Omaha Storm Chasers
|Omaha Storm Chasers
Founded in 1969
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Pacific Coast League
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Kansas City Royals
|Minor league titles|
|Class titles (3)||
|League titles (7)||
|Conference titles (4)||
|Division titles (15)||
|Nickname||Omaha Storm Chasers
|Omaha Royals (2002–2010)
Omaha Golden Spikes
Omaha Royals (1969–1998)
Royal blue, Vegas gold
|Ballpark||Werner Park (2011–present)|
|Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium
|Alliance Baseball LLC|
|General Manager||Martie Cordaro|
The Omaha Storm Chasers are a minor league baseball team, based in Papillion, Nebraska, a suburb southwest of Omaha. The team is the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals major league club and has been a member of the expanded Pacific Coast League since 1998. From 1969 to 1997, Omaha played in the now-dissolved American Association. Omaha has been the only Triple-A affiliate of Kansas City since their inception as an expansion team in 1969.
The team played in Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the College World Series for over 60 years. The Royals moved to their new home, Werner Park in Sarpy County, and changed their name from Royals to Storm Chasers in 2011.
After having been known as the Royals from their inaugural 1969 season through 1998, the team nickname was changed to the Omaha Golden Spikes in 1999. The name change was a reference to the Golden Spike driven at Promontory Summit, Utah, to celebrate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. It was intended to celebrate the rich railroad tradition in Omaha, headquarters of the Union Pacific Railroad. The well-intentioned name change proved unpopular with many fans; after three seasons as the Golden Spikes, the Union Pacific sold their majority ownership and the nickname was returned to "Royals" for 2002.
Following the 2010 season, the Omaha Royals began the process of changing their nickname. Fans had the opportunity to submit their choice of nicknames, as well as vote on the finalists. The list of 24 fan-submitted names was whittled down to nine finalists through voting at the team's website, and the new name, "Storm Chasers," was revealed on November 15.
The first game under the Storm Chasers name was played on April 7, 2011, in Albuquerque, New Mexico against the Albuquerque Isotopes. Mike Montgomery started the game for the Storm Chasers and Clint Robinson hit a homerun in the top of the second inning, giving him the first hit, homerun, and RBI in the team's history as the Storm Chasers. The first win for the team came two days later when they took the third game of the series against the Isotopes, 10–4. Pitcher Kevin Pucetas got the win.
The home opener at Werner Park was to be on April 15, but was postponed due to rain. As such, the first Storm Chasers home game was on April 16 against the Nashville Sounds. David Lough recorded the first Chasers home hit and Mike Moustakas doubled in Eric Hosmer for the first RBI. The Storm Chasers won their home debut, 2–1. Danny Duffy started the game, but the win went to reliever Jesse Chavez. The first homerun at Werner wasn't hit until April 20, a two run shot by Mike Moustakas that again brought Eric Hosmer around to score.
In July 2015, the Storm Chasers hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, the first time the events had been held in Omaha. The International League defeated the PCL 4–3 and Norfolk's Dariel Álvarez won the Home Run Derby. The Storm Chasers were well represented at the game with three All-Star players in Cheslor Cutbert, Louis Coleman, and John Lamb as well as trainer Dave Innicca and manager Brian Poldberg, who skippered the PCL team. Another Omaha All-Star in 2015, outfielder José Martínez, led the league in on-base percentage (OBP, .461) that year and broke the PCL batting record with a .384 average.
