Founded in 1969
Des Moines, Iowa
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Pacific Coast League (1998–present)|
|American Association (1969–1997)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Chicago Cubs (1981–present)|
|Previous teams||Chicago White Sox (1976–1980)|
Houston Astros (1975)
Chicago White Sox (1973–1974)
Oakland Athletics (1969–1972)
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (1)||1993|
|Conference titles (1)||2004|
|Division titles (8)|
|Nickname||Iowa Cubs (1982–present)|
|Iowa Oaks (1969–1981)|
|Colors||Blue, red, white|
|Ballpark||Principal Park (2004–present)|
|Sec Taylor Stadium (1969–2004)|
|Raccoon Baseball, Inc.|
|General Manager||Sam Bernabe|
The Iowa Cubs are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. They are located in Des Moines, Iowa, and play their home games at Principal Park, which opened in 2004. The team was originally known as the Iowa Oaks when it was established as a member of the Triple-A American Association in 1969. The Cubs took on the moniker of their major league affiliate in 1982. They joined the PCL in 1998. Their only league title in franchise history is the 1993 American Association championship.
Iowa Oaks (1969–1981)
Triple-A Minor League Baseball came to Iowa's capital city in 1969, as the Iowa Oaks of the American Association began play as an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. They played their home games at Sec Taylor Stadium, which opened in 1947 and was located at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers. Many future Major League Baseball stars such as sluggers Bill McNulty, Harold Baines, Pat Tabler, and 1971 Cy Young and MVP Award winning left-handed pitcher Vida Blue spent time with the Oaks. The A's farm club experienced winning seasons in 1970 and 1971, but third and second-place finishes kept them out of the playoffs.
The Oaks became the top affiliate of the Chicago White Sox in 1973. They won the East Division that season with an 83–53 record, earning a spot in the best-of-seven American Association championship playoffs, but they were defeated by the Tulsa Oilers, 4–3. Manager Joe Sparks won the American Association Manager of the Year Award. Oaks pitchers tossed two no-hitters in 1974, both in away games. The first was pitched by Joe Henderson against the Wichita Aeros on July 31. The second occurred on August 25 when Butch Stinson no-hit the Indianapolis Indians.
After one season as the Houston Astros' Triple-A club in 1975, Iowa returned to the White Sox organization in 1976. Despite a number of winning seasons, they failed to qualify for the postseason during the five years of their second affiliation with Chicago. On September 1, 1977, Chris Knapp and Fred Howard combined to no-hit the Omaha Royals. On May 26, 1978, Jack Kucek tossed a no-hitter at Sec Taylor Stadium against the Oklahoma City 89ers. Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa managed the Iowa Oaks in 1979 prior to becoming manager of the White Sox. Pitcher Dewey Robinson was selected for the 1979 American Association Most Valuable Pitcher Award after achieving a record of 13–7 and 9 saves with a 2.93 earned run average and 76 strikeouts.
Iowa Cubs (1982–present)
In 1981, the team affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. After a final season as the Oaks, they adopted the nickname of their parent team in 1982 becoming the Iowa Cubs. The name is often shortened to "I-Cubs" to avoid confusion with the major league team. Iowa teams of the 1980s often finished high in the standings but were unable to qualify for the championship playoffs. The only exceptions being in 1983 and 1984 when they earned spots in the semi-finals, but were eliminated by Denver both years.
Members of the 1982 team garnered several league awards. Jay Howell, who struck out 139 batters on the way to a 13–4 record and a 2.36 ERA, won the AA Most Valuable Pitcher Award. Skipper Jim Napier was the league's Manager of the Year. Outfielder Mel Hall was the Rookie of the Year after accruing a batting average of .329 while hitting 34 doubles and 32 home runs and driving in 125 runs. Another Cub outfielder, Joe Carter won the 1983 Rookie of the Year Award after stealing 40 bases and hitting .307 with 22 homers. In 1984, Reggie Patterson fired a no-hitter against the Omaha Royals on August 21. Vince Cotroneo was the team's radio play-by-play announcer in 1988; he was named the National Association League's Minor League Announcer of the Year.
