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Orleans Firebirds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orleans Firebirds
Orleans Firebirds Logo.jpg
Information
LeagueCape Cod Baseball League (East Division)
LocationOrleans, Massachusetts
BallparkEldredge Park
League championships1947, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1986, 1993, 2003, 2005
Former name(s)Orleans Cardinals
Orleans Red Sox
Orleans Sparklers
ManagerKelly Nicholson
General ManagerSue Horton
PresidentBob O'Donnell
Websitewww.orleansfirebirds.com

The Orleans Firebirds, formerly the Orleans Cardinals, are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Orleans, Massachusetts. The team is a member of the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) and plays in the league's East Division. The Firebirds play their home games at Eldredge Park in Orleans, which opened in 1913 and is the CCBL's oldest ballpark. The Firebirds are owned and operated by the non-profit Orleans Athletic Association.

Orleans has won two CCBL championships in the 21st century, most recently in 2005 when they defeated the Bourne Braves two games to one to win the best of three championship series. The team was a dominant force in the CCBL during the 11-season span from 1947 to 1957 in which Orleans claimed seven league titles. The team has been led since 2005 by field manager Kelly Nicholson.

History

Longtime major league player and former Boston Red Sox manager Patsy Donovan skippered Orleans in 1929 and 1930.
Longtime major league player and former Boston Red Sox manager Patsy Donovan skippered Orleans in 1929 and 1930.

Pre-modern era

Early years

Baseball in Orleans has been played at Eldredge Park since 1913, when the land for the park was donated to the town by baseball enthusiast Louis Winslow "Win" Eldredge, "in consideration of [his] affection for and interest in the young people of Orleans and [his] desire to provide a playground for them."[1][2]

The early Cape League era (1923–1939)

In 1923 the Cape Cod Baseball League was formed and included four teams: Falmouth, Chatham, Osterville, and Hyannis.[3] This early Cape League operated through the 1939 season and disbanded in 1940, due in large part to the difficulty of securing ongoing funding during the Great Depression.[4][5] Orleans' entry into the league came in 1928. Wareham had been added in 1927 to bring the number of teams to five,[6] and Orleans and Plymouth were to be added in 1928, though the Plymouth entry never materialized.[7]

Blondy Ryan and Red Rolfe played for Orleans during the early Cape League era. Both went on to enjoy long major league careers. Ryan was starting shortstop for the 1933 World Series champion New York Giants, and Rolfe was starting third basemen for five New York Yankees World Series championship teams.

Orleans featured several notable figures during this era. Lynn, Massachusetts native John "Blondy" Ryan played for Orleans in 1928 and went on to play for the World Series-winning 1933 New York Giants.[8][9] New Hampshire native Red Rolfe played for Orleans in 1930 and went on to be the starting third-baseman for the New York Yankees of the late 1930s.[10] Rolfe was a four-time American League all-star, and won five World Series titles with the Bronx Bombers. While at Orleans, Rolfe played for skipper Patsy Donovan, a longtime major league player and manager who had managed the Boston Red Sox in 1910 and 1911, and who piloted the Orleans team in 1929 and 1930.[11][12][13] Al Weston and Ed Wineapple played for Orleans in 1931. Weston was a former Boston College star who had played with the major league Boston Braves in 1929,[14][15] and Wineapple a 1929 Washington Senator who had played for Osterville in the CCBL for three years previously.[14][16] Lawrence, Massachusetts native Johnny Broaca played for Orleans from 1930 to 1932, and later pitched for the 1936 World Series champion Yankees.[17][18][19]

Orleans withdrew from the league after the 1934 season due to funding issues, but returned in 1937.[20] Massachusetts Governor Charles F. Hurley was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to open the 1937 season in Orleans as the team faced Harwich.[21][22] Orleans fielded a team again in 1938, but then was forced to withdraw from the league again for the 1939 season, after which the league itself disbanded.[23]

Orleans' 1938 team featured Danvers, Massachusetts native Connie Creeden, who batted over .400 for the season to lead the league, and who went on to play for the major league Boston Braves.[24] The team's ace pitcher in 1938 was Somerville, Massachusetts native Al Blanche. Blanche was a Cape League veteran who had led Harwich's 1933 title club, then spent two seasons in the majors with the Boston Braves before returning to the Cape League in 1938 to play for Orleans.[25][26][27] CCBL Hall of Famer Bill Enos played for Orleans during this period, and went on to be a longtime scout for the Boston Red Sox, as well as the first-ever scouting liaison for the Cape League to Major League Baseball.[28]

The Upper and Lower Cape League era (1946–1962)

The Cape League reorganized in 1946 after a hiatus during World War II, and Orleans began play in the revived league in 1947. The team was originally known as the Orleans Sparklers, but soon became known as the Orleans Red Sox.[29] Orleans dominated the post-war period, appearing in the CCBL championship series in each of its first nine years in the league, and 11 times total between 1947 and 1959. During this span, the club won seven CCBL titles, including back to back championships in 1949 and 1950, and again in 1952 and 1953.

The club was skippered by Herb Fuller in 1947 and 1948,[30][31] and featured CCBL Hall of Famers Roy Bruninghaus, a Cape League all-star pitcher for three decades for Orleans who had been playing with the team since the 1930s,[32] and Allen "Buzzy" Wilcox, another three-decade player, who was an infielder for Orleans for 17 years from the 1940s to the 1960s.[33] Orleans won the league title in its inaugural 1947 campaign, defeating the Upper Cape champion Mashpee Warriors in that year's championship series, which was played as a Labor Day home-and-home doubleheader. In Game 1 at Eldredge Park, Orleans got an 11-strikeout performance by Bruninghaus, and slugger Dave Bremner went 5-for-5 with a homer in the 12–7 win. Facing Mashpee's CCBL Hall of Fame ace hurler Donald Hicks in Game 2, Bremner continued his torrid pace, going 4-for-6, but Orleans trailed by two going to the final frame. In the top of the ninth, Orleans exploded for seven runs, then brought in Bruninghaus to close out the 15–10 win and clinch the club's first Cape League crown.[34] Fuller brought the club back to the title series in 1948 for a rematch with Mashpee, but this time Hicks and Mashpee came out on top.[35]

