Toledo Mud Hens History

The Toledo Mud Hens History
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Pro baseball in Toledo dates back to 1890s
  • Modern-day Mud Hens formed in 1965
After several decades without a championship, the Mud Hens won back-to-back International League titles in 2005 and 2006.

The modern-day Toledo Mud Hens joined the International League in 1965, and have played in the league’s West Division ever since. The most recent incarnation of the Mud Hens has been affiliated with the New York Yankees (1965 to 1966), Detroit Tigers (1967 to 1973), Philadelphia Phillies (1974 to 1975), Cleveland Indians (1976 to 1977), Minnesota Twins (1978 to 1986) and again the Tigers from 1987 to the present day. The affiliation with the Tigers make geographical sense, given that the two cities are roughly just 60 miles apart.

Baseball, however, has deep roots in Toledo, as does the Mud Hens name. Minor League teams have used the Mud Hens name in Toledo since 1896, although the city’s teams have also been named the Sox and Iron Men for brief intervals. Prior to joining the International League, the Mud Hens played in the American Association from 1902 to 1913 and from 1916 to 1955. The team’s most notable early manager was Hall of Famer Casey Stengel, who managed the Mud Hens to an American Association pennant in 1927. The Mud Hens have three International League championships to their name; the first one came in 1968 and after a long drought, the team won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.

The legendary Jim Thorpe, arguably the greatest athlete of all time, played for Toledo in 1921, his second-last season of professional baseball. As a Mud Hens outfielder, Thorpe hit .358 in 133 games, including 181 hits, 36 doubles, 13 triples and nine home runs.

Notable alumni

Steve Avery
Curtis Granderson
Carlos Guillen
Omar Infante
Brandon Inge
Gabe Kapler
Kirby Puckett
Fernando Rodney
Jim Thorpe
Andres Torres