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Toledo Mud Hens

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Toledo Mud Hens
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassTriple-A (1965–present)
Previous classes
LeagueInternational League (1965–present)
DivisionWest Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
TeamDetroit Tigers (1987–present)
Previous teamsSince 1965:
Minor league titles
Class titles (0)Since 1965:
  • None
League titles (3)Since 1965:
  • 1968
  • 2005
  • 2006
Division titles (7)Since 1965:
  • 1967
  • 2002
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2018
  • 2021
Team data
NameToledo Mud Hens
Previous names
ColorsNavy, red, white, gold
MascotsMuddy and Muddonna
BallparkFifth Third Field (2002–present)
Previous parks
Ned Skeldon Stadium (1965–2001)
Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club
(a non-profit corporation)
General managerErik Ibsen
ManagerTim Federowicz

The Toledo Mud Hens are a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They are located in Toledo, Ohio, and play their home games at Fifth Third Field. A baseball team nicknamed the Mud Hens has played in Toledo for most seasons since 1896, including a 50-year history as a member of the now defunct American Association.[1] The current franchise was established in 1965, joining the International League; this league was called the Triple-A East for the 2021 season.


Professional baseball had been played off and on in Toledo since 1883, and the Mud Hens era began in 1896 with the "Swamp Angels", who played in the Interstate League. They played in Bay View Park, which was outside the Toledo city limits and therefore not covered by the city's blue laws. The park was located near marshland inhabited by American coots, also known as "mud hens." For this reason, the local press soon dubbed the team the "Mud Hens"—a nickname that has stuck to Toledo baseball teams for all but a few years since. The name "Mud Hens" became permanent in 1965[2]. After only one season, the team moved to Armory Park.[3]



A Mud Hens team played in the Interstate League from 1896 through 1900, then the Western Association in 1901, the American Association from 1902 through 1913, and the Southern Michigan League in 1914.[1][4]: 95  The team used the Swamp Angels nickname during 1901.[1] No team was fielded in 1915.[1]


The team resumed play in the American Association in 1916 as the Iron Men, a nickname they used through 1918.[1] The Mud Hens name returned in 1919, and the team competed in the American Association until 1952.[1]

Mid-season in 1952, team owner Danny Menendez moved the Mud Hens to Charleston, West Virginia,[5] where they competed as the Charleston Senators through 1960. Toledo fielded a replacement franchise in the American Association from 1953 to 1955, the Toledo Sox, which was the former Milwaukee Brewers minor-league team. That franchise subsequently moved to Wichita, Kansas, for the 1956 season, where it competed as the Wichita Braves through 1958.


In 1965, the Richmond Virginians franchise of the International League moved to Toledo and became the current incarnation of the Mud Hens. They were based in Maumee, Ohio, at the converted Fort Miami Fairgrounds. The local ownership group led by Ned Skeldon signed with the New York Yankees to be its top farm team.

In 1967, the Detroit Tigers replaced the Yankees as its major league affiliate. That year, the team was third in the league but claimed the Governors' Cup via the four-team playoff. The next year, the team won a record 83 games and the league pennant, but failed to repeat as Cup winners. The team was affiliated with Detroit through 1973. In 1974 and 1975, the Philadelphia Phillies affiliated with the Mud Hens, followed by two years affiliated with Cleveland Indians. All four seasons were losing seasons.[3]: 77 

The Minnesota Twins took over as the team's major league affiliate in 1978 and brought in Gene Cook as general manager, who was good at promoting the team, particularly as a family event. Cook also got Jamie Farr to incorporate the Mud Hens in Farr's M*A*S*H character's background.[3]: 77  The Twins affiliation lasted through the 1986 season. The Mud Hens resumed their affiliation with the Tigers in 1987, and have remained in the Detroit organization since then.

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Mud Hens were organized into the Triple-A East.[6] Toledo won the Midwestern Division title by ending the season in first place with a 69–51 record.[7] No playoffs were held to determine a league champion; instead, the team with the best regular-season record was declared the winner.[8] 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.[8] Toledo finished the tournament tied for 13th place with a 5–5 record.[9] In 2022, the Triple-A East became known as the International League, the name historically used by the regional circuit prior to the 2021 reorganization.[10]

Season-by-season records[edit]

Muddy in a parade

Records of the five most recently completed Toledo Mud Hens seasons are listed below.[11]

Toledo Mud Hens season records
Season Wins Losses Win % Place Postseason
2018 73 66 .525 1st in IL West Lost Governors' Cup Semi-finals
2019 66 74 .471 T-2nd in IL West Did not qualify
2020 Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021 69 51 .575 1st in AAAE Midwest Lost series vs. Louisville Bats, 3–2
Won series vs. St. Paul Saints, 3–2
Placed 13th (tie) in the Triple-A Final Stretch[9]
2022 87 63 .580 2nd in IL West Did not qualify
2023 70 78 .473 T-6th in IL West Did not qualify
5-Year Record 365 332 .524 2 Division Titles 0 League Titles


Columbus Clippers[edit]

The Mud Hens' rivalry with the Columbus Clippers is a rivalry that dates back to 1977 when the Clippers joined the International League and were the second Ohio team in the league. The two teams play in the International League's West Division. The Clippers are an affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, who compete against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central, adding another layer to the rivalry.

