Lowell Spinners

The Lowell Spinners were a baseball team based in Lowell, Massachusetts. From 1996 to 2020, they were members of Minor League Baseball's New York–Penn League (NYPL) as the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. With Major League Baseball's reorganization of the minor leagues after the 2020 season, Lowell was not selected to continue in affiliated baseball.

Lowell Spinners
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassClass A Short Season (1996–2020)
LeagueNew York–Penn League (1996–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamBoston Red Sox (1996–2020)
Minor league titles
Division titles (4)
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2016
  • 2019
Team data
NameLowell Spinners (1996–2020)
ColorsNavy blue, red, green, white
MascotCanaligator, Allie-Gator, Millie-Gator
BallparkEdward A. LeLacheur Park (1998–2020)
Stoklosa Alumni Field (1996–1997)

The team was founded in 1996, after the Elmira Pioneers moved to Lowell. For the 1996 and 1997 seasons, the Spinners played at Stoklosa Alumni Field; from 1998 onward, they played at Edward A. LeLacheur Park.[1]


Lowell's heritage in organized baseball dates to 1877, when the city hosted two teams. The 1877 Lowell team played in the League Alliance and the Lowell Ladies Men were members the 1877 New England Association. Lowell was a frequent member of the Class B New England League, but had not fielded a team in minor league baseball since 1947, when the nearby Lawrence Millionaires franchise transferred to Lowell on July 15.[2]

After Clyde Smoll Jr. (who bought the Elmira team in 1986 and was the son of former major league pitcher Clyde Smoll)[3] brought the team to Lowell in 1996, Drew Weber was the team owner from 1997 until June 2016, when the franchise was purchased by Dave Heller.[1]

The Spinners set a minor-league record in the 2000 season, as they sold every home ticket for every home game.[4] This began a streak of sold-out home games. The streak was broken on August 30, 2010, at 413 games.[1] [4]

On August 21, 2003, the Spinners sponsored a Jack Kerouac bobblehead giveaway.[5] Kerouac was a Lowell native, and played football for Lowell High School.[6] The bobblehead was accepted by Cooperstown in 2005, the first time a literary icon was accepted there.[7] The bobbleheads were so popular that many more were made than originally intended, raised $10,000 for the Jack Kerouac Scholarship Fund.[7] The enshrinement also made media headlines as far away as Los Angeles.[8]

The giveaway was repeated on August 7, 2012, when the film adaptation of On the Road was released.[6] The dolls had a bobble head as well as a "bobble arm."[9] The bobbleheads were also available online for ordering, and as the game was sponsored by the UMass Lowell English Department, their departmental scholarships received the proceeds from the online orders.[10] A third Kerouac bobblehead, featuring Kerouac in his Lowell High football uniform, was given out on July 25, 2013.[11]

In 2005, the Spinners created the "Yankees Elimination Program." They offered to pay for the uniforms to all Little Leagues and youth softball teams in New England so that they would change all teams named "Yankees" into "Spinners.” Over the next five years, 150 teams in New England made the switch. The Spinners also invited the youth teams to play at LaLecheur Park, and assisted in other fundraising initiative for those teams. In 2010, the program was limited to 75 teams on a first-come, first-served basis, and it was estimated that over $70,000 had been donated to youth baseball and softball programs through the initiative. Spinners VP and GM Tim Bawmann said,“The Yankees Elimination Promotion was originally built as a fun promotion in response to parents' stories of children losing interest in the game after facing taunts simply for playing in a Yankees uniform.”[12]

On September 1, 2008, the Spinners reached the New York–Penn League playoffs for the first time, capturing the Stedler Division title. They were defeated in the playoffs by the Batavia Muckdogs. The Spinners reached the playoffs again in 2009, but lost to the Staten Island Yankees.

