Staten Island Yankees

The Staten Island Yankees were a minor league baseball team located in the New York City borough of Staten Island from 1999 to 2020. Nicknamed the "Baby Bombers", the Yankees were the Class A Short Season affiliate of the New York Yankees and played in the New York–Penn League at Richmond County Bank Ballpark along the waterfront in St. George. The Yankees won six New York–Penn League championships (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2011). The team was replaced locally by the Staten Island FerryHawks of the independent Atlantic League.

Staten Island Yankees
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassShort-Season A (1999–2020)
LeagueNew York–Penn League (1999–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamNew York Yankees (1999–2020)
Minor league titles
League titles (6)
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2009
  • 2011
Division titles (9)
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2015
  • 2017
Team data
NameStaten Island Yankees (1999–2020)
ColorsNavy blue, white
   
Ballpark

History

The franchise originated in 1983 as the Watertown Pirates (affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates), and became the Watertown Indians (affiliated with the Cleveland Indians) in 1989.

In 1999, in a deal brokered by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Yankees affiliation was transferred from the Oneonta Yankees to the Watertown franchise, which was relocated and renamed the Staten Island Yankees. The Oneonta Yankees, in turn, became a Detroit Tigers affiliate and were renamed the Oneonta Tigers.[1][2][3][4][5]

The Staten Island Yankees played their first two seasons at College of Staten Island Baseball Complex before moving into the Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the 2001 season.

The first SI Yankee to reach the major leagues as a New York Yankee was in 2003; pitcher Jason Anderson, pitching in relief in an 8-4 Yankee win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. (The first Staten Island Yankee to reach the majors for any team was Wily Mo Peña, who broke in with the Cincinnati Reds, in 2002.)

On March 26, 2006, the Staten Island Advance reported that the team's majority owners, the Getzler family, were considering selling their 51% share of the team, and were asking for between three and five million dollars. The New York Yankees purchased the Getzlers’ interest in the team and in return hired Mandalay Sports Properties to run the day-to-day operations of the team. Part of the agreement was that the New York Yankees and Mandalay become equal partners with Mandalay owning 50% of the Staten Island Yankees.

Tyler Romeo pitching for the Staten Island Yankees in 2008.

In 2006, the Yankees were managed by Gaylen Pitts, noted for frequently being ejected from games. In a game on August 25, 2006, Pitts was ejected and then returned to the field in sandals after a batter was hit by a pitch in the 9th inning of a 21–6 victory over the Brooklyn Cyclones.

In 2007, the Yankees were managed by Mike Gillespie, who had led the 1998 USC Trojans to a College World Series championship. Gillespie led the Baby Bombers to their third consecutive playoff appearance before losing to the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2007 NYPL Playoffs, 2 games to none.

Former Florida Gator coach Pat McMahon managed the Yankees for the 2008 season.

Former major league catcher Josh Paul managed the Yankees for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. in 2010, due to Dave Eiland taking a leave of absence, SI Yankees manager Paul was summoned to fill in as the New York Yankees bullpen coach, during which time former major leaguer Jody Reed filled in as the interim manager for the Staten Island Yankees.[6]

On June 20, 2016, the team launched a campaign to rename the organization starting with the 2017 season. On September 8, 2016, the potential names were whittled down to five, with an online vote beginning on the team's website from that date; the candidate names were the Bridge Trolls, Heroes, Killer Bees, Pizza Rats, and Rock Pigeons.[7] Ultimately, the team decided to retain the Yankees moniker but to call itself the Staten Island Pizza Rats for select games as an alternate identity.[8][9]

Prior to the 2020 season, it was announced that the team would be shuttered when the MLB/MiLB agreement ended at the conclusion of the 2020 season under a proposed plan calling for the Short Season Class A designation to be eliminated.[10] The start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.[11][12] On November 7, 2020, the New York Yankees announced that they were withdrawing from Staten Island as well as abandoning their affiliation with the Trenton Thunder as they were moving forward with their new Double-A affiliate: the Somerset Patriots, but they would seek to place a team from the independent Atlantic League at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in 2021.[13] On December 3, 2020, the Staten Island Yankees announced that the club would cease operations. [14]

