The Nevada Griffons were formed in 1984 when a group of Nevada businessmen went about finding a way to bring summer college baseball to the city of Nevada. They formed a board, named a general manager and began raising money via a weekly bingo game. They joined the Jayhawk League, one of the premier leagues in the country at the time, with teams in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. The name “Griffons” was chosen via a contest, with the winning name suggested by local sportswriter Kelly Bradham.
Griffons come from the names of Clark Griffith (co-founder of the American League) and George Lyons, the only two Vernon Countians known to have played Major League Baseball. In 1985, the first team was recruited and began play. Players came from all over the United States, just as they still do now. Each year the team plays a very busy schedule during the months of June and July, with time split between home games and away games. Most years the team competed in the post-season NBC (National Baseball Congress) World Series in Wichita, KS.
Players live with host families from the area, many of them developing life-long friendships. Hosting a Griffon is something families look forward to all year long, and Griffons truly become part of the family while they are here. Over the years, over 1000 players have come to Nevada to play baseball. A significant number of those players have been drafted, and over 30 have played Major League Baseball. In July of 2018, Trevor Hoffman (Griffons ’87) was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 2009, citing financial and travel considerations, the team left the Jayhawk League to become part of the MINK (Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas) League. The league currently has 9 teams, the St. Joseph Mustangs, Chillicothe Mudcats, Sedalia Bombers, Joplin Outlaws, Jefferson City Renegades, Clarinda (IA) A’s, Carroll (IA) Merchants and Des Moines Peak Prospects along with the Griffons.
The Griffons Board of Directors works year round to raise the monies necessary to fund each summer season, somewhere between $55,000-$60,000 each year. The committee sells fence signs, yearbook ads and other sponsorships; they hold monthly luncheons and organize fundraisers like a yearly Radio Auction, a Hole-in-One Golf event, Memorabilia Auction and an Ice Cream Social, among others.
Each game is broadcast through the Nevada local radio station, KNEM KNMO. The Butler radio station will have the summer schedule available on our website and will announce and promote each game through our DJ’s and in our daily local newscast.
Our hope is to support the Nevada Griffons college baseball team and it’s players. See the www.921news.com website for the June and July schedule. See The Nevada Giffons at www.nevadagiffons.org on the web.