In 1949, CCBL Hall of Famer Laurin "Pete" Peterson joined the team as catcher/manager and piloted the club for the next 14 years.[29][36] Peterson's 1949 club finished atop the Lower Cape division and went on to meet Upper Cape champ Falmouth in the best-of-five title series. Orleans took the first two games, winning Game 1 at home, 4–2, then capitalizing on nine Falmouth errors while riding a complete game by Roy Bruninghaus and a 4-for-4 day by Dave Bremner to a 6–2 Game 2 win at Falmouth Heights.[37] After Game 2, Orleans lost the services of stars Bruninghaus and Bremner, who were unavailable for the remainder of the series, and the result was a Game 3 drubbing at Eldredge Park as Falmouth stayed alive by an 11–5 tally.[38] Game 4 was marred by controversy and charges of poor sportsmanship as Orleans brought in Stan Wilcox, who had not played for the club all season, and who had played professionally earlier in the year. Falmouth's defense was again riddled with errors, and Orleans walked away with a 6–1 series-clinching victory.[39][40]

Eldredge Park has been the home of Orleans baseball since 1913.
Eldredge Park has been the home of Orleans baseball since 1913.

Orleans was back in the title series in 1950, this time facing Upper Cape champ Sagamore in what became the first of five consecutive championship matchups between the perennial Upper and Lower Cape powerhouses. Orleans seemed ready to sweep the Clouters, taking Game 1, 8–3, and Game 2, 19–9, with Roy Bruninghaus going the distance on the mound for the win in both contests.[41][42] Sagamore hurler Ricky Anderson almost single-handedly turned the series around as he twirled complete games in both halves of a Labor Day doubleheader, beating Orleans 8–5 in the morning Game 3 at Orleans, and 10–6 in the afternoon Game 4 at Keith Field, and helping his own cause with a 4-for-8 day at the plate.[43] The deciding Game 5 was played at the neutral Ezra Baker Field in Dennis, and Orleans left no doubt, riding back-to-back homers by Buzzy Wilcox and Bob Bremner in the fourth, and a complete game six-hit shutout by Bruninghaus to a championship-clinching 8–0 victory.[44]

Peterson's club was downed by Sagamore in the 1951 CCBL championship,[45] but was back on top the following season. In the 1952 best-of-five Cape League championship series, Orleans swept the Clouters, with pitchers Bruninghaus and Bill McCrae allowing Sagamore only two runs in the series. Orleans took Games 1 and 2 by tallies of 5–1 and 3–1, then sealed the deal with a title-clinching 3–0 Labor Day shutout at Eldredge Park.[29]

Orleans repeated as champions in 1953, again sweeping Sagamore in three straight for the title. In Game 1 at Keith Field, Orleans sent Bruninghaus to the mound and gave him ample support, including a three-run homer by Jim Gage in a 13–5 rout.[46] Game 2 at home was another Orleans romp, as hurler Bill McCrae tossed a three-hitter in a 12–1 win.[47] Orleans was down on the road, 6–5, in the eighth inning of Game 3, when Peterson brought in Bruninghaus to relieve starter John Linnell. Bruninghaus escaped the jam, and proceeded to tie the game himself with a homer in the top of the ninth. He went on to no-hit Sagamore for three more innings, while Orleans put the game away with a four-run 11th, capped by Junie Lee's three-run bomb, to take a 10–6 win that completed the repeat championship sweep.[48]

In the teams' fifth consecutive championship series meeting, Orleans bowed to Sagamore in the 1954 title tilt,[49] but Peterson's boys were back to face a new opponent the following season. After playoff series wins over North Truro AFS and Yarmouth to claim the Lower Cape title, Orleans advanced to the 1955 championship round against the Cotuit Kettleers. The series' first two games were played as a home-and-home double header, and in Game 1 at Lowell Park, Orleans bats were on a tear and hurler John Mayo struck out ten in a complete game effort, as Orleans took the series lead with an 11–3 win. In Game 2 at home, Orleans lefty Ray Tucker tossed a four-hitter as the club scratched out a 4–2 victory to take a commanding series lead.[50] Orleans completed the sweep on the road as Tucker posted his second win of the series, fanning 13 Cotuit batters before Roy Bruninghaus relieved him with one out in the ninth, to nail down a 6–3 Orleans win that clinched the title.[51]

For the first time since joining the revived league, Orleans failed to reach the CCBL title series in 1956, but the club was right back in championship form the following season. The 1957 Orleans club was pitted against Upper Cape champ Wareham in the league title series. The Red Sox sent Doug Higgins to the mound in Game 1 and jumped ahead early with four runs in the first and never looked back, routing the Gatemen by a final of 10–1. Orleans completed the two-game sweep before a home crowd in Game 2, getting a homer and a pair of singles from Stan Wilcox on the way to a 5–3 victory that secured the club's seventh CCBL crown in 11 years.[52]

CCBL Hall of Famer Art Quirk posted a remarkable 9–0 record in 1958 with a 1.12 earned run average as a pitcher for Orleans, while also leading the league with a .475 batting average. Quirk went on to play in the majors for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Senators.[53] In 1959, Orleans reached the CCBL title series for a final time during this era, facing old nemesis Sagamore in a matchup of the two dominant clubs of the period. The Clouters proceeded to shut down Orleans, evening the score at three titles apiece over the adversaries' six title matchups in the decade.[54][55]

Modern era (1963–present)

In 1963, the CCBL was reorganized and became officially sanctioned by the NCAA. The league would no longer be characterized by "town teams" who fielded mainly Cape Cod residents, but would now be a formal collegiate league. Teams began to recruit college players and coaches from an increasingly wide geographic radius.[56]

The league was originally composed of ten teams, which were divided into Upper Cape and Lower Cape divisions. The Orleans team was dubbed the Orleans Cardinals, and joined Harwich, Chatham, Yarmouth and a team from Otis Air Force Base in the Lower Cape Division.

