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The Official Site of the Lansing Lugnuts Lansing Lugnuts

A Historical Timeline of Baseball in Lansing

September 30, 2020
YearLeagueNotesClass
1889Mich. St.In the first year of existence for a pro baseball team in Lansing, W.H. Mumby manages the squad to fourth place in the six-team Michigan State League.-
1890Mich. St.Under Al Manassau, Lansing gets off to a rocky start before the league folds in June.-
1895Mich. St.The Senators post a highly-respectable 56-36 record, finishing in second place. The team features 47-year-old Bud Fowler (born John W. Jackson in Cooperstown, New York), the very first professional African American baseball player. Fowler made his debut in 1878 in the International Association. In 1895, he is the only Black baseball player playing professionally anywhere in the country. Fowler will finish his career with a batting average of .308 in 465 career minor league games. The team also features future Senators manager Jack Morrissey, who bats .362. The star of the team, though, is Jack Daley, who bats .397 with 124 runs scored, 143 hits, and 25 home runs.-
1897Mich. St.After a year’s hiatus, Lansing rejoins the league... only to see the MSL shut down mid-season with the team in second place.-
1902Mich. St.The Senators shut down operations in August and the Michigan State League disbands soon after.D
1907So. Mich.The Senators post a 46-57 record behind the leadership of Lansing native Jack Morrissey. It is Morrissey’s first of eight consecutive seasons in charge of the Senators. He had played in the National League with Cincinnati in 1902-03, batting .258 in 41 games.D
1908So. Mich.Lansing finishes 60-65, but George Pearce notches 298 strikeouts and player/manager Jack Morrissey collects 141 hits.D
1910So. Mich.In Jack Morrissey’s finest season at the helm, Vic Saier (175 hits) and Homer “Slab” Warner (23 wins) lead Lansing to an 87-52 record, tied for first with the Kalamazoo Celery Eaters. The Celery Eaters defeat the Senators in a playoff to capture the title.D
1911So. Mich.Slab Warner sets a league record with 26 wins alongside 231 strikeouts. The Senators finish in second place.C
1912So. Mich.Al “Bull” Durham, playing for Lansing and Bay City, sets a new league record with 25 home runs and Jack Onslow tears up Southern Michigan League pitching to the tune of a .385 batting average, but the Senators finish only 65-62.D
1913So. Mich.T.H. Nellis collects 146 hits in the Senators’ first season in the Southern Michigan Association.D
1914So. Mich.On July 10th, the 33-35 Senators move to Mount Clemens and become the Bathers, finishing 63-80. The Southern Michigan Association disbands at season’s end.C
1921CentralPlaying in the Central League, the third-place Senators finish 65-63 thanks in large part to 18 wins from star pitcher Lawrence Reno and a .348 batting average from Charles Miller.B
1922CentralLansing slips to 60-67, but Les Bell shines with a .329 average. The league shuts down after the season.B
1940Mich. St.Affiliated with the Cardinals as part of Branch Rickey’s farm system, the Lancers are last in the Michigan State League despite batting .294 as a team. Gerald Burmeister leads the way with a .360 average, 15 home runs and 86 RBI. Dick Sisler, son of Hall of Famer George, bats .322; he would later play eight seasons in the Majors.C
1941Mich. St.Renamed the Senators and now unaffiliated, Lansing loses 78 of 113 games, Everett Robinson’s .345 average and 95 RBIs going for naught. The team and league both disband at the end of the season.C
1996MidwestProfessional baseball returns to Lansing with the Lugnuts, a Class-A Midwest League affilliate of the Kansas City Royals. The franchise that became the Lugnuts was born in Lafayette, IN, in 1955, moving to Waterloo, IA, in 1957, where it would stay for 35 seasons. The franchise was purchased by Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers in 1995, who moved it to Springfield, Illinois. The next year, it was brought to the capital city of Michigan. The very first game played at brand new Oldsmobile Park is between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University on April 3rd, 1996, won by the Wolverines, 5-4, in 10 innings. On April 5th, the Lugnuts play their first game, drawing 9,318 fans despite temperatures in the 30s to see a 9-5 10-inning loss to the Rockford Cubbies. July 6th, the Colorado Silver Bullets, an all-female pro baseball team, play at Oldsmobile Park. The Silver Bullets, managed by Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, lose to the Madison Stars, 8-1. Over the course of this inaugural season, the Lugnuts set a record for Minor League Baseball attendance, drawing 538,326 fans. Pitcher Blaine Mull sets single-season franchise records with 15 victories and 174.2 innings pitched, though he also allows a franchise-record 186 base hits.A
