Columbus Clippers

The Columbus Clippers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A East and the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. They are located in Columbus, Ohio, and are named for speedy merchant sailing vessels known as clippers. The team has played their home games at Huntington Park since 2009. They previously played at Cooper Stadium from 1977 to 2008.

Columbus Clippers
Founded in 1977
Columbus, Ohio
ColumbusClippers.PNG ColumbusClipperscap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassTriple-A (1977–present)
LeagueTriple-A East (2021–present)
DivisionMidwest Division
Previous leagues
International League (1977–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamCleveland Indians (2009–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
Class titles (2)
  • 2010
  • 2011
League titles (11)
  • 1979
  • 1980
  • 1981
  • 1987
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1996
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2015
  • 2019
Division titles (12)
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1999
  • 2004
  • 2011
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2019
Wild card berths (1)
  • 2010
Team data
NameColumbus Clippers (1977–present)
ColorsNavy, light blue, gray, white
       
MascotsKrash and Lou Seal[1]
BallparkHuntington Park (2009–present)
Previous parks
Cooper Stadium (1977–2008)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Franklin County Government
General ManagerKen Schnacke[2]
ManagerAndy Tracy

The Clippers were established in 1977 as members of the Triple-A International League (IL). They won seven IL championships during a 28-year affiliation with the New York Yankees (1979–2006). Columbus won two more IL titles and two Triple-A championships after affiliating with the Cleveland Indians in 2009. In conjunction with Major League Baseball's reorganization of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Clippers were shifted to the Triple-A East.

HistoryEdit

Before the ClippersEdit

Professional baseball was first played in Columbus, Ohio, in 1877 by the Columbus Buckeyes of the International Association.[3] It has been represented at the highest levels of Minor League Baseball nearly continuously since 1902, at first in the American Association by the Columbus Senators (1902–1930) and Columbus Red Birds (1931–1954) and then in the International League (IL) by the Columbus Jets (1955–1970).[3] The Jets relocated to Charleston, West Virginia, as the Charleston Charlies in 1971, and the capital city went without a team for six seasons until 1977.[3]

International LeagueEdit

Pittsburgh Pirates (1977–1978)Edit

 
The Columbus Clippers played at Cooper Stadium from 1977 to 2008.

The Columbus Clippers began play in 1977 as the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the International League. They played their home games at Franklin County Stadium, which opened in 1932 and was renamed Cooper Stadium in 1985.[4] The Clippers were named for speedy merchant sailing vessels known as clippers. Consecutive seventh-place finishes in their first two seasons kept the team out of the playoffs.[5][6] Off the field, the franchise was recognized with the 1977 Larry MacPhail Award for outstanding minor league promotions.[7]

New York Yankees (1979–2006)Edit

Columbus changed its affiliation to the New York Yankees in 1979 in what would become a 28-year relationship and the most successful period in Clippers history. From 1979 to 1982, the Clippers finished atop the league standings and won three consecutive Governors' Cups, the Internation League championship. The 1979 team, managed by Gene Michael, won the league title by defeating the Syracuse Chiefs in the finals.[8] Outfielder Bobby Brown was selected as the 1979 IL Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Rick Anderson as the Most Valuable Pitcher.[9] Additionally, the franchise won its second Larry MacPhail Award.[7] Joe Altobelli's 1980 Clippers won the next Governors' Cup over the Toledo Mud Hens.[10] First baseman Marshall Brant won the league MVP Award, Bob Kammeyer won the top pitcher award, and Altobelli was chosen as the Manager of the Year.[9] In 1981, Frank Verdi led Columbus to its third title over the Richmond Braves in a championship series which was shortened due to inclement weather.[11]