Year-by-year record

YearRecordFinishManagerPlayoffs
199939-357thJoe ArnoldNone, did not qualify
200046-282ndJoe ArnoldLeague Champs
200148-283rdDave JornLost in 1st round
200248-261stDerek SheltonLeague Champs
200329-4311thAndy StankiewiczNone, did not qualify
200428-4413thTommy JohnNone, did not qualify
200552-241stAndy StankiewiczLeague Champs
200645-291stGaylen PittsLeague Champs
200747-282ndMike GillespieLost in 1st round
200849-261stPat McMahonLost in 1st round
200947-292ndJosh PaulLeague Champs
201034-404thJosh Paul and Jody ReedNone, did not qualify
201145-281stTom SlaterLeague Champs
201230-454thJustin PopeNone, did not qualify
201334-414thJustin PopeNone, did not qualify
201437-383rdMario GarzaNone, did not qualify[15]
201541-341stPat OsbornLost in Finals (West Virginia)
201644-312ndDave BialasLost in 1st round (State College)
201746-291stJulio MosqueraLost in 1st round (Hudson Valley)
201837-363rdLino DiazNone, did not qualify
201940-364thDavid Adams[16]None, did not qualify

Notable alumni

Over a hundred Staten Island Yankees players reached the major leagues, not including MLB players who were with the team on a rehab assignment.[17]

The following MLB players made rehab appearances with the Staten Island Yankees:

Mascots

The original Staten Island Yankees Mascot was Scooter the "Holy Cow."[18] A combination of New York Yankees shortstop Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto and his commentating catch phrase "Holy Cow!" Scooter debuted for the Staten Island Yankees when the franchise relocated from Watertown, New York, in 1999. In summer 2003, the Baby Bombers debuted Scooter's sisters Red and Huckleberry (or "Huck").[18] Scooter and his sisters were a staple at SI Yankee games, leading fan rallies and between-inning on-field games. The cows were known to have a The Three Stooges-like relationship in which Red and Huck often teamed up to trick and trap Scooter[18]

Retired numbers

References

  1. Lambert, Bruce (1999-01-17), "Staten Island and Brooklyn Getting Into the Minors", The New York Times
  2. Popper, Steve (1999-05-11), "Dreaming of Baseball on Staten I.", The New York Times
  3. Cooper, Jon (1999-06-15), "Rookie Mystiques: Staten Island Gets Immersed in the Yankee Way", The Village Voice News
  4. Staten Island Yankees Announce Field Personnel for 2000 Season, Staten Island Yankees, 2000-01-17, retrieved 2009-05-12
  5. Harmer, P.J. (2008-07-02), "Still the O-Tigers, for now", The Daily Star, retrieved 2009-05-12
  6. Pimpsner, Robert M. (June 17, 2010). "Preliminary 2010 Staten Island Yankees Roster". Gotham Baseball. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
  7. The Staten Island Yankees could soon be the Staten Island Pizza Rats
  8. D'Amodio, Joe (2019-05-14). "Staten Island Yankees to bring back Pizza Rats for second straight season". silive.com. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  9. "Staten Island Yankees to Keep Name". Ballpark Digest. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  10. Madden, Bill (November 16, 2019). "Rob Manfred's plan to destroy minor league baseball". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  11. "A Message From Pat O'Conner". Minor League Baseball. March 13, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  12. "2020 Minor League Baseball Season Shelved". Minor League Baseball. June 30, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  13. "New York Yankees announce new Minor League affiliation structure". MLB.com. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  14. Smith, Alex (December 3, 2020). "Staten Island Yankees ceasing operations, filing lawsuits against big-league club and MLB". SportsNet New York. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  15. MARIO GARZA IS NEW STATEN ISLAND SKIPPER, SI LIVE, 2014-01-16, retrieved 2015-01-09
  16. "Staten Island Yankees Announce 2019 Coaching Staff".
  17. "Staten Island Yankees Major League Alumni". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  18. "Mascots & Pinstripe Patrol". Staten Island Yankees. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
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