Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Founded in 1989
Moosic, Pennsylvania
SWB RailRiders logo.svg SWBRailRiderscap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassTriple-A (1989–present)
LeagueTriple-A East (2021–present)
DivisionNortheast Division
Previous leagues
International League (1989–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamNew York Yankees (2007–present)
Previous teamsPhiladelphia Phillies (1989–2006)
Minor league titles
Class titles (1)
  • 2016
League titles (2)
  • 2008
  • 2016
Division titles (13)
  • 1992
  • 1999
  • 2002
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2012
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2019
Wild card berths (3)
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2018
Team data
NameScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (2013–present)
Previous names
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (2007–2012)
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (1989–2006)
ColorsNavy blue, cranberry, gold, white
       
MascotChamp
BallparkPNC Field (2013–present)
Previous parks
  • Multiple locations (2012)
  • PNC Field (1989–2011)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
SWB Yankees LLC (Yankee Global Enterprises (50%) and SWB Investors LLC (50%))
PresidentJohn Adams[1]
General ManagerKatie Beekman[1]
ManagerDoug Davis

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (often abbreviated to SWB RailRiders) are a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A East and the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. They are located in Moosic, Pennsylvania, in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, and are named in reference to Northeastern Pennsylvania being home to the first trolley system in the United States. The RailRiders have played their home games at PNC Field since its opening in 1989.

Founded as members of the International League (IL) in 1989, the team was known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons during their affiliation with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1989 to 2006. They became known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2007 after affiliating with the New York Yankees. They rebranded as the RailRiders in 2013. During their IL membership, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre won two Governors' Cup championships (2008 and 2016) and one Triple-A National Championship (2016). The RailRiders became members of the Triple-A East in 2021.

History[edit]

Red Barons (1989–2006)[edit]

The team arrived in Lackawanna County in 1989 from Old Orchard Beach, Maine, where it was previously the Maine Phillies and before that Maine Guides and were renamed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The name was chosen as a reference to the early minor league franchises in the area, the Scranton Red Sox and the Wilkes-Barre Barons, both members of the Eastern League. A group from Scranton, Pennsylvania, called Northeast Baseball, Inc. (NBI), purchased the team in 1985, with the hopes of moving it to a soon-to-be-built stadium in Lackawanna County. Maine ownership later sued NBI, claiming violation of the purchase contract. NBI also filed suit, and after a lengthy court battle, won control of the franchise. The Philadelphia Phillies took control of the team for its final season in 1988, renaming it from Maine Guides to Maine Phillies before its relocation to Lackawanna County.

Despite early on-field struggles, the team enjoyed great popularity in the community. The Red Barons drew over 500,000 fans for their first five seasons. Led by .310 hitter Rick Schu and Jay Baller's 22 saves, the club drew 598,067 fans and finished 84–58 in 1992, good for first place in the IL Eastern Division. The Barons would eventually fall to the Columbus Clippers in the championship series.[2] After six mediocre seasons, Marc Bombard took over as manager in 1997 and led the club to their second postseason appearance in 1999. The Barons reached the playoffs in four straight seasons from 1999 to 2002, losing in the finals in both 2000 and 2001. Bombard would manage the team for eight seasons, posting the best finish in Red Barons' history, a 91–53 record in 2002, led by Joe Roa's perfect 14–0 record.[3]

In the middle part of the 2000s, many talented players played for the Red Barons. Many of them, such as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Cole Hamels, would help the Phillies win five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011, and a World Series in 2008. Despite this, attendance dropped during this time. Following the 2006 season, the Phillies ended their affiliation with the Red Barons and signed a player development contract with the Ottawa Lynx in anticipation of that team's move to Allentown's new Coca-Cola Park as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the 2008 season.