Boston Red Sox legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk played for Orleans in 1966.
Boston Red Sox legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk played for Orleans in 1966.

The 1960s and 1970s

Orleans was skippered in the 1960s by Dave Gavitt, an Orleans pitcher in the late 1950s and later the CEO of the Boston Celtics and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[57][58] Gavitt brought Orleans to the league championship series in the 1963 inaugural year of the modern era, but the team fell short against Cotuit.[59] CCBL Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello played for Orleans in 1963,[53] as did fellow CCBL Hall of Famer Tom Yankus, a three-year league all-star who threw a no-hitter for Orleans on July 4, 1965. Yankus later managed Orleans from 1974 to 1980.[60] The 1965 season also saw CCBL Hall of Famer John Awdycki lead the league with a .407 batting average.[53]

In 1966, University of New Hampshire star Calvin Fisk played first base for Orleans. Near the end of the season, Calvin's younger brother Carlton Fisk joined him in Orleans, and proceeded to belt a homer in his first at-bat for the Cardinals. Though the younger Fisk played in only a handful of games for the Cardinals, he made a lasting impression. Carlton was drafted in 1967 by the hometown Boston Red Sox, where he was a perennial all-star throughout the 1970s In 2000, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.[61][62][63]

In 1967, the CCBL All-Star Game was held at Eldredge Park, and the Cardinals' own Chuck Seelbach emerged as the winning pitcher.[64] Seelbach also tossed a no-hitter that season at Eldredge Park against a Chatham team that featured future major league star Thurman Munson.[65] The 1968 Orleans team featured CCBL Hall of Famer Phil Corddry, who went 9–2 with 108 strikeouts in 92 innings for the Cardinals to win the league's Outstanding Pitcher Award.[66][67] Another future CCBL Hall of Famer, Jim Norris, batted .415 for the Cardinals in 1969, and claimed the league MVP Award.[32] Norris returned in 1970 to bat .333 with 19 stolen bases, but surrendered his league batting crown to teammate Mike Eden, who led all hitters with a .378 mark. Holy Cross hurler Mike Pazik tossed a no-hitter for Orleans against Harwich in 1971, allowing his only base runner via hit batsman.[68] CCBL Hall of Fame first baseman Brad Linden led the Cards in 1971 and 1972. Linden was a league all-star in 1972, batting .372 with a league-leading 10 homers.[69]

Orleans failed to capture a league title in the 1960s and 1970s, but reached the league championship series four times, including back to back losses in 1970 and 1971 against a powerful Falmouth team that was in the process of completing a string of four consecutive league titles.[70][71][72] The 1974 Cardinals advanced to the title series, but were downed by Cotuit.[73][74] Orleans' Chuck Dale was the league's Outstanding Pitcher in 1978.[75]

The 1980s and a first modern-era championship

In 1980 and 1981 the Cardinals featured shortstop Wade Rowdon, the league's Outstanding Pro Prospect Award winner in 1981, he was also the MVP of the CCBL All-Star Game at Fenway Park, a game that ended in a 4–4 tie.[76] Rowdon tied a league record with three homers in a single game against Wareham,[77] and led the 1981 team to the playoffs where they bounced Harwich in the semi-finals, but were downed by Cotuit in the league championship series.[78][79] The 1985 season was highlighted by Cardinal hurler Bob O'Brien's no-hitter against Cotuit in which he came short of a perfect game by just two walks and benefited from outfielder Glenn Fernandez's home run-robbing catch at the fence of a smash by Kettleers' slugger Greg Vaughn.[80][81]

Slugger Frank Thomas (1988) was said to have hit the longest ball ever out of Eldredge Park. He made it to Cooperstown in 2014.
Slugger Frank Thomas (1988) was said to have hit the longest ball ever out of Eldredge Park. He made it to Cooperstown in 2014.

The Cardinals won their first league championship of the modern era in 1986. The team featured slugger Gary Alexander, who hit .313 with 12 home runs, and ace hurlers and future major leaguers Jeff Conine and Mike Ignasiak. Led by manager John Castleberry, the Cards boasted the league's best record in the regular season, and met Chatham in the playoff semi-finals. In Game 1 at Eldredge Park, the Cardinals got a three-run clout from Bert Heffernan, and Ignasiak twirled a complete game to best the A's, 6–4. Game 2 at Veterans Field went to extra innings tied at 2–2. Chatham's ace, CCBL Hall of Famer Mark Petkovsek, dominated Cardinal hitters, allowing only two hits through ten frames. In the 11th, Petkovsek gave up a lead-off single to Alexander, and was left in the game to face Kevin Garner, who popped one just over the right field fence for the series-winning walk-off score.[82]

The 1986 championship series pitted the Cardinals against two-time defending champion Cotuit. In Game 1 at home, Orleans gave starter Conine plenty to work with. The Cards exploded for four home runs, three of them by Alexander alone, and one by Garner off the bandstand in center field, in a 9–4 win. Ignasiak spun another gem in Game 2 at Lowell Park, going the distance and holding the Kettleers to just two hits and no runs. The Cards got a homer from Alexander in the first, his fourth long ball of the title series. Todd Haney added the insurance with a two-run blast in the seventh to give Orleans the 3–0 win and title series sweep, with Alexander taking home playoff MVP honors for his brilliant power display.[83][84]

In 1988, Orleans reached the championship series again, powered by CCBL Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas, who was said to have hit the longest ball ever out of Eldredge Park, and who hit three home runs in one game at Wareham.[28] The team lost in the finals to Wareham,[85] but Thomas went on to a stellar career with the Chicago White Sox and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. Eldredge Park hosted the CCBL All-Star Game in three consecutive seasons from 1988 to 1990. The 1988 event featured the league's inaugural All-Star Game Home Run Derby, won by the Cards' mighty Frank Thomas. The host team claimed the derby crown each of the three years, with Mike Thomas matching Thomas' feat in 1989, and Mike Gropusso doing the same in 1990.

CCBL Hall of Famer Nomar Garciaparra of the 1993 champion Orleans Cardinals.
CCBL Hall of Famer Nomar Garciaparra of the 1993 champion Orleans Cardinals.

