Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Founded in 1989
Moosic, Pennsylvania
SWBRailRiders.PNGSWBRailRiderscap.PNG
Team logoCap insignia
Class-level
CurrentTriple-A (1989–present)
Minor league affiliations
LeagueInternational League
DivisionNorth Division
Major league affiliations
CurrentNew York Yankees (2007–present)
Previous
Minor league titles
Class titles (1)
  • 2016
League titles (2)
  • 2008
  • 2016
Division titles (11)
  • 1992
  • 1999
  • 2002
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
Team data
NicknameScranton/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
                   
Ballpark
  • PNC Field (1989–2011, 2013–present)
  • Lackawanna County Stadium (1989–2007)
Previous parks
  • Multiple locations (2012)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
New York Yankees and
SWB Investors LLC
ManagerBobby Mitchell
General ManagerJosh Olerud

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Moosic, Pennsylvania, in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. The team plays in Northern Division of the International League (IL) and is the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. The team plays at PNC Field (formerly Lackawanna County Stadium), their home since 1989.

The team was originally known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (1989–2006) and later the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (2007–2012). They have won two Governors' Cup championships and one Triple-A National Championship.

History[edit]

Heritage (1919–1988)[edit]

The International League franchise that eventually became the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders was founded in 1919 in Reading, Pennsylvania, as the Reading Coal Barons. The team changed names to Marines in 1920, Aces in 1921, and Keystones in 1923. The team played in Reading from 1919 to 1932 before relocating to Albany, New York, to become the IL incarnation of the Albany Senators through 1936.

The team then relocated to Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1937 to become the Jersey City Giants until 1950. The team moved again to Ottawa, Ontario, to become the Ottawa Giants in 1951 and was renamed the Ottawa Athletics (Ottawa A's) in 1952. Following the 1954 season, they relocated to Columbus, Ohio, and competed as the Columbus Jets until 1970.

In 1971, the team moved again to Charleston, West Virginia, and became the Charleston Charlies from 1971 to 1983. The team moved to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, to become the Maine Guides in 1984. In 1987, a group from Scranton, Pennsylvania, called Northeast Baseball, Inc. (NBI), purchased the team 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 Guides for its final season in 1988, renaming it the Maine Phillies.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (1989–2006)[edit]

The team arrived in Lackawanna County in 1989 and was 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.

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.[1] 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 1999–2002, 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.[2]

The middle part of the 2000s saw a large number of talented players play 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.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 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.[3] 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.[4]

The club has 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 would again finish 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.[5]

On April 26, 2012, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were officially sold to SWB Yankees, LLC, which 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.[6]

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.[7]

Empire State Yankees[edit]

During the 2012 season, while their stadium was being renovated, they played home games at various sites, primarily in New York state. For this season, while the team was still officially the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, they used the name "Empire State Yankees" for promotional purposes.[8][9][10]

Faced with a requirement of major renovations to PNC Field, 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.[11][12] Other home games were spread over five other sites:[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 a high demand of tickets.[14]

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 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 created by Chuck Parente of Duryea.[16]

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] 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.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre yearly results[edit]

Year Record League
Finish
Manager Playoffs
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
1989 64–79 7th Bill Dancy
1990 68–78 5th Bill Dancy
1991 65–78 7th Bill Dancy
1992 84–58 2nd Lee Elia Lost League Finals
1993 62–80 8th George Culver
1994 62–80 10th Mike Quade
1995 70–72 8th Mike Quade
1996 70–72 5th (tied) Butch Hobson (13–14)
Ramón Avilés (57–58)
1997 66–76 8th Marc Bombard
1998 67–75 11th Marc Bombard
1999 78–66 5th Marc Bombard Lost Semi Finals
2000 85–60 2nd Marc Bombard Lost League Finals
2001 78–65 4th Jerry Martin (33–32)
Marc Bombard (45–33)
Lost League Finals
2002 91–53 1st Marc Bombard Lost Semi Finals
2003 73–70 4th (tied) Marc Bombard
2004 69–73 8th Marc Bombard
2005 69–75 9th (tied) Gene Lamont
2006 84–58 1st John Russell Lost Semi Finals
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees
2007 84–59 1st Dave Miley Lost Semi Finals
2008 88–56 1st Dave Miley League Champions
2009 81–60 3rd Dave Miley Lost League Finals
2010 87–56 2nd Dave Miley Lost Semi Finals
2011 73–69 7th Dave Miley
2012 84–60 1st Dave Miley Lost Semi Finals
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
2013 68–76 5th Dave Miley
2014 68–76 5th Dave Miley
2015 81–63 3rd Dave Miley Lost Semi Finals
2016 91–52 1st Al Pedrique League Champions
Class Champions
2017 86–55 1st Al Pedrique Lost League Finals
2018 73–65 3rd Bobby Mitchell Lost League Finals
Total 2261–2015

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.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22] 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]

Current roster[edit]

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On New York Yankees 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated August 23, 2018
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • International League
New York Yankees minor league players

Notable alumni[edit]

All-Star Ryan Howard

Red Barons[edit]

Yankees[edit]

RailRiders[edit]

^ Igawa was posted by the Hanshin Tigers in 2006 and the Yankees won the bidding for him. However, he spent most of his time with the team in Scranton as he struggled to remain on the Yankees' roster and has since returned to Japan.

†Made only appearance(s) for franchise during rehab assignment

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1992 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  2. ^ "2002 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Statistics". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "Yankees Farm Team To Play Here".
  4. ^ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (December 12, 2006). "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees: News: Article". Minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "SWB Yankees, LLC welcome Stadium Authority decision on renovation | Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees News". Scrantonwilkesbarre.yankees.milb.com. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  6. ^ "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Triple-A franchise sold". citizensvoice.com. April 26, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  7. ^ "Sox fan hired to lead Yankees". GO Lackawanna. July 10, 2012. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  8. ^ Empire State Yankees name, logos revealed
  9. ^ Triple-A Scranton Yankees will wander without home by Ronald Blum, Associated Press via Yahoo! News, Mar 13, 2012; accessed April 5, 2012
  10. ^ Local baseball team temporarily renamed; permanent change might come in 2013 by Donnie Collins and Rebekah Brown, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune, Mar 8, 2012; accessed May 23, 2012
  11. ^ Empire State Yankees name, logos revealed
  12. ^ "Red Wings to host SWB Yankees games in '12".
  13. ^ "SWB Yankees announce home sites for 2012" (PDF).
  14. ^ Collins, Donnie (May 7, 2012). "Pettitte Draws Thousands to Rochester, but Yanks Come Up Short Against PawSox". The Times-Tribune (Scranton). Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  15. ^ http://golackawanna.com/stories/SWB-Yankees-to-change-name,166120?category_id=5&town_id=7&sub_type=stories[dead link]
  16. ^ "Rail celebration". Times Leader. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  17. ^ "RailRiders interest sold to investment group". Ball Park Digest. Ballparkdigest.com. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Pedrique Headlines SWB Field Staff Changes". www.milb.com. Minor League Baseball.
  19. ^ "El Paso vs. Scranton/WB - September 20, 2016". www.milb.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  20. ^ http://railriders.milbstore.com/store_contents.cfm?store_id=142&dept_id=2652&product_id=81210
  21. ^ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees: News: Article". Minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  22. ^ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (October 30, 2012). "Sadak Named SWB's New Voice". Minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  23. ^ thetimes-tribune.com (January 14, 2013). "RailRiders get five-year radio deal". thetimes-tribune.com. Retrieved April 19, 2013.

External links[edit]