Yankees (2007–2012)[edit]

Members of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees take batting practice before the Opening Day 2009 game versus the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

On September 21, 2006, the Red Barons announced an affiliation agreement with the New York Yankees, ending the Yankees' 28-year relationship with the Columbus Clippers.[4] The Red Barons sold 47,000 tickets on the day of the announcement. On December 12, 2006, the team was renamed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, and unveiled new team logos and uniforms.[5]

The club enjoyed much success in their first four seasons as the Yankees. In 2007, the SWB Yankees finished with a record of 84–59 and captured the IL North Division title for the fourth time in team history before losing to Richmond in the semi-finals. The 2008 season was the most successful in franchise history as the Yankees finished 88–56, won another division championship and earned their first league title. After defeating the Pawtucket Red Sox 3–1 in the semi-finals, the Yankees beat the Durham Bulls 3–1 in the final round to earn the Governors' Cup trophy. The team again finished in first place in 2009 and advance to the championship before being swept by Durham, 3–0.

The team made history in 2010 as they became the first club in the 126 years of International League play to win five consecutive division championships. Since 2006, S/W-B has compiled a record of 424–289 (.595 winning %) and has finished atop the Northern Division. In the 2010 postseason, the Yankees were beaten by the Columbus Clippers three games to one in the semi-final round.

On November 9, 2010, the Lackawanna County Multipurpose Stadium Authority voted to sell the franchise to Mandalay Baseball Properties. The following day, SWB Yankees, LLC, announced plans to move ahead with a $40-million renovation to PNC Field.[6]

On April 26, 2012, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were sold to SWB Yankees LLC, an ownership entity that is a joint venture between the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball Properties. While SWB Yankees LLC owns the team, Mandalay Baseball Properties still manages the team.[7]

The leadership of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees changed on July 9, 2012, when Rob Crain, the former assistant general manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers, was named the new president and general manager of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Crain replaced former president Kristen Rose, who resigned from her position in April 2012.[8]

Empire State Yankees[edit]

To facilitate major renovations to PNC Field during the 2012 season, the SWB Yankees chose to temporarily relocate their operations for 2012 to allow the renovations to be completed in one season rather than being spread over two to three years. The team based itself in Rochester, New York, and played over half its games at Frontier Field, home of the IL's Red Wings.[9][10] Other home games were spread over five other sites:[11]

For this season, while the team was still officially the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, they used the name "Empire State Yankees" for promotional purposes.[9][12][13]

On May 6, 2012, a regular-season record crowd of 13,584 fans were in attendance at Rochester's Frontier Field to witness Andy Pettitte make a start for the team against the Pawtucket Red Sox, wearing the "Empire State Yankees" logo. Pettitte had come out of retirement late in spring training of 2012 and made several minor-league appearances before joining the major league club. The game was originally supposed to be played at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, New York but was moved due to high demand for tickets.[14]

RailRiders (2013–present)[edit]

The RailRiders celebrate after winning the 2016 Gildan Triple-A National Baseball Championship

With the transition in ownership from a public authority to private hands, the new owners expressed an intent to change the name of the team for the 2013 season, including a possible change from "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre" to some other location identifier.[15] On November 14, 2012, it was announced that the team would be known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, with logos, colors, and uniforms announced with the new name. The team name was submitted by Chuck Parente of Duryea. Although "RailRiders" received the most first-place votes by fans, "Porcupines" received the most overall fan votes on the ballots ranked one through three. As a result, a porcupine was incorporated in the RailRiders' logo.[16] The name of the team was a tribute to the Wyoming Valley's history as an economic powerhouse and railway center in the eastern parts of the state and Scranton's long contributions to the history of the US railroad and streetcar industries.

On July 25, 2013, the RailRiders played the longest game in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise history, defeating the Toledo Mud Hens 2–1 in 20 innings at PNC Field.