A second title marks the 1990s

Orleans won another Cape League title in 1993 with a team led by skipper Rolando Casanova and starring future Boston Red Sox all-star and Cape League Hall of Famer Nomar Garciaparra, who hit .321 with 50 hits and 17 stolen bases for the Cards.[86][87] The team also included future major leaguers Aaron Boone and Jay Payton. In the playoffs, the Cardinals met Chatham in a dramatic three-game semi-final series. In Game 1 at Veterans Field, Orleans hurler Chris Ciaccio went the distance in a pitchers' duel that was knotted at 1–1 going into the ninth. Payton clubbed the game-winning homer in the final frame to give the Cards the 2–1 victory. The A's answered in Game 2, shutting out the Cards, 4–0, at Eldredge Park. Orleans got the last laugh however, dominating the Game 3 finale at Chatham, taking the decisive game by a 7–1 tally.[88] In the championship series, the Cards faced a strong Wareham team, and took Game 1 at Clem Spillane Field by a 2–1 margin on a first-inning two-run homer by Aaron Boone.[89] In Game 2 at Eldredge Park, Ciaccio sparkled again, allowing only four hits. Catcher Steve Fishman snuck a two-run homer down the line in the sixth, and the Cards walked away with a 5–1 win to sweep the series and claim the crown, with Ciaccio taking home playoff MVP honors.[90][91]

The Cardinals' 1994 team starred league Outstanding Pro Prospect Award winner Dave Shepard and future major league all-star Todd Helton, who carried on a Cards tradition by winning the All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Eldredge Park.

The 1999 Orleans team featured two future CCBL Hall of Famers in pitcher Ben Sheets and league MVP Lance Niekro, as well as future major leaguer Mark Teixeira, who was named the league's Outstanding Pro Prospect.[92] Sheets, who was an all-star the previous season with Wareham, posted a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 innings for Orleans in 1999.[93] Niekro batted .360 and clobbered 13 home runs on the season,[33] and also recorded a save on the mound as the Cardinals and Wareham Gatemen set the record for the longest game in modern-era CCBL history with an 18-inning, 5 hour, 14 minute affair in Wareham. Four years later, Eldredge Park saw that record broken, as the 2003 Cardinals were downed in 20 innings by Harwich after 5 hours and 52 minutes.[94]

The 2000s bring a pair of championships and the advent of the Firebirds

The 2001 Cardinals featured second baseman Russ Adams, the league's Outstanding Pro Prospect who became a first-round pick in the following year's MLB draft. In 2002, Orleans was led by the league's Outstanding Pitcher Award winner Brian Rogers, who posted a microscopic 0.40 ERA for the season, and all-star catcher Ryan Hanigan, an Andover, Massachusetts native who was named the league's Outstanding New England Player. The team finished atop the East Division with an impressive 29–13–2 record, and prevailed over Y-D in the playoff semi-finals, but was shut down by Wareham in the title series.[95]

Emmanuel Burriss won playoff co-MVP for his exciting performance in Orleans' 2005 championship run.
Emmanuel Burriss won playoff co-MVP for his exciting performance in Orleans' 2005 championship run.

Manager Carmen Carcone brought the Cards back to the title series for a second consecutive season in 2003, the team powered by playoff MVP and CCBL home run derby champion Cesar Nicolas.[96] After taking the semi-final series from Brewster, the Cardinals faced Bourne in the championship series. Game 1 was a low-scoring extra-innings affair at Eldredge Park. After Bourne went ahead, 1–0, in the third, the Cards tied it in the fourth on a deep Nicolas dinger to left, his third homer of the playoffs. The teams remained even at 1–1 going into the bottom of the tenth, when the home team loaded the bases and won it on Myron Leslie's walk-off RBI single. Game 2 at Bourne was another tight one, with Game 1 winner Ryan Schroyer coming on in relief to get the final six outs, five of them by strikeout, to nail down the 5–4 Orleans victory and complete the series sweep.[97][98][99]

Skipper Kelly Nicholson took the Cards' helm in 2005, led the team to a first-place finish in the East Division, and was honored as the league's manager of the year.[100] Nicholson's Cardinals featured CCBL Outstanding Relief Pitcher Steven Wright,[101] and Emmanuel Burriss, who led the league with 37 stolen bases. After taking the semi-final playoff series from Chatham by winning both ends of a day-night playoff doubleheader,[102] Orleans once again met Bourne for the title. Game 1 at Eldredge Park was scoreless going into the bottom of the ninth when the speedy Burriss scored the game's only run in dramatic walk-off fashion by tagging up on a foul pop. The Braves proceeded to clobber the Cards in Game 2 at Bourne by a score of 10–1. Orleans answered early in Game 3, scoring nine runs in the first three innings. The Cards shut down Bourne hitters behind the stellar pitching of Brad Meyers and closer Wright, and cruised to a 13–1 title-clinching victory.[103][104][105] Meyers shared playoff MVP honors with Burriss, who reached base five times and scored three runs in the finale.[106]

In 2006, Nicholson's team starred future CCBL Hall of Famer and Outstanding Pro Prospect Award winner Matt Wieters.[107] A league all-star catcher, Wieters batted .307 with eight home runs, including a colossal shot off the right-centerfield bandstand at Eldredge Park.[108]

The 2009 season saw the team change its nickname, following an agreement between the Cape League and Major League Baseball which stated that if a CCBL team shared a nickname with an MLB team, the team would have to obtain its uniforms through a Major League Baseball Properties-licensed vendor. Wanting to maintain its independence and longstanding relationship with local vendors, the Orleans team opted to change its moniker to the Orleans Firebirds.[109]

CCBL Hall of Famer Kolten Wong was league MVP for the Firebirds in 2010.
CCBL Hall of Famer Kolten Wong was league MVP for the Firebirds in 2010.

