Chatham Anglers

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Chatham Anglers
Chatham Anglers.jpg
Information
League Cape Cod Baseball League (East Division)
Location Chatham, Massachusetts
Ballpark Veterans Field
Nickname(s) Chatham A's
League championships 1967, 1982, 1992, 1996, 1998
Former name(s) Athletics/A's
Colors Blue, White, and Red
Management
Bob Sherman (General Manager)
Lee Schmidt (Vice President)
Edward Baird (Treasurer)
Steve West (Secretary)
Manager Tom Holliday

The Chatham Anglers, more commonly referred to as the Chatham A's and formerly the Chatham Athletics, are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Chatham, Massachusetts, playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League's East Division. Prior to the 2009 season, the team was known as the "Athletics" or "A's" but changed its name to the Chatham Anglers due to Major League Baseball Properties' trademark.

Chatham plays its home games at historic Veterans Field, the team's home since 1923, in the town of Chatham on the Lower Cape. The A's have been operated by the non-profit Chatham Athletic Association since 1963.[1] Like other Cape League teams, the Chatham Anglers are funded through merchandise sales, donations, and other fundraising efforts at games such as fifty-fifty raffles.

Chatham has won five CCBL championships, most recently in 1998, when they defeated the Wareham Gatemen in the championship series. Major League alumni include Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell and Thurman Munson, along with current Major League stars Andrew Miller, Kris Bryant, Evan Longoria, and more (see Alumni section below). 24 Chatham A's alums played in the Major Leagues in 2017.

History[edit]

The pre-modern era[edit]

Amateur baseball in the town of Chatham dates back to the early 1900s and the old Cape Cod Twilight League. Chatham was the dominant team in the league throughout the 1930s, winning the Twilight League championship seven consecutive times between 1933 and 1939.[2] The team has played at its current home ballpark, Veteran's Field, since 1923.

The modern era[edit]

Chatham has seen significant success in the league's modern era, winning a total of five Cape League Championships. They began the modern era by reaching the Cape League championship series for four consecutive years. Their first title came in 1967, when Thurman Munson led the team to a 30–9–4 record in the regular season and a championship victory over the Falmouth Commodores[3]

The A's reached the championship series four more times before they finally won another league title in 1982 when they swept the Hyannis Mets three games to none in the championship series.

Chatham was one of the league's most successful teams throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Chatham made the playoffs nine out of ten years between 1991 and 2000, including with Cape League titles in 1992, 1996, and 1998. The A's have claimed more Cape League Regular Season (7) and Post-Season (7) Eastern Division titles than any other team, their last of which came in 2001 when they lost the championship series to the Wareham Gatemen.[4]

On October 17, 2008, in response to a licensing agreement between the Cape League and Major League Baseball, the A's announced that their team name would be changing to the Chatham Anglers. They will retain their red, white, and blue colors, and the uniforms will still have pinstripes.

The Anglers have a long-standing rivalry with the Orleans Firebirds (formerly the Orleans Cardinals). Besides from the two towns sharing a border, in 2005 when Orleans pitcher Shaun Haviland hit Evan Longoria with a fastball, Longoria and Haviland continued to jaw with each other down the first baseline. The next at bat Longoria took Haviland to deep center and stared him down the first baseline. Chatham and Orleans, separated by just eight miles on the Lower Cape, meet annually on July 4th in the most anticipated game of the entire Cape Cod League regular season, and are frequent playoff opponents in the CCBL Postseason.

John Schiffner[edit]

Chatham boasts the winningest manager in Cape Cod Baseball League History in John Schiffner, affectionately known as "Schiff" across amateur baseball. Schiffner retired after his 25th year managing the Chatham A's in 2017, and served as either the team's manager or an assistant coach for 34 total seasons. Schiffner joined legendary Chatham manager Ed Lyons as an assistant coach just two years after graduating from Providence College, where he played baseball and spent three summers playing in the Cape League for the Harwich Mariners. from 1974-76. After being drafted and playing part of a minor league season in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization in 1977, Schiffner returned to the Cape as an Assistant Coach in Harwich for the summer. During the 1977 playoffs, A's Manager Ed Lyons approached Schiffner and invited him to join his staff for the following summer, and Schiffner quickly accepted the offer.

Schiffner served as an Assistant Coach under Lyons in Chatham from 1978 to 1982, then returned in 1990 in the same role after a stint scouting for the Montreal Expos. Schiffner became the Chatham A's manager on July 7, 1993, when manager Rich Hill accepted the head coaching position at the University of San Francisco and took his new post immediately. Schiffner took over a last place team more than halfway into the season, but oversaw a stunning 16-7 record down the stretch as the A's claimed a first place finish and Schiffner was offered the position of manager on a permanent basis, a major breakthrough for him after a significant number of unsuccessful managerial interviews in Chatham and elsewhere around the Cape League in previous years.

Including that 1993 campaign, Schiffner managed the A's for 25 years, stepping down at the end of the 2017 Cape Cod Baseball League season. He managed the A's to CCBL championships in 1996 and 1998, and became widely regarded as the face and voice of Cape Cod Baseball.

Schiffner announced that the 2017 season would be his last after a Chatham Anglers game in Harwich in July 2017. Soon after, he revealed that he was leaving Chatham to become an assistant coach at the University of Maine, where he would work with new Maine head coach Nick Derba, the catcher of the stacked 2005 Chatham A's team and one of Schiffner's favorite former players. Schiffner had previously served as the volunteer assistant coach at Maine during the 2013 season, when Derba was the Black Bears' hitting coach under current Stetson head coach Steve Trimper. On August 10, 2017, the Chatham Athletic Association announced that former Oklahoma State University head baseball coach Tom Holliday would succeed Schiffner, beginning with the 2018 Cape Cod Baseball League season.

