Lehigh Valley IronPigs

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Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Founded in 1993
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Based in Allentown since 2008
LehighValleyIronPigs.png IronPigs.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current Triple-A (1993–present)
Minor league affiliations
League International League
Division North Division
Major league affiliations
Current Philadelphia Phillies (2007–present)
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles (1) 1995
Division titles (1) 1995
Team data
Nickname Lehigh Valley IronPigs (2008–present)
Previous names
Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007)
Colors Furnace Blue, brick red, steel, white
                   
Ballpark Coca-Cola Park (2008–present)
Previous parks
Ottawa Baseball Stadium (1993–2007)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Joseph Finley, Craig Stein
Manager Dusty Wathan
General Manager Kurt Landes
Media CSN Philadelphia
IronPigs Television Network
IronPigs Radio Network

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are a minor league baseball team that plays in the International League. The IronPigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team plays their home games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Coca-Cola Park, which opened for the start of the IronPigs' first season in 2008, seats up to 8,100, with a capacity of 10,000, and cost $50.25 million to complete.[1] In 2016, Forbes listed the IronPigs as the fourth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $43 million.[2]

The IronPigs name is a reference to pig iron, used in the manufacturing of steel, for which the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is world-renowned.

History[edit]

Lehigh Valley IronPigs[edit]

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs were founded in 1993 as the Ottawa Lynx, who played at Ottawa Baseball Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario from 1993–2007 before moving to Allentown. As the Lynx, the team was affiliated with the Montreal Expos from 1993–2002, the Baltimore Orioles from 2003–2006, and the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2007 season only. The Lynx were the only International League franchise based in Canada at the time of their existence, and during the club's last years there, the team had difficulty attracting fans. The Phillies were unhappy with the local ownership of their previous affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, and affiliated with the Lynx when Orioles ended their relationship. The Red Barons are now the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and serve as the affiliate of the New York Yankees. The Phillies signed a one-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Lynx while Coca-Cola Park was being constructed, and relocated the team to Allentown upon its completion. The IronPigs have been extremely well received in Allentown, given the Phillies' large fan base there, and the move permits Phillies' players to rehab without significant transportation time. The name "IronPigs" was well received by the fans in the Lehigh Valley.

View from the club level at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Before the IronPigs[edit]

Prior to the arrival of the IronPigs, the Lehigh Valley had not had a Minor League-affiliated baseball team since 1960, when the Allentown Red Sox left for Johnstown, Pennsylvania.[3] The Allentown Red Sox played at Breadon Field (later called Max Hess Stadium) from 1958–1960, at the site where the Lehigh Valley Mall stands today.[4]

The region was previously home to two independent baseball teams: the Allentown Ambassadors of the Northeast League and the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Ambassadors played at Bicentennial Park in Allentown until the team was disbanded in 2004. The Black Diamonds moved from Newburgh, New York in 1999 and were expected to move into a new ballpark near Easton called the Lehigh Valley Multi-Purpose Sport Complex, but the project never came to completion and ultimately was terminated. While the Black Diamonds waited for their new stadium, they played as a traveling team.

Pursuit of a Single-A franchise or Orioles affiliate[edit]

In 2003, Joseph Finley and Craig Stein began actively pursuing their interest in bringing affiliated baseball back to Allentown. Initially, the duo pursued a Single-A franchise when the Ottawa Lynx, the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles at the time, were rumored to be moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. When the city of Harrisburg did not upgrade Metro Bank Park to AAA standards, the Baltimore Orioles shifted their interest to Allentown because of its proximity to the Mid-Atlantic. The Phillies also looked into moving their AAA operations to Allentown from the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre region. For the 2007 season, the Phillies shifted their AAA affiliate to Ottawa, leaving Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre after 18 seasons, while the Orioles affiliated with the Norfolk Tides. The Lynx relocated to Allentown as the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies instead of being relocated as the Orioles Triple-A affiliate.

