Durham Bulls History
Take a look back at the chronological history of the Durham Bulls, from affiliation changes to stadium renovations to championship celebrations. For a full list of Durham Bulls who have played in the Major Leagues, click here.
March 18, 1902
The North Carolina League is formed at a meeting in Raleigh. The Durham club is secured by Mr. W. G. Bramham, the owner of the team. The League is scheduled to begin on May 5th and play for four months.
April 24, 1902
The Durham Tobacconists take the field for the first time in an exhibition game against Trinity College. Durham won the game, 8-5.
May 5, 1902
Durham Tobacconists play their first official regular season game in Charlotte. The Bulls lost to Charlotte, 12-2. Brucker took the loss.
May 12th, 1902
Durham plays their first home game against Newbern.
July 12th, 1902
Bulls owner Judge William G. Bramham refused to send his team to play at New Bern, stating that as far as the home team was concerned, the league was at an end. Professional baseball would not return to Durham until 1913
December 12, 1912
Durham joins the newly formed North Carolina State League.
April 24, 1913
The Durham team played its first game as the Bulls at Hanes Field on the Trinity College Campus (now Duke East Campus). Lee Meadows pitched a complete game as the Bulls defeated the Raleigh Capitals, 7-4.
May 30, 1917
North Carolina State League folds due to the start of World War I. Bulls win North Carolina State League, though it was a short-season of only 36 games.
October 31, 1919
The Piedmont League is officially formed. Teams will be place d in cities throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
July 7, 1926
Bulls play their first game at El Toro Park.
July 26th, 1926
In ceremonies presided over by North Carolina Governor Angus W. McLean and Commissioner of Baseball Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, El Toro Park is dedicated. Judge Landis stole the show by mounting the Bulls' mascot, a real bull, and riding it on the field. Durham loses to Raleigh, 3-2.
Durham begins its first major league affiliation with the Philadelphia Phillies.
December 9, 1932
Judge William G. Bramham, the man who brought professional baseball to Durham and owned the Bulls from 1913-1915, was elected president of the National Association. Bramham had previously served as president of the North Carolina State League and the Piedmont League.
After the 1933 season, John Sprunt Hill and his wife donate $20,000 to the city. The city purchases El Toro Park and renames it Durham Athletic Park.
Durham Bulls are unable to operate due to the Great Depression.
June 17, 1939
Durham Athletic Park burns to the ground, resulting in over $100,000 in damage. It happened just before midnight. The Bulls had defeated Portsmouth, 7-3 just hours earlier. Groundskeeper Walter Williams, who slept under the stands, escapes through the center field gate.
July 2, 1939
After a remarkable two-week construction period, the DAP is functional. New and old parks are similar in design except that the wooden grandstand is replaced by steel and concrete. Stadium has a 1,000-seat grandstand and temporary bleachers. The Bulls beat the Charlotte Hornets, 11-4.
April 7, 1940
During the off-season, the DAP is completely rebuilt and is debuted during an exhibition game between Cincinnati and the Boston Red Sox.
April 17, 1940
The Bulls' first home game at the rebuilt DAP takes place against the Winston-Salem Twins. Only 1,587 fans attend, almost 4,000 less than the crowd that came for the exhibition game 10 days earlier (5,574).
September 5, 1943
Last Place Durham defeats Richmond 15-5 in the last Piedmont League game played at the DAP.
The Piedmont League becomes an All-Virginia League, there is no baseball in Durham.
April 27, 1945
Durham plays its first game in the new Carolina League , defeating the Burlington Bees, 5-0.
September 15th, 1948
Former Bulls outfielder Tom Wright becomes the first player from the Carolina League to make it to the major leagues when he makes his debut with the Boston Red Sox.
August 10, 1951
Durham loses to the Danville Leafs 5-4. However, this game marks the debut of Percy Miller Jr., the first black player in the Carolina League who plays for the Danville Leafs.
