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Lehigh Valley IronPigs History

The BallParkGuide.com Lehigh Valley IronPigs History
by Malcolm MacMillan
Highlights
  • Team's origins began in Ottawa, Canada
  • Allentown a common spot for rehabbing Phillies
The names of all the former IronPigs called up to the Major Leagues are proudly displayed on a display along the concourse.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are among a small number of Minor League Baseball franchises that can trace their roots back to Canada. In 1993, the Ottawa Lynx joined the International League as an affiliate of the Montreal Expos, and given Ottawa’s proximity to Montreal, the team had an active following. It wasn’t long before on-field success followed, too. The team won the International League championship in 1995, but that season proved to be the last significant highlight in Lynx franchise history. The affiliation with the Expos ended at the conclusion of the 2002 season, and the Baltimore Orioles took over between 2003 and 2006.

Ottawa, however, grew to have little interest in professional baseball, and with the lack of a connection with a Canadian MLB parent club, coupled with frigid April and May conditions and the city’s focus on the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, the Lynx soon became an afterthought. Ownership of the Lynx changed in 2006, and after spending the 2007 season affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies, the new owners moved the club to Allentown, PA. Ownership sought a partnership with the nearby Phillies (Philadelphia’s Triple-A team had previously been the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Wings) and after a bit of juggling, the new Allentown team was connected to the Phillies and the S/W-B team was linked up with the Yankees.

Despite grooming a number of MLB prospects and Philadelphia’s success at the Major League level, the IronPigs have not had much success in Allentown. In their inaugural 2008 season, they finished just 55-89, and followed that record up with two more losing seasons in 2009 and 2010. The 2011 season marked the first time the IronPigs eclipsed the .500 mark, and they did so in fine form with a record of 80-64 under the tutelage of manager Ryne Sandberg

Because of Allentown’s close proximity to Philadelphia, the IronPigs are a common stop for Phillies on rehab stints. In recent years, such stars as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Oswalt, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Martinez have suited up for the IronPigs.

Notable alumni

Milton Bradley
Domonic Brown
Jamey Carroll
Bruce Chen
Adam Loewen
John Mayberry, Jr.
Darnell McDonald
Brandon Phillips
Matt Stairs
Tim Raines, Jr.
Fernando Tatis
Rondell White

 
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