Vermont Lake Monsters History

The Vermont Lake Monsters History
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Vermont has had a pro franchise continuously since 1994
  • Team changed its name to Lake Monsters in 2006
A plaque down the third base line highlights the rich history at historic Centennial Field.

In 1993, Vermont business owner Ray Pecor bought the New York-Penn League's Jamestown Expos with the intention of moving the franchise from Jamestown, NY to Burlington, to play at Centennial Field in 1994. The Jamestown club had been affiliated with the Montreal parent club since 1978. Pecor's Vermont Expos kept their name until the end of the 2005 season, despite the Montreal franchise moving to Washington to become the Nationals a year earlier.

Before the end of the 2005 campaign, the Vermont Expos announced they'd be changing their team's name in time for opening day of the 2006 season, and as is common with new franchises, gave fans the opportunity to pick the team's new name. The "Green Mountain Boys" and "Lakemonsters" were the most popular choices among 30,000 fan votes and when the team split the latter term into two words, the Lake Monsters were born.

The Lake Monsters name pays homage to the mysterious, Loch Ness-like monster that's believed to lurk in the waters of Lake Champlain, which sits west of Burlington. That creature, nicknamed "Champ," is the inspiration for the Lake Monsters' mascot that shares the same name.

The Expos/Lake Monsters franchise won the NYPL's Stedler Division in 1995 and 1996 and brought a league title to Burlington in 1996. Struggles in the years that followed were common, capped by a disastrous 19-56 campaign in 2003.

In 2011, the Oakland A's took over as the Lake Monsters' parent club and the change appeared to quickly pay dividends. The Lake Monsters finished four games over .500 and won the division before being eliminated in the playoffs by the Auburn Doubledays.

Notable alumni

Jason Bay
Geoff Blum
Milton Bradley
Orlando Cabrera
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Jorge Julio
John Lannan
Barry Larkin
Paul O'Neill
Omar Vizquel