Gary SouthShore RailCats

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Gary SouthShore RailCats
GarySouthshoreRailcats.PNG SouthshoreRailcatsCap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
League American Association (Central Division)
Location Gary, Indiana
Ballpark U.S. Steel Yard
Year founded 2001
League championships 3 (2005, 2007, 2013)
Division championships 3 (2006, 2007, 2009)
Former name(s) Gary SouthShore RailCats (2002–present)
Former league(s)
Colors green, maroon, silver, black
                   
Retired numbers 42, 45 23 Willie Glen
Ownership Salvi Sports Enterprises
Manager Greg Tagert
General Manager Pete Laven
Media Post-Tribune, Northwest Indiana Times
Website www.railcatsbaseball.com
Uniforms
NoL-Uniform-GAR.PNG

The Gary SouthShore RailCats are a professional baseball team based in Gary, Indiana, in the United States. The RailCats are a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The RailCats have played their home games at the U.S. Steel Yard since 2002, when the team started as a member of the Northern League. In 2011 the team became a member of the modern American Association.

During their time in the Northern League, the RailCats were the only team to ever reach the Championship Series five years in a row (2005–09) and won league championships in 2005, 2007, and 2013.

History[edit]

2001 'Inception'[edit]

On January 23, 2001, the Northern League announced that it had awarded a franchise to Northwest Sports Ventures, LLC .[1] In June a Limited Liability Company by the name of Victory Sports Group was officially registered in Missouri, led by Michael A. Tatoian.

Amid much controversy, ground was broken for a new 6,000 seat stadium in Gary, Indiana. Mayor Scott King received much scrutiny for his decision to fund such a stadium; the city of Gary has had a history of mayors who have funded massive white elephants. Again with much controversy the city signed a fifteen-year lease with the team ownership for the future baseball stadium.

In September, 2001, the team was officially named the Gary SouthShore RailCats, drawing its name from both the city's deep history of freight lines and the South Shore Line commuter train (visible over the left field wall at the stadium).

2002 'RoadCats'[edit]

The stadium construction was behind schedule forcing the RailCats to play their first season entirely on the road. The city of Gary paid a financial penalty for failure to complete the stadium on time, which helped finance their season. The RailCats traveled approximately 12,000 miles to play 90 games. Despite that, RailCats manager Joe Calfapietra was named the Northern League Manager of the Year after his club won 35 games, the most ever by a team that played exclusively on the road.

2003 'Losing at Home'[edit]

Now that the stadium was complete, the RailCats signed a ten-year naming rights agreement with United States Steel Corporation for the stadium. Joe Calfapietra resigned as Manager citing that he wanted to be closer to home. He later signed with the New Jersey Jackals. The RailCats hired former Major League All-Star Garry Templeton to Manage the team. Unfortunately, stadium or not, the RailCats were little more than a pushover, firmly stuck in last place.

2004 'Undesirable Records'[edit]

Garry Templeton returned as coach for another season leading the Cats in their worst season. In June, they had a 14-game losing streak which was the longest in Northern League history. They completed the season in last place again securing the record for the most losses for a season in Northern League history. The RailCats announced that Templeton would not be offered his job next season. He later signed with the Fullerton Flyers.

2005 'New Manager, New Lease on Life'[edit]

The RailCats hired Greg Tagert as manager. Tagert made a number of roster changes, and turned the RailCats from losers to winners almost immediately, ending the first half with a .563 average, the first winning average in team history. The Northern League All-Star game was held at the U.S. Steel Yard. The second half went the same as the first but ended with an upset victory making the worst team in 2004, the 2005 Champions. The RailCats beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to win the title.

2006 'Rematch'[edit]

Tagert returned as manager in 2006. The Cats were first in their division, second overall for the season. They returned to the championship series to face the RedHawks again. This time losing the title.

2007 'O Canada'[edit]

Tagert returned yet again. He proved that he could make the RailCats a legacy team. The RailCats appeared unstoppable all season. Winning first place both halves. The season was fraught with controversy between the Alberta teams and the rest of the league. Despite this fact, the Calgary Vipers made it to the championship series. The RailCats spared the league the embarrassment of having a team that was leaving the league win the championship, as the Cats beat the Vipers.

2008 'Not in Kansas anymore'[edit]

Prior to the season the Cats signed Tagert to an extended contract to keep him at least until the completion of the 2010 season. Patrick A. Salvi and his wife Linda purchased the RailCats. Patrick is the managing partner of the law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. With the loss of the Alberta teams, the league contracted to six teams. Due to the size, the league opted to have a single-division full season. Tagert again led the Cats in a winning season, ending in second place. They lost the championship series to the fourth place Kansas City T-Bones who beat the first place RedHawks in the playoffs to make it to the series.

