The El Paso Chihuahuas are a minor league baseball team representing El Paso, Texas, in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). They are the Triple-A affiliate for the San Diego Padres. The team plays its home games at Southwest University Park. The Chihuahuas moved to El Paso from Tucson, Arizona, where it was known as the Tucson Padres.
The Chihuahuas' heritage can be traced back to the establishment of the original Los Angeles Angels in 1903. These Angels (no relation to the current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) were one of the eight "core teams" of the PCL during its heyday in the 1950s. In 1957, the team was sold to Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley as a harbinger of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles the following year.
For 1958, the Angels moved to Spokane, Washington, and became the (original) Spokane Indians. In 1972, the team moved again, this time to Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the Albuquerque Dukes, many of the team's star players and manager Tommy Lasorda formed the core of a Dodgers franchise that won the 1977, 1978, and 1981 pennants and 1981 World Series title.
After nearly two decades, the Dukes moved to Portland, Oregon, and became the latest version of the Portland Beavers in 2001. That franchise lasted 10 seasons until the inability to get a new ballpark to replace what is now Providence Park (renovated to accommodate the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer) led to a relocation. At first, the plan was to move to Escondido, California, about 40 miles north of San Diego, as a club owned by the San Diego Padres. But once again, a new ballpark proved elusive, and the team landed in Tucson, Arizona, as the Tucson Padres.
On July 30, 2012, the Pacific Coast League gave preliminary approval to MountainStar Sports Group to buy the Padres, with the intent to relocate the franchise to El Paso for the 2014 season. The deal was approved on September 17, 2012, pending approval for a ballpark by the city council. Ballpark approval was made on September 18, with the mayor deciding not to veto the deal. The final sale of the Padres to MountainStar Sports was approved on September 26, 2012.
A name-the-team contest was held to decide the team's nickname. Finalists were Aardvarks, Buckaroos, Chihuahuas, Desert Gators, and Sun Dogs. The winning name was submitted by Shae Vierra. On October 22, 2013, the Chihuahuas name, logo and colors were announced. The name is a reference to the Mexican State of Chihuahua, which borders El Paso, while the team logo is a growling chihuahua dog.
Due to construction delays at the site of Southwest University Park, the Chihuahuas played their first 24 games of the 2014 season on the road, including a four-game series against the Reno Aces that was moved from El Paso to Tucson. The home opener finally took place on April 28, a 2–1 loss to the Fresno Grizzlies.
On September 17, 2016, the Chihuahuas plated a run in the 11th inning to defeat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 4-3 to claim the El Paso's first ever PCL championship in just the franchise's third year of existence.