Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Lehigh Valley IronPigs|
Founded in 1993
Based in Allentown since 2008
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Philadelphia Phillies (2007–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (1)||1995|
|Division titles (2)||
|Nickname||Lehigh Valley IronPigs (2008–present)|
|Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007)|
Furnace blue, brick red, steel, white|
|Ballpark||Coca-Cola Park (2008–present)|
|Ottawa Baseball Stadium (1993–2007)|
|Joseph Finley, Craig Stein|
|General Manager||Kurt Landes|
IronPigs Television Network
IronPigs Radio Network
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are a professional Minor League Baseball team that plays in the International League. The IronPigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team plays their home games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Coca-Cola Park, which opened for the start of the IronPigs' first season in 2008, seats up to 8,100, with a capacity of 10,000, and cost $50.25 million to complete. In 2016, Forbes listed the IronPigs as the fourth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $43 million.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs were founded in 1993 as the Ottawa Lynx, who played at Ottawa Baseball Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario from 1993–2007 before moving to Allentown. As the Lynx, the team was affiliated with the Montreal Expos from 1993–2002, the Baltimore Orioles from 2003–2006, and the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2007 season only. The Lynx were the only International League franchise based in Canada at the time of their existence, and during the club's last years there, the team had difficulty attracting fans. The Phillies were unhappy with the local ownership of their previous affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, and affiliated with the Lynx when the Orioles ended their relationship. The Red Barons are now the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and serve as the affiliate of the New York Yankees. The Phillies signed a one-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Lynx while Coca-Cola Park was being constructed, and relocated the team to Allentown upon its completion. The IronPigs have been extremely well received in Allentown, given the Phillies' large fan base there, and the move permits Phillies' players to rehab without significant transportation time. The name "IronPigs" was well received by the fans in the Lehigh Valley.
Before the IronPigs
Prior to the arrival of the IronPigs, the Lehigh Valley had not had a Minor League-affiliated baseball team since 1960, when the Allentown Red Sox left for Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Allentown Red Sox played at Breadon Field (later called Max Hess Stadium) from 1958–1960, at the site where the Lehigh Valley Mall stands today.
The region was previously home to two independent baseball teams: the Allentown Ambassadors of the Northeast League and the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Ambassadors played at Bicentennial Park in Allentown until the team was disbanded in 2004. The Black Diamonds moved from Newburgh, New York in 1999 and were expected to move into a new ballpark near Easton called the Lehigh Valley Multi-Purpose Sport Complex, but the project never came to completion and ultimately was terminated. While the Black Diamonds waited for their new stadium, they played as a traveling team.
Pursuit of a Single-A franchise or Orioles affiliate
In 2003, Joseph Finley and Craig Stein began actively pursuing their interest in bringing affiliated baseball back to Allentown. Initially, the duo pursued a Class A franchise when the Ottawa Lynx, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles at the time, were rumored to be moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. When the city of Harrisburg did not upgrade Metro Bank Park to Triple-A standards, the Baltimore Orioles shifted their interest to Allentown because of its proximity to the Mid-Atlantic. The Phillies also looked into moving their Triple-A operations to Allentown from the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre region. For the 2007 season, the Phillies shifted their Triple-A affiliate to Ottawa, leaving Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre after 18 seasons, while the Orioles affiliated with the Norfolk Tides. The Lynx relocated to Allentown as the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies instead of being relocated as the Orioles Triple-A affiliate.
In 2008, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs opened their first season with an 11-game losing streak. On April 14, the team broke the streak, defeating the Richmond Braves 3–1 at their new home stadium Coca-Cola Park. The win was both the team's first home win and their first ever as the IronPigs. Early on in the season Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino made a rehab start with the IronPigs. In July, Phillies starter Brett Myers pitched a few games for the team after running up a dismal 3–9 record in the first part of the season.
In 2009, former Phillies' pitchers Kyle Kendrick and J. C. Romero pitched for the team. Kendrick was assigned to the IronPigs after failing to make the Phillies starting roster for 2009. Romero pitched for the IronPigs in May 2009 following a 50-game suspension for failing Major League Baseball's substance abuse policy, after he tested positive for the use of androstenedione.
On July 7, left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ started a rehab assignment with the IronPigs. On July 29, Happ was traded to the Houston Astros for right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt. Relief pitcher Michael Schwimer had a 1.35 ERA and held batters to a .080 batting average with runners in scoring position.
The team finished in fifth place in the International League North Division with a record of 58–86. The IronPigs finished the 2010 season ranked first among all affiliated Minor League Baseball teams in average attendance per home game.
On April 7, 2011, the IronPigs won their season opener against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at Coca-Cola Park, registering the first win-loss percentage above .500 in the team's history. Before he was promoted to the majors, All-Star closer Michael Schwimer was 9–1 with a 1.88 ERA, and 10 saves, with 86 strikeouts in 67.0 innings (averaging 11.6 strikeouts per 9 innings).
In September 2011, the IronPigs made it to the Governors' Cup finals, losing to the Columbus Clippers three games to one. The team's 2011 regular season record of 80-64 was the best record since the team was started.
The IronPigs finished the 2012 season with 75 wins and 68 losses, for a win-loss percentage of .524. The team was 8½ games behind the leader of the International League North Division, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The IronPigs had the highest attendance in the league with 622,421.