On September 3, 2014, Mandalay Baseball Properties announced the sale of its 50% interest in the RailRiders to the SWB Investors LLC. The sale was estimated to be in the $13 million to $15 million range. The New York Yankees retained their 50% ownership of the team.[17] The ownership entity remains as SWB Yankees LLC. On January 6, 2016, Al Pedrique was announced as the RailRiders new manager taking over for Dave Miley.[18]

In 2016, the RailRiders captured the franchise's second Governors' Cup title, securing 3–1 series victories over arch rival Lehigh Valley and the Gwinnett Braves. The RailRiders then defeated the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Pacific Coast League by a score of 3–1 in the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game.[19]

On January 31, 2018, Bobby Mitchell was named the RailRiders' new manager.

On June 30, 2020, it was announced by Minor League Baseball that there would not be a 2020 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[20]

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the RailRiders were organized into the Triple-A East.[21] SWB ended the season in second place in the Northeastern Division with a 68–49 record.[22] No playoffs were held to determine a league champion; instead, the team with the best regular-season record was the declared the winner.[23] However, 10 games that had been postponed from the start of the season were reinserted into the schedule as a postseason tournament called the Triple-A Final Stretch in which all 30 Triple-A clubs competed for the highest winning percentage over that stretch.[23] The RailRiders finished the tournament in sixth place with a 7–3 record.[24]

Ownership[edit]

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are 100% owned by SWB Yankees LLC, a joint venture between Yankee Global Enterprises and SWB Investors LLC and was previously a joint venture between Yankee Global Enterprises and Mandalay Baseball Properties until Mandalay sold its stake in SWB Yankees LLC to SWB Investors LLC. Yankee Global Enterprises is the owner of the RailRiders' parent club the New York Yankees and SWB Investors LLC is a local ownership group that handles the day-to-day operations of the RailRiders. The joint venture's name comes from the name SWB Yankees, an alternate name that was used by the RailRiders when they were known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to distinguish themselves from their MLB affiliate the New York Yankees.

Yankee Global Enterprises and SWB Investors LLC each own 50% in the SWB Yankees LLC joint venture, automatically giving each 50% ownership in the RailRiders. SWB Investors LLC's 50% stake in the SWB Yankees LLC joint venture was originally held by Mandalay Baseball Properties. Former MLB pitcher Andy Ashby is one of the team's owner-investors.[25]

Season-by-season records[edit]

