Founded in 1995
Kannapolis, North Carolina
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||South Atlantic League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Chicago White Sox (2001–present)|
|Previous||Philadelphia Phillies (1995–2000)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (1)||2005|
|Division titles (1)||2017|
|Nickname||Kannapolis Intimidators (2001–present)|
|Piedmont Boll Weevils (1996–2000)
Piedmont Phillies (1995)
Spartanburg Phillies (1963-1995)
|Colors||Red, black, white
|Ballpark||Intimidators Stadium (1995–present)|
|General Manager||Randy Long|
The Kannapolis Intimidators are a minor league baseball team in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The team is a Class Low-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox and has played in the South Atlantic League under various names and team affiliations since its inception in 1995.
The Intimidators franchise moved to Kannapolis in 1995 from Spartanburg, South Carolina, where it had been a Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies since the franchise's beginning in 1963. Debate raged in the Kannapolis area over what to name the team, with team officials finally deciding to call the team the Piedmont Phillies for the 1995 season.
A name-the-team contest in the fall of 1995 drew thousands of entries, and team officials settled on the boll weevil as the team's new mascot, indicative of Kannapolis' history as a textile mill town (Kannapolis natives are even called "lintheads"). The Piedmont Boll Weevils would keep that mascot until after the 2000 season, when NASCAR racing legend Dale Earnhardt purchased a share in the team's ownership. It was then that the name was changed to the Kannapolis Intimidators, in honor of Earnhardt's legendary nickname. It was also during that offseason that the team's parent club changed from the Phillies to the Chicago White Sox, making the Intimidators the third White Sox farm team to be located in the Carolinas, following the Charlotte Knights and the Winston-Salem Warthogs, now called the Winston-Salem Dash.
Earnhardt, who drove the #3 car in NASCAR, was killed in an accident at the Daytona 500 in February 2001. Following Earnhardt's death, the Intimidators avoided assigning the number 3 for team members. Team manager Razor Shines, originally slated to wear #3, subsequently changed his uniform number to #43. The team officially retired number 3 on May 15, 2002, in memory of their former co-owner, similar to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim retiring the number 26 (the 26th man) in honor of former owner Gene Autry.
The team plays in Intimidators Stadium (formerly Fieldcrest Cannon and later CMC-NorthEast Stadium) in Kannapolis. "The Cannon" was still under construction when the Piedmont Phillies began play in 1995. Upon completion in late 1995, during the winter, the stadium seated 4,700 fans. The stadium officially changed names on April 3, 2012 under a new naming rights agreement for the 2012 season. For 2016, the naming rights deal quietly ended, with the name reverting to Intimidators Stadium.
Current or former Major League Baseball players to pass through Kannapolis include Jimmy Rollins and Dave Coggin of the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as Jack Egbert, Gordon Beckham, Chris Getz, Brent Morel and Clayton Richard of the Chicago White Sox. Marlon Byrd, Jorge Padilla, Ryan Madson, and Brett Myers played for the 2000 Piedmont Boll Weevils. Also, NFL running back Ricky Williams played for the Boll Weevils during the late 1996 and 1997 seasons while he was also playing college football for the University of Texas.
Smith Family Baseball, owned by Illinois businessman Dale Smith and his son Brad (the team's President) bought the team from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and motorsports magnate Bruton Smith in December 2004. Larry and Sue Hedrick, the owners who bought the Spartanburg Phillies in 1993 and eventually moved them to Kannapolis, retained a minority share of the team's ownership.
A group led by Reese L. Smith III has announced the purchase of the Intimidators, subject to approval by the South Atlantic League, Minor League Baseball and the Commissioner of Baseball. The Kannapolis city council voted to transfer the lease of the stadium to Intimidators Baseball Club LLC. The city is studying the possibility of building a new stadium to replace Intimidators Stadium, owned by the city since 2012.
The Spartanburg/Kannapolis franchise has appeared in three SAL championship series, winning two:
- 1988 (Spartanburg Phillies) – defeated Charleston, 3 games to none
- 1995 (Piedmont Phillies) – lost to Augusta, 3 games to 2
- 2005 (Kannapolis Intimidators) – defeated Hagerstown, 3 games to 1
- 2017 (Kannapolis Intimidators) - lost to Greenville, 3 games to 1
Notable franchise alumni
Hall of Fame franchise alumni
- Ryne Sandberg (1979) Inducted, 2005
- George Bell (1979) 3 x MLB All-Star; 1987 AL Most Valuable Player
- Jimmy Bloodworth (1954)
- Barry Bonnell (1975)
- Lloyd Brown (1926)
- Marlon Byrd (2000) MLB All-Star
- Don Carman (1979)
- Spud Chandler (1955) 4 x MLB All-Star; 1943 AL Most Valuable Player
- Joe Charboneau (1976) 1980 AL Rookie of the Year
- Rocky Colavito (1952) 9 x MLB All-Star
- Bartolo Colon (2009) 4 x MLB All-Star; 2005 AL Cy Young Award
- Mark Davis (1979) 2 x MLB All-Star; 1989 NL Cy Young Award
- Darren Daulton (1981) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Bob Dernier (1978)
- Adam Eaton (1997)
- Jason Grimsley (1987)
- Kevin Gross (1981) MLB All-Star
- Willie Hernandez (1974) 3 x MLB All-Star; 1984 AL Cy young Award; 1984 AL Most Valuable Player
- Chris James (1983)
- Brandon McCarthy (2004)
- Ryan Madson (2000)
- Jerry Martin (1972)
- Buck Martinez (1968)
- Billy Moran (1953) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Mickey Morandini (1989) MLB All-Star
- Keith Moreland (1975)
- Jim Morrison (1974)
- Brett Myers (2000)
- Dickie Noles (1976)
- Carlos Quentin (2009) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Dave Roberts (1963
- Scott Rolen (1994) 7 x MLB All-Star; 1997 NL Rookie of the Year
- Jimmy Rollins (1997) 3 x MLB All-Star; 2007 NL Most Valuable Player
- Sergio Santos, Toronto Blue Jays closer.
- Scott Service (1986)
- Carlos Silva (1999)
- Lonnie Smith (1975) MLB All-Star
- Tony Taylor (1982, MGR) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Andre Thornton (1969) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Manny Trillo (1969) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Derrick Turnbow (1999) MLB All-Star
- Tom Underwood (1973)
- Ozzie Virgil (1977) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Hal Wagner (1938) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Bob Walk (1977) MLB All-Star
- Tillie Walker (1910-1911) 1918 AL Home Run Leader
Kannapolis Intimidators roster
60-day disabled list
7-day disabled list
- The Earnhardt Connection. "TEC | Kannapolis Intimidators". Daleearnhardt.net. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- Dave Rodman, Turner Sports Interactive (2001-02-21). "Earnhardt dies following Daytona 500 accident – February 21, 2001". NASCAR.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2001. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- "Name Game: Welcome to CMC-NorthEast Stadium | Kannapolis Intimidators News". Kannapolis.intimidators.milb.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Baseball Reference: 2000 Piedmont Boll Weevils". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "Baseball Reference: 1996 Piedmont Boll Weevils". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "Intimidators baseball team in Kannapolis under new ownership". Independent Tribune. 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
- Smith, Deirdre (2016-03-16). "Kannapolis Intimidators have new owners, big plans". Salisbury Post. Retrieved 2016-03-16.