Rochester Red Wings
name = Rochester Red Wings
founded = 1899
city = Rochester, New York
class level = Triple-A (1899-Present)
past class level=
current league =
division = North Division
past league =
St. Louis Cardinals(1929-1960)
nickname = Rochester Red Wings (1929-Present)
*Rochester Tribe (1922-28)
*Rochester Colts (1921)
*Rochester Hustlers (1908-1920)
*Rochester Bronchos (1899-1907)
** "aka Red Wing Stadium (1929-1968)"
* Bay Street Ball Grounds (1908-28)
* Culver Field (1899-1907)
leaguechamps = 1899, 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, 1940*, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997
divisionchamps = 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997
Rochester Community Baseball, Inc.
gm = Dan MasonThe Rochester Red Wings are a
minor league baseballteam based in Rochester, New York. The oldest and longest running minor league franchise in the history of professional sports, the team plays in the International League, and is the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twinsmajor-league club. The Red Wings play in Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester.
The Red Wings were an affiliate of the
St. Louis Cardinalsfor 32 years (1929-1960), then spent 42 years (1961-2002) as a farm club of the Baltimore Oriolesbefore moving on to the Twins in 2003. The franchise played from 1929 through 1996 at Silver Stadiumbefore moving to the modern facilities at Frontier Fieldin 1997.
Baseball in Rochester dates back to 1877 with the "Rochesters" of the
International Association, and Rochester has had a franchise in the league now known as the International League as early as 1885. The current franchise has been playing in Rochester since 1899, when the team was known as the Rochester Bronchos and won the league championship in its inaugural season.
Incidentally, according to Rochester sports historian
Douglas Brei, only six franchises in the history of North American professional sports have been playing in the same city and same league continuously and uninterrupted since the 1800s: the Rochester Red Wings, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals. He also reports that, along with the Hamilton Tiger Catsof the Canadian Football League, the Red Wings are one of only two franchises in North American professional sports to have captured a league championship [The IL Regular Season Pennant symbolized the League Champion until the Governors' Cup was established in 1933. Since 1933, the IL has officially recognized both the Pennant Winner and the Governors' Cup as League Champions. The Red Wings captured Governors' Cups in every decade since it was established except the 1940s, a decade in which they won the IL Pennant in 1940. Since the IL was separated into divisions in 1988, most people have come to consider the Governors' Cup winner to be the league champion, although in the early years most still considered the Pennant Winner to be the true league champion. The league still officially recognizes both titleists as champions.] in every decade of the 20th century.
Early history (1899–1928)
Cardinals era (1929–1960)
The Red Wings became the Triple-A affiliate of the
St. Louis Cardinalsin by|1929. Aside from the affiliation, the Cardinals also owned the Wings and their stadium, then known as Red Wing Stadium. In the fall of by|1956, the Cardinals ceased to operate the Red Wings and put both the team and the stadium up for sale. In response, Morrie Silver, a Rochester businessman, formed Rochester Community Baseball, Inc.(RCB) and spearheaded a drive to sell shares in RCB to raise money to buy the Red Wings and Red Wing Stadium to ensure that the franchise would remain in Rochester. The attempt was successful as RCB purchased both entities from the Cardinals on February 27, 1957, in an event that was dubbed the "72 Day Miracle". RCB, comprised of fans of the team as shareholders, continues to own and operate the club to this day, making the Red Wings one of a very few current professional sports franchises that are publicly owned. The Green Bay Packersof the National Football Leagueare the most notable example of this distinction.
After the sale, the Wings remained St. Louis' affiliate until by|1960, when the Red Wings moved on to become the top farm club of the
Orioles era (1961–2002)
Red Wing Stadium was renamed
Silver Stadiumin honor of Morrie Silver on August 19, 1968.
The Rochester Red Wings, along with the
Pawtucket Red Sox, hold the record for the longest professional baseball game, lasting a total of 33 innings and 8 hours, 25 minutes over the course of three different days. The game was held at McCoy Stadium, beginning on April 18, 1981. It was suspended at 4:00 am the next morning, and Rochester lost 3–2 when the game resumed on June 23.