Season highlights[edit]

2008 season[edit]

In 2008, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs opened their first season with an 11-game losing streak. On April 14, the team broke the streak, defeating the Richmond Braves 3–1 at their new home stadium Coca-Cola Park. The win was both the team's first home win and their first ever as the IronPigs. Early on in the season Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino made a rehab start with the IronPigs. In July, Phillies starter Brett Myers pitched a few games for the team after running up a dismal 3–9 record in the first part of the season.

2009 season[edit]

In 2009, former Phillies' pitchers Kyle Kendrick and J. C. Romero pitched for the team. Kendrick was assigned to the IronPigs after failing to make the Phillies starting roster for 2009. Romero pitched for the IronPigs in May 2009 following a 50-game suspension for failing Major League Baseball's substance abuse policy, after he tested positive for the use of androstenedione.

2010 season[edit]

On July 14, Coca-Cola Park hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game, and the game was broadcast on the MLB Network.

On July 7, left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ started a rehab assignment with the IronPigs. On July 29, Happ was traded to the Houston Astros for right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt. Relief pitcher Michael Schwimer had a 1.35 ERA and held batters to a .080 batting average with runners in scoring position.[5]

The team finished in fifth place in the International League North Division with a record of 58–86.[6] The IronPigs finished the 2010 season ranked first among all affiliated Minor League Baseball teams in average attendance per home game.

2011 season[edit]

Former MLB player Ryne Sandberg replaced Dave Huppert as manager prior to the season.

On April 7, 2011, the IronPigs won their season opener against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Coca-Cola Park, registering the first win-loss percentage above .500 in the team's history.[7][full citation needed] Before he was promoted to the majors, All-Star closer Michael Schwimer was 9–1 with a 1.88 ERA, and 10 saves, with 86 strikeouts in 67.0 innings (averaging 11.6 strikeouts per 9 innings).[8][9][10][11]

In September 2011, the IronPigs made it to the Governors' Cup finals, losing to the Columbus Clippers three games to one.[12] The team's 2011 regular season record of 80-64 was the best record since the team was started.

2012 season[edit]

The IronPigs finished the 2012 season with 75 wins and 68 losses, for a win-loss percentage of .524. The team was 8½ games behind the leader of the International League North Division, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The IronPigs had the highest attendance in the league with 622,421.

2013 season[edit]

Manager Ryne Sandberg was promoted to the Philadelphia Phillies as batting coach (he eventually would become their manager when Charlie Manuel was fired later in the season), and was replaced by Dave Brundage, previously with the Gwinnett Braves. The team finished 72-72, 8½ games behind the North Division-winning Pawtucket Red Sox. Team attendance again led the league, at 613,075.

2014 season[edit]

The team slid in the standings to last, at 66-78, but led the league again in attendance, with 614,888.

2015 season[edit]

The IronPigs finished 63-81, fifth in the division behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but again topped the league in attendance, with 613,815.

2016 season[edit]

The team surpassed their regular-season record for wins, with 85 against 58 losses, qualifying for the Governors' Cup Playoffs, but were swept in three games by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Attendance fell to 611,015, but for a ninth straight year led the league.[13]

2017 season[edit]

Dusty Wathan was named IronPigs manager before the 2017 season after five seasons with the Reading Fightin Phils.[14] The IronPigs opening day roster contained six of the Phillies' top ten prospects, including top prospect J. P. Crawford.[15]

Mascot[edit]

On December 1, 2007, the IronPigs selected "PorkChop" as the name of their mascot from 7,300 submitted names. On December 2, 2007, the name was changed to Ferrous, derived from the chemical name for iron, because of complaints from the local Puerto Rican population, who alleged that "Pork Chop" was a racist term, despite the name being submitted by a young girl who lived in the Lehigh Valley area.[16] The current mascots for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are Ferrous and FeFe. Ferrous wears the number 26, which is the atomic number for iron. FeFe is named after the abbreviation for iron, Fe.[17]

Broadcast coverage[edit]

The Iron Pigs' home radio booth at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The IronPigs franchise broadcasts all 72 of its home games on television, a rarity for a minor league team. Local cable outlet Service Electric TV2 carries the IronPigs games, covering most of the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. In addition, TV2 feeds the telecasts to Blue Ridge Cable TV-13 for broadcast to other areas in the eastern part of the state. In addition, select Saturday night home games are telecast on WFMZ-TV 69, which serves the Lehigh Valley as well as the northern Philadelphia market and western New Jersey. All 144 IronPigs games are also broadcast on WEEX, an Easton, Pennsylvania-based ESPN Radio affiliate. Former in-game reporter Meredith Marakovits is now a field reporter for the New York Yankees games on WPIX-TV and YES Network, sideline reporter for the Philadelphia 76ers on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, contributor for WFAN (660 AM) radio in New York, N.Y.