Sec Taylor Stadium was demolished after the 1991 season and a new facility of the same name was constructed on the site in time for the Cubs' 1992 season.
Following a dismal 1992 campaign in which the Cubs went 51–92, they rebounded to win the 1993 West Division title at 85–59. They met the Nashville Sounds in the best-of-seven championship series. Leading the series 3–1, the Cubs lost two consecutive games to force a game seven. In the final game, Nashville held a 2–1 lead from the third inning to the seventh before the Cubs tied the game necessitating extra innings. An eleventh-inning walk-off home run by Iowa's Tuffy Rhodes ended the game and gave the Cubs their first league title. Outfielder Eduardo Zambrano garnered the American Association Most Valuable Player Award after collecting 115 RBI and hitting 32 homers with a .303 average. Iowa did not reach the playoffs again until 1997. They captured the West Division title with a 74–69 record before defeating the New Orleans Zephyrs in the semi-finals. They were swept by the Buffalo Bisons, 3–0, in the championship round.
The American Association, of which the Cubs had been members since their inaugural 1969 campaign, disbanded after the 1997 season. Its teams were absorbed by the two remaining Triple-A leagues—the International League and Pacific Coast League (PCL). The Cubs joined the PCL and won the American Conference Central Division title in 1998 with an 85–59 record. In the American Conference series, they were bested by the New Orleans Zephyrs, 2–1, in a rain-shortened series. Manager Terry Kennedy won the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Award. Brett Dolan called Iowa games on the radio in 1998 and 1999 before being hired by the Houston Astros. Dolan was replaced by Dave Raymond, who broadcast games from 2000 to 2004 before going on to work for several major league teams. Former Chicago Cubs manager and Iowa native Bruce Kimm managed the I-Cubs from 2001 to 2002. He led them to the 2001 division title (83–60), but they were again eliminated by New Orleans in the conference series.
Mike Quade, former manager of the Chicago Cubs, managed Iowa from 2003 to 2006. Playing at the renamed Principal Park, the Cubs ended the 2004 season at 79–64 giving them another division title. This time, they defeated the Oklahoma RedHawks, 3–2, to win the American Conference championship. In the best-of-five Pacific Coast League championship series, they lost to the Sacramento River Cats, 3–0. In 2007, catcher Geovany Soto, with a .353 average, 26 home runs, and 109 RBI, won the PCL Most Valuable Player Award. Led by PCL Manager of the Year Pat Listach, the 2008 Cubs won the American Conference North Division (83–59), but were beaten in the conference series by Oklahoma, 3–2.
In 2010, the team was managed by Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ryne Sandberg who was also selected as the league's Manager of the Year. First baseman Bryan LaHair won the 2010 PCL MVP Award with his .331 average, 38 homers, and 109 RBI. On May 7, 2014, Iowa starter Chris Rusin pitched a no-hitter against the New Orleans Zephyrs. In May 2014, Manny Ramirez signed a contract as a part-time player/coach for the I-Cubs. In 2015, right-hander Carlos Pimentel won the PCL Pitcher of the Year Award after achieving a 12–6 record with 118 strikeouts and a 2.95 ERA. The Cubs returned to the postseason in 2019 having won the division 75–65, but were eliminated by the Round Rock Express in the American Conference series.
Many future Cubs stars have played in Des Moines before they were called up to Wrigley Field. Some notable I-Cubs alumni include Greg Maddux, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Grace, Doug Glanville, Joe Carter, Corey Patterson, Carlos Zambrano, Kyle Farnsworth, Kerry Wood, Steve Trachsel, Tuffy Rhodes, Bruce Kimm, Shawon Dunston, Héctor Villanueva, Mark Prior, Sam Fuld, John Grabow, and Rod Beck. Wood and Prior both made rehabilitation starts for the I-Cubs in 2004 and 2005 before returning to the Chicago Cubs' active roster, and many Cubs players such as Derrek Lee, Daryle Ward, Alfonso Soriano, and Ryan Dempster have also made stops in Des Moines for rehab purposes. Many Cubs stars such as Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez made also stops in Iowa.