Rochester won six
Governors' Cuptitles during their 42-year affiliation with the Orioles, with the last coming in by|1997. The team's fortunes began to decline by by|1999, though, as the product on the field slipped in quality. By by|2002, the last year of the player development agreement between Baltimore and Rochester, the team's record had slipped to a league-worst 55–89. In the off-season, the Red Wings did not extend the agreement with Baltimore; instead, the club signed a new one with the Minnesota Twinsto become their Triple-A affiliate.
The last five years of the Orioles affiliation also saw a pair of accomplishments aside from the 1997 title run. In 1997, the Red Wings moved into the new
Frontier Fieldin downtown Rochester after 68 seasons at Silver Stadiumon the city's northeast side. Later, during the team's fourth year at the stadium in by|2000, the Red Wings played host to the Triple-A All-Star Game.
Twins era (2003–present)
The change in affiliation did not immediately transfer into success on the field. In by|2003, the Red Wings finished 68–75 under new manager
Phil Roof, good for fifth place in the six-team International League(IL) North Division and 10½ games behind the Ottawa Lynx, the new affiliate of the Orioles. It was the sixth consecutive losing season for Rochester. Beginning in by|2004, however, the team began to turn their fortunes around. In both 2004 and by|2005, the Red Wings finished in second place in the North Division with records of 73–71 and 75–69, respectively. The turnaround was capped in by|2006 when Rochester, now under the leadership of Stan Cliburn, advanced to the International League playoffs as the Wild Card with a record of 79–64. The Red Wings then beat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Baronsthree games to one in the best-of-five semifinal series but lost to the Toledo Mud Hensin five games, three games to two, in the best-of-five Governors' Cup series.
Since the 2006 run to the Governors' Cup series, the Red Wings have had moderate success. After snapping the six-year losing season streak in 2004, Rochester has now posted five straight winning seasons to this day. The most recent of these was in by|2008, where the team went 74–70 after being as far as 13 games under .500 (19–32 on May 25).
The Red Wings have played for the
Governors' Cup, the championship of the International League, 21 times, winning 10. Both numbers are IL records.
1933- Lost to Buffalo
1934- Lost to Toronto
1939- Defeated Newark
1950- Lost to Baltimore
1952- Defeated Montréal
1953- Lost to Montréal
1955- Defeated Toronto
1956- Defeated Toronto
1960- Lost to Toronto
1961- Lost to Buffalo
1964- Defeated Syracuse
1971- Defeated Tidewater
1974- Defeated Syracuse
1982- Lost to Tidewater
1986- Lost to Richmond
1988- Defeated Tidewater
1990- Defeated Columbus
1993- Lost to Charlotte
1996- Lost to Columbus
1997- Defeated Columbus
2006- Lost to Toledo
The Red Wings have retired three numbers, two of which are derived from uniform numbers.
Joe Altobelli. He managed the Red Wings from by|1971 to by|1976 and led the team to two Governors' Cup titles. Altobelli also served as the Red Wings' General Manager from by|1991 to by|1994 and is currently the color commentator for all Red Wing home game broadcasts.
*36 for Luke Easter. He played in Rochester from by|1959 to his retirement in by|1963, during which time he hit 67 home runs. Easter's number was retired by the Red Wings in by|2000.
Morrie Silver. He spearheaded a successful grassroots effort to purchase the Red Wings from the St. Louis Cardinalsin by|1957 and subsequently served as the team president from by|1957 to by|1968. The number retired in his honor, 8,222, represents the original number of shareholders of Rochester Community Baseball, Inc.
Ken Boyer(player and manager)
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal Ripken, Sr.(player and manager)
* [http://www.redwingsbaseball.com/ Rochester Red Wings website]
* [http://www.frontiernet.net/~rochballparks2/rochester/silver.htm Photographs of Red Wing / Silver Stadium, former home of the Rochester Red Wings - "Rochester Area Ballparks"]
* [http://www.frontiernet.net/~rochballparks2/rochester/frontier.htm Photographs of Frontier Field, current home of the Rochester Red Wings - "Rochester Area Ballparks"]
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