The Akron RubberDucks are a Minor League Baseball team based in Akron, Ohio. The team, which plays in the Double-A Northeast, is the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians. They play in Canal Park, located in downtown Akron, which seats 7,630 fans. The nickname "RubberDucks" refers to Akron's history in the rubber industry, in particular as the birthplace of tire and rubber companies such as Goodyear, Firestone, B.F. Goodrich and General Tire.
Founded in 1923
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Double-A Northeast (2021–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Cleveland Indians/Cleveland Guardians (1989–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (23)|
|Division titles (16)|
|Name||Akron RubberDucks (2014–present)|
|Colors||Black, blue, orange, yellow, white|
|Ballpark||Canal Park (1997–present)|
|General Manager||Jim Pfander|
The franchise began as the Binghamton Triplets, a charter member of the New York–Penn League in 1923. They played in Binghamton, New York at Johnson Field, winning 10 titles over their 46 seasons. After the 1968 season, Boston businessman John Alevizos acquired the franchise and moved it to Gill Stadium, in Manchester, Massachusetts, to become the Manchester Yankees. After 3 seasons in Manchester, the franchise then relocated to West Haven, Connecticut, under new ownership, and became the West Haven Yankees playing at Quigley Stadium. While in West Haven, the franchise won 4 Eastern League titles in their 8 seasons. After the 1979 season, the franchise then moved to Lynn, Massachusetts to become the Lynn Sailors playing at Fraser Field. During the 1983 season they were known as the Lynn Pirates. After the 1983 season, the franchise was moved to Burlington, Vermont, and became the Vermont Reds playing at Centennial Field. As the Reds, the franchise won 3 more Eastern League titles in 5 seasons. In 1988 they were known as the Vermont Mariners. After the 1988 season, the franchise moved to Canton, Ohio and became the Canton-Akron Indians playing at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium. After the 1996 season, the franchise moved up I-77 to Akron, Ohio and became the Akron Aeros.
Opening Day on April 10, 1997 marked the debut of the Akron Aeros. With 9,086 fans in attendance, the Aeros and Harrisburg Senators played the first game at Canal Park. The Aeros went on to finish the season with a record of 51–90. Despite the last place record, the team drew a Double-A league-leading 473,272 fans to Canal Park that season.
In the 1998 season, the Aeros put together a 30-game "worst-to-first" turnaround; after finishing the prior year 34½ games back, they proceeded to win the Southern Division that season by 8½ games. However, after losing in the playoffs that year, it would be three more years until the Aeros found their way back to the postseason.
On September 6, 1999, the Aeros set an Eastern League attendance record for three straight seasons and once again led all Double-A teams after 522,459 fans attended Canal Park in 1999.
In 2002, the team posted a 93–48 record, the third-highest win total in the Eastern League in 50 years. They built on that success and finally won two league championships (their first since moving to Ohio) in 2003 and 2005. In 2006, the Aeros again posted the best regular-season record in the league, but lost the playoff title to Portland after taking the series to a deciding fifth game.
From 2005 to 2008, the Aeros advanced to the Eastern League Championship Series. Although the Aeros won the ELCS in 2005, they were defeated in three consecutive trips from 2006 to 2008.
In 2009, the Aeros again advanced to the league championship and defeated the Connecticut Defenders (three games to one) capping a 95-win season and their third title in the last seven years. Jared Head was named the playoff MVP.
In their first three seasons in Canal Park, the Aeros led all of Double-A in attendance, becoming the first team at that level to draw a half-million fans in a single season.
On October 29, 2013, the Akron Aeros officially changed their name to the Akron RubberDucks.
The RubberDucks won their first Eastern League Championship under the new name in 2016, sweeping Trenton 3-0. Akron also hosted the 2016 Eastern League All-Star Game at Canal Park.
In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the RubberDucks were organized into the Double-A Northeast. They won the Southwest Division title by finishing the 2021 season in first place with a 73–46 record. They qualified for the championship playoffs by possessing the league's best record. Akron defeated the Bowie Baysox, 3–0, in the best-of-five series to win the first Double-A Northeast championship. Rouglas Odor was selected as the league Manager of the Year.
