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HistoryHERO
20 Years of BlueClaws

It's hard to believe the BlueClaws have been here for two decades. In fact, the history of the BlueClaws began even before the first home game in BlueClaws history on April 11, 2001. We've won three South Atlantic League championships (2006, 2009, 2010), changed logos (entering 2010), hosted numerous Phillies on rehab assignments, and so many other great memories. Here is a look back at some important dates and moments in BlueClaws history, starting even before the first pitch was thrown.

How much of it did you see in person? Follow along over the last two decades on this page. Enjoy, and thank you for being a part of our first two decades. Here's to many more games and memories!

1999

  • November 19th: Geoff Brown is introduced as the team's first General Manager, a position he held until February of 2013, when he left for a position with Rutgers University Athletics.

2000

  • February 1st: Lakewood begins a Name the Team contest and more than 5,000 people send in entries
  • February 28th: BlueClaws is chosen as the team name. A total of 49 BlueClaws entries were received. The name was first sent in by nine year old Matt Koscielski of West Belmar and Jan Gualtier of Ocean County.
  • April 17th: Ground is broken on what will be GPU Energy Park
  • August 29th: Nearly 500 people come to new logo unveiling at Lakewood Town Square
  • September 20th: BlueClaws sign a player development contract with the Phillies, officially becoming an affiliate
  • December 13th: Greg Legg is named the team's first manager
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2001

  • March 11th: BlueClaws defeat Charleston 7-5 in the team's first ever exhibition game
  • April 5th: BlueClaws lose their first ever regular season game 5-1 at Kannapolis
  • April 7th: Reggie Griggs hits the first ever BlueClaws home run in a game at Kannapolis
  • April 9th: BlueClaws win their first ever regular season game, 9-7 at Greensboro
  • April 11th: BlueClaws open GPUEnergy Park with a game against Hickory that was suspended by rain in the fourth inning.
  • April 12th: Keith Bucktrot throws the first no-hitter in BlueClaws history in an 11-1 win over Hickory (BlueClaws' 8th Game/2nd Home Game)
  • June 3rd: George Rodriguez is called up to Clearwater, becoming the first BlueClaws player to be promoted
  • June 16th: Wayne Gomes becomes the first Phillies player to rehab in Lakewood
  • August 18th: Buster bobblehead dolls are given out, the first ever BlueClaws bobblehead given away (click here for the full list)

2002

  • April 6th: Ryan Howard hits his first home run with the BlueClaws
  • April 29th: Gavin Floyd earns his first professional win as Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller signs autographs at the game
  • June 15th: Bruce Springsteen attends his first BlueClaws game
  • June 18th: Lakewood hosts the South Atlantic League All-Star Game
  • July 24th: Gavin Floyd pitches the first BlueClaws nine-inning no-hitter but loses 1-0 to Lexington
  • August 26th: 13,003 people watch the BlueClaws defeat Hickory, the largest crowd in BlueClaws history

2003

  • January 6th: Gavin Floyd becomes the first former or current BlueClaw ever to grace the cover of Baseball America
  • April 28th: BlueClaws reach the 1-million fan mark faster than any club in New Jersey or SAL history
  • May 13th: Cole Hamels makes his professional debut, allowing only one hit and striking out eight over five innings at Savannah
  • May 24th: Groundskeeper Bill Butler is ejected from the game, the first event of its kind in pro baseball history
  • July 13th: Gavin Floyd and Ryan Howard become the first former BlueClaws to appear MLB's Futures Game
  • August 4th: Former Phillie John Kruk visits FirstEnergy Park and signs autographs for fans

2004

  • May 2nd: BlueClaws host their first Bark in the Park as fans bring their dogs to the game
  • September 1st: Ryan Howard makes his Major League debut, the first former BlueClaw to do so
  • September 29th: Christopher Reeve speaks at FirstEnergy Park as part of "Empower NJ" event

2005

  • June 7th: Ryan Frith hits two home runs in one inning, the first and only BlueClaws player to achieve the feat
  • June 15th: FirstEnergy Park hosts its first rock concert: Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson
  • June 22nd: Al Spinney becomes the 2-millionth fan in BlueClaws history
  • July 5th: FirstEnergy Park hosts a sold out Def Leppard/Bryan Adams concert
  • September 5th: BlueClaws finish the season with a win and raise over $20,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief over a four-day period
  • October 25th: Astros pitcher Ezequiel Astacio first BlueClaw to appear in a World Series game (with Houston)

