Charleston Dirty Birds

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Charleston Dirty Birds
Team logo Cap insignia
LeagueAtlantic League of Professional Baseball (South Division)
LocationCharleston, West Virginia
BallparkGoMart Ballpark (2005–present)
Year founded1987
League championships
  • 1990
Division championships
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1997
  • 2007
  • 2008
Former name(s)
  • Charleston Wheelers (1987–1994)
  • Charleston Alley Cats (1995–2004)
  • West Virginia Power (2005–2021)
Former league(s)South Atlantic League (1987–2020)
Former ballparksWatt Powell Park (1987–2004)
ColorsBlack, blue, orange, yellow, gray
OwnershipAndy Shea
ManagementChuck Domino
ManagerBilly Horn
General ManagerJeremy Taylor

The Charleston Dirty Birds are an American professional baseball team based in Charleston, West Virginia. They are a member of the South Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a partner league of Major League Baseball.[1] The Dirty Birds have played their home games at GoMart Ballpark since 2005.

Team history[edit]

Before current era (1910–1983)[edit]

The history of professional baseball in Charleston, dates back to 1910, and a team known as the Charleston Statesmen of the long-forgotten Class D Virginia Valley League. In 1911, the Statesmen moved to the Class D Mountain State League, and then folded after that year. A new team, the Charleston Senators was formed in 1914 and lasted three seasons in the Class D Ohio State League. In 1931, a new Senators team joined the Class C Mid-Atlantic League as an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. This team lasted until 1943. In 1949, the Senators were reformed as a member of the Class A Central League. In 1952, the city was granted a franchise in the Triple-A American Association. At first, this team was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox, then the Detroit Tigers, and finally the Washington Senators. In 1958, the Charleston Senators won the American Association championship. The franchise ceased operations after the 1960 season.

In 1961, the city had no team, but the Triple-A International League San Juan Marlins, affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, moved to the city but on May 19 the team was deemed not financially viable. In 1962, the Charleston Indians, affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, moved to the city in the Class-A Eastern League, and in 1963 that league was elevated to Double-A. The team folded after the 1964 season.

Baseball returned to the city in 1971 with the Charleston Charlies of the Triple-A International League. The Charlies played in the International League from 1971 to 1983. The team had previously been the Columbus Jets. The Charlies were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, and finally the Cleveland Indians. The team won the International League championship in 1973 and 1977. The Charlies left for Maine following the 1983 season, and, after relocating to Moosic, Pennsylvania in 1989, the team is now known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Today, the Dirty Birds sell nostalgic "throwback" merchandise from the Pittsburgh-affiliated era of the Charlies, which is generally considered the pinnacle of baseball in the city.

Revival era (1987–2020)[edit]

In 1987, the city resumed minor league baseball after a three-year absence. The new team was first called the Charleston Wheelers, so named for the city's history of stern- and side-wheeled boats. The Wheelers began as a co-op team, with players from several Major League Baseball franchises including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves.

In 1988, the franchise became the Chicago Cubs' third full-season Class A franchise (the other two being Peoria in the Midwest League and Winston-Salem in the Carolina League). The only two players on that 1988 squad to reach the Major Leagues were SS Alex Arias and C Matt Walbeck.

The Wheelers won the Class A South Atlantic League championship in 1990, the only league title for the franchise. By that point, they had changed affiliation to the Cincinnati Reds. SAL Northern Division championships followed in 1991 and 1992, with the Wheelers losing the championship series both years.

In late 1993, the Wheelers were purchased from then-owner Dennis Bastien by a conglomerate of local owners led by Charleston businessman Michael Paterno. The team changed its name to the Charleston Alley Cats in 1995 and switched colors from blue and green to red and black. The team was purchased in 2001 by Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers. In 1998, the team changed affiliation to the Kansas City Royals, again in 2000 to the Toronto Blue Jays, to the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2004 season, joined the Pirates in 2009, and finally the Seattle Mariners in 2018. Prior to the 2005 season, they adopted the West Virginia Power name. To quote the team's announcement following their decision to change the team name:

West Virginia is and will continue to be recognized as one of the leading energy providers for the country. The energy production from coal, natural gas, and hydro-electric sources, combined with the fact that Charleston serves as the center for the state's political and economic powers led us to the name of the team. We felt it was extremely important that the name reflect the entire region and are excited about the tremendous marketing opportunities that will go along with the name.

The logo of West Virginia Power, used from 2009 until 2021[2]

The Power won the 2007 SAL Northern Division title, but lost in the league championship series to the Columbus Catfish in three-straight games.

2021 and beyond[edit]

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's reorganization of the minors after the 2020 season, the Mariners opted to discontinue their affiliation with West Virginia, leaving them in need of a new affiliate for 2021.[3] It was later confirmed that the Power would be dropped from affiliated baseball, with the team stating its intent to continue playing for 2021 and beyond in another league.[4]

On February 24, 2021, the team announced that it had been sold to a new ownership group led by Andy Shea, also owner of the Power's former South Atlantic League rivals the Lexington Legends. The Power joined the Legends in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent MLB Partner league, for the 2021 season and beyond.[5][6]

On September 28, 2021, the team officially changed their name to the Charleston Dirty Birds, a reference to the canary in a coal mine.[7] Charleston won the second-half Southern Division championship, but fell short in the playoffs, losing to the eventual league champion Lexington Legends in the decisive third game of their playoff series.