The 2010s

Throughout the 2010s, the team continued to be skippered by Kelly Nicholson, who surpassed Laurin "Pete" Peterson as the longest-tenured manager in team history.[110] The team qualified for the playoffs in nine of ten years in the decade, winning East Division titles in 2011, 2015 and 2017, and reaching the championship series in 2013 before falling to Cotuit.[111][112] Eastham, Massachusetts native Sue Horton, the team's general manager since 2000, received the league's Dick Sullivan Executive of the Year Award in 2016.[113][114][115]

Notable players of the decade included CCBL Hall of Famer Kolten Wong, who hit .341 with 22 stolen bases to claim the league MVP Award in 2010.[116] Future major league all-star Marcus Stroman pitched for the Firebirds in 2010 and 2011, and Trevor Gott was the league's Outstanding Relief Pitcher for Orleans in 2011.[117] The Firebirds boasted the league's Outstanding Pitcher Award winners in back-to-back seasons with Kolton Mahoney in 2014,[118] and Mitchell Jordan, who tied a CCBL modern era single season record with a 0.21 ERA in 2015.[119]

Firebirds Stephen Scott and Carter Aldrete won back-to-back All-Star Game Home Run Derby crowns in 2017 and 2018, and center fielder Jimmy Herron was MVP of the 2017 All-Star Game for his game-winning RBI in the East Division's 5–3 win.[120] The 2018 Firebirds featured league Outstanding Pro Prospect J.J. Bleday, a CCBL all-star outfielder who hit .311 with five home runs,[121][122] and hurlers Mitchell Senger and Aaron Ochsenbein, who tossed a combined no-hitter against Brewster.[123] New Bedford, Massachusetts native Jared Shuster was the league's Outstanding New England Player in 2019. A league all-star, Shuster posted a 4–0 record with a 1.40 ERA in 30 innings, striking out 35 while walking only five.[124]

The 2020s

The 2020 CCBL season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.[125]

CCBL Hall of Fame inductees

CCBL Hall of Famer Jim Norris
CCBL Hall of Famer Jim Norris
CCBL Hall of Famer Matt Wieters
CCBL Hall of Famer Matt Wieters

The CCBL Hall of Fame and Museum is a history museum and hall of fame honoring past players, coaches, and others who have made outstanding contributions to the CCBL.[126] Below are the inductees who spent all or part of their time in the Cape League with Orleans.

Year Inducted Ref. Name Position
2000 [28] Bill Enos Player
Frank Thomas Player
2002 [87] Russ Ford Executive
Nomar Garciaparra Player
2004 [32] Roy Bruninghaus Player
Jim Norris Player
2006 [33] Allen (Buzzy) Wilcox Player
Lance Niekro Player
2008 [93] Ben Sheets Player
2009 [53] John Awdycki Player
Lou Lamoriello Player
Art Quirk Player
2012 [36] Laurin "Pete" Peterson Player / Manager
2013 [107] Matt Wieters Player
2014 [67] Phil Corddry Player
2016 [116] Kolten Wong Player
2017 [60] Tom Yankus Player / Manager
2019 [69] Brad Linden Player

Notable alumni

Yearly results

CCBL Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello played for Orleans in 1963
CCBL Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello played for Orleans in 1963
Mike Smithson pitched for the Cardinals in 1975
Mike Smithson pitched for the Cardinals in 1975
Jeff Conine of the 1986 CCBL champion Orleans Cardinals
Jeff Conine of the 1986 CCBL champion Orleans Cardinals
Jay Payton played for the 1993 CCBL champion Cardinals
Jay Payton played for the 1993 CCBL champion Cardinals
Todd Helton was 1994 CCBL home run derby champ for Orleans
Todd Helton was 1994 CCBL home run derby champ for Orleans
CCBL Hall of Famer Ben Sheets of the 1999 Orleans Cardinals
CCBL Hall of Famer Ben Sheets of the 1999 Orleans Cardinals
CCBL Hall of Famer Lance Niekro, 1999 league MVP
CCBL Hall of Famer Lance Niekro, 1999 league MVP
Relief ace Steven Wright of Orleans' 2005 CCBL Champs
Relief ace Steven Wright of Orleans' 2005 CCBL Champs
Brandon Crawford played for Orleans in 2007
Brandon Crawford played for Orleans in 2007
2014 Firebird Jake Cronenworth
2014 Firebird Jake Cronenworth

Results by season, 1928–1938

Year Won Lost Regular Season Finish Postseason* Manager Ref.
1928 19 24 5th League John "Dot" Whalen [127][128][129]
1929 21 23 4th League Patsy Donovan [130]
1930 26 18 3rd League Patsy Donovan [131]
1931 29 18 2nd League Eddie McGrath [132]
1932 19 13 3rd League Dick Phelan [133][134]
1933 28 22 4th League (A)
2nd League (B)
Dick Phelan [135][136]
[137]
1934 21 27 4th League [138]
1935 Did not play
1936 Did not play
1937 10 37 5th League Rusty Yarnell
Jim Dudley
[139]
1938 24 30 3rd League Buzz Harvey [140]

* During the CCBL's 1923–1939 era, postseason playoffs were a rarity. In most years, the regular season pennant winner was simply crowned as the league champion.
However, there were four years in which the league split its regular season and crowned separate champions for the first (A) and second (B) halves. In two of those
seasons (1936 and 1939), a single team won both halves and was declared overall champion. In the other two split seasons (1933 and 1935), a postseason
playoff series was contested between the two half-season champions to determine the overall champion.