|Finish||The team's final position in the divisional standings|
|GB||Games behind the team that finished in first place in the division that season|
|Class champions (1969–present)|
|League champions (1969–present)|
|§||Conference champions (1998–present)|
|*||Division champions (1970–present)|
|^||Postseason berth (1969–1997)|
|Season||League||Division||Regular season||Postseason||MLB affiliate|
|1969||AA||—||4th (tie)||62||78||.443||23||—||Oakland Athletics|
|1973*||AA||East||1st||83||53||.610||—||Won East Division title
Lost AA championship vs Tulsa Oilers, 4–3
|Chicago White Sox|
|1974||AA||East||2nd||74||62||.544||1⁄2||—||Chicago White Sox|
|1976||AA||East||2nd||68||68||.500||10||—||Chicago White Sox|
|1977||AA||East||4th||61||75||.449||11⁄2||—||Chicago White Sox|
|1978||AA||East||4th||66||70||.485||11⁄2||—||Chicago White Sox|
|1979||AA||East||3rd||69||67||.507||9||—||Chicago White Sox|
|1980||AA||East||3rd||59||77||.434||16||—||Chicago White Sox|
|1982||AA||East||2nd (tie)||73||62||.541||1⁄2||—||Chicago Cubs|
|1983^||AA||East||2nd||71||65||.522||1⁄2||Lost semi-finals vs Denver Bears, 3–1||Chicago Cubs|
|1984^||AA||—||2nd||80||74||.519||11||Lost semi-finals vs Denver Zephyrs, 3–1||Chicago Cubs|
|1993*||AA||West||1st||85||59||.590||—||Won West Division title
Won AA championship vs Nashville Sounds, 4–3
|1997*||AA||West||1st||74||69||.517||—||Won West Division title
Won semi-finals vs New Orleans Zephyrs, 3–0
Lost AA championship vs Buffalo Bisons, 3–0
|1998*||PCL||American Central||1st||85||59||.590||—||Won American Central Division title
Lost American Conference title vs New Orleans Zephyrs, 2–1
|1999||PCL||American Midwest||4th||65||76||.461||16||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2000||PCL||American Central||4th||57||87||.396||29||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2001*||PCL||American Central||1st||83||60||.580||—||Won American Central Division title
Lost American Conference title vs New Orleans Zephyrs, 3–0
|2002||PCL||American Central||3rd||71||73||.493||7||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2003||PCL||American Central||3rd||70||72||.493||3||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2004*§||PCL||American Central||1st||79||64||.552||—||Won American Central Division title
Won American Conference title vs Oklahoma RedHawks, 3–2
Lost PCL championship vs Sacramento River Cats, 3–0
|2005||PCL||American North||4th||64||75||.460||1⁄2||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2006||PCL||American North||1st (tie)||76||68||.528||—||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2007||PCL||American North||2nd||76||65||.549||10||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2008*||PCL||American North||1st||83||57||.593||—||Won American North Division title
Lost American Conference title vs Oklahoma RedHawks, 3–2
|2009||PCL||American North||3rd||72||72||.500||5||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2010||PCL||American North||1st (tie)||82||62||.569||—||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2011||PCL||American North||4th||66||77||.462||11⁄2||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2012||PCL||American North||4th||53||87||.379||28||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2013||PCL||American North||3rd||65||75||.464||2||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2014||PCL||American North||2nd (tie)||74||70||.514||1⁄2||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2015||PCL||American North||2nd (tie)||80||64||.556||6||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2016||PCL||American North||3rd||67||76||.469||15||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2017||PCL||American North||4th||67||72||.482||14||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2018||PCL||American North||4th||50||88||.362||24||—||Chicago Cubs|
|2019*||PCL||American North||1st||75||65||.536||—||Won American North Division title
Lost American Conference title vs Round Rock Express, 3–2
|2020||PCL||American North||Season cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)||Chicago Cubs|
|American Association regular season||1,984||2,076||.489||—|
|Pacific Coast League regular season||1,560||1,564||.499||—|
|All-time regular and postseason||3,544||3,640||.493||—|
7-day injured list
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