Fort Wayne TinCaps History

The Fort Wayne TinCaps History
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Fort Wayne got MiLB franchise in 1993
  • Team was revamped completed in 2009
The team's 2009 Midwest League championship trophy is on display behind glass down the concourse on the third base side.

The 1993 season marked the arrival of professional baseball in Fort Wayne, IN. Then a Midwest League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, the Fort Wayne Wizards, as they were first known, played at Memorial Stadium. That ballpark opened in 1993 and was the site of Alex Rodriguez' first professional home run, which came on April 24, 1994.

In their inaugural season, the Wizards went a respectable 66-73 and saw the emergence of an 18-year-old Torii Hunter, who batted .293 and knocked in 50 runs in 91 games. A total of 318,506 fans came to watch the Wizards that season, setting a franchise attendance mark that would last until the 2009 campaign. The Wizards struggled in year two, but in their third season, finished one game out of the Midwest League's East Division lead with a record of 75-65. That team included 18-year-old A.J. Pierzynski and 22-year-old Corey Koskie. Fort Wayne went on to record plus-.500 records in their next four straight seasons, and in 1999, the San Diego Padres stepped in as the club's Big League affiliate. It wasn't until a remarkable 2009 campaign that the team finally won a division and a Midwest League title. That season, Fort Wayne went 94-46.

The 2009 season was a big one for the Fort Wayne franchise. In addition to its title, it also got a new home in Parkview Field and a new name, the TinCaps. The Parkview Field construction came as part of a revitalization project in downtown Fort Wayne -- a project that is still ongoing but has already given residents a reason to visit the city's downtown core. To completely start anew, the team held a name contest and TinCaps was chosen by fans. The name is a tip of the, well, cap to American folk hero Johnny Appleseed, who's buried in Fort Wayne. (Appleseed, of course, was famous for wearing a tin pot on his head.) With a new ballpark, new name and a league title in 2009, the team also set an attendance mark with 378,529 total fans visiting Parkview Field, and was named Overall Team of the Year at the This Year in Minor League Baseball Awards.

Notable alumni

Josh Barfield
Sean Burroughs
LaTroy Hawkins
Torii Hunter
Corey Koskie
Jake Peavy
A.J. Pierzynski
Luis Rivas
Javier Valentin
Will Venable