Results by season, 1947–1962

Year Won Lost Regular Season Finish* Postseason Manager Ref.
1947 Won semi-finals (Harwich)
Won championship (Mashpee)
Herb Fuller
1948 Won semi-finals (Chatham)
Lost championship (Mashpee)
Herb Fuller
1949 Won championship (Falmouth) Laurin "Pete" Peterson
1950 31 11 1st Lower Cape Division Won championship (Sagamore) Laurin "Pete" Peterson [141]
1951 28 8 1st Lower Cape Division (A)
T-2nd Lower Cape Division (B)
Won semi-finals (Dennis)
Lost championship (Sagamore)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [142][143]
1952 Won championship (Sagamore) Laurin "Pete" Peterson
1953 30 5 2nd Lower Cape Division (A)
1st Lower Cape Division (B)
Won semi-finals (Yarmouth)
Won championship (Sagamore)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [144][145]
1954 Lost championship (Sagamore) Laurin "Pete" Peterson
1955 24 6 1st Lower Cape Division Won round 1 (North Truro AFS)
Won semi-finals (Yarmouth)
Won championship (Cotuit)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [146]
1956 30 4 1st Lower Cape Division Won round 1 (Yarmouth)
Lost semi-finals (Dennis)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [147]
1957 29 9 1st Lower Cape Division Won round 1 (Dennis)
Won semi-finals (Yarmouth)
Won championship (Wareham)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [148]
1958 22 8 1st Lower Cape Division Won round 1 (Dennis)
Lost semi-finals (Yarmouth)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [149]
1959 27 8 1st Lower Cape Division Won round 1 (Yarmouth)
Won semi-finals (Dennis)
Lost championship (Sagamore)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [150]
1960 17 15 2nd Lower Cape Division (T) Lost round 1 (Harwich) Laurin "Pete" Peterson [151]
1961 16 16 2nd Lower Cape Division Won round 1 (Dennis)
Lost semi-finals (Yarmouth)
Laurin "Pete" Peterson [152]
1962 13 17 2nd Lower Cape Division (T) Lost round 1 (Harwich) Laurin "Pete" Peterson [153][154]

* Regular seasons split into first and second halves are designated as (A) and (B).

Results by season, 1963–present

Year Won Lost Tied Regular Season Finish Postseason Manager
1963 23 11 0 2nd Lower Cape Division Won semi-finals (Chatham)
Lost championship (Cotuit)
Dave Gavitt
1964 23 10 0 2nd Lower Cape Division Dave Gavitt
1965 20 14 0 2nd Lower Cape Division Dave Williams
1966 19 15 0 2nd Lower Cape Division Dave Gavitt
1967 20 20 0 2nd Lower Cape Division (T) Won play-in game (Yarmouth)
Lost semi-finals (Chatham)
Dave Gavitt
1968 20 19 0 2nd Lower Cape Division Tony Williams
1969 28 16 0 2nd Lower Cape Division Lost semi-finals (Chatham) Tony Williams
1970 23 16 0 3rd League Won semi-finals (Wareham)
Lost championship (Falmouth)
Tony Williams
1971 26 12 4 2nd League Won semi-finals (Wareham)
Lost championship (Falmouth)
Tony Williams
1972 26 15 1 1st League (T) Lost semi-finals (Chatham) Tony Williams
1973 19 21 2 5th League Tony Williams
1974 20 15 7 2nd League Won semi-finals (Harwich)
Lost championship (Cotuit)
Tom Yankus
1975 24 16 2 2nd League Lost semi-finals (Cotuit) Tom Yankus
1976 18 21 2 6th League Tom Yankus
1977 13 19 9 6th League Tom Yankus
1978 20 21 1 4th League Lost semi-finals (Hyannis) Tom Yankus
1979 16 23 3 6th League Tom Yankus
1980 12 29 1 8th League Tom Yankus
1981 22 18 2 3rd League Won semi-finals (Harwich)
Lost championship (Cotuit)
Jack Donahue
1982 18 23 1 5th League (T) Jack Donahue
1983 16 25 1 6th League Jack Donahue
1984 23 18 1 2nd League Lost semi-finals (Cotuit) John Castleberry
1985 21 21 0 4th League Lost semi-finals (Chatham) John Castleberry
1986 25 15 2 1st League Won semi-finals (Chatham)
Won championship (Cotuit)
John Castleberry
1987 21 19 0 5th League John Castleberry
1988 22 20 0 2nd East Division Won semi-finals (Y-D)
Lost championship (Wareham)
John Castleberry
1989 13 30 1 5th East Division John Castleberry
1990 24 20 0 2nd East Division Lost semi-finals (Y-D) John Castleberry
1991 21 21 2 2nd East Division Lost semi-finals (Chatham) John Castleberry
1992 13 30 1 5th East Division Rolando Casanova
1993 23 20 1 2nd East Division Won semi-finals (Chatham)
Won championship (Wareham)
Rolando Casanova
1994 27 15 1 1st East Division Lost semi-finals (Brewster) Rolando Casanova
1995 22 21 0 2nd East Division Lost semi-finals (Chatham) Rolando Casanova
1996 20 22 1 4th East Division Rolando Casanova
1997 15 29 0 5th East Division Don Norris
1998 18 27 0 5th East Division Don Norris
1999 27 16 0 2nd East Division Lost semi-finals (Chatham) Don Norris
2000 23 20 1 2nd East Division (T) Lost play-in game (Chatham) Don Norris
2001 20 24 0 3rd East Division Don Norris
2002 29 13 2 1st East Division Won semi-finals (Y-D)
Lost championship (Wareham)
Carmen Carcone
2003 28 17 1 2nd East Division Won semi-finals (Brewster)
Won championship (Bourne)
Carmen Carcone
2004 22 21 1 3rd East Division Carmen Carcone
2005 30 14 0 1st East Division Won semi-finals (Chatham)
Won championship (Bourne)
Kelly Nicholson
2006 22 21 1 3rd East Division Kelly Nicholson
2007 23 20 1 4th East Division Kelly Nicholson
2008 25 17 2 1st East Division Lost semi-finals (Harwich) Kelly Nicholson
2009 25 17 2 2nd East Division Won play-in game (Chatham)
Lost semi-finals (Bourne)
Kelly Nicholson
2010 23 19 2 3rd East Division Won round 1 (Brewster)
Lost semi-finals (Y-D)
Kelly Nicholson
2011 24 17 3 1st East Division Lost round 1 (Y-D) Kelly Nicholson
2012 22 22 0 4th East Division Won round 1 (Harwich)
Lost semi-finals (Y-D)
Kelly Nicholson
2013 24 19 1 2nd East Division Won round 1 (Harwich)
Won semi-finals (Chatham)
Lost championship (Cotuit)
Kelly Nicholson
2014 24 18 2 2nd East Division Lost round 1 (Y-D) Kelly Nicholson
2015 31 12 1 1st East Division Won round 1 (Chatham)
Lost semi-finals (Y-D)
Kelly Nicholson
2016 20 23 1 3rd East Division Lost round 1 (Y-D) Kelly Nicholson
2017 29 15 0 1st East Division Won round 1 (Chatham)
Lost semi-finals (Brewster)
Kelly Nicholson
2018 14 29 1 5th East Division Kelly Nicholson
2019 23 17 4 2nd East Division Lost round 1 (Y-D) Kelly Nicholson
2020 Season cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic
2021 13 17 5 5th East Division Kelly Nicholson