In October 2014, the Red Sox agreed to extend their player development contract with the Spinners for two more years through the 2016 season.[13] In November 2015, the contract was extended again through the 2018 season.[14]

In the 2016 season, the Spinners ended with a franchise-best record of 47 wins, and tied their record for home wins (25). Right fielder Tyler Hill won the NYPL batting title, and he and third baseman Bobby Dalbec became the first Spinners players to win Player of the Month awards. The Spinners won the Stedler Division title, but were swept by the Hudson Valley Renegades in the semifinals, 2–0.[15] Pitching prospect Jason Groome made his first start for the team in the playoffs, after being promoted from the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.[16]

In 2019, the Spinners finished first in their division, then defeated the Batavia Muckdogs (2 games to 1) in the semifinals, to advance to the league championship series against the Brooklyn Cyclones. The Spinners were defeated in the finals (2 games to 1), with Brooklyn winning the deciding third game of the series by a 4–3 score.[17] As with all minor league teams, the Spinners did not play during 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[18]

The mascots of the Spinners were Canaligator, Allie-Gator, and Millie-Gator. They were introduced on January 19, 1996, July 8, 1999, and Opening Day 2006, respectively.[19]

2021 restructuring of Minor League Baseball

After the 2020 season, Major League Baseball (MLB) proposed dramatic changes to Minor League Baseball (MiLB) that would take effect at the end of the 2020 season, following expiration of the agreement governing the MLB–MiLB relationship.[20] MLB's proposal included reducing the number of minor league teams from 160 to 120—the Spinners were included on the list of teams that could be eliminated under the proposal.[21]

On December 9, 2020, the Red Sox announced that they were dropping the Spinners as an affiliate, as "a reduction to 120 teams has been proposed as the standard beginning in 2021."[22] Red Sox president Sam Kennedy stated that the Red Sox were "committed to maintaining the 24-year-long tradition of baseball in the Lowell community.”[22] Spinners management, local government officials, and the Red Sox committed to exploring options to keep baseball in Lowell for 2021.[23] However, at the time the minor league season began in early May 2021, no actions or plans had been announced.


Spinners games were broadcast on Lowell talk station WCAP. For the 2007 season they were on WLLH, another Lowell AM radio station, which at the time was an ESPN Radio affiliate. The games returned to WCAP the next season.[24][25][26]

Yearly team records

Records as the Boston Red Sox affiliate in the New York–Penn League from 1996 to 2020.

ManagerPlayoffs (games)
 1996 McNamara3341.4463rd9thBilly Gardner Jr.
1997McNamara3838.5002nd6thDick Berardino
1998McNamara3244.4215th13thDick Berardino
1999McNamara3442.4476th10th (t)Luis Aguayo
2000Stedler4134.5474th5thArnie Beyeler
2001Stedler3343.4346th10thArnie Beyeler
2002Stedler3441.4532nd8thMike Boulanger
2003Stedler3935.5273rd6thJon Deeble (36–30)
Lynn Jones (3–5)
2004Stedler3244.4214th11thLuis Alicea
2005Stedler4233.5602nd5thLuis Alicea
2006Stedler3936.5203rd9thBruce Crabbe
2007Stedler4036.5262nd5thGary DiSarcina
2008Stedler4033.5481st5thGary DiSarcinaLost to Batavia 2–1 in semifinals[27]
2009Stedler4530.6001st3rd (t)Gary DiSarcinaLost to Staten Island 2–1 in semifinals[28]
2010Stedler2450.3244th14thBruce Crabbe
2011Stedler2945.3924th13thCarlos Febles
2012Stedler3640.4742nd6thBruce Crabbe
2013Stedler4033.5482nd5thBruce Crabbe
2014Stedler3738.4933rd6thJoe Oliver
2015Stedler3739.4872nd8thJoe Oliver
2016Stedler4729.6181st3rdIggy SuarezLost to Hudson Valley 2–0 in semifinals[29]
2017Stedler3342.4404th11thIggy Suarez
2018Stedler3738.4933rd9thCorey Wimberly
2019Stedler4234.5531st4thLuke MontzDefeated Batavia 2–1 in semifinals[30]
Lost to Brooklyn 2–1 in final[31]
2020StedlerSeason cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemicLuke Montz


Notable Spinners alumni

Select alumni are listed in this section; a full list of Spinners players who appeared in the major leagues, with their debut dates, was maintained on the team website.[33]