April 18, 1957
3B Bubba Morton and LHP Ted Richardson became the first African-Americans to play for the Durham Bulls. Morton went hitless and Richardson took the loss to Greensboro, 4-1.
July 10, 1957
First Carolina League All-Star game played in Durham. All-Stars beat Durham, 7-6. 1,964 fans are in attendance.
Durham Bulls merge with Raleigh to form the Raleigh-Durham Mets. The team plays half its games in DAP and half at Raleigh's Devereaux Meadow.
Just before the start of the 1972 season, the Raleigh-Durham team folds. There would be no professional baseball in the Triangle until 1980.
April 15th, 1980
Minor League Baseball returns to Durham for the first time since 1971. 4,418 show up at the DAP on a cool, 45 degree night.
June 22, 1980
Durham's CBS affiliate broadcasts the Bulls game on local TV. It's the first Bulls game ever broadcast on television.
Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins star in Ron Shelton's movie "Bull Durham," most of which is filmed at DAP and surrounding Triangle locations. The movie's release in 1988 brings the Durham Bulls national attention. The Durham Bulls' famous "snorting bull" was originally to be used only as a prop for the movie, but has remained a Bulls' staple ever since.
Miles Wolff meets with Durham officials to discuss building a 10,000 to 12,000 seat stadium to win a Class Triple-A baseball franchise for Durham.
May 9, 1990
Miles Wolff grants Jim Goodmon, president of Capitol Broadcasting Co., an option to buy the Bulls. Goodmon announces plans to move the Durham Bulls to Triangle Central Park, a sports complex he envisions in eastern Durham County, near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
August 30, 1990
A crowd of 6,202 at the DAP pushes Durham's attendance to 300,499, making the Bulls the first Class A Team ever to pass the 300,000 mark.
July 17, 1992
The Bulls' unveil their new mascot, Wool E. Bull. In a local contest, Jim Vickery of Durham submits the winning moniker chosen from a pool of more than 500 entries. The "E" in Wool E. Bull stands for "Education."
June 17, 1993
The Bulls retired the jersey #18 of Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan. It is the only number retired in Bulls History. Morgan is the only Hall of Famer in Bulls history.
After the Bulls' highly touted "last season" at DAP, construction bids for the new ballpark come in more than $4 million over budget, and the project runs into numerous delays. Opening Day is pushed back one year, to April 1995.
September 5th, 1994
Winston-Salem won the final game at Durham Athletic Park, 6-2, in Game One of the Carolina League's South Division playoffs.
April 6, 1995
Seven years after Miles Wolff's original proposal, Durham Bulls Athletic Park opens its gates for its inaugural season in front of 10,886 fans.
August 30, 1997
The Bulls lost to Winston-Salem 6-4 in 10 innings, their last game in a 45-season history in the Carolina League.
April 9, 1998
Durham Bulls begin their inaugural season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls defeated the Norfolk Tides, 6-1 at Harbor Park.
April 16, 1998
The newly expanded and improved DBAP opens. The "Blue Monster" is raised eight feet to 32 ft. high. and the new Diamond View opens expanding the stadium to 10,000 seats.
June 20, 1998
The Bulls play their first game ever outside of the United States. Lynx OF Derrick May hit a grand slam as Ottawa defeated the Bulls, 8-2.
May 28, 1999
Durham won for the first time outside of the United States with a 6-1 victory at Ottawa. 1B Steve Cox's franchise record 23-game hitting streak ended. He hit .371 with 36 hits during the streak.
July 23, 2001
Bulls set single-game attendance record of 10,916, but their effort isn't enough to will the team to victory as the Bulls lost to the Richmond Braves, 4-2.
September 1, 2001
On the final home game of the season, the Bulls set their all-time paid attendance mark with 505,319.
March 30, 2002
Durham loses to Tampa Bay Rays, 7-2 in a pre-season exhibition. It was the first game in team history broadcast in High-Definition on local television.
April 8, 2002
Durham defeats Norfolk, 3-2, making Manager Bill Evers the all-time winningest manager with 320 wins, one more than George Whitted, who managed the Bulls from 1927-1932.
