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The Official Site of the Lansing Lugnuts Lansing Lugnuts

A Historical Timeline of Baseball in Lansing


1889

Michigan State League

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.


1890

Michigan State League

Under Al Manassau, Lansing loses 17 of its first 21 games. The skid was halted by the six-team league shutting down operations. Tough year all around for Michigan baseball.


1895

Michigan State League

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 Black 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 is Jack Daley, who bats .397 with 124 runs scored, 143 hits, and 25 home runs.


1897

Michigan State League

After a year’s hiatus, Lansing rejoins the league... only to see the MSL shut down mid-season with the team in second place


1902

Michigan State League

The Senators finish 35-62, fifth place in the six-team circuit. Lansing shuts down operations in August and the Michigan State League disbands soon after


1907

South Michigan League

Playing in the Southern Michigan League, 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


1908

South Michigan League

Lansing finishes 60-65, but George Pearce notches 298 strikeouts and player/manager Jack Morrissey collects 141 hits.


1910

South Michigan League

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.


1911

South Michigan League

Slab Warner sets a league record with 26 wins alongside 231 strikeouts. The Senators finish in second place.


1912

South Michigan League

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.


1913

South Michigan League

T.H. Nellis collects 146 hits in the Senators’ first season in the Southern Michigan Association. Lansing finishes 54-68, seventh place in the eight-team league.


1914

South Michigan League

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.


1921

Central League

Playing 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.


1922

Central League

Lansing slips to 60-67, but Les Bell shines with a .329 average. The league shuts down after the season.


1940

Michigan State League

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.


1941

Michigan State League

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.


1996

Midwest League

Professional baseball returns to Lansing with the Lugnuts, a Class-A Midwest League affiliate 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. That franchise, known as the Waterloo Diamonds in 1994, was purchased by Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers, who moved it to Springfield, Illinois, for two years as the Sultans of Springfield before relocating to become the Lansing Lugnuts. The 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 wins and 174.2 innings pitched.


1997

Midwest League

How 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 José Santiago make his debut with the Kansas City Royals on June 7th, making him the first Lugnut to reach the Major Leagues.


1998

Midwest League

The 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.


1999

Midwest League

After 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 round.


2000

Midwest League

Ryan 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.


2001

Midwest League

In his first year as skipper, Julio García 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 was a strikeout machine, whiffing a team record 17 on April 29th and finishing with 170 for the year.


2002

Midwest League

Another 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 Encarnación. But the Lugnuts fall in the Midwest League Championship Series to Peoria, 3 games to 1, dropping a stunning series finale on September 13th in which the Chiefs overcome a 10-2 deficit with a run in the 8th and eight runs in the 9th for an 11-10 championship-clinching victory.


2003

Midwest League

A 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 Vásquez 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.


2004

Midwest League

Eight 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 Mármol 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 gates, Cubs star Mark Prior makes a pair of rehab starts.


2005

Midwest League

In 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.


2006

Midwest League

Ken Joyce’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, despite the strong season, not one member of the 2006 Nuts – numbering 43 total players – made the Majors. It is Lansing's only season without at least one Major Leaguer.


2007

Midwest League

The inaugural Crosstown Showdown is held between Michigan State and Lansing on April 3, won 4-3 by the Lugnuts in nail-biting 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.


2008

Midwest League

Behind 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. The ballclub finishes 76-64 and is swept out of the playoffs in two games by Dayton in the first round.


2009

Midwest League

On April 16th, a record crowd of 12,992 watches the third 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 a brisk hour and 46 minutes. The season as a whole is the worst in franchise history, with Clayton McCullough's Lugnuts finishing 54-84. No Lansing-based professional team has ever lost more games in one season.


2010

Midwest League

Oldsmobile 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. Though the Nuts finish with a mediocre 70-69 record, the team produces 15 future Major Leaguers led by All-Star catcher Yan Gomes, the very first Brazilian Major Leaguer.


2011

Midwest League

Steered by Midwest League Manager of the Year Mike Redmond, the 77-60 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, Lansing receives 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 – finished by a series-clinching walk-off walk issued by TinCaps closer Kevin Quackenbush – before the Nuts 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.


