Altoona Curve

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Altoona Curve
Founded in 1998
Altoona, Pennsylvania
AltoonaCurve.png AltoonaCurvecap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current Double-A (1999–Present)
Minor league affiliations
League Eastern League (1999–Present)
Division Western Division
Major league affiliations
Current Pittsburgh Pirates (1999–Present)
Minor league titles
League titles 2010
Division titles 2004, 2010
Team data
Nickname Altoona Curve (1999–Present)
Colors Red, black, bronze, gray, white
                        
Ballpark Peoples Natural Gas Field (1998–Present) (named Blair County Ball Park 1998-2012)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Lozinak Baseball, LLC
Manager Carlos García
General manager Rob Egan

The Altoona Curve are a minor league baseball team based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, named after nearby Horseshoe Curve (but also alluding to the curveball, a kind of pitch). The team, which plays in the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league club. The Curve play in Peoples Natural Gas Field, located in Altoona; it was opened in 1999 and seats 7,210 fans.

The Altoona Curve hosted the Eastern League All-Star Game at Blair County Ballpark on July 12, 2006, before a standing-room-only crowd of 9,308.

History[edit]

The Altoona Curve franchise began when Arizona and Tampa Bay were both awarded major-league franchises in 1998. The addition of these two teams had a domino effect through baseball with the expansion of not only the major leagues, but throughout minor-league baseball as well. With this expansion, AA baseball received two new teams to begin play in the 1999 season. The Erie SeaWolves were already an established minor-league team with outstanding short-season attendance, and were quickly awarded one of the new franchises. The second spot in the new, larger Eastern League looked to be headed to Springfield, Massachusetts, but city native Bob Lozinak, developer Tate DeWeese, businessman Mark Thomas and a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers rallied to get the final spot, making a formal presentation to league officials on October 5, 1997. The proposal received unanimous support and Altoona won the other franchise.

Groundbreaking on Blair County Ballpark took place on March 7, 1998, and the franchise was formally awarded in April. In June of that year, the "Curve" nickname was selected over several other proposals, including Lake Monsters, Ridge Runners, and the Altoona Fish.

The next step for the start of the Altoona Curve was to find a major league affiliate. The Erie SeaWolves had already had several successful seasons in the Pirates' organization, as a short-season single-A affiliate. In the end, however, the Pirates chose Altoona for their AA affiliate.

The Altoona Curve began their first season on the road at the Reading Phillies on April 9, 1999. Their first game was suspended by rain and completed the next day as part of a doubleheader. That first game was a 6–2 loss, but the Curve scored their first-ever victory in the second game, beating Reading 6–4. A few days later, on April 15, the Curve christened Blair County Ballpark by defeating the Bowie Baysox 6–1 in front of a crowd of 6,171.

On April 2, 2002, Lozinak and DeWeese sold the franchise to a collective headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg. Among the partners in the collective are Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and NHL star Mario Lemieux. The first season under new ownership was the most successful to date, performance-wise as well as economically. During August of that year, the Pirates signed on for another four-year development agreement through the 2006 season.

During the 2003 season, the Curve made the Eastern League playoffs for the first time, and followed that up with two more appearances in 2004 and 2005. Their performance on the field has led to increased numbers in the stands, and the Curve increased attendance for five consecutive years before dipping by just a few thousand in 2005.

Following the 2004 season, General Manager Todd Parnell was honored as the Eastern League Executive of the Year, and the franchise won the Larry MacPhail Trophy for the best promotional effort (on and off the field) in all of Minor League Baseball.

On April 2, 2006, their fourth anniversary as owners, Greenberg and his group announced an additional four-year extension on the development agreement with the Pirates, keeping the Curve's affiliation intact through at least the 2010 season.

On December 2, 2008, Chuck Greenberg sold the Altoona Curve back to original owner and Altoona native Bob Lozinak.

On May 23, 2009, the Altoona Curve and Pittsburgh Pirates renewed their development agreement, which now runs through the 2014 season.

On September 18, 2010, the Curve defeated the Trenton Thunder to clinch the franchise's first ever Eastern League Championship. The Curve won the series three games to one.

On September 29, 2010, just 11 days after winning the franchise's first Eastern League Championship, Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington decided to not re-sign Walbeck.[1]

No-hitters[edit]

On April 23, 2002, Adrian Burnside, Neal McDade and Chris Spurling combined for the first no-hitter in Altoona Curve history. Burnside pitched the first five innings, McDade pitched the next three and Spurling pitched the ninth inning to complete the no-hitter.[2] On July 25, 2013, Ethan Hollingsworth, Jason Townsend, Jhonathan Ramos and Ryan Beckman combined for the second no-hitter in Altoona Curve history. Hollingsworth pitched the first four innings, Townsend pitched the next three, Ramos pitched the eighth inning and Beckman pitched the ninth to complete the no-hitter.[3]

Promotions[edit]

On "Awful Night", the first 1,000 fans received a photo of general manager Todd Parnell's gall bladder, and one fan even won Parnell's actual gall bladder.

Notable alumni[edit]

Season records[edit]

(Place listed is finish in Southern Division from 1999–2009 and finish in Western Division from 2010–present)

  • 1999: 67–73 (6th), manager Marty Brown
  • 2000: 74–68 (4th), manager Marty Brown
  • 2001: 63–79 (5th), manager Dale Sveum
  • 2002: 72–69 (4th), manager Dale Sveum
  • 2003: 78–63 (2nd), manager Dale Sveum
  • 2004: 84–56 (1st), manager Tony Beasley
  • 2005: 77–65 (2nd), manager Tony Beasley
  • 2006: 75–64 (2nd), manager Tim Leiper
  • 2007: 73–68 (3rd), manager Tim Leiper
  • 2008: 65–77 (5th), manager Tim Leiper
  • 2009: 62–80 (6th), manager Matt Walbeck
  • 2010: 82–60 (1st), manager Matt Walbeck
  • 2011: 64-77 (6th), manager P. J. Forbes
  • 2012: 72-70 (3rd), manager P. J. Forbes
  • 2013: 63-79 (6th), manager Carlos Garcia

Playoff appearances[edit]

  • 2003 season: Lost to Akron 3–1 in Southern Division Championship Series.
  • 2004 season: Defeated Erie 3–0 in Southern Division Championship Series; lost to New Hampshire 3–0 in Eastern League Championship Series.
  • 2005 season: Lost to Akron 3–2 in Southern Division Championship Series.
  • 2006 season: Lost to Akron 3–2 in Southern Division Championship Series.
  • 2010 season: Defeated Harrisburg 3–1 in Western Division Championship Series; beat Trenton 3–1 in the Eastern League Championship Series.

Current roster[edit]

Altoona Curve roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 30 Nate Baker
  • 47 Ryan Beckman
  • 17 Orlando Castro
  • 41 Emmanuel De Leon
  • 23 Zack Dodson
  • 37 Thomas Harlan
  • 27 Jeff Inman
  • 46 Kenn Kasparek
  • 32 Quinton Miller Injury icon 2.svg
  • 49 Joan Montero
  • 36 Jhonathan Ramos
  • 14 Joely Rodríguez *
  • 12 Adrian Sampson

Catchers

  • 29 Elias Diaz
  •  3 Ralph Henriquez
  • 38 Carlos Paulino

Infielders

Outfielders

Manager

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated July 23, 2014
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players

References[edit]

External links[edit]