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Hagerstown Suns

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hagerstown Suns
Founded in 1981
Hagerstown, Maryland
HagerstownSunsNew.jpg
Hag Suns.PNG
Team logoCap insignia
Class-level
CurrentClass A (1993–present)
Previous
  • Double-A (1989–1992)
  • Class A (1981–1988)
Minor league affiliations
LeagueSouth Atlantic League (1993–present)
DivisionNorthern Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
CurrentWashington Nationals (2007–present)
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles (1)1981
Division titles (7)
  • 1981
  • 1986
  • 1994
  • 1998
  • 2005
  • 2013
  • 2014
Team data
NicknameHagerstown Suns (1981–present)
ColorsRed, navy blue, white
              
MascotWoolie B. (2001-present)
Jay-Jay (1993-2000)
Sunny (1987-1992)
BallparkMunicipal Stadium (1981–present)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Hagerstown Baseball, LLC
ManagerPatrick Anderson
General ManagerTravis Painter

The Hagerstown Suns are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. They are located in Hagerstown, Maryland, and play their home games at Municipal Stadium which was opened in 1930 and seats 4,600 people. The team mascot is Woolie, a giant woolly bear caterpillar.[1]

History

Previous Hagerstown teams

Professional baseball has been played in Hagerstown since the late nineteenth century. The Hagerstown Lions played for one season in the independent Cumberland Valley League during 1896.[2] In 1915, the Class D Blue Ridge League was formed with its headquarters in Hagerstown.[3] Hagerstown fielded a team for the next 16 seasons. Throughout this time, they won five pennants and donned four different names: the Blues, Terriers, Champs, and Hubs. Before the beginning of the 1931 season, the Blue Ridge League disbanded. The club was then affiliated with the Class C Middle Atlantic League, but on June 28, 1931, the club moved to Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Professional baseball returned to Hagerstown in 1941 when Oren E. Sterling moved his Sunbury Indians franchise to town and became a Detroit Tigers affiliate.[4] The newly named Hagerstown Owls (Oren, Win, Luck, and Sterling) joined the Class B Interstate League. Gene Raney purchased the team from Sterling in 1950, and the renamed Hagerstown Braves became an affiliate of the Boston Braves. The team moved to the Piedmont League in 1953 and once again had a name and affiliation change. The new Washington Senators affiliate, the Hagerstown Packets, competed until the league disbanded after the 1955 season.

Carolina League (1981–1988)

Jim Palmer, who pitched on rehab assignment with the Suns in 1983, was later inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jim Palmer, who pitched on rehab assignment with the Suns in 1983, was later inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hagerstown was without a professional team until 1981 when Lou Eliopulos purchased the Rocky Mount Pines Class A Carolina League franchise and moved them north to Hagerstown. The team was a co-op affiliate during 1981, with coaches supplied by the Baltimore Orioles and players supplied by several major league clubs to include the Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and Pittsburgh Pirates.[5] The newly named Hagerstown Suns proceeded to win the Carolina League championship in their inaugural season by defeating the Peninsula Pilots.[6] In 1982, the Suns began a long-term affiliation with the Baltimore Orioles.[7]

Eastern League (1989–1992)

In 1989, Hagerstown moved up to the Double-A Eastern League, taking over the Williamsport Bills franchise and again affiliating with the Orioles. (The Carolina League franchise relocated just down Interstate 70 as the Frederick Keys, maintaining the Orioles' Class A affiliation.) The Suns' and Keys' owners failed to claim an Eastern League expansion franchise for Bowie in 1993 (coinciding with the Florida Marlins' and Colorado Rockies' addition to the majors), they instead chose to move their existing franchise there as the Bowie BaySox.[8] Hagerstown's relationship with the Baltimore Orioles ended after 1992. Unlike when the Carolina League team had left a few years earlier, there was no guarantee that another team would return to Hagerstown.