- 1997: 51–90 (5th), manager Jeff Datz
- 1998: 81–60 (1st), manager Joel Skinner • Lost to Harrisburg 3–1 in first round of playoffs
- 1999: 69–71 (5th), manager Joel Skinner
- 2000: 75–68 (3rd), manager Eric Wedge
- 2001: 68–74 (3rd), manager Chris Bando
- 2002: 93–48 (1st), manager Brad Komminsk • Lost to Harrisburg 3–2 in first round of playoffs
- 2003: 88–53 (1st), manager Brad Komminsk • Defeated Altoona 3–1 in first round of playoffs; defeated New Haven 3–0 in ELCS
- 2004: 63–78 (5th), manager Brad Komminsk
- 2005: 84–58 (1st), manager Torey Lovullo • Defeated Altoona 3–2 in first round of playoffs; defeated Portland 3–1 in ELCS
- 2006: 87–55 (1st), manager Tim Bogar • Defeated Altoona 3–2 in first round of playoffs; lost to Portland 3–2 in ELCS
- 2007: 80–61 (2nd), manager Tim Bogar • Defeated Erie 3–1 in first round of playoffs; lost to Trenton 3–1 in ELCS
- 2008: 80–62 (2nd), manager Mike Sarbaugh • Defeated Bowie 3–1 in first round of playoffs; lost to Trenton 3–1 in ELCS
- 2009: 89–53 (1st), manager Mike Sarbaugh • Defeated Reading 3–0 in first round of playoffs; defeated Connecticut 3–1 in ELCS
- 2010: 71–71 (4th), manager Joel Skinner
- 2011: 73–69 (4th), manager Chris Tremie
- 2012: 82-59 (1st), manager Chris Tremie • Defeated Baysox 3–2 in first round of playoffs; defeated Trenton 3–1 in ELCS
- 2013: 68-73 (5th), manager Edwin Rodriguez
- 2014: 73-69 (2nd), manager Dave Wallace
- 2015: 73-69 (4th), manager Dave Wallace
- 2016: 77-64 (1st), manager Dave Wallace • Defeated Altoona 3–1 in first round of playoffs; defeated Trenton 3-0 in ELCS
- 2017: 69-71 (3rd), manager Mark Budzinski
- 2018: 78-62 (2nd), manager Tony Mansolino • Defeated Altoona 3–1 in first round of playoffs; lost to New Hampshire 3–0 in ELCS
- 2019: 61-79 (5th), manager Rouglas Odor
- 2020: Season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
- 2021: 73-46 (1st), manager Rouglas Odor • Defeated Bowie 3-0 in Double-A Northeast Championship Series
Note: Place indicates finish in Eastern League's Northern Division from 1980 to 1982; in divisionless Eastern League from 1983 to 1993; in Eastern League's Southern Division from 1994 to 2009; in Eastern League's Western Division from 2010 to 2020; in Double-A Northeast's Southwest Division since 2021.
Over the off-season between the 2010–2011 season, the Aeros received national attention after introducing a number of new promotions as well as menu items at Canal Park. The team was featured in a segment titled "Back in Black" during The Daily Show performed by comedian Lewis Black. In the segment, Black talks about several of the menu items including The "Three Dog Night" consisting of a hot dog in a Bratwurst in a Kielbasa, and "The Nice to Meat You Burger". The food was also covered by CNBC Sports Financial Analyst Darren Rovell.
For the 2016 season, several different promotions were announced, including (but not limited to) Thirsty Thursdays, Star Wars Night on May 4, Shooter McGavin Bobblehead Night, and An action-filled two days for the Eastern League All-Star Game.
Several outlets throughout Northeast Ohio cover the RubberDucks including Bally Sports Great Lakes, as do all four Cleveland television stations. In print, the RubberDucks are covered by longtime standard The Akron Beacon Journal. General Manager Jim Pfander also does regular interviews with Ray Horner on 93.5/1590 WAKR.
Games are broadcast over 640 WHLO and the iHeartRadio app. Jim Clark, in his 25th year in 2017, as well as Minnesota-native broadcaster Marco LaNave call play by play.
On August 12, 2017, the RubberDucks reported their highest single-game attendance since rebranding of 8,396 fans.
|Season||Total attendance||League rank||Total openings||Average attendance per opening||Average attendance per Eastern League opening|
7-day injured list
- "Webster is Name of New RubberDucks Mascot". Akron Beacon Journal. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
- "History". Official Web Site of the Akron Aeros. Archived from the original on December 23, 2012.
- Storm, Stephanie; Warsmith, Stephanie (October 15, 2012). "Ken Babby takes over Aeros with fan experience a priority no name changes in plan". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Hill, Benjamin (October 29, 2013). "You're the one: Akron RubberDucks". MiLB.com. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
- Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
- "2021 Double-A Northeast". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
- Heneghan, Kelsie (July 1, 2021). "Playoffs Return to the Minor Leagues". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
- Sheehan, Stephanie (September 24, 2021). "Naylor's Walk-off Secures Finals Sweep for Akron". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
- "Postseason All-Stars". Minor League Baseball. Archived from the original on October 8, 2021. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
- "Lugo throws a gem in Ducks win, 1-0". Akron RubberDucks. Minor League Baseball. August 12, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
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