Manager Ryne Sandberg was promoted to the Philadelphia Phillies as batting coach (he eventually would become their manager when Charlie Manuel was fired later in the season), and was replaced by Dave Brundage, previously with the Gwinnett Braves. The team finished 72-72, 8½ games behind the North Division-winning Pawtucket Red Sox. Team attendance again led the league, at 613,075.
The team slid in the standings to last, at 66-78, but led the league again in attendance, with 614,888.
The IronPigs finished 63-81, fifth in the division behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but again topped the league in attendance, with 613,815.
The team surpassed their regular-season record for wins, with 85 against 58 losses, qualifying for the Governors' Cup Playoffs, but were swept in three games by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Attendance fell to 611,015, but for a ninth straight year led the league.
Dusty Wathan was named IronPigs manager before the 2017 season after five seasons with the Reading Fightin Phils. The IronPigs opening day roster contained six of the Phillies' top ten prospects, including top prospect J. P. Crawford.
On December 1, 2007, the IronPigs selected "PorkChop" as the name of their mascot from 7,300 submitted names. On December 2, 2007, the name was changed to Ferrous, derived from the chemical name for iron, because of complaints from the local Puerto Rican population, who alleged that "Pork Chop" was a racist term, despite the name being submitted by a young girl who lived in the Lehigh Valley area. The current mascots for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are Ferrous and FeFe. Ferrous wears the number 26, which is the atomic number for iron. FeFe is named after the abbreviation for iron, Fe.
In 2011 the mascots had launched a campaign called "Occupy Rhino" in an effort to prevent Ryne Sandberg from retiring.
The IronPigs franchise broadcasts all 72 of its home games on television, a rarity for a minor league team. Local cable outlet Service Electric TV2 carries the IronPigs games, covering most of the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. In addition, TV2 feeds the telecasts to Blue Ridge Cable TV-13 for broadcast to other areas in the eastern part of the state. In addition, select Saturday night home games are telecast on WFMZ-TV 69, which serves the Lehigh Valley as well as the northern Philadelphia market and western New Jersey. All 144 IronPigs games are also broadcast on WEEX, an Easton, Pennsylvania-based ESPN Radio affiliate. Former in-game reporter Meredith Marakovits is now a field reporter for the New York Yankees games on WPIX-TV and YES Network, sideline reporter for the Philadelphia 76ers on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, contributor for WFAN (660 AM) radio in New York, N.Y.
|2011||IL||North||2nd||80||64||.556||2.0||L Governors' Cup Finals|
|2016||IL||North||2nd||85||58||.594||6||L Governors' Cup Semifinals|
|2017||IL||North||2nd||80||62||.563||6.5||L Governors' Cup Semifinals|
Logos and team uniforms
Lehigh Valley IronPigs roster
Awards and honors
International League Most Valuable Player
- Rhys Hoskins (2017)
International League Most Valuable Pitcher
International League Rookie of the Year
Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Ryne Sandberg, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
International League Postseason All-Star Team
- Andy Tracy (2009)
- Rhys Hoskins (2017; 1B)
- Isherwood, Darryl R. (October 25, 2008). "Stadium's final cost hits $50.25 million". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Klebnikov, Sergei (July 8, 2016). "Minor League Baseball's Most Valuable Teams – 4. Lehigh Valley IronPigs". Forbes. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Eastern League History". Ballpark Digest. Archived from the original on October 26, 2006. Retrieved July 28, 2007.
- Dan, Sheehan; Jay Hart (July 1, 2005). "Will baseball be very, very good to the Valley with a AAA team?". The Morning Call. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Michael Schwimer patiently waiting his turn". The Morning Call. August 6, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Standings 2010 Season". ironpigsbaseball.com.
- International League Statistics
- Gelb, Matt (August 18, 2011). "Phillies' Schwimer adjusting to big leagues". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- David Murphy (August 18, 2011). "Schwimer called up after Polanco placed on DL". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Phillies Officially Call Up Michael Schwimer". Philadelphia Sports Daily. August 17, 2011. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Madson logs inning of rehab work". Philadelphia Daily News. July 14, 2011. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "'Pigs Fall to Clippers in Governors' Cup Finals". MiLB.com. September 16, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "IronPigs Draw Over 600,000 Fans, Set Record". ballparkdigest.com. September 14, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Phillies Tab Wathan as Next IronPigs Manager". MiLB.com. September 19, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Joyce, Greg (March 31, 2017). "Lehigh Valley IronPigs release opening day roster, loaded with top prospects". lehighvalleylive.com. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- ""PorkChop" Mascot Inflames Pa. Fans". CBS News. CBS/AP. December 4, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Ferrous and FeFe – IronPigsBaseball.com". ironpigsbaseball.com. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- "Ferrous and FeFe Launch "Occupy Ryno"". Minor League Baseball. November 3, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Joyce, Greg (February 24, 2014). "Lehigh Valley IronPigs unveil new uniforms for 2014 season". Lehigh Valley Live. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "International League Announces 2017 Awards and Postseason All-Star Team" (PDF). MiLB.com. International League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. August 30, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Cloyd Honored as IL's Most Valuable Pitcher". Lehigh Valley IronPigs official website. Minor League Baseball. August 28, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Thompson Named IL's Most Valuable Pitcher". Lehigh Valley IronPigs official website. Minor League Baseball. August 30, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Schuler, Jeff (December 5, 2011). "2011 Minor League Manager Of The Year: Ryne Sandberg: Sandberg forges new path as top manager". Baseball America. Archived from the original on December 9, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2011.