1997MidwestHow could an inaugural season be topped? By hosting the Midwest League All-Star Game and then winning the Midwest League Championship! In the ASG, a league record crowd of 10,060 sees the Lugnuts’ Steve Medrano drill a triple in the bottom of the ninth and score the winning run on Jason Conti’s walkoff single, lifting the East to a 6-5 victory. The Lugnuts finish the season with a 69-68 mark, squeaking into the playoffs. In the first round, the Nuts eliminate Michigan, 2 games to 1; in the second round,the Nuts sweep Fort Wayne in two straight games; and in the championship round, the Nuts outlast Kane County in dramatic fashion, 3 games to 2, made even more memorable by a mascot brouhaha between Big Lug and Ozzie the Cougar in Geneva, Illinois. The season also sees Jose Santiago make his debut with the Kansas City Royals on June 7th, making him the first Lugnut to reach the Major Leagues.A
1998MidwestThe Lugnuts had three first-round picks in Matt Smith (1994), Juan LeBron (1995), and Dan Reichert (1997), plus a young Jeremy Affeldt on their roster. 485,815 came to Olds Park over the course of the year, watching Bob Herold's club finish 71-69 in their final year as a Kansas City Royals affiliate. One of the highlights of the year: a rehab appearance by MLB All-Star Kevin Appier.A
1999MidwestAfter missing the playoffs in 1998, the Lugnuts enter 1999 with a new affiliation, switching from the Royals to the Cubs. Lansing hosts its second All-Star Game, setting a new ASG attendance record with a crowd of 10,234. The game lasts just two hours, nine minutes, a Western Division one-hit victory, 4-0. The Nuts return to the playoffs behind Prospect of the Year Corey Patterson, who hits for the franchise’s first cycle at South Bend on July 5th. In the first round of the postseason, Lansing sweeps away Michigan in two games before having the tables turned on them in a two-game sweep by Wisconsin in the second rounA
2000MidwestRyan Gripp leads the league with a .333 batting average and 166 hits, adding 20 home runs and 92 RBI while Oscar Montero posts a 0.37 ERA, allowing only one ER in 24.1 innings, but the Lugnuts finish 70-68 and miss the playoffs. On June 13th, Clinton’s Scott Dunn twirls a 7-0 perfect game, the first time the Lugnuts have been no-hit.A
2001MidwestIn his first year as skipper, Julio Garcia steered the Nuts to a 65-75 record and a first-round exit at the hands of Dayton. First-rounder Lou Montañez was the top prospect, but Jason Dubois (24 HR, 92 RBIs) was the hitting star, crushing three home runs on August 30th. On the mound, Aaron Krawiec notched strikeouts by the bunch, whiffing a team record 17 on April 29th and finishing with 170 for the year.A
2002MidwestAnother All-Star Game and Championship in the same year? Lansing hosts its third All-Star Game and breaks the Midsummer Classic attendance record again with a throng of 10,334, as the East defeats the West, 6-3. Notable All-Stars include Joe Mauer and Edwin Encarnacion. But the Lugnuts fall in the MWLCS to Peoria, 3 games to 1. In the series finale on September 13th, the Chiefs overcome a 10-2 deficit with a run in the 8th and eight in the 9th for a stunning 11-10 win and the title.A
2003MidwestA memorable April 21st: Donnie Hood hits for the cycle and Justin Jones, Westin O’Brien, Mark Carter combine to throw the first no-hitter in franchise history, blanking Dayton, 15-0. The season gets better from there: Keith Butler collects three hits in three at-bats and drives in the game-winning run in the All-Star Game to be named the Star of Stars. The Lugnuts win their second league championship in dominating fashion, sweeping South Bend in two games, Battle Creek in two games, and Beloit in three games. Starters Anderson Tavares, Carlos Vasquez and Andy Sisco lead the way, with lights-out closer Jason Wylie saving a franchise record 29 games to go along with 1.38 ERA.A