Kevin Youkilis broke into pro baseball with the 2001 Spinners, and batted .317 in 59 games.
Spinners warming up at LeLacheur Park, 2009


  1. "Franchise History". MiLB.com. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  2. "Lowell, Massachusetts Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com.
  3. Fricker, Dan (November 12, 1986). "Quakertown man buys dream: a baseball team". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. p. 40. Retrieved March 16, 2021 via newspapers.com.
  4. "Spinners' sellout streak ends at 413". The Lowell Sun. September 1, 2010. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  5. McConville, Christine. "Kerouac fans hit road for free dolls". Boston.com. August 22, 2003. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  6. Shanahan, Mark, and Meredith Goldstein. "Jack Kerouac gets a new bobblehead in Lowell".Boston Globe. June 27, 2012. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  7. Perry, David. "He's on the Road...to Cooperstown!". Umass Lowell. Originally published by The Lowell Sun Online, May 5, 2005. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  8. Ulin, David L."On the Road to Cooperstown". Los Angeles Times. May 23, 2005. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  9. "Jack is BACK: Kerouac Double Bobble August 7". MiLB.com. June 26, 2012. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  10. "Kerouac Bobble Head Night: Lowell Spinners vs. Brooklyn Cyclones". Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!. August 21, 2012. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  11. "Spinners Bobble Head History".MiLB.com. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  12. Civin, Todd (March 2, 2010). "Lowell Spinners Enter Fifth Year Of Yankee Elimination Program". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  13. Bollinger, Rhett. RedSoxMLB.com – Red Sox, Lowell extend player development deal through '16 "Red Sox, Lowell extend player development deal through '16".MLB.com. October 2, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  14. "Spinners, Red Sox extend affiliation deal". Ballparkdigest.com. November 10, 2015. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  15. "Renegades Sweep Ends Spinners Season".MiLB.com. September 8, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  16. Smith, Christopher. "Jason Groome, Michael Kopech, Boston Red Sox two top pitching prospects, to make playoff starts".Masslive.com. September 7, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  17. "Brooklyn tops Lowell in New York-Penn League final". The Boston Globe. AP. September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  18. J.J. Cooper and Josh Norris (June 30, 2020). "The 2020 Minor League Season Is Canceled. So What Happens Next?". Baseball America. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  19. "Meet the Spinners Mascot Family".MiLB.com. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  20. "Reports: MLB proposes overhaul of minor leagues, elimination of 40 teams". ESPN.com. October 18, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  21. "The Minor League Teams That Could Lose M.L.B. Ties". The New York Times. November 19, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  22. Koch, Bill (December 9, 2020). "Pawtucket, Lowell dropped as Red Sox affiliates". The Providence Journal. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  23. Reichard, Kevin (December 10, 2020). "Red Sox: We'll fight to keep baseball in Lowell". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  24. "Spinners radio broadcast returns: The entire 2008 season to be broadcast on the new 980 WCAP Radio". New York–Penn League. November 2, 2007. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  25. Fybush, Scott (February 12, 2007). "Barber out, DePetro in at WPRO". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  26. Fybush, Scott (November 5, 2007). "C&K Out, Imus In at WABC". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  27. "2008 New York-Pennsylvania League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  28. "2009 New York-Pennsylvania League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  29. "2016 New York-Pennsylvania League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  30. @BataviaDNSports (September 6, 2019). "#NYPPlayoffs: Throw to home from Rosario not in time and @LowellSpinners win 4-3 in Game 3 of semifinal and advance to #NYPL Championship vs @BKCyclones" (Tweet). Retrieved September 6, 2019 via Twitter.
  31. Avallone, Michael (September 10, 2019). "Cyclones rally to first outright NYPL title". MiLB.com. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  32. "2018 New York-Penn League Final Standings". MiLB.com. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  33. "Major League Spinners". MiLB.com. Lowell Spinners. Archived from the original on July 20, 2018 via Wayback Machine.
  34. "Kalish Red Sox Rookie of Year". Telegram. October 10, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  35. Schwarz, Alan (April 4, 2009). "Perez Falters in Tune-Up, but Achieves Citi Field Milestone". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2016.

Further reading

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