Table key
League The team's final position in the league standings
Division 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 Class champions (1989–present)
League champions League champions (1989–present)
* Division champions (1989–present)
^ Postseason berth (1992–present)
Season-by-season records
Season League Regular season Postseason MLB affiliate Ref.
Record Win % League Division GB Record Win % Result
1989 IL 64–79 .448 7th 3rd 18 Philadelphia Phillies [26]
1990 IL 68–78 .466 5th 2nd 21+12 Philadelphia Phillies [27]
1991 IL 65–78 .455 7th 4th 14 Philadelphia Phillies [28]
1992
*
IL 84–58 .592 2nd 1st 5–4 .556 Won Eastern Division title
Won semifinals vs. Pawtucket Red Sox, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Columbus Clippers, 3–2[29]
Philadelphia Phillies [30]
1993 IL 62–80 .437 8th 3rd 12+12 Philadelphia Phillies [31]
1994 IL 62–80 .437 10th 5th 16 Philadelphia Phillies [32]
1995 IL 70–72 .493 8th 4th 3 Philadelphia Phillies [33]
1996 IL 70–72 .493 5th 3rd 8 Philadelphia Phillies [34]
1997 IL 66–76 .465 8th 3rd 17+12 Philadelphia Phillies [35]
1998 IL 67–75 .472 11th 6th 13+12 Philadelphia Phillies [36]
1999
*
IL 78–66 .542 5th 1st 2–3 .400 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Charlotte Knights, 3–2[37]
Philadelphia Phillies [38]
2000
^
IL 85–60 .586 2nd 2nd 1 5–4 .556 Won wild card berth
Won semifinals vs. Buffalo Bisons, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Indianapolis Indians, 3–2[39]
Philadelphia Phillies [40]
2001
^
IL 78–65 .545 4th 2nd 13+12 3–3 .500 Won wild card berth
Won semifinals vs. Buffalo Bisons, 3–2
Lost IL championship vs. Louisville RiverBats, 1–0[n 1][41]
Philadelphia Phillies [42]
2002
*
IL 91–53 .632 1st 1st 0–3 .000 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Buffalo Bisons, 3–0[43]
Philadelphia Phillies [44]
2003 IL 73–70 .510 7th (tie) 3rd (tie) 9+12 Philadelphia Phillies [45]
2004 IL 69–73 .486 8th 4th 13 Philadelphia Phillies [46]
2005 IL 69–75 .479 9th (tie) 5th (tie) 13 Philadelphia Phillies [47]
2006
*
IL 84–58 .592 1st 1st 1–3 .250 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Rochester Red Wings, 3–1[48]
Philadelphia Phillies [49]
2007
*
IL 84–59 .587 1st 1st 1–3 .250 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Richmond Braves, 3–1[50]
New York Yankees [51]
2008
* League champions
IL 88–56 .611 1st (tie) 1st 6–3 .667 Won Northern Division title
Won semifinals vs. Pawtucket Red Sox, 3–1
Won IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–1[52]
Lost Triple-A championship vs. Sacramento River Cats[53]
New York Yankees [54]
2009
*
IL 81–60 .574 3rd 1st 3–4 .429 Won Northern Division title
Won semifinals vs. Gwinnett Braves, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–0[55]
New York Yankees [56]
2010
*
IL 87–56 .608 2nd 1st 1–3 .250 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Columbus Clippers, 3–1[57]
New York Yankees [58]
2011 IL 73–69 .514 7th 3rd 8 New York Yankees [59]
2012
*
IL 84–60 .583 2nd 1st 1–3 .250 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Pawtucket Red Sox, 3–1[60]
New York Yankees [61]
2013 IL 68–76 .472 10th 5th 12+12 New York Yankees [62]
2014 IL 68–76 .472 10th 5th 13+12 New York Yankees [63]
2015
*
IL 81–63 .563 3rd 1st 0–3 .000 Won Northern Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Indianapolis Indians, 3–0[64]
New York Yankees [65]
2016
* League champions Class champions
IL 91–52 .636 1st 1st 7–1 .875 Won Northern Division title
Won semifinals vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 3–0
Won IL championship vs. Gwinnett Braves, 3–1[66]
Won Triple-A championship vs. El Paso Chihuahuas[67]
New York Yankees [68]
2017
*
IL 86–55 .610 1st 1st 4–4 .500 Won Northern Division title
Won semifinals vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–1[69]
New York Yankees [70]
2018
^
IL 73–65 .529 3rd 2nd 10 5–4 .556 Won wild card berth
Won semifinals vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–2[71]
New York Yankees [72]
2019
*
IL 76–65 .539 5th 1st 0–3 .000 Won Northern Division title[n 2]
Lost semifinals vs. Durham Bulls, 3–0[74]
New York Yankees [75]
2020 IL Season cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)[76] New York Yankees [77]
2021 AAAE 68–49 .581 3rd 2nd 3 7–3 .700 Lost series vs. Syracuse Mets, 3–2
Won series vs. Rochester Red Wings, 5–0
Placed 6th in the Triple-A Final Stretch[24]
New York Yankees [22]
Totals 2,413–2,129 .531 51–54 .486

Uniform design[edit]

The RailRiders home uniform is white with navy blue pinstripes, mirroring those of the New York Yankees. The primary home jersey features the SWB logo on the left chest.[78] The cranberry colors in the logo are a tip of the cap to the Red Barons.

Radio[edit]

The team's initial radio play-by-play announcer, Kent Westling, retired prior to the 2008 season and had been with the franchise since it moved to Pennsylvania in 1989. While he cut back his schedule in later years, Westling, a former local television sportscaster who once worked on telecasts of St. Louis Blues hockey team, had been behind the microphone for more than 2,000 games until announcing his resignation after the 2007 season.[79]

Mike Vander Woude served as the team's second play-by-play announcer from 2008 until 2012. In 2013, John Sadak, the 2012 Carolina League broadcaster of the year and the 2013 national minor league broadcaster of the year, took over the play-by-play duties.[80] Sadak was joined on the air by Darren Headrick from 2015 through 2017.