League award winners

Mark Teixeira was CCBL Outstanding Pro Prospect in 1999
Mark Teixeira was CCBL Outstanding Pro Prospect in 1999
Nate Freiman won the CCBL 10th Player Award in 2007
Nate Freiman won the CCBL 10th Player Award in 2007
Orleans' Ryan Hanigan took home three league awards in 2002
Orleans' Ryan Hanigan took home three league awards in 2002
The Pat Sorenti MVP Award
Year Player
1969 Jim Norris
1972 Brad Linden
1999 Lance Niekro
2010 Kolten Wong
The Robert A. McNeece Outstanding Pro Prospect Award
Year Player
1981 Wade Rowdon
1994 Dave Shepard
1999 Mark Teixeira
2001 Russ Adams
2004 Tyler Greene
2006 Matt Wieters
2018 J.J. Bleday
2021 Chase DeLauter
The BFC Whitehouse Outstanding Pitcher Award
Year Player
1968 Phil Corddry
1978 Chuck Dale
1985 John Howes
2002 Brian Rogers
2014 Kolton Mahoney
2015 Mitchell Jordan
The Russ Ford Outstanding Relief Pitcher Award
Year Player
2000 Taft Cable*
2005 Steven Wright
2011 Trevor Gott
The Daniel J. Silva Sportsmanship Award
Year Player
1973 Jeff Washington
1975 Ed Kuchar
1989 Brian Bark
2000 Bryan Prince
2002 Ryan Hanigan
2019 Max Troiani
The Manny Robello 10th Player Award
Year Player
1993 Nomar Garciaparra
2002 Ryan Hanigan
2007 Nate Freiman
2011 Ben Waldrip
2012 Jake Hernandez
2013 Matt Troupe
2021 Tyler Locklear
The John J. Claffey Outstanding New England Player Award
Year Player
2002 Ryan Hanigan
2019 Jared Shuster
The Thurman Munson Award for Batting Champion
Year Player
1965 John Awdycki (.407)
1969 Jim Norris (.415)
1970 Mike Eden (.378)
All-Star Game MVP Award
Year Player
1981 Wade Rowdon
1995 Gary Burnham
1999 Mark Teixeira
2001 Russ Adams
2005 Colin Curtis
2006 Josh Satin
2007 Dennis Raben
2017 Jimmy Herron
All-Star Home Run Hitting Contest Champion
Year Player
1988 Frank Thomas
1989 Mike Thomas
1990 Mike Gropusso
1994 Todd Helton
2003 Cesar Nicolas
2008 Angelo Songco
2017 Stephen Scott
2018 Carter Aldrete
The Star of Stars Playoff MVP Award
Year Player
1986 Gary Alexander
1993 Chris Ciaccio
2003 Cesar Nicolas
2005 Brad Meyers*
2005 Emmanuel Burriss*

(*) - Indicates co-recipient
() - Since 1991, an All-Star Game MVP has been named for each of the league's two divisions.