2012

Midwest League

After defeating the Michigan State Spartans, 7-0, before a new stadium record crowd of 12,997, the powerhouse Lugnuts jump out to a team-record 7-0 start behind new manager John Tamargo, Jr., the club’s hitting coach during the previous two seasons. 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 9th inning grand slam in a 16-4 rout at Dayton. Two days later, on May 14th, the Lugnuts turned a triple play in a 4-2 victory over the host Dragons. The Lugs went 20-9 in May to tie another team record before finishing the first half with a team-best 47-22 mark, easily 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. Led by a prospect-laden pitching rotation starring Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani, Lansing finishes the season with a club-best 82-55 record, including a team record 16 shutouts. Closer Ajay Meyer sets a new team record with 33 saves and first baseman K.C. Hobson supplies a team record 43 doubles. At season’s close, Tamargo is named the Midwest League Manager of the Year and Pillar is named MWL Most Valuable Player, with Pillar (outfield), Nicolino (left-handed starter) and Meyer (right-handed reliever) named to the MWL Postseason All-Star Team. The good fortune lasts only as long as the regular season; the Lugnuts are swept in two games by Fort Wayne.


2013

Midwest League

The 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.


2014

Midwest League

The Lugnuts feature the talents of third baseman Mitch Nay, a Midseason and Postseason MWL All-Star, assisted by fellow Midseason All-Stars Derrick Loveless, Matt Dean and mustachioed 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 62-77.


2015

Midwest League

Cooley Law School Stadium undergoes a massive renovation in the off-season, including a new 360-degree concourse; permanent stadium seating throughout the seating bowl; the all-you-can-eat Pepsi Porch tiered picnic area; three HD video boards - a primary board above the left field wall and ribbon boards along the right field wall and the suite facia; remodeled suites, front offices and clubhouses; the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame; and The Outfield development, featuring Good Hops and The View. On the field, the Lugnuts met with great early-season success. The team’s hitting coach in 2014, 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 lineup is loaded: a regular day features future MLBers hitting 1-2-3-4-5 in center fielder Anthony Alford, shortstop Richard Ureña, first basemen/designated hitters Rowdy Tellez and 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), and catcher Danny Jansen, with future Major Leaguer Tim Locastro batting either at the top or bottom of the order. In early July, Locastro, leading the Midwest League with 30 steals and 21 HBPs, is traded with Chase De Jong to the Dodgers for international cap space; on the same day, Toronto signs 16-year-old international free agent Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. Promising right-hander Jesús Tinoco is later packaged in a deal to the Rockies in exchange for All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. On August 6, the 10-member inaugural class of the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame is inducted in a special ceremony at The View. McBroom is voted the 2015 Midwest League Most Valuable Player and named to the Post Season All-Star Team at both First Base and Designated Hitter. The end of the season is spiced 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 the season 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.


2016

Midwest League

Steered by first-year manager John Schneider, the Lugnuts experience a 69-71 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 is named the Midwest League Executive of the Year.


2017

Midwest League

First-year manager César Martín’s Lugnuts are headlined by Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. Both are voted Midwest League Mid Season and Post Season All-Stars and represent the Blue Jays at the MLB Futures Game. The 19-year-old Bichette bats a league-leading .384 with 109 hits (including 32 doubles) in just 70 games, earning the double honor of Midwest League Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year. The 18-year-old Guerrero receives national media coverage and is named Baseball America’s No. 2 prospect in baseball. Unheralded Edward Olivares enjoys the most notable game of the season, hitting for the cycle on April 24th vs. the South Bend Cubs. On May 18th, the Lugnuts win their 1500th game as a franchise, a 5-1 victory over the Cubs in South Bend. Another running theme: hit-bypitches. The Nuts set the Midwest League single game record on May 3rd by getting plunked six times by Peoria pitchers. On August 20th, Solar Eclipse Day, outfielder Nick Sinay sets a new Midwest League single season record with 38 HBPs. The two largest crowds of the year: 11,449 on the 4th of July, and 10,232 on Harry Potter Night. 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. The pregame HR Derby is won by MSU freshman Adam Proctor, topping Marty Bechina in a swing-off before beating David Jacob in the final.


2018

Midwest League

César Martín returned for a second season in Lansing, and a cohesive clubhouse led by outfielder Chavez Young and first baseman/outfielder Ryan Noda qualifies for the MWL postseason with a 43-27 first half record and finished with an 80-60 record, the second most wins in a season in franchise history, tying for the most road wins (39) in franchise history. The Nuts score an MWL-leading 720 runs and steal an MiLB-leading 203 bases behind 44 steals apiece from Chavez Young and Samad Taylor. Noda himself tops MiLB with a franchise recordbreaking 109 walks. Opening Day starter Yennsy Díaz 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 Midwest League All-Star Game; Bowling Green catcher Ronaldo Hernández 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 inning, lifting the East to a 3-2 win before a crowd of 9,396, the second largest crowd of the year (11,302 on the 4th of July). On August 26th, a day after hitting an inside-the-park home run, Brandon Grudzielanek swats a massive three-run homer off the dragon’s claw to the top left of the Fifth Third Field videoboard in Dayton. The 12th Crosstown Showdown is held the day before the postseason, September 4th: MSU’s Adam Proctor defends his home run derby title through two playoff swing-offs against teammates Zaid Walker and Andrew Morrow, and then walks off to beat Lugnuts outfielder Freddy Rodriguez, 7-6, in the final. The Nuts win, 6-4, with starter Nate Pearson touching 102 mph while striking out four Spartans in two scoreless innings. The postseason ends in a two-game sweep against eventual champion Bowling Green. Head Groundskeeper Zach Severns is named the 2018 Midwest League Sports Turf Manager of the Year.


