons. It wouldn't make it nearly that far as both future Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star slugger Dick Stuart (31 HR, .311) and Jimmy McDaniel (37 HR, .293 who somehow managed to hit over 30 HRs in Triple A 4 times and never crack the Majors) would obliterate John Moskus' former all-time HR lead for Derks Field in their first season here. Luckily for John, future Pirates' Bill Hill would have the highest batting average at .344, keeping Moskus' .386 batting average safe... for now. Future Pirates OF Carlos Bernier also had a fine season with 27 doubles, 11 triples, 15 homers and a .327 batting average, as did future New York Mets Right Fielder Joe Christopher (15 2B, 10 3B, 8 HR, .327) and Sammy Miley (29 2B, .334). Somehow with all of this talent, the Bees managed to only get to a 77-77 record. In 1959, all of that great power hitting was gone as future Pittsburgh Pirates 1B R.C. Stevens led the team in HRs with 19 (.287). Sammy Miley was outstanding yet again batting .333 with 39 doubles. The team instead was built around the excellent pitching of future 15 year career Major League Baltimore Orioles' Dick Hall (18-5, 1.87), Pittsburgh Pirates' Laurin Pepper (13-11, 4.24), future Pittsburgh Pirates' George Perez (11-7, 2.55) and Houston Astros' Jim Umbricht (14-8, 2.78). Together this team somehow managed to come together and capture 1st place going 85-69 on the season, and taking home their first Championship title since joining the PCL. It was the 2nd pennant for Derks Field.