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season League Division Regular Season Postseason Awards
Finish W L Win% GB
2008 IL North 6th 55 89 .382 33.0
2009 IL North 3rd 71 73 .493 11.5
2010 IL North 5th 58 86 .403 29.5
2011 IL North 2nd 80 64 .556 2.0 L Governors' Cup Finals
2012 IL North 3rd 75 68 .524 8.5
2013 IL North 4th 72 72 .500 8.5
2014 IL North 6th 66 78 .458 15.5
2015 IL North 5th 63 81 .438 18
2016 IL North 2nd 85 58 .594 6 L Governors' Cup Semifinals
Total IL North XX 625 669 .483 XX

Logos and team uniforms[edit]

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs also added a dark blue jersey for Sunday games at the beginning of the 2014 season. The team also has an alternate all black jersey set for Friday evening home games. [18]

Current roster[edit]

Lehigh Valley IronPigs roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Philadelphia Phillies 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated June 27, 2017
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Philadelphia Phillies minor league players

Awards and honors[edit]

International League Most Valuable Pitcher[edit]

Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year[edit]

See: Baseball America#Minor League Baseball awards

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Isherwood, Darryl R. (October 25, 2008). "Stadium's final cost hits $50.25 million". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved October 25, 2008. 
  2. ^ Klebnikov, Sergei (July 8, 2016). "Minor League Baseball's Most Valuable Teams – 4. Lehigh Valley IronPigs". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Eastern League History". Ballpark Digest. Archived from the original on October 26, 2006. Retrieved July 28, 2007. 
  4. ^ Dan, Sheehan; Jay Hart (July 1, 2005). "Will baseball be very, very good to the Valley with a AAA team?". The Morning Call. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Michael Schwimer patiently waiting his turn". The Morning Call. August 6, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Standings 2010 Season
  7. ^ International League Statistics
  8. ^ Matt Gelb (August 18, 2011). "Phillies' Schwimer adjusting to big leagues". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  9. ^ David Murphy (August 18, 2011). "Schwimer called up after Polanco placed on DL". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Phillies Officially Call Up Michael Schwimer". Philadelphia Sports Daily. August 17, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Madson logs inning of rehab work". Philadelphia Daily News. July 14, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  12. ^ "'Pigs Fall to Clippers in Governors' Cup Finals", MinorLeagueBaseball.com, September 16, 2011.
  13. ^ "IronPigs Draw Over 600,000 Fans, Set Record", Ballpark Digest, September 14, 2016.
  14. ^ https://www.milb.com/ironpigs/news/phillies-tab-wathan-as-next-ironpigs-manager/c-202190102/t-196097294
  15. ^ http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/ironpigs/index.ssf/2017/03/lehigh_valley_ironpigs_release_1.html
  16. ^ IronPigs Hear More Complaints In 'PorkChop' Mascot Name Flap – Sports News Story – WCAU | Philadelphia
  17. ^ Ferrous and FeFe – IronPigsBaseball.com
  18. ^ Joyce, Greg (2014-02-24). "Lehigh Valley IronPigs unveil new uniforms for 2014 season". Lehigh Valley Live. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  19. ^ "Cloyd Honored as IL's Most Valuable Pitcher". Lehigh Valley IronPigs official website. Minor League baseball. August 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  20. ^ "Thompson Named IL's Most Valuable Pitcher". Lehigh Valley IronPigs official website. Minor League baseball. August 30, 2016. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  21. ^ Schuler, Jeff (December 5, 2011). "2011 Minor League Manager Of The Year: Ryne Sandberg: Sandberg forges new path as top manager". Baseball America. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 

External links[edit]