The Toledo Mud Hens and Detroit Tigers today announced a four-year working relationship through the 2016 season. This extends the affiliation between these two historic franchises that began in 1987.
The Toledo Mud Hens recently completed their 10th season at downtown Toledo's Fifth Third Field with a 67-77 record. Since moving downtown, the Hens have made the post-season four times (2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007) and have won the International League's Governors' Cup twice (2005 & 2006).
The Mud Hens welcomed 549,438 fans during the regular season in 2011 and have attracted 5,676,221 fans in the first 10 years at Fifth Third Field. Additionally, the Hens have sold-out 297 total games in the last decade.
Toledo Mud Hens President & General Manager Joe Napoli said, "General Manager Dave Dombrowski, Assistant General Manager Al Avila, Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta and the rest of the staff have done a tremendous job of rebuilding the entire farm system since they came on board at the start of the 2002 season. That season was also the first for the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field and both organizations have seen great success on and off the field over the last decade. We couldn't be happier with the partnership."
Toledo Mud Hens Chairman Mike Miller added, "We are extremely pleased to announce the extension of our player development contract with the Detroit Tigers. Under the leadership of Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers captured the hearts of all their fans with their valiant run in this year's playoffs and we congratulate them for their efforts. The benefits to the Mud Hens are numerous in terms of the quality of individuals and players signed by the Tigers to play in Toledo. We look forward to continue this strong relationship as do our fans."
Detroit Tigers' Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta said, "We are thrilled and delighted to be extending our affiliation agreement through 2016. The Mud Hens represent everything a major league organization looks for in an affiliate relationship and this is and has been a perfect fit for each other for many years and we now look forward to continuing our partnership beyond next season. Toledo is an integral part of our player development program and the fan support we receive clearly plays a role in the decision to remain in Toledo. We couldn't be more appreciative for the support we receive in the Toledo community and we will continue to focus our efforts on bringing a championship back to Toledo."
Lunetta added, "We also extend our gratitude to Joe Napoli, Mike Miller and the Hens Board of Directors for agreeing to this extension. Joe and his staff go to great lengths to care for our staff and players and their efforts make Toledo a wonderful place to call home."
Detroit's 2011 American League Central Champion roster had plenty of former Mud Hens playing during this past season - 33 total players that wore the Olde English D in 2011 are former Hens: RHP Al Alburquerque, LHP Duane Below, OF Brennan Boesch, LHP Phil Coke, OF Andy Dirks, LHP Charlie Furbush, RHP Enrique Gonzalez, 2B Carlos Guillen, 3B Brandon Inge, IF/OF Don Kelly, RHP Luis Marte, C Victor Martinez, LHP Andy Oliver, RHP Lester Oliveros, OF Magglio Ordonez, RHP Ryan Perry, RHP Rick Porcello, LHP David Purcey, OF Ryan Raburn, 2B Will Rhymes, RHP Chance Ruffin, 2B/SS Ramon Santiago, C Omir Santos, RHP Max Scherzer, LHP Daniel Schlereth, 2B Scott Sizemore, LHP Brad Thomas, RHP Jacob Turner, RHP Brayan Villarreal, RHP Robbie Weinhardt, OF Casper Wells, LHP Adam Wilk, and IF Danny Worth all wore Mud Hens jerseys at some point during their career.
Longest Running Triple-A Affiliate Relationships
Triple-A Club, Major League Club, First Year
Gwinnett Braves, Atlanta Braves, 1966
Omaha Storm Chasers, Kansas City Royals, 1969
Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox, 1973
Iowa Cubs, Chicago Cubs, 1981
Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit Tigers, 1987
Toledo Affiliation History
1987-Current - Detroit
1978-1986 - Minnesota
1976-1977 - Cleveland
1974-1975 - Philadelphia
1967-1973 - Detroit
1965-1966 - New York
1956-1964 - No baseball in Toledo
1953-1955 - Milwaukee
1949-1952 - Detroit
1940-1948 - St. Louis
1936-1939 - Detroit
1883-1935 - No affiliation