All-Star Game selections

Wade Rowdon was All-Star Game MVP and CCBL Outstanding Pro Prospect for the 1981 Orleans Cardinals
Wade Rowdon was All-Star Game MVP and CCBL Outstanding Pro Prospect for the 1981 Orleans Cardinals
Tyler Greene, 2004 Orleans all-star and CCBL Outstanding Pro Prospect
Tyler Greene, 2004 Orleans all-star and CCBL Outstanding Pro Prospect
David Fletcher was an all-star for the Firebirds in 2014.
David Fletcher was an all-star for the Firebirds in 2014.
2015 Firebirds all-star Kyle Lewis
2015 Firebirds all-star Kyle Lewis
Year Players Ref
1963 Tom Yankus, Chuck Richards, Lou Lamoriello, Steve Dichter, Buzzy Wilcox, Frank Canning [155]
1964 James Shaw, Theodore Friel, Richard Horton, Dick Hlister, Brian Edgerly, Bill Livesey [156]
1965 Tom Yankus, John Awdycki, Richard Drucker, Robert Zavorskas [157]
1966 Jim Purcell, Jim Conlon, Jack Avis, Joe Pellechi [158]
1967 Jim Purcell, Jim Conlon, Steve Cushmore, Chuck Seelbach, Terry DeWald, Jim Snyder [159][160]
1968 Phil Corddry, Pat Osburn, Bob Maher, Alan Bush, Rich Sturman, Steve Rogers [161]
1969 Jim Norris, Bob Hansen, Bud Dagirmanjian, Bruce Saylor, Joe Anarino, Tommy King [162]
1970 Jim Norris, Charles Janes, Scott Rahl, Mike Eden [163]
1971 Frank Weisse, Bob Grossman [164]
1972 Brad Linden, Tom White [165]
1973 (None) [166]
1974 Dave Opyd, Tim Coen, Lou Conte, Jim Doherty, Jeff Washington [167]
1975 Glenn Gulliver, John Siemanowski [168]
1976 Roger LaFrancois, John Smith, Gerry Callaghan [169]
1977 Bill Swiacki [170]
1978 Rusty Piggott [171]
1979 John Mortillaro, Colin McLaughlin, Rick Walter, Ed Woelbel [172]
1980 Ken Mulry [173]
1981 Wade Rowdon, Ken Lisko, Greg Schulte [174]
1982 Jeff Jacobson [175]
1983 Ken Hayward, Tommy Gregg, Bill Mendek [176]
1984 Ken Hayward, Dave Otto [177]
1985 Chip Hale, John Howes, Rusty Harris [178]
1986 Rusty Harris, Gary Alexander, Mike Ignasiak [179]
1987 Chris Lutz, Mike Ignasiak, Mike Humphreys [180]
1988 Jesse Levis, Matt Howard, Sam Drake, Brian Barnes, Mike Grimes, Jason Klonoski [181]
1989 Brian Bark, Lance Dickson, Mike Thomas [182][183]
1990 Ted Corbin, Mike Gropusso, Mike Kelly [184]
1991 Ted Corbin, Joe Vogelgesang, Sean Gavaghan [185]
1992 Lionel Hastings, Kurt Bierek, Wayne Gomes, Kelly Wunsch [186]
1993 Lionel Hastings, Clint Fair, Nomar Garciaparra, Aaron Boone, Ryan Frace, Bob Bigelli [187]
1994 Clint Fair, Jeff Smith, Will Rushing, Chris Ciaccio, Dave Shepard, Todd Helton [188]
1995 Chad Moeller, Tim Giles, Phil Long, Chuck Beale, Gary Burnham [189]
1996 Ryan Hankins, Jonathan Lyons, Rob Morrison [190]
1997 Ryan Hankins, Jake Webber [191]
1998 Vaughn Schill, Manny Crespo, Pat Collins [192]
1999 Tim Hummel, Peter Bauer, Shawn Weaver, Jason Arnold, Lance Niekro, Mark Teixeira [193]
2000 Bryan Prince, Chad Tracy, Brad Stockton, Matt Incinelli, Taft Cable [194]
2001 Troy Caradonna, Russ Adams, Tyler Davidson, Larry Broadway [195]
2002 Matt Maniscalco, Ryan Hanigan, David Coffey, Brian Rogers, Whitley Benson, Scott Baker, Mike Rapacioli [196]
2003 Jon Zeringue, Billy Lockin, Rhett James, David Purcey, Cesar Nicolas [197]
2004 Jordan Brown, Chris Nicoll, Tyler Greene [198]
2005 Emmanuel Burriss, Colin Curtis, Steven Wright, Brad Meyers [199]
2006 Matt Wieters, Josh Satin, Brett Cecil, Clayton Shunick [200]
2007 Brad Boxberger, Will Atwood, Ryan Perry, Dennis Raben [201]
2008 Rich Poythress, Tim Wheeler, Matt Thomson, Martin Viramontes, Adam Wilk, Angelo Songco [202]
2009 Gary Brown, Rob Rasmussen, Alex Hassan, Casey Gaynor, Elliot Glynn [203]
2010 Kolten Wong, Marcus Stroman, Kyle Simon [204]
2011 Ben Waldrip, Matt Duffy, Trevor Gott, Tyler Johnson [205]
2012 Jake Hernandez, Matthew Boyd, Kyle Crockett, Pat Christensen, Conrad Gregor [206]
2013 Ross Kivett, Jordan Luplow, Trent Szkutnik, Matt Troupe, Chris Marconcini [207]
2014 David Fletcher, David Thompson, Nate Bannister, Kolton Mahoney, Reilly Hovis, Bobby Dalbec [208]
2015 Ronnie Dawson, Kyle Lewis, Mitchell Jordan, Nick Zammarelli, Sean Murphy, Eric Lauer, Willie Abreu [209]
2016 Ethan Paul, Riley Adams, Riley Mahan, Brian Miller, Adam Haseley, Joe Ryan, Brandon Bielak, Drew Lugbauer [210]
2017 Ethan Paul, Jimmy Herron, Niko Decolati, Ryan Rolison, Daniel Lynch, Logan Gilbert, Joey Murray, Stephen Scott, Romy González [211]
2018 JJ Bleday, Kevin Kelly, Nick Osborne [212]
2019 Max Troiani, Jared Shuster, Noah Skirrow [213]
2020 Season cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic
2021 Chase DeLauter, Peyton Chatagnier, Hayden Thomas, Nick Wallerstedt [214]

Italics - Indicates All-Star Game Home Run Hitting Contest participant (1988 to present)

No-hit games

Chuck Seelbach spun a no-hitter for Orleans in 1967.
Chuck Seelbach spun a no-hitter for Orleans in 1967.
Year Pitcher Opponent Score Location Notes Ref
1954 Roy Bruninghaus Yarmouth 4–0 Perfect game [215]
1956 John Linnell Brewster 8–0 [153]
1962 John Bouzan Yarmouth 3–0 Eldredge Park 7-inning game [153][216]
1963 Chuck Richards Otis AFB 5–1 Otis AFB [217][218]
1964 Ray Hartmann Otis AFB 17–0 Eldredge Park [217][219]
1965 Tom Yankus Yarmouth 4–0 Eldredge Park [60][217][220]
1967 Chuck Seelbach Chatham 1–1 Eldredge Park 7-inning game;
Tie game
[65][217]
1971 Mike Pazik Harwich 6–0 Eldredge Park [68][221]
1985 Bob O'Brien Cotuit 8–0 Eldredge Park [80][81][222]
2000 Jon Steitz Bourne 7–2 Coady Field 6-inning game [223][224]
2018 Mitchell Senger Brewster 3–2 Stony Brook Field Combined [123]
Aaron Ochsenbein

Managerial history

Longtime Firebirds skipper Kelly Nicholson.
Longtime Firebirds skipper Kelly Nicholson.
Manager Seasons Total Seasons Championship Seasons
Patsy Donovan 1929–1930 2
Herb Fuller 1947–1948 2 1947
Laurin "Pete" Peterson 1949–1962 14 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957
Dave Gavitt 1963–1964
1966–1967
4
Dave Williams 1965 1
Tony Williams 1968–1973 6
Tom Yankus 1974–1980 7
Jack Donahue 1981–1983 3
John Castleberry 1984–1991 8 1986
Rolando Casanova 1992–1996 5 1993
Don Norris 1997–2001 5
Carmen Carcone 2002–2004 3 2003
Kelly Nicholson 2005–2021 16* 2005

(*) - Season count excludes 2020 CCBL season cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic.

Broadcasters

The Firebirds were one of the first teams in the Cape Cod Baseball League to have student broadcast interns.

See also

References

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