2004MidwestEight different Lugnuts are named to the Midwest League All-Star Team, though one stands above the rest. The Lugnuts’ Brian Dopirak is honored as both the Most Valuable Player and the Prospect of the Year after ripping up Midwest League Pitching for a .307 batting average, 39 home runs, and 120 RBI. Both home run and RBI totals set new franchise records. Chris Walker adds a franchise record 60 stolen bases. Catcher-turned-ace Carlos Marmol posts 14 wins and K’s 154, though he is overshadowed by 21-year-old Sean Marshall, who records a 1.11 ERA in seven starts, striking out 51 while allowing only 29 hits, six earned runs and four walks in 48.2 innings. And in the season’s biggest games, Cubs star Mark Prior makes a pair of rehab starts.A
2005MidwestIn the offseason, the Lugnuts switch affiliations from the Cubs to the Toronto Blue Jays, though the change does not result in a fifth consecutive entrance into the postseason. Still, seven different players earn All-Star Game nods, including highly-regarded pitching prospect Casey Janssen. In seven starts, Janssen notches a 4-0 record with a 1.37 ERA and a 38/4 strikeout/walk ratio. The season’s other highlight sees Chip Cannon hit for the cycle in a 14-13, 13-inning victory against Clinton on June 2nd.A
2006MidwestJoyce’s Lugnuts finish 72-65, making the postseason and eliminating South Bend before losing in the second round to West Michigan. The season features two 17-inning marathons, an April 23rd 4-3 victory over Beloit and a June 3rd 5-3 victory at South Bend. Notably, not one member of the 2006 Lugnuts roster -- numbering 43 total players -- has made the Majors.A
2007MidwestThe inaugural Crosstown Showdown is held between Michigan State and Lansing on April 3, won 4-3 by the Lugnuts in nailbiting fashion. The season’s star is Blue Jays 1st round draft pick Travis Snider, who hits for the cycle in reverse order (amidst a 5-for-5 night) in a 9-3 victory at Fort Wayne on July 7. On August 25th, the Nuts welcome Oldsmobile Park’s 5,000,000th fan.A
2008MidwestBehind 28-year-old first-year manager Clayton McCullough and seven MWL All-Stars, the Lugnuts win their first division title since 1999, wrapping up the first-half Eastern Division title.A
2009MidwestOn April 16th, a record crowd of 12,992 watches the Crosstown Showdown on April 16. The Spartans squash the Lugnuts, 12-2, for their first win in the series. 18-year-old Henderson Alvarez receives the Opening Day start vs. Fort Wayne. Alvarez further distinguishes himself in defeat on May 24th, losing a 1-0 game to Cedar Rapids in an hour and 46 minutes.A
2010MidwestOldsmobile Park is renamed Cooley Law School Stadium in the off-season and former MLB catcher Sal Fasano makes his managerial debut. On May 1st, Chris Hopkins’s walk-off single lifts the Nuts to their 1,000th victory, 3-2 over Fort Wayne.A
2011MidwestSteered by Manager of the Year Mike Redmond, the Lugnuts qualify for the playoffs via tiebreaker on the last day of the first half. On September 9th, one out from elimination against powerful Dayton in the 1st round of the playoffs, the Lugs receive a dramatic two-run game-winning home run from second baseman Matt Nuzzo, starting a string of four consecutive playoff victories vs. Dayton and Fort Wayne. The Lugs are swept in three games by Quad Cities in the Championship Series. The season also included a stretch of 27 consecutive scoreless innings from Drew Hutchison.A
2012MidwestAfter defeating the Spartans in the Crosstown Showdown, 7-0, before a new Cooley Law School Stadium record crowd of 12,997, the Lugnuts jump out to a team-record 7-0 start behind new manager John Tamargo, Jr. On May 12th, left fielder Kevin Pillar goes 6-for-6 to tie the team and Midwest League record, finishing the historic day with a ninth-inning grand slam in a 16-4 rout at Dayton. On May 14th, the Lugnuts turn a triple play in a 4-2 victory at Dayton. Lansing finishes May with a 20-9 record en route to a team-best 47-22 mark in the first half, topping the Eastern Division. Seven players are named to the midseason Eastern Division All-Star Team, helmed by the Lugnuts coaching staff, which routs the Western Division All-Stars, 18-2, in Kane County. Bolstered by a rotation featuring future Major Leaguers Justin Nicolino, Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony DeSclafani and Marcus Walden, the Nuts finish with a club-best 82-55 record, including a team record 16 shutouts. Ajay Meyer sets a new team record with 33 saves and first baseman K.C. Hobson supplies a team record 43 doubles. Tamargo is named the MWL Manager of the Year and Pillar is voted MWL Most Valuable Player. The good fortune lasts only as long as the regular season; the Lugnuts are swept in two games by Fort Wayne.A