2006

  • May 7th: BlueClaws win the longest game in SAL history with a 22-inning, 8-7 win over Hagerstown
  • June 1st: Cole Hamels allows three hits in 5 2/3 innings in a rehab assignment
  • August 13th: Carlos Carrasco and Andy Barb combine for a nine-inning no-hitter, the second of its kind and third overall in BlueClaws history
  • September 6th: BlueClaws win their first ever playoff game 2-1 over Lexington
  • September 15th: Matt Maloney throws a complete game shutout as the BlueClaws beat Augusta 5-0 and clinch their first SAL Championship

2007

  • April 5th: BlueClaws raise the 2006 SAL Championship banner at FirstEnergy Park
  • May 27th: The press box at FirstEnergy Park is re-named the "Sam A. Christopher Press Box"
  • June 10th: The BlueClaws host the New Jersey Irish Festival for the first time, after 36 years in Holmdel
  • July 3rd: Antonio Bastardo's shutout streak ends at 20.0 innings, a BlueClaws record
  • July 15th: Hall of Fame Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton throws out a first pitch and signs autographs for over three hours
  • July 16th: The BlueClaws welcome their 3-millionth fan, Lou Ameika of Lakewood
  • August 20th: For the first time, two current Phillies (Shane Victorino and Rod Barajas) rehab in the same BlueClaws game

2008

  • May 18th: The BlueClaws host their first-ever Breast Cancer Awareness Day. More than $6,000 is raised through a post-game jersey auction for Susan G. Komen For the Cure Central and South New Jersey
  • June 16th: Michael Taylor is promoted to Clearwater after hitting .361 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in the first half
  • July 16th: Former BlueClaws Lou Marson and Jason Donald are named to the USA Olympic baseball team that wins a bronze medal
  • October 29th: Former BlueClaw Cole Hamels wins the World Series MVP after Phillies clinch first title since 1980

2009

  • August 1st: Darryl Strawberry visits FirstEnergy Park, signing autographs for over three hours
  • August 4th: Anthony Gose breaks Chris Roberson's team record with his 60th stolen base (he would steal 76)
  • August 20th: The BlueClaws unveil a new logo and new uniforms for 2010, the team's 10th season
  • August 24th: Phillies pitcher Brett Myers throws a scoreless inning in a rehab assignment on the same day seven year old Matthew Currie of Toms River becomes the 4-millionth fan in team history
  • September 18th: BlueClaws beat Greenville 5-1 to clinch their second South Atlantic League Championship
  • November 11th: Michael Bourn becomes the first former BlueClaw to win a Gold Glove Award (with Houston)

2010

  • April 16th: More than 6,700 fans come out for Opening Day, when the BlueClaws raised the 2009 South Atlantic League Championship banner.
  • May 13th: Jonathan Singleton joins the BlueClaws from extended spring training and homers in his second at bat at Greenville.
  • June 20th: Jonathan Singleton hits two home runs as part of a 6-2 win over Kannapolis which clinches the South Atlantic League first-half title.
  • July 29th: BlueClaws shortstop Jonathan Villar is part of a trade that also sends former BlueClaws JA Happ and Anthony Gose to Houston for Roy Oswalt.
  • July 29th: Just hours after Villar was traded, Keoni De Renne, who replaced Villar in the line-up, had a walk-off RBI double to cap a 7-6 comeback win over West Virginia on Goonies Appreciation Night.
  • August 20th: Ryan Howard returns as the BlueClaws retire his number 29 before the game and picks up an RBI double during the game, breaking the franchise RBI record. The crowd of 10,032 was the second largest ever at FirstEnergy Park.
  • September 1st: The BlueClaws become the first team since 2004 to win both halves of a South Atlantic League season.
  • September 18th: The BlueClaws clinch their second straight (third in five years) South Atlantic League title with a win over Greenville.

2011

  • April 10th: In a 2-0, 16-inning defeat to Kannapolis, BlueClaws' streak of 24 straight scoreless innings thrown by pitchers to start season is snapped.
  • April 20th: Led by two Stephen Batts home runs among 21 hits, BlueClaws score a franchise record 18 runs in 18-8 win at Asheville.
  • May 7th: David Buchanan throws a nine-inning complete game in a 5-1 win at Charleston becoming the first BlueClaws pitcher since Carlos Monasterios in 2007 to throw nine innings, a feat matched on July 6th by Lisalberto Bonilla.
  • May 13th: Bryce Harper, the top overall pick in the 2010 draft, makes his BlueClaws debut in front of 8,217 fans.
  • July 4th: Brad Lidge makes a rehab appearance and Travis Mattair hits a walk-off single in a 3-2 win over Hagerstown.
  • July 9th: Nick Clemons, son of the late Clarence Clemons, throws out a ceremonial first pitch on BruceClaws Night.
  • August 13th: Greg Legg, BlueClaws hitting coach and first manager, presented with Vukovich Award at Citizens Bank Park in honor of his 30 years of service to the Phillies.
  • August 18th: 9,503 fans, the fifth largest crowd in team history, see the BlueClaws beat Greensboro on a beautiful Thursday night.