South Atlantic League (1993–present)

Hagerstown would not go without, though. Winston Blenckstone immediately relocated his Myrtle Beach Hurricanes franchise in the Class A South Atlantic League (SAL) to Hagerstown after the 1992 season and promptly renamed them the Suns.[9]

Toronto Blue Jays (1993–2000)

Affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Suns reached the playoffs in 1994. They advanced to the league championship, but lost to the Savannah Cardinals. The 1998 team won the first-half division title and finished with the best record in the Northern Division. They made the playoffs and won in the first round, but did not advance to the championship because the league now had a three-round playoff format featuring 8 out of 14 teams. In the second round, the Suns lost to the eventual league champion Capital City Bombers.[10]

In 1999, the Suns again made the playoffs by winning the first-half division title and wound up with the best overall record in the SAL. They were knocked out of the first round by their division rival, the Cape Fear Crocs.[11]

San Francisco Giants (2001–2004)

After eight seasons with the Blue Jays, the team switched its parent club to the San Francisco Giants in 2001. The team was also sold to Andy Rayburn.[12] After winning the Northern Division second-half title, the Suns entered the playoffs, but came up short as Lexington swept them in two games.[13]

New York Mets (2005–2006)

Hagerstown once again changed affiliates in 2005, initiating a two-year stint with the New York Mets. In June, the Suns qualified for the playoffs in dramatic fashion. Pitcher Gaby Hernandez's 115–pitch no-hitter in a 1–0 win over the West Virginia Power on June 19 set up a one-game playoff between the Suns and Lexington Legends on June 25 for the first-half crown. Both teams completed the first–half regular schedule with 42–28 records. In the one game playoff, the Suns defeated the Legends, 9–4, with Hernandez again taking the mound and the win.[14] The Suns slumped badly during the second half of the season, finishing last in the Northern Division. In September however, Hagerstown won the Northern Division by defeating the second-half Northern Division champion Delmarva Shorebirds two games to one. The Suns were ultimately unsuccessful in their quest for the South Atlantic League championship, losing to the Kannapolis Intimidators, three games to one.

Washington Nationals (2007–present)

In 2007, the Suns became a member of the Washington Nationals farm system. The Suns won few games as the talent-poor Nationals organization rapidly promoted Suns players with potential.

Bryce Harper playing for the Suns in 2011.
Bryce Harper playing for the Suns in 2011.

Bryce Harper, the overall first pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft, started the season with the Suns. Before he moved to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators in mid-season, he played well enough to be selected for the SAL All-Star Game.[15] The Suns made the 2012 divisional playoffs; however, they were swept by the defending SAL champion Greensboro Grasshoppers, two games to none.[16]

In 2013, Hagerstown led the SAL in the offensive categories of runs scored (692), runs batted in (608), and on base percentage (.341).[17] The Suns again qualified for the divisional playoffs as the SAL first-half Northern Division champions. Improving over 2012, the Suns won the SAL Northern Division championship, defeating the West Virginia Power, two games to one. However, in the league championship, the Suns fell to the Savannah Sand Gnats, three games to one.

The Suns won the second half and improved their playoff performance, but it was still not enough to claim the John Henry Moss Cup, symbolic of the SAL championship. The Suns swept the Northern Division championship series, two games to none over the Greensboro Grasshoppers, but lost the SAL championship series, three games to two, to the Asheville Tourists.[18]

The 2016 campaign saw a return to postseason play for Hagerstown as the Suns won the first-half Northern Division title by one-half game over the Delmarva Shorebirds. In the Northern Division championship the Suns were swept 2–0 by the Lakewood BlueClaws. The Suns SAL End-of-Season All-Stars were Kevin Gutierrez (third base), Ian Sagdall (utility infielder), and Patrick Anderson (manager).[19]

Possible relocation

Discussions concerning the relocation of the Hagerstown Suns to Virginia began circulating in 2012.[20] That year a letter from the Washington Nationals was sent to Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn stating that Hagerstown's 80-year-old Municipal Stadium was no longer up to Major League Baseball standards. This prompted the owner to begin looking for other options. Initially, Quinn began discussions with the Winchester Economic Development Authority to relocate the team to Winchester, Virginia, to begin play in 2014. The negotiations failed in part because of the refusal of the community to provide public funding for a new stadium. Not coincidentally, Suns fan attendance at home games fell to its lowest point in Suns history to that point, despite the team qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in seven years.[21]