June 13, 2002
Bulls' 3B Andy Sheets hits the first inside-the-park home run in Durham Bulls Athletic Park History. The Bulls won the game, 12-10.
August 9, 2002
Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan returns to Durham to have his number retired at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
September 12, 2002
Durham defeats Buffalo, 2-0 to claim their first International League Championship and first title of any kind in 33 years.
April 5, 2003
Bulls Manager Bill Evers becomes the first Bulls Manager ever to win 400 games as the Bulls defeated the Norfolk Tides, 8-3.
April 7, 2003
RHP Lee Gardner sets the Bulls record for career saves with his 34th overall.
May 8, 2003
American Idol Clay Aiken performed the National Anthem for a soldout crowd at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Aiken, a Raleigh native who made it to the final two on the wildly popular show on FOX, was largely responsible for 6,000 tickets being sold from Tuesday evening until Thursday's game.
August 21, 2003
Gardner recorded his 28th save of the season, a new team record. The Bulls beat the Norfolk Tides, 4-3.
September 11, 2003
Durham won its second consecutive International League Championship with a 3-2 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox. They become the only team in the 119-year history of the International League to sweep back-to-back Governors' Cup Finals. Gardner sets a team and league record with five saves in six post-season games.
June 8th, 2004
Bill Evers, the Bulls' only Triple-A manager in team history, records his 500th win as Durham's skipper with a 10-1 victory at Syracuse.
April 15, 2005
The first video webcast Durham Bulls baseball game takes place against the Toledo Mudhens at Fifth Third Field in Toledo. The Bulls would go on to webcast their entire home schedule on milb.com.
August 1, 2005
ESPN's Sportscenter broadcasts live at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park as part of their "50 States in 50 Days" promotion. Kenny Mayne interviews UNC Football coach John Bunting and Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski on the 1st base Party Deck before a paid crowd of 10,837, the third largest crowd in history. The Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights, 5-0.
September 5, 2005
The Bulls defeat the Charlotte Knights, 10-4, marking the final victory in Manager Bill Evers' eight seasons with the Bulls. He finished with a team-record 613 wins, six playoff appearances and two Governors' Cup Championships.
April 14th, 2006
The Bulls set a single-game paid attendance record of 11,060, the first time the Bulls would ever go over 11,000. Other Opening Day notes included Duke Basketball star J.J. Redick throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and the Bulls winning, 5-4 on a walk-off, grand slam by B.J. Upton.
July 16th, 2006
Bulls pitchers Jason Hammel and Juan Salas combine on a no-hitter as Durham beat Columbus, 4-1 at the DBAP. Hammel got the first out in the ninth inning before giving way to Salas.
August 15th, 2006
Kevin Witt hits his 35th home run of the season setting the Bulls Triple-A record for home runs in one year. The Bulls lost the game, 8-6 in Toledo. Witt hit 36 home runs for the Bulls before being called up to Tampa Bay on August 25th.
September 1st, 2007
With a crowd of 11,071, the Bulls set a single game and single season record for paid attendance (520,952).
September 3rd, 2007
Justin Ruggiano homers at Charlotte, becomes first Bull since Ron Gant (1986) to collect at least 20 homers and 20 steals in a season.
September 7th, 2007
The City of Durham names the field at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park "Goodmon Field" after Capitol Broadcasting Company President/CEO Jim Goodmon. Capitol Broadcasting Company is the parent company of the Bulls.
July 4th, 2008
Kevin Costner and his band Modern West perform at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bull Durham. The Bulls retire the second uniform number in their history when they honor the number eight worn by Costner's character, Crash Davis.
Aug 2-4, 2008
The United States Olympic Baseball Team plays exhibition games against Canada at the DBAP to prepare for the Beijing games. On the roster is the Bulls' own RHP Jeremy Cummings.
May 15th, 2009
Chris Richard hits two grand slams in one game, becoming the first IL player to do so since Mike Baxes in 1957.
