The Lexington Legends are a Minor League Baseball team in the South Atlantic League (SAL), and the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The team is located in Lexington, Kentucky, and plays their home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, located in a commercial area on the northeast side of the city just inside New Circle Road. The team's mascot is "Big L", a mustachioed baseball player and his best friend is Pee Wee.
Founded in 2001
|Current||Single A (2001–present)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||South Atlantic League (2001–present)|
|Division||Southern Division (2009–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Kansas City Royals (2013–present)|
|Previous||Houston Astros (2001–2012)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (3)|
|Division titles (3)|
|Nickname||Lexington Legends (2001–present)|
|Ballpark||Whitaker Bank Ballpark (2001–present)|
|Susan Martinelli Shea / STANDS LLC|
|General Manager||Gary Durbin|
The Class-A Kissimmee Cobras moved from the Florida State League to Lexington following the 2000 season. The 2001 season began under manager J. J. Cannon. The team finished their first regular season with record of 92 wins and 48 losses and in first place of the sixteen-team South Atlantic League. In the postseason, the Legends defeated the Hagerstown Suns in the first round and advanced to play the Asheville Tourists in the League Championship Series. However, the series was cancelled after the Legends won the first two games of the series due to the September 11 attacks and the Legends were declared champions after having gone up 2-0 before game three was canceled.
Cannon returned to manage in 2002 and led the team to another winning record, but the Legends failed to qualify for the playoffs. Lexington made a return trip to the playoffs in 2003, but were defeated by the Lake County Captains in the first round. In 2004, the Legends finished with a record of 68-72, their first losing record in team history. The following season, the Legends posted an 81-58 regular season record and finished in first-place under manager Tim Bogar.
On May 31, 2006, Roger Clemens announced that he would come out of retirement to pitch for the Houston Astros for the remainder of the 2006 season. Planning to keep himself to a strict 60-pitch limit, Clemens returned to baseball with the Legends, where his oldest son Koby played. Father and son denied reports that Koby would catch his dad for the return. "He doesn't listen to me", Roger Clemens said. "We'd be shaking each other off and arguing too much." In his first game, Clemens threw 62 pitches, allowed no walks, and only 1 run while striking out 6 batters in three innings of work with the Legends, who won the game 5–1.
The team received national attention again in 2006 following a controversial game against the Asheville Tourists on June 25. In the fifth inning of the game, Tourists manager Joe Mikulik went on an extended tirade after being ejected from the game following an argument with an umpire. The event received coverage on various television programs, including NBC's The Tonight Show, ESPN's Pardon the Interruption and SportsCenter, and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Roger Clemens' appearance as a Legend as well as Joe Mikulik's meltdown are chronicled in the 2011 documentary film Legendary: When Baseball Came to the Bluegrass.
The Lexington Legends are reportedly one of the minor league teams that would lose MLB affiliation under a new plan proposed by the MLB.
Season by season resultsEdit
Since their inception, the Lexington Legends franchise has played 13 seasons - all in the South Atlantic League. As of the completion of the 2016 season, the club has played in 2,225 regular season games and compiled a record of 1,079–1,146, or a .485 winning percentage. The team has a postseason record of 9-5.
|Season||Manager||Record[a]||Win %||League[b]||Division[c]||GB[d]||Post-season record[e]||Post-season win %||Result||MLB affiliate|
|Joe Cannon||92–48||.657||1st||1st||–||4–0||1.000||Won division series vs Hagerstown Suns, 2–0
Led Asheville Tourists 2–0 in League Championship Series
Declared Co-League Champions[f]
|Russ Nixon||75–63||.543||7th||2nd||25||0–2||.000||Lost division series vs Lake County Captains, 0–2||Houston|
|Jack Lind||75–63||.543||5th||3rd||8½||0–2||.000||Lost division series vs Lakewood BlueClaws, 0–2||Houston|
|2013||Brian Buchanan||68–70||.493||8th||6th/4th||9.5/10||–||–||–||Kansas City|
|2014||Brian Buchanan||57-83||.407||11th||6th/6th||17/20.5||–||–||–||Kansas City|
|2015||Omar Ramirez||58-80||.420||12th||6th||26.5||–||–||–||Kansas City|
|2016||Omar Ramirez||52-87||.374||13th||7th||Kansas City|
|2017||Scott Thorman||62-75-1||.453||12th||6th||16||Kansas City|
|Scott Thorman||76-60||.559||2nd||1st||-||5-1||.833||Won division series vs Rome Braves 2-0
Won League Championship Series vs Lakewood BlueClaws 3-1
|Brooks Conrad||68-70||.493||7th||3rd||9||5-1||.833||Won division series vs Augusta Greenjackets 2-0
Won League Championship Series vs Hickory Crawdads 3-1
- a This column indicates overall wins and losses during the regular season and excludes any postseason play.
- b This column indicates overall position in the league standings.
- c This column indicates overall position in the divisional standings[split seasons for 2013 and 2014].
- d Determined by finding the difference in wins plus the difference in losses divided by two, this column indicates "games behind" the team that finished in overall first place in the division [split seasons for 2013 and 2014].
- e This column indicates wins and losses during the postseason.
- f Due to the September 11 attacks, the 2001 best-of-five League Championship Series against Asheville was cancelled. Asheville and Lexington were declared SAL Co-Champions.
Lexington Legends roster
7-day injured list
Legends Hall of FameEdit
The Legends have honored ten past members of the organization by inducting them in the Legends Hall of Fame. These individuals are:
- Josh Anderson, outfielder in 2004, inducted in 2005
- John Buck, catcher in 2001, inducted in 2005
- Joe Cannon, manager from 2001 to 2002, inducted in 2006
- Félix Escalona, second baseman in 2001, inducted in 2005
- Mike Gallo, pitcher in 2002, inducted in 2007
- Kirk Saarloos, pitcher in 2001, inducted in 2006
- David Coggin, pitcher in 2005, inducted in 2008
- Alan Stein, Team President/COO, inducted in 2005
- Charley Taylor, pitching coach, inducted in 2005
- Jon Topolski, outfielder in 2001, inducted in 2005
- Tommy Whiteman, shortstop from 2001 to 2002, inducted in 2007
- Bailey, Rick "Pitch and catch at the park, Clemens style FATHER, SON 'GET AT IT' IN 90-MINUTE SESSION." Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved on June 2, 2006.
- "Lexington Legends Switching Major League Affiliation" Archived September 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine WLEX-TV 18. Retrieved on September 19, 2012
- "Lexington Legends part of proposed downsizing". kentucky.com. Kentucky.com. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
- "Lexington Legends Hall of Fame." Minor League Baseball. Retrieved on September 11, 2010.