Sioux Falls Canaries

Independent baseball team
name = Sioux Falls Canaries
founded = 1993
city = Sioux Falls, South Dakota

cap
current league = American Association
current division = North Division
past league = * Northern League (1993-2005)
currentname = Sioux Falls Canaries (1993-present)
colors = Blue, Black, Canary Yellow, White
ballpark = Sioux Falls Stadium
pastparks =
leaguechamps = 2008
divisionchamps =
owner = Mike Veeck
manager = Steve Shirley
gm =
media = KWSN 1230 AM, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
website = http://www.canariesbaseball.com www.canariesbaseball.com

The Sioux Falls Canaries are a professional baseball team based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in the United States. The Canaries are a member of the North Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Since the 1993 season to the present, the Canaries have played their home games at Sioux Falls Stadium, commonly known as The Birdcage.

History

Sioux Falls was home to the Canaries of the original Northern League in 1942 and again from 1946-1953. The city was then without a Northern League franchise until 1966. Then, the Sioux Falls Packers began play and spent six seasons in the circuit until the league ceased operations following the 1971 campaign.

A handful of independent baseball pioneers breathed new life into a revived Northern League in 1993. Sioux Falls competed in a six-team league, joining the St. Paul Saints, the Rochester Aces, the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks, the Sioux City Explorers and the Duluth-Superior Dukes.

On the field, the Canaries had enjoyed their greatest successes in 1994 and 1996. Former major leaguer Pedro Guerrero batted .329 with eight home runs and 47 RBIs for the 1994 Canaries as the team posted a 47-33 record for the season. Sioux Falls was narrowly beat out by Sioux City in the first half of the season while the Birds finished four games out of first in the second half. Chris Powell batted a league-best .357 to lead the Canaries while Jamie Ybarra paced all league hurlers with 10 wins and 109 strikeouts.

In 1996, the Canaries overcame a 20-22 first half to the season and posted a 24-18 mark over the second half of the campaign. Even then, the team finished three games back of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

New ownership took over the club in 1998 and a steady diet of improvements have followed, including a new manager, new logo and identity system.

The Canaries posted an outstanding season in 2001, going 55-35 and gaining the team's first playoff berth since the league re-emerged in 1993. On July 11, 2001, the Canaries won the first-half title in the South Division in dramatic fashion on the final day of the half. Sioux Falls won 21-7 win over Duluth-Superior in the game that secured its first pennant and its first playoff appearance.

Team owners and city officials hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking in November 1999, kicking off a $5.6 million renovation to Sioux Falls Stadium.

The new Birdcage drew national attention on June 2, 2001, as USA Today writer Mel Antonen wrote a feature story on the retrofit. The project drew praise for the integration of an existing facility with more modern elements.

Sioux Falls Stadium now features nine luxury suites, a 3000-square-foot home clubhouse, a group barbecue area and a video wall/scoreboard that features live and recorded video clips as well as animated pieces.

On September 29, 2005, the Canaries left the Northern League, along with the Lincoln Saltdogs, the Sioux City Explorers and the St. Paul Saints to form the American Association for the 2006 season.

Sioux Falls struggled early on in the new league, but everything came together for the Canaries in 2008. They posted their best regular-season record ever at 60-36, and won the first-half North Division championship with a 31-17 mark. The Canaries opened the 2008 playoffs by sweeping rival Sioux City in three games, then took on Grand Prairie for the American Association championship. Sioux Falls took the best-of-5 series three games to one, earning the clinching win in dramatic fashion on a walkoff single in the bottom of the 12th. The Canaries became the first team other than Fort Worth to earn an AAIPB championship.

In Popular Culture

*While with the Canaries in 2002, Tyrone Pendergrass was interviewed and featured in an article in the September 4th, 2002 edition of the Christian Science Monitor, called "Mapping the American Spirit"
*On July 12, 2006, Jim Eriotes, 83, became the oldest person in professional baseball history to suit up, swinging at four pitches, before striking out. The Canaries beat the St. Joe's Blacksnakes 5-3.

Current Roster

"As of May 11, 2008"

Notable Canaries

*SS Orlando Miller- 2007
*P Pat Mahomes- 2007
*OF Pedro Guerrero- 1993-94
*P Jamie Ybarra- 1994, 1996, 2001
*P Steve Howe- 1997
*OF Chad Hermansen- 2006
*P Lee Guetterman- 1997
*3B Kim Batiste- 1998
*OF Edgard Clemente- 2005-06
*1B Brian Traxler- 1997, 2000
*P George Sherrill- 2001
*IF Mike Busch- 2001

External links

* [http://www.canariesbaseball.com/ Sioux Falls Canaries] - Official Website
* [http://www.nlfan.com/siouxfalls nlfan.com Sioux Falls Canaries' Guide] (Northern League '93-'05)
* [http://www.aabfan.com/siouxfalls aabfan.com Sioux Falls Canaries' Guide] (American Association '06-)

References

* [http://www.aabfan.com/league/ aabfan.com] - yearly league standings & awards (American Association)
* [http://www.nlfan.com/league/ nlfan.com] - yearly league standings & awards (Northern League)


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