Columbus qualified for the playoffs in each of the next three seasons but was eliminated in the semifinals each time.[12][13][14] Several Clippers were recognized with league awards during this period. Third baseman Tucker Ashford won the 1982 IL MVP Award.[9] In 1984, catcher Scott Bradley was the MVP and Rookie of the Year,[9] and the Clippers won a third Larry MacPhail Award. [7] Outfielder Dan Pasqua was a dual MVP and Rookie of the Year in 1985.[9] The 1985 club reached the finals, but they lost the Governors' Cup to the Tidewater Tides.[15] Though missing the postseason in 1986, first baseman Orestes Destrade won the Rookie of the Year Award.[9] The 1987 Clippers, managed by Bucky Dent, swept the Rochester Red Wings in the semifinals and Tidewater in the finals to win their fourth IL championship.[16] Brad Arnsberg won the 1987 Most Valuable Pitcher Award.[9] Columbus next returned to the playoffs in 1990 via a Western Division title, but they lost the single round of playoffs and the championship to Rochester.[17] Outfielder Hensley Meulens was the MVP of the 1990 season, and Dave Eiland was the top pitcher.[9]

 
Bucky Dent led the 1987 Clippers to win the fourth IL championship in team history.

Manager Rick Down led the Clippers to back-to-back Governors' Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. The 1991 team defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox in the finals.[18] They then advanced to the Triple-A Classic, a postseason championship series against the Denver Zephyrs, champions of the American Association, where they were defeated, 4–1.[19] The 1992 squad won their championship over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.[20] First baseman J. T. Snow was selected as the MVP and Rookie of the Year, while Sam Militello was chosen as the Most Valuable Pitcher.[9] In a 2001 ranking by baseball historians, the 1992 Clippers were recognized as the seventy-second greatest minor league team of all time.[21]

The franchise was awarded the 1995 John H. Johnson President's Award, recognizing them as the "complete baseball franchise—based on franchise stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community, and promotion of the baseball industry."[7] Columbus won its final IL championship as a Yankees affiliate in 1996 under Stump Merrill after winning the Western Division title, sweeping the Norfolk Tides in the semifinals, and sweeping Rochester in the championship round.[22] They reached the finals in 1997 but lost in the final round to Rochester and were eliminated in the semifinals in 1999 and 2004.[23][24][25] A pair of Clippers won awards in 1999: Ed Yarnall as the Most Valuable Pitcher and first baseman Kurt Bierek as Rookie of the Year.[9] In 2003, first baseman Fernando Seguignol was selected as the league MVP.[9]

Washington Nationals (2007–2008)Edit

The Clippers became the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals in 2007. The partnership lasted two seasons, with Columbus finishing with losing records each season and failing to qualify for the Governors' Cup playoffs.[3] On September 1, 2008, the Clippers played their final game at Cooper Stadium before moving into a new facility the next season. Over 16,000 people attended the game, a 3–0 loss to Toledo.[26]

Cleveland Indians (2009–2020)Edit

 
Mike Sarbaugh managed the Clippers to back-to-back IL and Triple-A championships in 2010 and 2011.

In 2009, Columbus began their affiliation with the Cleveland Indians.[27] The Clippers also began playing at Huntington Park, a US$56-million dollar, 10,000-seat stadium located at the corner of Neil Ave and Nationwide Blvd in the Columbus's Arena District.[27] The inaugural home opener was played on April 18, 2009, when 11,950 people in attendance saw the Clippers lose to Toledo, 3–1.[28]

Managed by Mike Sarbaugh, Columbus won consecutive IL championships in 2010 and 2011. After clinching a 2010 wild card berth, they defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the semifinals then won the Governors' Cup against the Durham Bulls.[29] The league title sent them to the Triple-A National Championship Game, a single game against the Tacoma Rainiers, champions of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), which was won by Columbus, 12–6.[30] As the 2011 Western Division winners, Columbus advanced to the finals with a win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and won the Governors' Cup over Durham.[31] In the Triple-A National Championship Game, they defeated the PCL's Omaha Storm Chasers, 8–3.[32] Sarbaugh was recognized as the 2011 IL Manager of the Year.[9]

