Founded in 1987
Lakewood Township, New Jersey
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||South Atlantic League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Philadelphia Phillies (2001–present)|
Montreal Expos (1997–2000)
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||2 (2006, 2009, 2010)|
|Division titles||3 (2006, 2009, 2010)|
Lakewood BlueClaws (2001–present)
|Colors||Navy blue, red, white, blue
|Ballpark||FirstEnergy Park (2001-present)|
|Previous parks||J.P. Riddle Stadium (1987-2000)|
|General manager||Brandon Marano|
The Lakewood BlueClaws are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. They are based in Lakewood Township, New Jersey. They play in the Class A South Atlantic League. Their home field is FirstEnergy Park.
The BlueClaws moved to Lakewood from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where they had been known as the Fayetteville Generals and later as the Cape Fear Crocs. Their first season in Lakewood was 2001. The Phillies' previous South Atlantic League affiliate was based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and known as the Piedmont Boll Weevils from 1995 to 2000 (the team is now known as the Kannapolis Intimidators). Prior to that, the team was based in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Since their arrival in New Jersey, the BlueClaws have been a success at the gate. In each of their first five seasons, they have averaged over 6,500 fans per game. On August 26, 2002, in a game against the Hickory Crawdads which the BlueClaws won 3–0, attendance was a South Atlantic League record 13,003. The BlueClaws have led the South Atlantic League in either average or total attendance every year, and became the fastest team in South Atlantic League history to reach the 2 and 3 million fan attendance mark. On August 24, 2009, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers threw a scoreless inning in a rehab assignment on the same day a seven-year old from Toms River, New Jersey became the 4 millionth fan in team history. This box office success comes in the absence of great success on the field. In their first five seasons, the BlueClaws failed to qualify for the playoffs. Their overall record topped the .500 mark for the first time in 2004.
All told, in their first eight seasons, the BlueClaws have topped 10,000 fans at a game twice, including 10,027 on August 29, 2008. They have gone over 9,000 fans 13 different times, and have exceeded the 8,000 mark 81 times.
Each season a group of fans choose one person on the BlueClaws to cheer for, and in 2008, these fans chose third baseman Travis "Moose" Mattair. These fans, who called themselves "Mooseketeers" in reference to Mattair's childhood nickname, cheered loudly for both Mattair and the team in general. They are known for displaying homemade signs and jerseys, and their novelty moose hats were a regular fixture at FirstEnergy Park throughout the 2008 season.
He played for the BlueClaws in the 2002 season. In 2005, he was named the National League Rookie of the Year, and in 2006 he was named the National League Most Valuable Player. In May 2007, while on the 15-day disabled list, Ryan Howard played two rehab games with the BlueClaws after suffering a hamstring injury. Each game drew over 8,000 fans and helped push the BlueClaws to a new team attendance record for the month of May.
The 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies featured several former BlueClaws on their roster. Former NL MVP Ryan Howard was with the BlueClaws in 2002. World Series MVP Cole Hamels was with Lakewood in 2003, and starting catcher Carlos Ruiz was a member of the original Lakewood BlueClaws roster, in 2001.
One key member of the 2008 Phillies was Joe Blanton, acquired through a trade with the Oakland Athletics. In exchange the Phillies sent over three minor leaguers, including two former BlueClaws in Adrian Cardenas (2007) and Josh Outman (2006).
Recently, the BlueClaws announced via their blog (blog.blueclaws.com) that Darryl Strawberry would be appearing at FirstEnergy Park to sign autographs on August 1.
On February 17, 2009, the Lakewood BlueClaws announced that instead of doing just Monday Kids Eat Free presented by ShopRite, they will be doing Kids Eat Free every game of the 2009 season. All children under the age of 12 will be presented with a voucher for a free hot dog, bag of chips, and fountain drink as they enter the gates.
The team offers a post-game fireworks show after every Friday home game, and at the ballpark, and seniors eat free every Tuesday night. Thursday nights are "Thirsty Thursdays," with discounted beverages and live music all night.
During the 2009 season, the Blueclaws announced that the team would adopt a new logo, color scheme, and uniforms. These changes are expected to be made for the 2010 season
|Season||Affiliation||Manager||First Half Record||Second Half Record|
|2001||Phillies||Greg Legg||28–42, 7th place North||32–37, 5th place North|
|2002||Phillies||Jeff Manto||33–36, 6th place North||36–34, 5th place North|
|2003||Phillies||Buddy Biancalana||22–47, 8th place North||35–34, 3rd place North|
|2004||Phillies||P.J. Forbes||31–36, 7th place North||39–30, 3rd place North|
|2005||Phillies||P.J. Forbes||25–45, 6th place North||31–38, 7th place North|
|2006||Phillies||Dave Huppert||37–32, 4th place North||47–23, 1st place North|
|2007||Phillies||Steve Roadcap||33–32, 3rd place North||36–33, 2nd place North|
|2008||Phillies||Steve Roadcap||38–32, 3rd place North||42–28, 2nd place North|
|2009||Phillies||Dusty Wathan||42–26, 1st place North||36–32, 4th place North|
|2010||Phillies||Mark Parent||42–28, 1st place North||42–27, 1st place North|
|2011||Phillies||Chris Truby||33-35, 7th place North||35-34, 5th place North|
|2012||Phillies||Mickey Morandini||26-43, 6th place North||36-33, 4th place North|
The BlueClaws won the 2006 South Atlantic League Championship on September 15, first defeating the Lexington Legends in the Northern division final, two games to none, then defeating the Augusta GreenJackets in a dramatic 5–0 victory, winning the championship series three games to one.
In 2009, the BlueClaws won the South Atlantic League Championship by first defeating the Kannapolis Intimidators 9–0 and winning the series by two games to none in the Northern Division final . In the championship round, the Blue Claws defeated the Greenville Drive 5–1 in game four and then taking the series three games to one.
In 2010, the BlueClaws won both halves of the season. They became the first team to do so and win the championship, defeating Hickory 2 games to 1 in the Northern Division Final and the Greenville Drive 3 games to 1 in a rematch series.
It was announced that the Phillies had extended their affiliation agreement through 2014.
Lakewood BlueClaws roster
- "Board of Directors". willis.com. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- Dave Fairbank (March 21, 2009). "Plumeri warmly reflects on decade". Daily Press. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- Gregory J. Volpe (July 24, 2000). "In Lakewood, They're Coming Before its Built". The Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
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