2009 'Little Birdy'[edit]

The Cats again proved a force to be reckoned with as they ended the season in first place yet again and made it to the championship season for the fifth straight season. They lost to RedHawks.

2010 'Three Steps Back'[edit]

The Cats finished in fourth place in the Northern League, their worst place finish in five years. For the first time since 2004, the RailCats did not reach the championship series, being swept by the RedHawks in the league semifinals.

2011 'Coming To America'[edit]

On October 13, 2010, the RailCats left the Northern League, along with the RedHawks, T-Bones, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes to join the American Association for the 2011 season.[2]

Fast Facts[edit]

Founded: 2001
Playoff appearances: 2005, 06, 07, 08, 09, 13
Divisional titles won: 2006, 07, 09
League Championships won: 2005, 07, 13
Broadcasts:
Audio: WEFM 95.9 FM, (no streaming available) or RailCats Website, Click Here to listen live online
Video: RailCats Website, Click Here to view all home games live online (formerly on iBN Sports)

Year-by-year record[edit]

            First Half   Second Half   Overall      
Season League Division W-L Finish W-L Finish W-L Win% Playoffs
2002 NL South 16-28 5th 18-27 3rd 35-55 .389 Did not qualify
2003 NL East 15-30 5th 21-24 5th 36-54 .400 Did not qualify
2004 NL South 13-35 5th 18-30 5th 31-65 .323 Did not qualify
2005 NL South 27-21 3rd 27-21 3rd 54-42 .563 Won championship
2006 NL South 24-24 2nd 27-22 1st 51-46 .526 Lost championship
2007 NL South 30-18 1st 28-20 1st 58-38 .604 Won championship
2008 NL N/A 56-40 2nd N/A N/A 56-40 .583 Lost championship
2009 NL N/A 57-39 1st N/A N/A 57-39 .594 Lost championship
2010 NL N/A 52-48 4th N/A N/A 52-48 .520 Lost in 1st round
2011 AA Central 54-46 2nd N/A N/A 54-46 .540 Did not qualify
2012 AA Central 50-50 3rd N/A N/A 50-50 .500 Did not qualify
2013 AA Central 58-41 2nd N/A N/A 58-41 .586 Won championship

Current roster[edit]

Gary SouthShore RailCats roster
Active (22-man) roster Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 56 Kevin Brahney
  • 28 Morgan Coombs
  • 34 Dustin Crenshaw
  • 11 Chuck Fontana
  • 17 Ethan Gibbons
  • 19 Stephen Hiscock
  • 20 Kagen Hopkins
  • 14 Joe Testa


Utility player

  • 44 Ryan Brockett
 

Catchers

  •  2 Ryan Babineau
  • 24 Craig Maddox

Infielders

  • 16 Wally Backman
  •  4 Jeremy Hamilton
  • 10 Ryan Miller
  •  7 Zac Mitchell
  • 22 Danny Pulfer
  • 30 Derek Smith

Outfielders

  •  9 Cody Bishop
  •  5 Drew Martinez
  • 91 Josh Romanski
  • 98 Adam Taylor
 

Manager

Coaches

  • Juan Alonso (bullpen coach)
  • Mick Curran (hitting coordinator)
  • Dennis Pelfrey (third base coach)
  • Keaton Willis (pitching coach)

Injury icon 2.svg Disabled list
‡ Inactive list
§ Suspended list

Roster updated May 15, 2014
Transactions

Notable alumni[3][edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Jackie Robinson GAR.PNG Joe Gates GAR.PNG
Jackie Robinson Joe Gates[4]
2B
Retired throughout
professional baseball
on April 15, 1997
1B Coach
Retired by the
Gary SouthShore RailCats
on May 21, 2010

External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

Official blogs[edit]

Media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NORTHERN LEAGUE ANNOUNCES GARY FRANCHISE
  2. ^ Four Clubs Added to American Association
  3. ^ All-Time Roster
  4. ^ RailCats to Honor Coach Joe Gates During 2010 Season, Gary SouthShore RailCats, April 2, 2010. Accessed April 4, 2010. "RailCats to Honor Coach Joe Gates During 2010 Season"

* nlfan.com - yearly league standings & awards

Achievements
Preceded by
St. Paul Saints
2004
Northern League Champions
Gary SouthShore RailCats

2005
Succeeded by
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
2006
Preceded by
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
2006
Northern League Champions
Gary SouthShore RailCats

2007
Succeeded by
Kansas City T-Bones
2008