In October 2013, the Suns formally applied to Minor League Baseball to relocate to Fredericksburg, Virginia, for the 2015 season.[22] The Suns and their partners, New Jersey-based Diamond Nation and a Fredericksburg-area automotive company,[23] agreed to purchase a 38-acre stadium site inside the Fredericksburg city limits.[24] The facility was initially planned to be ready for the start of the 2015 season at a cost of $29 million.[25][26] However, in November 2014 Diamond Nation announced that it was terminating its option to purchase the Suns.[27] A contributing factor in this decision was the increase in estimated cost to build the facility to $53 million.[28]

In 2015, Quinn entered into negotiations with Spotsylvania County, Virginia officials to move the Suns. Quinn proposed a 5,000-seat, $30 million stadium, with $28 million borrowed by the county and $2 million paid by the Suns, who would pay a rent of $175,000 annually. Minor League Baseball gave Quinn until July 31 to complete the deal. With the deadline passed, the Suns will be in Hagerstown for the foreseeable future.[29]

In December 2017, the President of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau said that a sale of the Suns was pending and could happen as early as February 2018.[30] In March 2018, the same official said those talks had stalled but that there were at least two other serious groups seeking to buy the team.[31] As of September 2019, the team owners were still those who bought the team in 2010.[32]

Ballpark

Main article: Municipal Stadium

The Hagerstown Suns' Municipal Stadium boasts the honor of being one of the three oldest Minor League baseball stadiums in the country.[33]

From 1915 to 1929, Hagerstown's minor league teams played at Willow Lane Park, where Bester Elementary School is now located. When the city made the decision to build the school, the need for a new stadium was urgent. The Field and Athletic Association was created to find land and build a stadium. The organization struck a deal with the city, leasing a tract of land for 99 years at $1 per year. Municipal Stadium was quickly built on the land in a mere six weeks, just in time for the first home game on May 8, 1930. Since then, the stadium has undergone two major renovations.

The first renovation took place in 1981, when Minor League Baseball returned to Hagerstown after a 26-year absence from the city. About $546,000 was put into the stadium overhaul, which included the installation of a public address system, stadium lights, underground electricity, and new seats and bleachers. In 1995, $500,000 worth of improvements to the stadium were made, such as the installation of new seats, and upgrading the VIP section to include cup holders. The Sunset Grille and bar area was also added at this time.

The playing surface was renovated following the 2010 season. In addition, seating improvements and the installation of a state-of-the-art video board enhanced the fans experience in 2011. In April 2014, Hagerstown and the Suns agreed to a two-season lease extension on Municipal Stadium for 2015 and 2016 which can be voided by mutual agreement.[26]

Major league players who played for the Suns

Carolina League / Eastern League

South Atlantic League

List of Hagerstown Suns individual records

All-time individual season records

All-time team career leaders

Suns team records

Rivals

The Suns have an in-state rivalry with the Delmarva Shorebirds, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. This particular rivalry is also fueled by the regional rivalry between the two parent clubs.

Radio

Hagerstown Suns home games and select road games are broadcast live online via TuneIn Radio on HagerstownSuns.com.[34] John Kocsis Jr. is the Radio Voice of the Suns and Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations during the 2019 season.[34][35] Radio broadcasts begin 15 minutes before first pitch with the Sunrise Pregame Show and the Sunset Postgame Show immediately follows the final out.[citation needed]

Team season-by-season record

Roster

Hagerstown Suns roster

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 19 Carlos Acevedo
  • 11 Tomas Alastre
  • 28 Frankie Bartow
  • 33 Jared Brasher
  • 43 Sam Held
  • 15 Brigham Hill
  • -- Jacob Howell
  • 20 Jared Johnson
  • 21 Kyle Johnston
  • 44 Andrew Lee
  • 26 Phil Morse
  • 48 Carlos Peña
  • 40 Seth Romero
  • 35 Jackson Tetreault
  • -- Rodney Theophile
  • 31 Alex Troop

Catchers

  • 15 Jeyner Baez
  • 37 Alex Dunlap
  • 27 Joey Harris
  • 29 Adderling Ruiz

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day injured list
* On Washington Nationals 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated January 14, 2020
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • South Atlantic League
Washington Nationals minor league players

Further reading

  • Johnson, Lloyd and Wolff, Miles, editors: Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball. Durham, North Carolina Publisher: Baseball America, 2007. Format: Hardback, 767 pp. ISBN 978-1-932391-17-6
  • Savitt, Robert B. The Blue Ridge League: Images of Baseball Publisher: Arcadia Publishing, 2011. Format: Softcover, 127pp. Language: English. ISBN 978-0-7385-8239-9