|1969||85–55||1st||Jack McKeon||Won League Championship 4–1 vs. Denver Bears|
|1970||73–65||1st||Jack McKeon||Won League Championship 4–1 vs. Syracuse Chiefs|
|1976||78–58||2nd||Billy Gardner||Lost League Championship 4–2 vs. Denver Bears|
|1977||76–59||1st||John Sullivan||Lost League Championship 4–2 vs. Denver Bears|
|1978||66–69||4th||John Sullivan||Won League Championship 4–1 vs. Indianapolis Indians|
|1981||79–57||1st||Joe Sparks||Won Division Series 3–2 vs. Springfield Redbirds;
Lost League Championship 4–0 vs. Denver Bears
|1982||71–66||4th||Joe Sparks||Lost League Championship 4–2 vs. Indianapolis Indians|
|1983||64–72||6th (t)||Joe Sparks|
|1986||72–70||4th||John Boles / Frank Funk|
|1987||64–76||7th (t)||John Wathan / Frank Funk|
|1988||81–61||2nd||Glenn Ezell||Lost League Championship 3–1 vs. Indianapolis Indians|
|1989||74–72||3rd (t)||Sal Rende||Lost League Championship 3–2 vs. Indianapolis Indians|
|1990||86–60||1st||Sal Rende||Won League Championship 3–2 vs. Nashville Sounds;
Won Triple-A Classic 4–1 vs. Rochester Red Wings
|1992||67–77||6th (t)||Jeff Cox|
|1995||76–68||3rd||Mike Jirschele||Lost Division Series 3–1 vs. Buffalo Bisons|
|1996||79–65||2nd||Mike Jirschele||Lost Division Series 3–1 vs. Oklahoma City 89ers|
|Pacific Coast League|
|1998||79–64||4th (t)||Ron Johnson|
|1999||81–60||3rd||Ron Johnson||Lost Conference Championship 3–1 vs. Oklahoma RedHawks|
|2011||79–63||1st||Mike Jirschele||Won American Conference 3–1 vs. Round Rock Express;
Won PCL Championship 3–0 vs. Sacramento River Cats;
Lost Triple-A National Championship vs. Columbus Clippers
|2012||83–61||1st||Mike Jirschele||Won American Conference 3–2 vs. Albuquerque Isotopes;
Lost PCL Championship 3–1 vs. Reno Aces
|2013||70–74||1st||Mike Jirschele||Won American Conference 3–0 vs. Oklahoma City RedHawks;
Won PCL Championship 3–1 vs. Salt Lake Bees;
Won Triple-A National Championship vs. Durham Bulls
|2014||76–67||1st||Brian Poldberg||Won American Conference 3–1 vs. Memphis Redbirds;
Won PCL Championship 3–2 vs. Reno Aces;
Won Triple-A National Championship vs. Pawtucket Red Sox
|2015||80–64||2nd (t)||Brian Poldberg|
|TOTAL||3,421–3,373||—||—||American Association: 10 West Division Titles, 4 American Association Titles, 1 Triple-A Classic Title
Pacific Coast League: 4 American Conference Titles, 3 Pacific Coast League Titles, 2 Triple-A National Titles
The Storm Chasers have four uniform tops and three hats that they wear during the season. The uniforms are manufactured by Russell Athletic and the hats are made by New Era. Blue or black socks are worn high with all uniforms, per team policy. Player names are worn on the backs of the home white jerseys only.
The home white has "Storm Chasers" across the chest with Royal blue piping around the neck, down the center of the jersey, and around the two sleeves. The player's number appears on the left in split blue/gold written in Storm Chaser font. A Kansas City Royals patch adorns the left sleeve, boasting an affiliation that has gone unbroken since 1969. The number on the back is a larger version of the one of the front with the player's name arching above it in standard blue. The white pants have a thin blue line running up both legs and are capped off with a blue belt. Blue socks are worn with this jersey.
The road grays have "Omaha" written across the chest in split black/gold written in Storm Chaser font with the "O bolt" logo standing in for the "O" in Omaha. The player's number appears in the same split colors and font on the left side of the jersey. Black piping runs around the neck, down the center of the jersey, and around the two sleeves. There is also a thick black line down both gray pant legs. The number on the back is a larger version of the one on the front. A black belt and socks complete the road uniform.
The alternate uniform is black with the interlocking "SC" logo on the left side of the chest and has gold piping around the neck, down the center of the jersey, and around the two sleeves. The number on the back is gold, written in Storm Chaser font. These jerseys are worn with both the home white and road gray pants, but are always accompanied by a black belt and black socks.
The fourth jersey is completely Royal blue with the Vortex logo on the left side of the chest. The numbers on the back are white, written in Storm Chaser font.
The primary hat is Royal blue with a matching brim and button, the Vortex logo on the front, and a black New Era flag logo on the left side.
The road hat is black with a matching brim and button, the "O bolt" logo on the front, and a gold New Era flag logo on the left side.
The alternate hat is black with a matching brim and button, the interlocking "SC" logo on the front, and a white New Era flag logo on the left side.
The franchise has four retired numbers, three of which are also retired by the parent Kansas City Royals.
5 – George Brett: Played for the Omaha Royals in 1973–74, but is remembered most for his 21-year Hall of Fame Major League Baseball career, all with the Kansas City Royals. Brett was a 13-time all-star and 3-time batting champion as well as a Gold Glover, MVP, and World Series Champion.
10 – Dick Howser: Managed the Kansas City Royals from 1981–86, including guiding the team to two Western Division titles and the 1985 World Series title
20 – Frank White: Spent the first half of 1973 in Omaha, then got called up to the majors. He went on to spend his entire 18-year career with the Kansas City Royals, picking up 8 Gold Gloves and 5 all-star selections. He was part of the 1985 World Series team and was named the MVP of the 1980 ALCS.
