Harrisburg Senators

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Harrisburg Senators
Founded in 1987
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Senators.png Harrsenshatlogo.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current Double-A (1987–present)
Minor league affiliations
League Eastern League (1987–present)
Division Western Division
Major league affiliations
Current Washington Nationals (1991–present)
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles 1927, 1928, 1931, 1987, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
Division titles 1994, 1997, 2011, 2013
Team data
Nickname Harrisburg Senators (1987–present)
Colors Red, navy blue, gold, white
                   
Ballpark Metro Bank Park (1987–present)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Senators Partners LLC
Manager Matthew LeCroy
General manager Randy Whitaker

The Harrisburg Senators are a minor league baseball team based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The team, which plays in the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

The Senators play in Metro Bank Park, located on City Island in Harrisburg. The stadium originally opened in 1987 as Riverside Stadium, but has since been renamed and renovated. It presently has a seating capacity of 6,187 fans. The "Senators" nickname refers to the host city being the capital and thus home of the Pennsylvania legislature. The team colors are red, navy blue, and gold, the same colors of the parent club, the Washington Nationals.

Harrisburg has won nine Eastern League titles and is the first team in league history to win four titles in a row: 1927, 1928, 1931, 1987, 1993, and 199699.

Franchise history[edit]

The city of Harrisburg has a long history of professional baseball. In 1901, the first baseball club in Harrisburg was created. In 1912, Harrisburg won the first of three Tri-State Association championships in a row. In 1915, an affilitated International League team moved from Newark, New Jersey, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The club lasted one year before moving to the New York State League and disbanding. This left the city without professional baseball for seven years.

The original Senators[edit]

In 1924, the first incarnation of the Senators joined the newly formed New York-Penn League, which was eventually renamed the Eastern League. Initially, the Senators and most of the other New York-Penn League teams were not affiliated with a Major League Baseball team. In 1925, Joe Munson hit a .400 batting average, a record which stands to this day in Senators history, and 33 home runs, a Senators record that was not broken until 1999. In 1927, the Senators started a five-year campaign with three Eastern league championships, winning titles in 1927, 1928, and 1931. The year 1932 brought the Senators an affiliation with the Boston Braves. The original Harrisburg Senators' reign ended in 1936, when flood waters from the surrounding Susquehanna River ruined their home ballpark, Island Field. The flood effectively ended Eastern League participation for the next fifty-one years.

Another team representing Harrisburg affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates formed four years later, though in the smaller Interstate League. Like the Senators before it, the team gained success quickly, winning the league title one year later with stars Billy Cox and Dennis Taylor. The success, however, was short lived, as the team moved to nearby York in 1943. Another team affiliated with the Cleveland Indians was created, but was not as successful. The Interstate League disbanded this Harrisburg team in 1952, and any form of professional baseball was not played in the city for the next 35 years.

A New England franchise[edit]

The modern Harrisburg Senators origin come from the New England states.[1] First established in 1976 as an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Berkshire Brewers played one season in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. After that season, they moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts where they took the nickname the Millers.

In 1981, the franchise changed affiliations, moving from the Brewers to the California Angels. After the 1982 season, the team relocated to Nashua, New Hampshire as the Nashua Angels. After the 1983 season, the team's affiliation changed again, this time to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team changed its name then to the Nashua Pirates.

At the same time, during the mid-1980s, Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed initiated a revitalization plan that included a ballpark for a new Minor League Baseball team in the city. This ballpark, named Riverside Stadium attracted the Pittsburgh Pirates, which moved the Nashua Pirates to Harrisburg. The team was renamed the Harrisburg Senators, in a nod to the old Senators franchise.

The current Senators[edit]

Like the original Senators, success was quick, winning the Eastern League championship in its very first season. In 1991, affiliation shifted from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Montreal Expos, an affiliation continuing through that team's move to Washington, D.C. The first several years of affiliation with Montreal brought consecutive championships from 1996 to 1998. In 1999, the Senators played the Norwich Navigators for a shot at their record-setting fourth consecutive Eastern League Championship. In the bottom of the ninth inning of game 5, the Senators trailed by 3 runs, but with 2 outs, the bases loaded, and a full count Milton Bradley hit a walk-off grand slam to right center field to win the fourth straight championship for the Senators, an Eastern League first.[2] In 2003, Sueng Song pitched the first no-hitter in modern Senators history.

[edit]

The official colors of the Harrisburg Senators are red, navy blue and metallic gold. The home and away uniforms resemble those of the Washington Nationals, with a red cap for home games and navy blue for away. Both caps include the "H" and streaking baseball logo, with the "H" in the same script as the Nationals' pretzel-shaped "W." The white home jerseys include red and navy blue trim around the collar and sleeves with the "Senators" wordmark in red with metallic gold bevels and navy blue outline. The grey away jersey has navy blue and red trim around the collar and sleeves, with the "Harrisburg" wordmark in navy blue with metallic gold bevels and red outline. Both wordmarks are identical to the Nationals brand.

In 2007, the Senators added a unique logo to their brand, incorporating the prevalent and much reviled mayfly into the "H." Because of Metro Bank Park's location on City Island in the Susquehanna River, thousands of mayflies are attracted to the ballpark's bright lights and die. The dead mayflies fall onto the fans below, obscuring their view.