Active (25-man) roster Coaches/Other


  • -- Derrick Adams
  • -- Troy Bacon
  • -- Eddie Butler
  • -- Ricardo Gómez
  • -- Austin Henrich
  • -- Williams Jerez
  • -- Joan Martínez
  • -- Luis Martínez
  • 12 Joe Testa
  • -- Danny Wirchansky
  • -- Mikey York







  • 22 Billy Horn


  •  5 Anthony Coromato (Bench)
  • 36 Eddy Milian (Bullpen)
  • 12 Joe Testa (Pitching)

Disabled list
‡ Inactive list
§ Suspended list

 updated April 10, 2023

Season-by-season records[edit]

Charleston Wheelers (South Atlantic League)
Year Regular Season Post-season
Record Win % Finish* Record Win % Result MLB
1987 66–73 .475 7th co-op
1988 51–86 .372 11th Cubs
1989 58–76 .433 10th Cubs
1990 77–66 .538 5th 5–0 1.000 Won North Division Championship vs Fayetteville Generals, 2–0
Won SAL Championship vs Savannah Cardinals, 3–0
1991 92–50 .648 1st 0–3 .000 Lost SAL Championship vs Columbia Mets, 0–3 Reds
1992 77–64 .546 2nd 2–3 .400 Won North Division Championship vs Spartanburg Phillies, 2–0
Lost SAL Championship vs Myrtle Beach Hurricanes, 0–3
1993 76–64 .543 4th Reds
1994 65–75 .464 8th Reds
Sub-Totals 562–554 .504 7–6 .636 1 SAL Championships
Charleston AlleyCats (South Atlantic League)
Year Regular Season Post-season
Record Win % Finish* Record Win % Result MLB
1995 77–65 .542 6th Reds
1996 58–84 .408 12th Reds
1997 76–62 .551 2nd 3–2 .600 Won Quarterfinal vs Cape Fear Crocs, 2–0
Lost Semifinal vs Delmarva Shorebirds, 1–2
1998 44–96 .314 14th Reds
1999 61–80 .433 13th Royals
2000 53–80 .398 14th Royals
2001 51–87 .370 16th Blue Jays
2002 61–79 .436 15th Blue Jays
2003 57–76 .429 12th Blue Jays
2004 84–56 .600 3rd 0–2 .000 Lost North Division Championship vs Capital City Bombers, 0–2 Blue Jays
Sub-Totals 622–765 .448 3–4 .429 0 SAL Championships
West Virginia Power (South Atlantic League)
Year Regular Season Post-season
Record Win % Finish* Record Win % Result
2005 60–78 .435 6th Brewers
2006 74–62 .544 3rd Brewers
2007 82–54 .603 3rd 2–4 .333 Won Northern Division Championship vs Hickory Crawdads, 2–1
Lost SAL Championship vs Columbus Catfish, 0–3
2008 77–62 .554 6th 3–3 .500 Won Northern Division Championship vs Lake County Captains, 3–0
Lost SAL Championship vs Augusta GreenJackets, 0–3
2009 67–70 .489 4th Pirates
2010 65–74 .468 10th Pirates
2011 69–69 .500 8th Pirates
2012 61–79 .436 13th Pirates
2013 82–58 .586 2nd 1–2 .333 Lost Northern Division Championship vs Hagerstown Suns, 1–2 Pirates
2014 54–81 .586 2nd Pirates
2015 87–52 .626 1st 1–2 .333 Lost Northern Division Championship vs Hickory Crawdads, 1–2 Pirates
2016 71–68 .511 5th Pirates
2017 69–67 .507 4th Pirates
2018 71–62 .534 3rd Pirates
2019 69–70 .469 4th - Mariners
Sub-Totals 1055–1006 .499 7–11 .389 0 SAL Championships
Totals 2,242–2325 .491 17–21 .447 1 League Championship
Note: * Finish denotes their position in the overall league standings.


The Alley Cats and their predecessors played in Watt Powell Park in the Kanawha City neighborhood of Charleston. Seating approximately 4,500 fans, Watt Powell Park was bordered by MacCorkle Avenue on the front (north) side, 35th Street on the east, and South Park Road on the west. On the south side of the park, a ridge of hills formed a natural boundary. Fans who would otherwise have had to pay to see the games periodically watched the action from a CSX railroad line hard up against the south wall of the stadium.

The Dirty Birds now play their home games in GoMart Ballpark at the east edge of downtown Charleston, a little more than a mile across the Kanawha River from the former site of Watt Powell Park. Most of the financing for the $25 million stadium came from the state, and the city, although the ownership team put up approximately $5 million. The original cost of the ballpark was supposed to be $20 million but cost overruns put the figure at $25 million. The city's share came mostly from the sale of Watt Powell Park to the nearby University of Charleston, which immediately sold two-thirds of the land to Charleston Area Medical Center, the region's largest hospital. Originally, the new park was to be completed for the 2004 season, but politically induced delays in securing state funds forced construction to be put off for a year. The new park opened in April 2005.

Notable Charleston/West Virginia alumni[edit]

Ryan Braun

SAL records[edit]

  • Six Power home runs in one inning versus the Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League record)
  • Ten home runs in one game versus the Lexington Legends (Seven home runs by Power, also a SAL record)


  1. ^ "Charleston Baseball Team Rebranded as Dirty Birds". Charleston Gazette-Mail. September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  2. ^ "West Virginia Power Logos History". SportsLogos.Net. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  3. ^ Cooper, J.J. (November 19, 2020). "2021 Minor League Affiliation Chart". Baseball America. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  4. ^, Archived 2021-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Atlantic League Welcomes West Virginia Power". 2021-02-24. Retrieved 2021-02-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Power announces new league, ownership for 2021". 2021-02-24. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  7. ^ "Charleston Baseball Team Rebranded as Dirty Birds". Charleston Gazette-Mail. September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2021.

External links[edit]