2019

Midwest League

Managed 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. In addition to Conine and Lopez, the Nuts' lineup features high-end offensive talent all year, starring catcher Alejandro Kirk and shortstop Jordan Groshans in April, followed by catcher Gabriel Moreno from May onward. 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”).The Nuts lead the MWL in slugging pct., hits, total bases and triples. The two largest crowds of the year are Harry Potter Night (10,824) and the 4th of July (9,798). Sean Wymer wraps up the year with an 85-pitch complete game in a 4-1 win at Fort Wayne. In the 13th Crosstown Showdown, PK Morris wins the HR Derby over MSU’s Andrew Morrow after topping D.J. Daniels and Alberto Rodríguez in the first round, and then Miguel Hiraldo and Yhon Pérez homer in a 5-1 victory over the Spartans.


2020

Lemonade League

With the Minor League Baseball season canceled due to COVID-19, the Lugnuts hold 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. At the Major League level, catcher Alejandro Kirk jumps directly to Toronto, skipping Double-A and Triple-A, and becomes a Blue Jays fan favorite, batting .375 in nine games. On October 2, Cooley Law School Stadium is renamed Jackson Field.


2021

High-A Central

Minor League Baseball is reorganized under Major League Baseball’s control, with the Lugnuts partnering with the Oakland Athletics and moving up as members of the new High-A Central. Scott Steinmann skippers the Nuts to a 58-62 record overall. The year begins with limited capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic before full capacity is restored at the start of June. The Lugnuts set a franchise record with 55 different players suiting up over the course of the year. Among the standouts: Max Schuemann, who swipes 34 bases - including a single game record five steals on June 15 - and goes on to earn promotions to Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas by season’s end; catcher Drew Millas, who is packaged with pitchers Seth Shuman and Richard Guasch in a trade deadline deal to Washington for Josh Harrison and former Lugnut Yan Gomes on July 30; and slugger Jordan Díaz, the youngest player on the team, who homers in his first swing of the season and goes on to lead the Lugnuts in most offensive categories. The two biggest swings of the year, arguably, are delivered by the same player: William Simoneit, who showcased an eephus in several emergency relief appearances, delivers a two-strike, two-out, go-ahead grand slam to beat Dayton 4-3 on September 2, and a no-hitter-busting walk-off home run to beat West Michigan 1-0 on August 25.


2022

Midwest League

Phil Pohl, the Oakland Athletics’ bullpen catcher from 2016-2021 and native of Cooperstown, N.Y., manages the Lugnuts to a 54-77 record, 10th in the 12-team Midwest League (regaining its name from the High-A Central shortly before the year). The Lugnuts are headlined by 20-year-old Tyler Soderstrom, who shakes off a cold April to excel during the summer, crushing a walk-off grand slam against Dayton on May 12 and a walk-off three-run homer in front of 10,055 against Great Lakes on July 4. It’s a season of great single-game feats, from Grant Holman’s immaculate inning at West Michigan on April 14 to Jared McDonald’s three-HR game at Lake County on June 30 to Denzel Clarke becoming the second player in the history of recorded Minor League Baseball with two straight games with inside-the-park home runs vs. West Michigan on August 2-3 to a four-pitcher no-hitter in the road finale at eventual league champion South Bend on September 4. 12 former Lugnuts reach the Major Leagues, including 2021 Lugnuts Norge Ruíz and Jordan Díaz. At season’s end, 2021 third-rounder Mason Miller, sporting a fastball of 100-102 mph, made three starts (the last a three-inning hitless stint against Dayton) before vaulting up the ladder to Triple-A Las Vegas. The season also saw the interim managerial debut of Veronica Alvarez, manager of Team USA Baseball Women’s National Team, who took over for the vacationing Phil Pohl from August 16-21 and beat the Great Lakes Loons twice.