Sept. 17th, 2009
The Durham Bulls clinch their third Governors' Cup Championship with a 3-2 win in extra innings over Scranton/W-B.
Sept. 22nd, 2009
Durham wins its first National Championship beating the PCL Champion Memphis Redbirds, 5-4 in 11 innings.
July 4th, 2010
11,674 fans pack into the DBAP to watch the Bulls and Gwinnett Braves, setting a new single-game attendance record for the franchise.
Aug. 29th, 2010
The Bulls defeat Charlotte 8-5, thanks to a seventh inning three-run homer from Chris Richard, to set a new Triple-A franchise record for wins with 84. They would go on to finish the season with 88 wins.
Aug. 2nd, 2011
With a smashing 18-3 win over interstate and division rival the Charlotte Knights, the Durham Bulls notch their 6,000th franchise victory. Rays #1 prospect Matt Moore led the team to the win by striking out nine in five scoreless innings.
January 31, 2012
The International League announced former Bulls Manager Bill Evers will be inducted into the circuit's Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2012. Evers is the winningest manager in the history of the club. Evers has been added to the IL Hall of Fame plaque display and will be presented with "The Curtin Call" statue on May 19th, during a Bulls home game.
May 15-28, 2012
Former World Series MVP Hideki Matsui spends 13 games as a member of the Durham Bulls before being called up for brief stint with Tampa Bay. The Japanese megastar brought with him a swarm of media from his home country and thrilled fans as one of the most famous players ever to don the Bulls uniform.
September 18, 2012
The DBAP played host to the 2012 Gildan Triple-A National Championship, which saw the Reno Aces defeat the Pawtucket Red Sox 10-3.
February 21, 2013
In a press conference at the DBAP, it is announced that Durham will host the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game.
May 5, 2013
Jake Odorizzi, Frank De Los Santos, Kirby Yates and Jeff Beliveau combine on the second International League no-hitter for the Bulls, as Durham defeats Pawtucket 2-1 at McCoy Stadium.
May 25, 2013
With a berth in the ACC Baseball Championship Game on the line, North Carolina beat NC State 2-1 in front of 11,392 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the largest crowd ever to watch a college baseball game in the state. The 18-inning, 6-hour marathon was also the longest game in ACC Baseball Championship history. Another record setting crowd of 8,697 would watch the Tar Heels beat Virginia Tech to win the ACC crown the next day, setting the high for an ACC Baseball Championship title game.
July 4, 2013
A little over a month after hosting the largest college baseball crowd in state history, Durham Bulls Athletic Park's attendance mark was shattered by a boisterous 4th of July crowd. 11,754 Bulls fans jammed into the DBAP to watch the first-place Bulls defeat the second-place Norfolk Tides, 6-2. The new record bested the previous high of 11,674 which was set on 7/4/2010 when the Bulls hosted Gwinnett.
September 14, 2013
With a 7-0 shutout victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium, the Durham Bulls claimed the fourth International League Championship in the team's remarkable history. The Governors' Cup returned to the Bull City after a three season hiatus, and joined the 2002, 2003, and 2009 titles on the Bulls' illustrious Triple-A Championship ledger. Three days later, the Bulls would drop the 2013 Triple-A National Championship Game to the Omaha Storm Chasers, 2-1, in Allentown, PA.
April 26, 2014
In front of a sellout crowd, Bulls pitchers Mike Montgomery and Brad Boxberger combined on the third no-hitter in Durham's Triple-A history in a 5-0 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Montgomery got the first out in the ninth inning before being lifted in favor of Boxberger.
July 16, 2014
On a picture-perfect evening in Durham for the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game, the International League took charge right out of the gate. Starting pitcher Liam Hendriks of Buffalo struck out four over 2.0 scoreless frames while the IL jumped out in front 4-0 behind a two-run single from Durham's Wilson Betemit and a two-run homer by Syracuse's Jhonatan Solano. Joc Pederson of Albuquerque got the PCL on the board in the 6th with a solo blast, but the IL responded with four hits in the bottom of the inning including a two-run triple by Louisville's Felix Perez and a RBI-single by Syracuse's Steven Souza to put the game out of reach. Tacoma shortstop Chris Taylor won Top Star honors for the PCL, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Hendriks was named Top Star for the victorious IL. The game ended when Durham manager Charlie Montoyo brought on Bulls pitcher Merrill Kelly to record the final out and give the International League a 10-7 lead in the All-Star Game's current format.