Schiffner also served as the head baseball coach for 33 years at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Connecticut, where he also taught history for over three decades. He is the winningest coach in Connecticut state high school baseball history, and often spotted future Cape League talent on high school fields across the state, including current Major League pitchers Matt Harvey and Dominic Leone, both of whom pitched against Schiffner's teams in high school and went on to play for him in Chatham before reaching the Majors. Schiffner was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame in November 2017. [5]

Live broadcasts[edit]

The Anglers provide live broadcasts for all 44 regular season games in addition to the playoffs. All home games have a live video and audio stream while road games are audio only. Viewers can find the live video and audio stream by visiting the Broadcast Central page of the Anglers website. Fans can also listen by calling TRZ Teamline toll free to for all broadcasts 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.

Below is an updated list of those who have served as announcers for the A's.

  • Guy Benson (Northwestern) 2003–2006
  • Dan D'Uva (Syracuse, Fordham) 2003–2008
  • Kyle Whitehead (Northwestern) 2007
  • Mike Toper (Syracuse) 2007
  • Brian Clark (Fordham) 2008, 2009
  • Scott Braun (Miami) 2009, 2010
  • Aaron Canada (George Mason) 2010, 2011
  • Chris Fitzgerald (Oregon) 2011, 2012
  • Brandon Liebhaber (Northwestern) 2012, 2013
  • Keith Zubrow (Syracuse) 2013
  • Jonny Wincott (Syracuse) 2014, 2015
  • Dom Cotroneo (Arizona State) 2014, 2015
  • Jake Eisenberg (Maryland) 2016
  • Evan Stockton (Syracuse) 2016
  • Drew Carter (Syracuse) 2017
  • Max Herz (Vanderbilt) 2017

The A's in media[edit]

Summer Catch (2001, Movie)[edit]

The Chatham A's were featured prominently in the 2001 Warner Bros. motion picture Summer Catch, starring Freddy Prinze Jr., a comedic sports movie depicting fictional ballplayers spending a summer in Chatham filled with baseball and booze. Though the movie is an extreme fictionalization, some of the fictional players are loosely based on past A's players, and real life A's manager John Schiffner is the fictional team's coach, as portrayed by actor Brian Dennehy. The majority of the movie was filmed in South Carolina, though small portions of scenic shots were taken in Chatham at Veterans Field. The A's actual logos, colors, and uniforms are used in the movie, along with loose copies of other Cape Cod Baseball League team names, logos, and colors.

The Last Best League (2004, Book)[edit]

Jim Collins' The Last Best League (2004, ISBN 0-306-81418-8) is a non-fiction account of the 2002 Chatham A's, which featured infielder Jamie D'Antona and manager John Schiffner as the book's protagonists. Collins follows and recounts every move the players, coaches, fans, and others make in the ethnographic account of the full 2002 Cape Cod Baseball League and Chatham A's season. The book delves deeply into the life and baseball journey of John Schiffner, who was already the longest-tenured manager in the league and the undisputed face of Cape Cod Baseball at the time of the book's writing, even though he still stood 15 years away from retirement. Schiffner and his longtime assistant coach Matt Fincher are profiled heavily in the book. Fincher is now the head baseball coach at University of South Carolina-Upstate.

D'Antona, a highly touted power hitter from Wake Forest University who quickly becomes Collins' primary player focus in the book, is depicted as a laid-back ballplayer whose potential is hindered by occasional lapses in judgment and lack of effort. Collins follows D'Antona extensively both on and off the field, including to his job at the Chatham Fish Pier, where D'Antona delivered fresh fish to businesses all over Chatham at the crack of dawn. Following a short Major League career and a stint playing professionally in Japan, D'Antona returned to Chatham as an the Anglers' hitting coach in 2017, working under John Schiffner in his final season as A's manager.

The two members of the 2002 A's who went on to the longest professional baseball careers are Chris Iannetta and Tim Stauffer. A starting pitcher from the University of Richmond, Stauffer was the best pitcher on the 2002 A's and amongst the best in the entire Cape League that summer. He was selected fourth overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2003 MLB Draft based largely off his performance on Cape Cod, and pitched in the Major Leagues for 10 seasons. He appeared in 201 MLB games, posting a 3.97 career ERA before retiring after the 2015 season. Iannetta, a catcher who just completed his 12th Major League season in 2017, is not one of the predominate characters in The Last Best League. One of a select few freshman hitters in the Cape League, Iannetta struggled all summer at the plate after his first year at the University of North Carolina, and was not asked back to Chatham the next summer, according to Collins in the book. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, and has played in over 1000 MLB games, including over 900 starts at catcher for four different teams.

Internship program[edit]

The Chatham Athletic Association offers internships in Sports Business and Sports Media. Students majoring in sport management, business, marketing, and accounting/finance are mentored on sports-business processes including trend analysis, inventory management, profitability analysis, and marketing projects.

Famous alumni[edit]

To find a full list of all former Chatham players in the major leagues visit the MLB Alumni page of ChathamAnglers.com

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1998 Cape Cod Baseball League Official Yearbook, p. 14
  2. ^ 2001 Cape Cod Baseball League Official Yearbook, p. 15
  3. ^ Alder, Eric (2005-07-28). "Chatham A's 1967 Team Honored". The Cape Cod Chronicle. Retrieved on 2013-02-04.
  4. ^ Cape League Championships Archived 2007-09-10 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  5. ^ "'John Schiffner is Cape Cod League baseball' - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  6. ^ Fenton, Jim (June 24, 2008). "Brockton will host a Cape Cod Baseball League game Saturday night". Enterprisenews.com. Retrieved February 27, 2011. 

External links[edit]