Indianapolis Indians[edit]

The Mud Hens' rivalry with the Indianapolis Indians dates back to 1998 when the Indians joined the International League. They faced each other in the Governors' Cup Finals in 2005, which the Mud Hens won in a sweep. The following season, they faced each other in a play-in game—the winner would win the IL West Division and clinch a spot in the 2006 Governor's Cup playoffs—which the Mud Hens won, 4–0.


Toledo won the 1883 Northwestern League when the Mud Hens used to be called Toledo Blue Stockings. The Hens also won Interstate League playoffs in 1896, and 1897. While competing in the American Association, Toledo was the league champion in 1927, prior to the league having a postseason. Subsequently, Toledo reached the semifinals in 1937, 1943, and 1944. They reached the championship series in 1942. In 1967, Toledo played their first playoff game in Governors' Cup playoffs. In 1968, the Mud Hens finished first for the regular season but lost in the playoff semifinals.

Toledo Mud Hens playoff appearances
Season Semifinals Finals Class Title
Interstate League Class–C, Class–B
1896 W, 4–0, Wayne Farmers
1897 W, 4–0, Dayton Old Soldiers
American Association AA
1937 L, 4–2, Milwaukee Brewers
1942 W, 4–2, Milwaukee Brewers L, 4–0, Columbus Red Birds
1943 L, 3–2, Indianapolis Indians
1944 L, 4–3, St. Paul Saints
International League AAA
1967 W, 3–2, Richmond Braves W, 4–1, Columbus Jets
1968 L, 3–1, Jacksonville Suns
1978 L, 3–2, Pawtucket Red Sox
1980 W, 3–1, Rochester Red Wings L, 4–1, Columbus Clippers
1984 L, 3–0, Maine Guides
2002 L, 3–0, Durham Bulls
2005 W, 3–2, Norfolk Tides W, 3–0, Indianapolis Indians
2006 W, 3–1, Charlotte Knights W, 3–2, Rochester Red Wings L, 1–0, Tucson Sidewinders
2007 L, 3–0, Durham Bulls
2018 L, 3–1, Durham Bulls

Retired numbers[edit]

Toledo Mud Hens retired numbers
No. Player Position
1 Gene Cook General Manager
15 Larry Parrish Manager
27 Mike Hessman 3B


Players Coaches/Other







7-day injured list
* On Detroit Tigers 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated June 5, 2024
→ More rosters: MiLB • International League
Detroit Tigers minor league players

Notable players[edit]

Mud Hens players who were later inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame include:

Mud Hens players who were selected as MLB All-Stars during their careers include:

Mud Hens players who later managed MLB teams include:

Other Mud Hens players of note:

In popular culture[edit]

  • M*A*S*H character Maxwell Klinger (played by Jamie Farr) hailed from Toledo and often mentioned the Mud Hens as his favorite baseball team throughout the series. He was often seen wearing a Toledo Mud Hens cap (which bears a strong resemblance to a Texas Rangers cap). In fact, Klinger feels so strongly about the Mud Hens that he gets put on KP duty for a month when he punches his arch nemesis, Sgt. Zelmo Zale, who insulted the Mud Hens. Like Klinger, Farr was born and raised in Toledo, and the Mud Hens retired jersey No. 1 in Farr's honor. Colonel Sherman Potter (played by Harry Morgan) was also a fan of the Mud Hens and was seen wearing their swag on several episodes of the series.
  • The title character of the comic strip Crankshaft was a pitcher for the Mud Hens just before World War II when he enlisted in the Army. He invariably wears a Mud Hens cap in the strip, and reminisces often about his playing days. In the summer of 2016 the Mud Hens retired jersey No. 13 in Crankshaft's honor.
  • Lou Brown, the fictional manager of the Cleveland Indians in the film Major League, was said to have managed in Toledo for 30 years prior to managing the Indians.
  • Richard Pryor's character, Montgomery Brewster, in the 1985 film Brewster's Millions was said to have previously pitched for the Mud Hens.
  • The Melissa & Joey character Joe Longo (played by Joey Lawrence) is a Mud Hens fan and claims they win every single time he goes to the game with his foam finger. In season 3, episode 21 "Plus One", Mel Hart (played by Melissa Joan Hart) gets tickets right behind first base for Joe. They both end up at the game later in the episode.

See also[edit]


  • The Toledo Baseball Guide of the Mud Hens 1883–1943, Ralph Elliott Lin Weber, 1944.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Toledo, Ohio Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  2. ^ Witt, Derek (March 29, 2024). "Backstory of a bird: How the Toledo Mud Hens got their name". https://www.13abc.com. Retrieved June 19, 2024. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Husman, John (2003). Baseball in Toledo. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738523275.
  4. ^ Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (2007). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (Third ed.). Baseball America. ISBN 978-1932391176.
  5. ^ Whiteford, Mike (August 17, 2019). "Out of nowhere in 1952, Charleston had a chance for Class AAA baseball". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  6. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  7. ^ "2021 Triple-A East Standings". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "MiLB Announces 'Triple-A Final Stretch' for 2021". Minor League Baseball. July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "2021 Triple-A Final Stretch Standings". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  10. ^ "Historical League Names to Return in 2022". Minor League Baseball. March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  11. ^ "Toledo, Ohio Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved September 26, 2023.

External links[edit]