July 21, 2014
Charlie Montoyo wins his 614th game as Bulls manager, passing Bill Evers as the franchise's all-time winningest skipper.
August 31, 2014
With a day left in the regular season, the Bulls break their all-time, single-season paid attendance record. 2014's final cumulative total is 533,033, shattering the previous mark of 520,925 set in 2007. The new record is made more even more impressive by the fact it was achieved despite two rain outs and the inability to count sell-out crowds for the Triple-A All-Star Game and Home Run Derby exhibitions.
June 12, 2015
Richie Shaffer blasts three home runs in an 11-7 win for the Bulls at Louisville. Shaffer becomes just the third player in Durham's Triple-A history with three home runs in one game, and the first since 2009.
July 4, 2015
Bulls set new single-game paid attendance record with announced crowd of 11,871, besting previous record set two years earlier on the 4th.
August 22, 2015
On a night where the Bulls record their 13th sellout of the year to set a new single-season record for capacity crowds, Matt Moore strikes out 16 Columbus Clippers to notch a new Durham Triple-A high for strikeouts in a game.
September 5, 2015
In their third-to-last game of the regular season, the DBAP announces a paid attendance of 10,016, breaking the franchise's single-season paid attendance record set in 2014. The team finishes the season with a cumulative paid attendance of 554,788, shattering the previous record by over 21,000.
January 26, 2016
The International League announces former Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo has been elected into the IL Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2016. Montoyo is the winningest manager in franchise history, after compiling a 633-515 record over eight seasons from 2007-2014. Montoyo was honored in a pre-game ceremony at the DBAP on May 19, 2016.
July 16, 2016
LHP Justin Marks throws a nine-inning no-hitter, beating the Syracuse Chiefs 2-0 in New York. The southpaw becomes the first player in the team's Triple-A history to throw a complete-game no-hitter, and tosses the fourth no-hitter in the franchise's Triple-A history. He strikes out seven, walks two and throws 130 pitches in the win.
July 4, 2017
The Bulls set a single-game paid attendance record when the DBAP welcomes a crowd of 11,897 as the Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights 1-0.
September 15, 2017
The Bulls capture their fifth Governors' Cup crown in 20 seasons in the International League, defeating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 6-4. Durham wins the series 3-1, marking the second time the team won the Governors' Cup in Scranton/WB (2009).
September 19, 2017
For the second time in team history, the Bulls win the Triple-A National Championship by defeating the Memphis Redbirds 5-3. Kean Wong's fourth-inning grand slam put the Bulls in front for good en route to game MVP honors, while Brent Honeywell tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the win.
April 23, 2018
Shortstop Willy Adames goes 4-for-5 in an 8-1 win over Buffalo, becoming the first player in Bulls in the team's Triple-A history to hit a cycle at the DBAP. The 22-year-old doubled in the first inning, singled in the fifth, tripled in the sixth and homered in the eighth.
August 29, 2018
Austin Meadows becomes the fourth player in Durham's Triple-A history with three home runs in a single game, as the Bulls beat the Knights 9-4 in Charlotte. With the win the Bulls clinch the International League South Division title for the second straight season, ninth time in 12 years, and 14th time in 21 seasons since joining the IL in 1998.
September 15, 2018
The Bulls capture their sixth Governors' Cup crown in 21 seasons in the International League, defeating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 6-2. Durham wins the series 3-2, marking the third time the team won the Governors' Cup in Scranton/WB, and second straight season. All five games of the Governors' Cup Finals were played at PNC Field in Pennsylvania because of Hurricane Florence.