Ownership[edit]

The city of Harrisburg paid $6.7 million in 1995 to acquire the team from the previous owners of the franchise, who were planning to move the team to a new taxpayer-financed ballpark in Springfield, Massachusetts.[3] Instead of appeasing the desires of the ownership group with a new stadium, Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed led the city of Harrisburg to purchase the team instead. The previous owners had bought the team only six months earlier for just $4.1 million. Citing the ballpark as the major link in his downtown revitalization project, when asked how he could afford the hefty price tag, Mayor Reed responded by asking, "how could we not?" For a time, the Senators remained one of the only sports franchises in the United States to be completely owned by the community it is based in. In 2006, the city put the team up for sale to combat a major budget deficit. Mayor Reed stipulated that the new owner must keep the team in Harrisburg for at least 29 years.[3] The team was eventually bought by Senators Partners, LLC of Northbrook, Illinois, headed by Jerry Reinsdorf's son Michael, for an Eastern League record $13.25 Million.

Triple-A franchise bid[edit]

In mid-2005, Peter Angelos, the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, gained the permission of the AA Eastern League and the AAA International League to move Baltimore's AAA affiliate from Ottawa to Harrisburg.[4] One of the hangups with the agreement was that a buyer for the AA Senators franchise had to be found. The Ottawa franchise moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania as the AAA team for the Philadelphia Phillies, renamed as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.[4] The Baltimore Orioles also signed a player development deal with the Norfolk Tides of the International League. The Tides will now be the AAA affiliate of the Orioles. With all links to the next level of baseball ended, with two AAA teams now in eastern Pennsylvania, and the nearby cities of Lancaster and York gaining independent franchises, the future of AAA ball in Harrisburg is doubtful.[4]

Stadium renovation[edit]

Metro Bank Park received a much-awaited, $32 million renovation ($19.1 million in state funding), in two stages. Originally the renovation was to begin in 2005, however delays in state funding for the project were postponed until 2008, meaning the improvements were not implemented for Senators fans until the 2009 season at the earliest, and the 2nd stage was completed before the 2010 season.

Broadcast[edit]

Every Harrisburg Senators ballgame is aired on 1460 the Ticket (AM 1460 WTKT – Clear Channel). The games are also streamed on the team's website, senatorsbaseball.com. Some games are also aired on the local TV station, Comcast Network, and occasionally has games aired on MASN.

Roster[edit]

Harrisburg Senators roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

  • 17 Justin Bloxom
  • 15 Cutter Dykstra
  •  5 Rick Hague
  • 11 Jason Martinson
  •  6 Sean Nicol
  • 10 Matt Skole

Outfielders

Manager

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Washington Nationals 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated April 4, 2014
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Washington Nationals minor league players

Prominent Senators who made the Major Leagues[edit]

The players listed below had at one time or another, played for the Senators before going on to the Major Leagues.[5]

Team records[edit]

Season records[edit]

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Senators. For the full season-by-season history, see Harrisburg Senators seasons

Year (affiliation) Wins Losses Winning Pct. GB (Division Standing) Manager
2005 (Washington Nationals) 64 78 .451 −20 (5th out of 6 in Southern Division) Keith Bodie
2006 (Washington Nationals) 67 75 .472 −20 (5th out of 6 in Southern Division) John Stearns
2007 (Washington Nationals) 55 86 .390 −26.5 (6th out of 6 in Southern Division) Scott Little
2008 (Washington Nationals) 73 69 .514 −11 (3rd out of 6 in Southern Division) John Stearns
2009 (Washington Nationals) 70 72 .493 −19 (5th out of 6 in Southern Division) John Stearns
CURRENT SENATORS TOTAL 1661 1574 .513
ALL TIME TOTAL 2489 2373 .512

– in GB is behind, + in GB is ahead Bold years are Eastern League Championship years

Individual season records[edit]

Batting Records
Games 141 Jamie Carroll 1999
At Bats 565 Brandon Watson 2003
Runs 134 Lawrence Fischer 1932
Hits 198 Horace McBride 1930
Total Bases 355 Joe Munson 1925
Doubles 40 Horace McBride 1930
Triples 21 Horace McBride 1930
Home Runs 37 Andy Tracy 1999
RBI 129 Joe Munson 1925
Walks 93 Val Pascucci 2002
Strikeouts 139 Andy Tracy 1999
Sacrifices 30 Glenn Killinger 1928
Sacrifice Flies 11 Lance Belen 1988
Stolen Bases 52 Jim Reboulet 1987
Batting Average .400 Joe Munson 1925
Pitching Records
Games 60 Alberto Reyes 1994
Complete Games 22 Louis Polli 1927
Shutouts 5 Louis Polli 1927
Wins 23 Clint Brown 1928
Losses 18 Clint Parkes 1929
Saves 35 Alberto Reyes 1994
Innings 292 Charles Parkes 1929
Walks 130 Bill Dietrich 1931
Strikeouts 161 Ronald Chiavacci 2001
ERA 2.15 Clint Brown 1928

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eastern League history
  2. ^ Harrisburg Senators
  3. ^ a b Morrow, Geoff (January 7, 2007). "Reed, Interest in Senators' sale is on rise". Harrisburg Patriot-News. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c Loverro, Thom (August 18, 2005). "O's, Nats battle over Harrisburg". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  5. ^ http://www.senatorsbaseball.com/pdf/alltimeroster.pdf

External links[edit]