On November 6, 2017, Adam Marco was announced as the RailRiders' new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations.

Radio network[edit]

Roster[edit]

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

  • 44 Jason Lopez
  • 18 Max McDowell
  • 33 Donny Sands

Infielders

  •  3 Armando Alvarez
  • 19 Max Burt
  • 15 Cristian Perez
  • 35 Matt Pita

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

  • 30 Caonabo Cosme (coach)
  • 27 Casey Dykes (hitting)
  • 52 Raul Dominguez (defensive)
  • 45 Dustin Glant (pitching)

60-day injured list

Injury icon 2.svg 7-day injured list
* On New York Yankees 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
± Taxi squad
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated July 30, 2021
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • Triple-A East
New York Yankees minor league players

Awards[edit]

Seven players, five managers, and two executives won league awards in recognition for their performance with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League.[82]

International League Awards
Award Recipient Season Ref.
Most Valuable Player Shane Victorino 2005 [82]
Most Valuable Player Shelley Duncan 2009 [82]
Most Valuable Player Ben Gamel 2016 [82]
Most Valuable Pitcher Brandon Duckworth 2001 [82]
Most Valuable Pitcher Joe Roa 2002 [82]
Rookie of the Year Marlon Anderson 1998 [82]
Rookie of the Year Brandon Duckworth 2001 [82]
Rookie of the Year Austin Jackson 2009 [82]
Rookie of the Year Ben Gamel 2015 [82]
Manager of the Year Lee Elia 1992 [82]
Manager of the Year Marc Bombard 2002 [82]
Manager of the Year John Russell 2006 [82]
Manager of the Year Dave Miley 2007 [82]
Manager of the Year Dave Miley 2012 [82]
Manager of the Year Al Pedrique 2016 [82]
Manager of the Year Al Pedrique 2017 [82]
Executive of the Year Bill Terlecky 1990 [82]
Executive of the Year Josh Olerud 2017 [82]

Managers[edit]

Ramón Avilés managed the Red Barons in 1996.
Al Pedrique managed the RailRiders from 2016 to 2017.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has had 16 managers since their inaugural 1989 season.

No. Manager Season(s)
1 Bill Dancy 1989–1991
2 Lee Elia 1992
3 George Culver 1993
4 Mike Quade 1994–1995
5 Butch Hobson[n 3] 1996
6 Ramón Avilés[n 3] 1996
7 Marc Bombard[n 4] 1997–2001
8 Jerry Martin[n 4] 2001
Bill Dancy[n 4] 2001
9 Donnie Long[n 4] 2001
Jerry Martin[n 4] 2001
Marc Bombard[n 4] 2001–2004
10 Gene Lamont 2005
11 John Russell 2006
12 Dave Miley 2007–2015
13 Al Pedrique 2016–2017
14 Bobby Mitchell 2018
15 Jay Bell 2019
16 Doug Davis 2020–present

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 2001 playoffs were cancelled in the wake the September 11 terrorist attacks. Louisville, which had won the first game of the series, 2–1, before its cancellation, was declared the winner.
  2. ^ SWB finished the 2019 season tied for first with the Syracuse Mets, each with a 75–65 record. On September 3, SWB defeated Syracuse in a one-game playoff, 14–13, to win the Northern Division title.[73]
  3. ^ a b Ramón Avilés served as interim manager from May 6 through the end of the season after Butch Hobson took a leave of absence from the team.[83][84]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Marc Bombard was promoted to the Philadelphia Phillies to serve as interim third base coach on May 6.[85] Red Barons hitting coach Jerry Martin served as interim manager for two days before being succeeded by Phillies field coordinator Bill Dancy and roving hitting instructor Donnie Long. Martin then came back as interim manager before Bombard returned to the team on July 14.[86][87]

References[edit]

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