The 2014 Clippers won the Western Division title but were ousted from the Governors' Cup playoffs by Durham in the semifinals.[33] In 2015, Columbus was declared co-champion of the Western Division after finishing the season tied for first place with the Indianapolis Indians. They were seeded as the division champion for the playoffs by tie-breaking procedures.[34] Defeating Norfolk in the semifinals, the Clippers met the Indians in the Governors' Cup finals and won the IL championship under manager Chris Tremie.[35] They then lost the Triple-A Championship to the PCL's Fresno Grizzlies, 7–0.[36] Columbus returned to the postseason in 2016 via a Western Division title, but they fell to the Gwinnett Braves in the semifinals.[37] Outfielder Yandy Díaz was the 2016 IL Rookie of the Year.[9] In 2019, under manager Tony Mansolino, the team captured its last International League championship. With another Western Division title and a semifinal win over the Gwinnett Stripers, they won the Governors' Cup against Durham.[38] At the Triple-A National Championship Game they lost to the Sacramento River Cats, 4–0.[39] The start of the 2020 season was initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being cancelled altogether.[40][41]

Triple-A EastEdit

Cleveland Indians (2021–present)Edit

 
The Clippers have played at Huntington Park since 2009.

Following the 2020 season, Major League Baseball assumed control of Minor League Baseball in a move to increase player salaries, modernize facility standards, and reduce travel.[42] The Clippers were organized into the Triple-A East and maintained their affiliation with the Cleveland Indians.[42]