2013MidwestThe Lugnuts gain dubious notice, victimized by no-hitters on three separate occasions and experiencing a 21st century version of Merkle’s Boner when Santiago Nessy neglects to run to second base on Chris Hawkins’ seeming game-winning single on July 1st. The ballclub finishes the season with a 61-78 record, though the season is redeemed by breakout performances from pitchers Daniel Norris and Ben White, shortstop Emilio Guerrero and outfielders Dwight Smith, Jr. (the team MVP) and Dalton Pompey. On June 18th, Pompey serves as the hero of the All-Star Game, averting a potential tie with a game-winning full-count, two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. On August 16th, Guerrero seizes the day with a franchise/league record-tying 6-for-6 performance, including a grand slam, in a 14-5 rout at West Michigan. Norris, though, gains the most attention, thanks to a highlight-making grab against the Whitecaps on a vicious liner toward his face that turns viral on Youtube.A
2014MidwestThe Lugnuts feature the talents of third baseman Mitch Nay, a Midseason and Postseason MWL All-Star, assisted by fellow Midseason All-Stars Derrick Loveless, a breakout star in the outfield; slugging Matt Dean; and closer Griffin Murphy. The team’s initial star, though, is Kendall Graveman, who takes a no-hitter into the ninth at Beloit and allows only one earned run during four April starts. Graveman vaults through the system, jumping through A-Adv. Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo on his way to an MLB debut in September. The season is also highlighted by cameos from 30-year-old knuckleballing Frank Viola III, 19-year-old outfield phenom Anthony Alford (who then leaves to play defensive back on the Ole Miss football team) and 19-year-old pitching prospect Miguel Castro. The Lugs compete until the season’s penultimate day, when they are knocked from playoff contention by a home loss to South Bend, finishing with a 62-77 record.A
2015MidwestCooley Law School Stadium undergoes a massive renovation in the off-season, including a new 360-degree concourse; permanent stadium seating throughout the seating bowl; and The Outfield development, featuring Good Hops and The View. On the field, Ken Huckaby moves into the manager’s chair, presiding over the Lugnuts’ first Eastern Division title since 2012. Lansing wins the first half with a 42-28 record, turns a triple play on June 21st, and boasts a prolific offense that led the league in runs (699), total bases (1878), doubles (263), stolen bases (162), slugging percentage (.396) and OPS (.733), and was only shut out once all season. The league MVP is 1B/DH Ryan McBroom, who ties the league/franchise records with a 6-for-6 performance on July 12th at Dayton and collects hits in nine consecutive at-bats to come within one of the league record. In early July, Tim Locastro, leading the Midwest League with 30 steals and 21 HBPs, is traded with ace Chase De Jong to the Dodgers for international cap space; on the same day, Toronto signs top international free agent Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. On August 6, the 10-member inaugural class of the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame is inducted in a special ceremony at The View. The end of the season is headlined by the September 2nd rehab appearance of Blue Jays’ standout Marcus Stroman, who works 4 2/3 hitless and scoreless innings, striking out seven Great Lakes Loons. The Lugnuts finish 73-66, sweeping the Great Lakes Loons in two games, and then falling in three games in the Eastern Division Finals to the West Michigan Whitecaps.A
2016MidwestSteered by first-year manager John Schneider, the Lugnuts experience a season with a seven-minute skunk delay (in Dayton on August 22nd) and the second no-hitter in franchise history... in a losing cause (Game 2 of a DH at Peoria on July 14th). Mid Season / Post Season All-Star Angel Perdomo leads the league with 156 strikeouts in just 127 innings. The season concludes with the first autumn edition of the Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto-Owners Insurance. A crowd of 8,432 on September 6th enjoys a pregame Home Run Derby won by Connor Panas, besting 17-year-old Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and 18-year-old Bo Bichette in the first round before outhomering MSU’s Dan Durkin 14-10 in the final, followed by a 4-1 Lugnuts triumph. To cap off the year, Lugnuts GM Nick Grueser was named the Midwest League Executive of the Year.A