References

  1. ^ "2013 Mascot Mania". MiLB.com. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball. Baseball America. 2007. p. 170.
  3. ^ "Hagerstown Suns History". milb.com. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  4. ^ "Hagerstown Formally Voted Berth in Inter-State (Class B) League". The Morning Herald. Hagerstown, Maryland. February 7, 1941.
  5. ^ "1981 Hagerstown Suns Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  6. ^ Spadden, Zach. "Year of the Suns". Hagerstown Magazine: The Best of Life in Washington County and Beyond. RidgeRunner Publishing, LLC. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "2016 Carolina League Media Guide and Record Book".
  8. ^ Morgan, Jon (June 24, 1992). "Bowie, Wilmington to get teams in minors shuffle". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  9. ^ Baker, Kent (September 16, 1992). "Single-A team moves to Hagerstown; Blue Jays affiliate fills city's void". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  10. ^ Spedden, Zach (September 18, 2010). "30 Teams in 30 Days: 1998". Hagerstown Suns Fan Club. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  11. ^ Spedden, Zach (September 19, 2010). "30 Teams in 30 Days: 1999". Hagerstown Suns Fan Club. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Greene, Julie (January 13, 2001). "New Suns owner has passion for baseball". The Herald-Mail. Hagerstown, Maryland. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  13. ^ Spedden, Zach (September 22, 2010). "30 Teams in 30 Days: 1981". Hagerstown Suns Fan Club. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  14. ^ "South Atlantic League Notebook for June 22, 2005".
  15. ^ Driver, David (June 21, 2011). "Duvall leads way at Sally All-Star Game". milb.com. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  16. ^ "South Atlantic League 2012 Playoffs". Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  17. ^ "South Atlantic League 2013 Team Batting".
  18. ^ "2014 Playoffs". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  19. ^ Wild, Danny (August 30, 2016). "Mundell, Keller take home top SAL honors". milb.com. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  20. ^ Lovelace, C.J. (August 9, 2012). "Looking doubtful Suns will move to Winchester". The Herald-Mail. Hagerstown, Maryland. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  21. ^ "South Atlantic League Attendance". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball.
  22. ^ Freehling, Bill (October 1, 2013). "Hagerstown Suns apply to relocate to Fredericksburg". Business Insider. Fredericksburg.com. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  23. ^ Shok, Holly (November 6, 2013). "Hagerstown City Council agrees to pay for upgrades to Municipal Stadium". The Herald-Mail. Hagerstown, Maryland. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  24. ^ Freehling, Bill (October 21, 2013). "Slavery museum gives up city land; stadium backers reach deal on Celebrate Virginia site". The News Desk. Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Freehling, Bill (January 3, 2014). "Stadium groundbreaking planned for spring". The News Desk. Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  26. ^ a b Shok, Holly (April 23, 2014). "Hagerstown Suns agree to city's terms on two-year lease extension". The Herald-Mail. Hagerstown, Maryland. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  27. ^ Gould, Pamela (November 25, 2014). "Baseball deal out in city". Fredericksburg.com. Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  28. ^ Gould, Pamela (December 2, 2014). "Fredericksburg moving on tax sale of stadium site". Fredericksburg.com. Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  29. ^ Lovelace, C.J. (August 11, 2015). "Hagerstown Suns strike out again in proposed Virginia move". The Herald-Mail. Hagerstown, Maryland. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  30. ^ Marshall, Katiann (December 13, 2017). "Hagerstown-Washington County CVB leader: Sale of Suns pending". The Herald-Mail. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  31. ^ Lovelace, C. J. (March 30, 2018). "Official: Suns continue drawing interest from new ownership groups". Herald-Mail Media. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  32. ^ Hill, Benjamin (September 12, 2019). "On the Road: Shagging in Hagerstown". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  33. ^ "History of Municipal Stadium".
  34. ^ a b Hagerstown Suns (January 2019). "Kocsis Tabbed as New "Voice of the Suns"". MiLB.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  35. ^ "Personnel News: Hagerstown, Watertown". Ballpark Digest. January 10, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 March 2020, at 15:11
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