Season-by-season recordsEdit

Table key
League The team's final position in the league standings
Division The team's final position in the divisional standings
GB Games behind the team that finished in first place in the division that season
  Class champions (1983–present)
  League champions (1977–present)
* Division champions (1988–present)
^ Postseason berth (1977–present)
Season-by-season records
Season League Regular season Postseason MLB affiliate Ref.
Record Win % League Division GB Record Win % Result
1977 IL 65–75 .464 7th 15 Pittsburgh Pirates [5]
1978 IL 61–78 .439 7th 23+12 Pittsburgh Pirates [6]
1979
^  
IL 85–54 .612 1st 7–4 .636 Won semifinals vs. Tidewater Tides, 3–1
Won IL championship vs. Syracuse Chiefs, 4–3[8]
New York Yankees [43]
1980
^  
IL 83–57 .593 1st 7–3 .700 Won semifinals vs. Richmond Braves, 3–2
Won IL championship vs. Toledo Mud Hens, 4–1[10]
New York Yankees [44]
1981
^  
IL 88–51 .633 1st 5–3 .625 Won semifinals vs. Rochester Red Wings, 3–2
Won IL championship vs. Richmond Braves, 2–1[a][11]
New York Yankees [45]
1982
^
IL 79–61 .564 2nd 3+12 0–3 .000 Lost semifinals vs. Tidewater Tides, 3–0[12] New York Yankees [46]
1983
^
IL 83–57 .593 1st 2–3 .400 Lost semifinals vs. Tidewater Tides, 3–2[13] New York Yankees [47]
1984
^
IL 82–57 .590 1st 1–3 .250 Lost semifinals vs. Pawtucket Red Sox, 3–1[14] New York Yankees [48]
1985
^
IL 75–64 .540 3rd (tie) 3+12 4–4 .500 Won semifinals vs. Syracuse Chiefs, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Tidewater Tides, 3–1[15]
New York Yankees [49]
1986 IL 62–77 .446 6th (tie) 17+12 New York Yankees [50]
1987
^  
IL 77–63 .550 2nd 4 6–0 1.000 Won semifinals vs. Rochester Red Wings, 3–0
Won IL championship vs. Tidewater Tides, 3–0[16]
New York Yankees [51]
1988 IL 65–77 .458 5th 3rd 12+12 New York Yankees [52]
1989 IL 77–69 .527 3rd (tie) 2nd (tie) 4 New York Yankees [53]
1990
*
IL 87–59 .596 2nd 1st 2–3 .400 Won Western Division title
Lost IL championship vs. Rochester Red Wings, 3–2[17]
New York Yankees [54]
1991
*  
IL 85–59 .590 1st 1st 4–4 .500 Won Western Division title
Won IL championship vs. Pawtucket Red Sox, 3–0[18]
Lost Triple-A Classic vs. Denver Zephyrs, 4–1[19]
New York Yankees [55]
1992
*  
IL 95–49 .660 1st 1st 6–2 .750 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Richmond Braves, 3–0
Won IL championship vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, 3–2[20]
New York Yankees [56]
1993 IL 78–62 .557 3rd 3rd 7+12 New York Yankees [57]
1994 IL 74–68 .521 4th 3rd 6+12 New York Yankees [58]
1995 IL 71–68 .511 4th 3rd 13+12 New York Yankees [59]
1996
*  
IL 85–57 .599 1st 1st 6–0 1.000 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Norfolk Tides, 3–0
Won IL championship vs. Rochester Red Wings, 3–0[22]
New York Yankees [60]
1997
*
IL 79–63 .556 3rd 1st 5–4 .556 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Charlotte Knights, 3–1
Lost IL championship vs. Rochester Red Wings, 3–2[23]
New York Yankees [61]
1998 IL 67–77 .465 12th 3rd 10 New York Yankees [62]
1999
*
IL 83–58 .589 1st 1st 0–3 .000 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Durham Bulls, 3–0[24]
New York Yankees [63]
2000 IL 75–69 .521 8th 2nd 6 New York Yankees [64]
2001 IL 67–76 .469 9th 2nd 16+12 New York Yankees [65]
2002 IL 59–83 .415 12th 4th 21 New York Yankees [66]
2003 IL 76–68 .528 4th 2nd 3+12 New York Yankees [67]
2004
*
IL 80–64 .556 3rd 1st 2–3 .400 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Richmond Braves, 3–2[25]
New York Yankees [68]
2005 IL 77–67 .535 5th 3rd 12 New York Yankees [69]
2006 IL 69–73 .486 9th 4th 7 New York Yankees [70]
2007 IL 64–80 .444 11th (tie) 4th 18+12 Washington Nationals [71]
2008 IL 69–73 .486 7th (tie) 3rd 18 Washington Nationals [72]
2009 IL 57–85 .401 13th 4th 27 Cleveland Indians [73]
2010
^    
IL 75–69 .549 4th 2nd 12 7–2 .778 Won wild card berth
Won semifinals vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 3–1
Won IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–1[29]
Won Triple-A championship vs. Tacoma Rainiers[30]
Cleveland Indians [74]
2011
*    
IL 85–56 .611 1st 1st 7–2 .778 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 3–1
Won IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–1[31]
Won Triple-A championship vs. Omaha Storm Chasers[32]
Cleveland Indians [75]
2012 IL 75–69 .521 6th 2nd 14 Cleveland Indians [76]
2013 IL 71–73 .493 8th 2nd 9 Cleveland Indians [77]
2014
*
IL 79–65 .549 3rd 1st 1–3 .250 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Durham Bulls, 3–1[33]
Cleveland Indians [78]
2015
*  
IL 83–61 .576 1st (tie) 1st (tie) 6–5 .545 Won Western Division title[b]
Won semifinals vs. Norfolk Tides, 3–2
Won IL championship vs. Indianapolis Indians, 3–2[35]
Lost Triple-A championship vs. Fresno Grizzlies[36]
Cleveland Indians [80]
2016
*
IL 82–62 .569 3rd 1st 1–3 .250 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Gwinnett Braves, 3–1[37]
Cleveland Indians [81]
2017 IL 71–71 .500 6th (tie) 2nd 8 Cleveland Indians [82]
2018 IL 73–67 .521 5th (tie) 2nd (tie) 12 Cleveland Indians [83]
2019
*  
IL 81–59 .579 1st 1st 6–2 .750 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Gwinnett Stripers, 3–1
Won IL championship vs. Durham Bulls, 3–0[38]
Lost Triple-A championship vs. Sacramento River Cats[39]
Cleveland Indians [84]
2020 IL Season cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)[41] Cleveland Indians [85]
Totals 3,254–2,850 .533 85–59 .590