2017MidwestManager Cesar Martín’s Lugnuts are headlined by 19-year-old Bo Bichette and 18-year-old Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., who are both voted Midwest League Mid Season and Post Season All-Stars and represent the Blue Jays at the MLB Futures Game. Bichette bats a league-leading .384 with 109 hits (including 32 doubles) in just 70 games, earning the double honor of Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year. Guerrero receives national media coverage and is named Baseball America’s No. 2 prospect in baseball. On April 24th, unheralded Edward Olivares hits for the cycle vs. the South Bend Cubs. On May 3rd, the Lugnuts set the Midwest League single game record by getting plunked six times by Peoria pitchers. On May 18th, the Lugnuts win their 1500th game as a franchise, a 5-1 victory at South Bend. And on August 20th, Solar Eclipse Day, outfielder Nick Sinay sets a new Midwest League single season record with 38 HBPs. The Lugnuts finish 63-73, missing the playoffs, ending the year with a 5-1 defeat of the Michigan State Spartans in the 11th Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto-Owners Insurance on September 5th.A
2018MidwestCesar Martín returned for a second season in Lansing, leading the Nuts to a playoff berth via a 43-27 record in the first half. The Lugnuts finish 80-60 overall, the second most wins in a season in franchise history, tying for the most road wins (39) in franchise history, aided by an MWL-leading 720 runs and 203 stolen bases. 1B/OF Ryan Noda tops MiLB with a franchise record-breaking 109 walks. Opening Day starter Yennsy Diaz is named MWL April Player of the Month after posting a 0.31 ERA (1 ER in 26.2 IP) and .063 avg against (6-for-95). On May 22nd, reliever Kyle Weatherly commits three balks in the 7th inning at South Bend. On June 19th, the Lugnuts host their fourth MWL All-Star Game; Bowling Green catcher Ronaldo Hernandez wins the pregame Home Run Derby and Dayton first baseman Montrell Marshall takes MVP honors with a two-out walk-off RBI single in the 10th, lifting the East to a 3-2 win before a crowd of 9,396. On September 4th, the Nuts defeat Michigan State in the Crosstown Showdown, 6-4, with starter Nate Pearson touching 102 mph while fanning four Spartans in two scoreless innings. The postseason ends quickly, though, in a two-game sweep against eventual champion Bowling Green. On a bright note, head groundskeeper Zach Severns is named the 2018 Midwest League Sports Turf Manager of the Year.A
2019MidwestManaged by former Major Leaguer Dallas McPherson, the Lugnuts finish 68-71 and don’t make the playoffs, though Griffin Conine leads the league with 22 home runs, Cre Finfrock leads the league with 17 saves, and Otto Lopez leads the league with a .324 batting average and 145 hits. Both Conine and Finfrock are named Post-Season MWL All-Stars. As a team, the Nuts lead the MWL in slugging, base hits, total bases and triples. On April 18th vs. Dayton, “Purge Night,” Ryan Gold becomes the 7th Lugnut to hit for the cycle, going for 4-for-5 with a grand slam and seven RBIs (the “Golden Cycle”). Sean Wymer wraps up the season with an 85-pitch complete game in a 4-1 win at Fort Wayne. In the 13th Crosstown Showdown, the Nuts’ PK Morris wins the pre-game HR Derby, and then Miguel Hiraldo and Yhon Perez homer in a 5-1 victory over the Spartans. In addition, radio broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is honored by Ballpark Digest as the Minor League Baseball Broadcaster of the Year.A
2020LemonadeWith the Minor League Baseball season canceled due to COVID-19, the Lugnuts held the inaugural Lemonade League, a college wood-bat league from July through August featuring yellow baseballs. One of the league's great innovations is a Home Run Derby to decide any game tied at the end of seven innings -- but the tiebreaker was not needed once during the league's 20 games. A maximum of 100 fans were allowed into the stadium, by health directive of Ingham County, with every game selling out. On October 2nd, Cooley Law School Stadium’s name changes officially to Jackson Field.-