2012

  • May 23rd: Over $5,000 is raised for the ALS Association at the annual Celebrity Waiter Event, held for the first time at TGI Friday's in Brick.
  • June 15th: Justin Singer, 7, of Freehold becomes the team's 5-millionth fan.
  • June 17th: 8,000 fans watch a Father's Day win over Hickory, the first time in BlueClaws history they welcomed crowds of 8,000 four straight days.
  • June 20th: BlueClaws and partners announce that the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be played at FirstEnergy Park.
  • June 28th: Ryan Howard plays in the first of three rehab games with the BlueClaws and over 22,000 fans attend the games.
  • July 9th: Chris Duffy is named Topps SAL player of the month for June.
  • August 4th: Kelly Dugan is names Phillies Minor League Player of the Month for July.
  • September 3rd: Kelly Dugan goes 3-3 in the season's final game to become the first BlueClaws player to hit .300 since 2007.
  • September 25th: Three former BlueClaws (Darin Ruf, Domonic Brown, Carlos Ruiz) homer in the same game for the Phillies, the first time this feat is accomplished.
  • November 18th: More than 160 front office staff from the Phillies and minor league affiliates volunteer throughout the Jersey shore helping the area recover from Hurricane Sandy.

2013

  • April 7th: BlueClaws Restore the Shore Jersey Auction concludes, raising $15,000 for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.
  • June 2nd: Yoel Mecias is named Phillies Pitcher of the Month for May.
  • June 17th: The BlueClaws host a Celebrity Hitting Challenge between two teams featuring Doc Gooden, Artie Lange, Pepper Johnson and more taking aim at a series of targets all over the field.
  • June 18th: The BlueClaws host the SAL All-Star Game for the second time.
  • July 2nd: Severino Gonzalez, who opened the year in extended spring training and finished in Double-A, throws six perfect innings with nine strikeouts in a win over Delmarva.
  • July 11th: Jeb Stefan, Ramon Oviedo, and Chris Burgess combine on a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Rome. It is the 4th no-hitter in BlueClaws team history.
  • August 17th: Phillies first-round pick JP Crawford becomes the first high school draftee ever to join the BlueClaws in the year he was drafted.
  • August 20th: Phillies pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay rehabs with the BlueClaws, throwing six innings in front of a sell-out crowd of 8,000.
  • October 24th: BlueClaws Charities and Executive Director Jim Deangelis are honored as Citizen of the Year by the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.

2014

  • April 26th: Mark Leiter Jr., a Toms River North grad and the second Shore Conference alum to play for the BlueClaws, throws eight scoreless innings in a win over Savannah.
  • May 4th: In a 14-11 win at Asheville, the BlueClaws tie the franchise record with five home runs and set a new 9-inning record with 22 hits.
  • May 9th: Cole Hamels returns to Lakewood as the BlueClaws retire his #19, worn in 2003, during a pre-game ceremony.
  • May 20th: Dylan Cozens hits a walk-off home run to beat Rome, the first by a BlueClaw in almost two years.
  • June 13th: Phillies 3B Cody Asche hits two home runs during a rehab assignnment with the BlueClaws.
  • July 13th: JP Crawford, who began the year with the BlueClaws, plays in the MLB Futures Game. He's just the fourth player to play in the Futures Game in the same season he played in Lakewood.
  • August 24th: Connor Cino, a member of the Toms River LL state championship team, becomes the 6-millionth fan in BlueClaws franchise history.
  • September 1st: Three BlueClaws (Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and Ken Giles) pitch 8 of the 9 innings in a combined Phillies no-hitter in Atlanta.

2015

  • April 9th: Carlos Tocci's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gives the BlueClaws a walk-off 2-1 win over Kannapolis on Opening Night in frigid temperatures at FirstEnergy Park.
  • May 8th: The BlueClaws and Augusta are suspended in the 17th inning when fog envelopes FirstEnergy Park just before midnight.
  • May 10th: Lakewood's Herlis Rodriguez bats against his twin brother, Asheville LHP Helmis Rodriguez, on Mother's Day at FirstEnergy Park.
  • August 9th: Cord Sandberg hits a 17th inning walk-off home run in a win over Hickory at FirstEnergy Park.
  • August 26th: Joey DeNato picks off a Hagerstown runner at first base to end a BlueClaws win at FirstEnergy Park, a walk-off pick-off!
  • August 29th: Drew Stankiewicz ties a BlueClaws record with five hits in a win at Greensboro.

2016

  • April 15th: The BlueClaws and Lakewood Township announce an extension of the club's lease, keeping the BlueClaws in Lakewood through 2055.
  • April 26th: Emmanuel Marrero ties a BlueClaws record with five hits in a win at Greensboro.
  • June 25th: Jose Taveras ties a BlueClaws record with 15 strikeouts in a win at Greenville.
  • September 2nd: The BlueClaws clinch their first playoff spot since 2010.
  • September 5th: The BlueClaws throw their third straight shutout to end the regular season and complete a 43-25 second-half en route to the post-season.
  • September 12th: Franklyn Kilome throws seven scoreless innings as the BlueClaws best Mike Soroka and Rome in Game One of the SAL Championship Series. Rome would win the series three games to one.

2017

  • April 6th: Mickey Moniak makes his BlueClaws debut, becoming the first #1 overall pick to play for the BlueClaws.
  • May 6th: Nick Fanti gets 26 outs and Trevor Bettencourt gets the final out as the duo combines on a no-hitter in a win at Columbia.
  • July 17th: Nick Fanti throws his second no-hitter of the season, a complete-game, nine-inning no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Charleston at FirstEnergy Park.
  • July 27th: Shore Town Baseball acquires operating interest in the BlueClaws. Later that day, the BlueClaws welcome their 7-millionth fan to FirstEnergy Park.
  • August 5th: Top prospect Sixto Sanchez is promoted to Clearwater. He went 5-3 with a 2.41 ERA with the BlueClaws.
  • August 23rd: Darick Hall breaks the BlueClaws single-season home run (27) and RBI (96) records in Hagerstown. He would become the first BlueClaw to be named SAL MVP.
  • September 4th: Austin Listi hits a walk-off home run in the 12th inning as the BlueClaws end the season on a high-note.

2018

  • June 17th: The BlueClaws clinch the first-half division title on the final day with a win over Hickory and a loss by Kannapolis to Greensboro later that afternoon.
  • June 20th: BlueClaws closers Addison Russ (1.67 ERA, 13 saves) and Kyle Dohy (0.80 ERA, 7 saves) are promoted to Clearwater after appearing in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.
  • August 30th: With a win in Greensboro, the BlueClaws clinch the second half division title after winning the first half title. In winning both halves, the BlueClaws matched a feat accomplished by the 2010 BlueClaws.
  • September 7th: Spencer Howard throws a no-hitter in Game Two of the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship Series against Kannapolis to put the BlueClaws into the Championship Series.
  • September 10th: In the top of the 9th, trailing 5-0, the BlueClaws hit back to back to back home runs (Rodolfo Duran, Jhailyn Ortiz, and Nick Maton) to tie Lexington and the BlueClaws would win the game in 11 innings, though the Legends would win the series.

2019

  • June 8th: The BlueClaws host their first Pride Night with a sell-out crowd at FirstEnergy Park.
  • July 3rd: Catcher Nick Matera joins the BlueClaws, becoming the first Rutgers alum to play at the Shore.
  • April 14th: Alec Bohm hits his first professional home run. He spent a month with the BlueClaws and was promoted after hitting .367 in 22 games.
  • August 15th: Ben Pelletier hits a walk-off home run as the BlueClaws topped first-place Delmarva at FirstEnergy Park.

2020

  • April 16th: In lieu of what would have been the 20th Opening Night in BlueClaws history, the BlueClaws celebrate "Virtual Opening Night" online due to quarantine.
  • June 30th: The 2020 Minor League Baseball season is cancelled, marking the first time since 2000 that no BlueClaws games will be played at FirstEnergy Park.
  • July 5th: A sold-out, socially-distanced crowd in both the stadium and parking lot enjoys a spectacular fireworks show as part of the Red, White and BlueClaws Fireworks Extravaganza, one of the first major events at the Jersey Shore since quarantine.
  • July 29th: Jackson Memorial wins the Last Dance World Series South Regional Final held at FirstEnergy Park. The BlueClaws hosted 17 games over three weeks as part of this one-of-a-kind event.
  • August 14th: A sold-out crowd comes out to see Jaws, many dressing up and enjoying Narragansett Beer, as part of the BlueClaws Summer Movie Series.