23 – Mike Jirschele: Not only managed Omaha from 1995–97 and 2003–13, he also played for the team in 1988–89. His tenure as manager was the most successful in team history with five playoff berths, two Pacific Coast League titles, and a National Championship. He accumulated 995 wins during his 14 seasons in Omaha.
Awards and league leaders
The franchise has had several American Association (1969–1997) and Pacific Coast League (1998–present) award winners.
Most Valuable Player
- George Spriggs, 1970
- E. Manuel Castillo, 1981
- Luis De Los Santos, 1988
- Dwyane Hosey, 1994
- Chris Hatcher, 1998
Rookie of the Year
Most Valuable Pitcher
- Mark Littell, 1973
- Mark Huismann, 1985
- Luis Mendoza, 2011
Manager of the Year
- Jack McKeon, 1969
- Jack McKeon, 1970
- Joe Sparks, 1981
- Sal Rende, 1990
PCL ERA Champions
- Les Walrond, 2004, 3.06 ERA (123.2 IP)
- Anthony Lerew, 2010, 2.55 ERA (123.1 IP)
- Luis Mendoza, 2011, 2.18 ERA (144.1 IP)
PCL Batting Champion
- Jeremy Giambi, 1998, .372
- Mark Quinn, 1999, .360
- Jose Martinez, 2015, .384 (PCL modern era record)
PCL Homerun Champion
- Chris Hatcher, 1998, 46
Single-season team records
- Hits: 182, Manny Castillo, 1981
- Doubles: 37, Steve Hammond 1983; Clint Robinson 2012
- Triples: 20, Fred Rico, 1969
- Homeruns: 46, Chris Hatcher, 1998
- RBIs: 106, Chris Hatcher, 1998
- Walks: 128, Ken Phelps, 1980
- Stolen Bases: 75, German Barranca 1979
- Wins: 16, Mark Littell, 1973, Gary Lance, 1977
- Strikeouts: 221, Steve Busby, 1972
- Saves: 33, Mark Huismann, 1985
The following players were named to the Triple-A All-Star team as Storm Chasers.
- Johnny Giavotella (2B)
- Luis Mendoza (P)
- Clint Robinson (DH)
- Tommy Hottovy (P)
- Wil Myers (OF)
- Clint Robinson (1B)
- Ryan Verdugo (P)
- Louis Coleman (P)
- Chris Dwyer (P)
- Spencer Patton (P)
- Francisco Pena (C)
- Louis Coleman (P)
- Cheslor Cuthbert (3B)
- John Lamb (P)
- Andrew Edwards (P)
Omaha Storm Chasers roster
|Major League||Kansas City Royals||American League||Kansas City, MO|
|Triple-A||Omaha Storm Chasers||Pacific Coast League||Papillion, NE|
|Double-A||Northwest Arkansas Naturals||Texas League||Springdale, AR|
|Advanced A||Wilmington Blue Rocks||Carolina League||Wilmington, DE|
|A||Lexington Legends||South Atlantic League||Lexington, KY|
|Rookie||Idaho Falls Chukars||Pioneer League||Idaho Falls, ID|
|Rookie||Burlington Royals||Appalachian League||Burlington, NC|
- 1969–1985 - Kansas City Royals
- 1986–1991 - Irving "Gus" Cherry
- 1991–2001 - Union Pacific Railroad (majority owner), with Warren Buffett and Walter Scott as minority owners
- 2001–2006 - Matt Minker (majority owner), with Warren Buffett and Walter Scott as minority owners
- 2006–2012 - William (Bill) Shea (majority owner), with Warren Buffett and Walter Scott as minority owners
- 2012–present - Alliance Baseball LLC.; principal owners include Gary Green (Chief Executive Officer/Managing Owner), Larry Botel, Eric Foss, Brian Callaghan, Peter Huff, Evan Friend, and Steve Alepa.
- "Werner Enterprises Granted Naming Rights for New Ballpark". ORoyals.com. 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "Baltimore Orioles prospect Dariel Alvarez wins Triple-A Home Run Derby - Pacific Coast League News". Pacific Coast League.
- "INT All-Stars vs. PCL All-Stars - July 15, 2015 - MiLB.com Box - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com.
- FOX Sports Midwest (May 25, 2016). "Cardinals acquire OF Jose Martinez from Royals, assign to Memphis". Fox Sports Midwest. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Boone, Tony (May 5, 2016). "Big year hard to ignore, but Chasers' Jose Martinez must follow up to get closer to big leagues". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- "Jose Martinez Crowned Pacific Coast League Batting Champ - Omaha Storm Chasers News". Omaha Storm Chasers.
- "Omaha Storm Chasers, Front Office Staff". minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
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