RosterEdit

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

  •  8 Gavin Collins
  • 36 Ryan Lavarnway
  • 46 Ángel López Álvarez
  • 29 Mike Rivera

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

  • 47 Rigo Beltrán (pitching)
  • 22 Jason Esposito (hitting)
  •  9 JT Maguire (bench)


  7-day injured list
* On Cleveland Indians 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
± Taxi squad
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated September 24, 2021
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • Triple-A East
Cleveland Indians minor league players

AwardsEdit

 
Dan Pasqua was the IL MVP and Rookie of the Year in 1985.

The franchise has been awarded these honors by Minor League Baseball.[7]

Minor League Baseball Awards
Award Season Ref.
John H. Johnson President's Award 1995 [7]
Larry MacPhail Award 1977 [7]
Larry MacPhail Award 1979 [7]
Larry MacPhail Award 1984 [7]

Seventeen players, two managers, and two executives have won league awards in recognition for their performance with Columbus.[9]

International League Awards
Award Recipient Season Ref.
Most Valuable Player Bobby Brown 1979 [9]
Most Valuable Player Marshall Brant 1980 [9]
Most Valuable Player Tucker Ashford 1982 [9]
Most Valuable Player Scott Bradley 1984 [9]
Most Valuable Player Dan Pasqua 1985 [9]
Most Valuable Player Hensley Meulens 1990 [9]
Most Valuable Player J. T. Snow 1992 [9]
Most Valuable Player Fernando Seguignol 2003 [9]
Most Valuable Pitcher Rick Anderson 1979 [9]
Most Valuable Pitcher Bob Kammeyer 1980 [9]
Most Valuable Pitcher Brad Arnsberg 1987 [9]
Most Valuable Pitcher Dave Eiland 1990 [9]
Most Valuable Pitcher Sam Militello 1992 [9]
Most Valuable Pitcher Ed Yarnall 1999 [9]
Rookie of the Year Scott Bradley 1984 [9]
Rookie of the Year Dan Pasqua 1985 [9]
Rookie of the Year Orestes Destrade 1986 [9]
Rookie of the Year J. T. Snow 1992 [9]
Rookie of the Year Kurt Bierek 1999 [9]
Rookie of the Year Yandy Díaz 2016 [9]
Manager of the Year Joe Altobelli 1980 [9]
Manager of the Year Mike Sarbaugh 2011 [9]
Executive of the Year George H. Sisler Jr. 1977 [9]
Executive of the Year George H. Sisler Jr. 1979 [9]
Executive of the Year George H. Sisler Jr. 1980 [9]
Executive of the Year Ken Schnacke 1991 [9]
Executive of the Year Ken Schnacke 2011 [9]
Executive of the Year Ken Schnacke 2018 [9]

Radio and televisionEdit

All Clippers home and road games are broadcast on WMNI AM 920 and Easy 95.1 FM.[86] Live audio broadcasts are also available online through the station's website as well as on the team's website and the MiLB First Pitch app. Games can be viewed through the MiLB.TV subscription feature of the official website of Minor League Baseball.[87]

As of 2021, Ryan Mitchell and Scott Leo serve as play-by-play announcers.[2] Several former Clippers broadcasters have gone to work in Major League Baseball, including: John Gordon (1977–1981), Rick Rizzs (1981–1982), Pat Hughes (1982), Terry Smith (1983–2001), and Tom Hamilton (1987–1989).

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The 1981 playoffs were cancelled due to inclement weather. With a 2–1 series lead against Richmond, Columbus was declared the winner.
  2. ^ Columbus finished the 2015 season tied for first with the Indianapolis Indians, each with an 83–61 record. Per the International League's playoff procedures, the teams were declared co-champions of the Western Division, and the Clippers won the tiebreaker to be seeded as the division champion.[34][79]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit