Akron RubberDucks

The Akron RubberDucks are a Minor League Baseball team based in Akron, Ohio. The team, which plays in the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. From 1997 to 2013, the team was named the Akron Aeros.

The RubberDucks play in Canal Park, located in downtown Akron, which seats 7,630 fans. The nickname "RubberDucks" refers to Akron's history in the rubber industry, in particular as the birthplace of tire and rubber companies such as Goodyear, Firestone, Goodrich and General Tire.

Akron RubberDucks
Founded in 1997
Akron, Ohio
AkronRubberDucksRubberDucks cap
Team logoCap insignia
Class-level
CurrentDouble-A (1997–present)
Minor league affiliations
LeagueEastern League (1980–present)
DivisionWestern Division
Major league affiliations
CurrentCleveland Indians (1989–present)
Minor league titles
League titles (8)
  • 1984
  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2009
  • 2012
  • 2016
Division titles (9)
  • 1982
  • 1998
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2009
  • 2012
  • 2016
Team data
NicknameAkron RubberDucks (2014–present)
Previous names
ColorsBlack, blue, orange, yellow, white
                        
MascotWebster (2014-present);
Rubberta (2016-present);
Orbit (1997-present);
Homer (2011-present)[1]
BallparkCanal Park (1997–present)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Ken Babby
ManagerRouglas Odor
General ManagerJim Pfander

History

1980–1988

The franchise began to play in 1980 in Lynn, Massachusetts, where it was named the Lynn Sailors. The team served as the Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners from 1980 to 1982 and the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983. After four seasons in Massachusetts, owner Mike Agganis moved the team northward to Burlington, Vermont. From 1984 through 1987, the franchise was known as the Vermont Reds and were the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, winning three-straight Eastern League championships from 1984 to 1986. In 1988, they became the Vermont Mariners for one year when the Seattle Mariners picked up the franchise to serve as its Double-A affiliate. During their stint in Vermont, the franchise made the playoffs every year and won three straight Eastern League titles from 1984 to 1986.

1989–1996

In 1989, the team moved to Canton, Ohio, becoming the Cleveland Indians' Double-A affiliate, and played eight seasons at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium as the Canton–Akron Indians, one of many entities (another example is the Akron-Canton Regional Airport) to use the names of both cities. The "Little Indians" made another five straight playoff appearances from 1989 to 1993, and won the regular-season title in 1992. However, they were never successful at bringing home a league championship trophy.

The franchise did not advance to the postseason in 1994. This snapped a 12-year streak of postseason play from 1982 to 1993.

On November 22, 1994, Agganis signed a lease agreement with the city of Akron to move the club to that city. It took another two years to build the new Canal Park, which included a selection of architects, land acquisition, and demolition of the Anthony Wayne Hotel which had stood on the new stadium site. Groundbreaking was held on January 5, 1996, and the stadium was completed in February 1997. Meantime, the new "Aeros" nickname had been chosen in November 1996 over the other choices, "Spirit" and "Quest", and replacing a prior working nickname, the "Akron Blast." "Blast" had been chosen in honor of Akron-born astronaut Judith Resnik (who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster), but changed when many misinterpreted it.[2]

1997–2013

Opening Day on April 10, 1997, marked the debut of the Akron Aeros. With 9,086 fans in attendance, the Aeros and Harrisburg Senators played the first game at Canal Park. The Aeros went on to finish the season with a record of 51–90. Despite the last place record, the team drew a Double-A league-leading 473,272 fans to Canal Park that season.

In the 1998 season, the Aeros put together a 30-game "worst-to-first" turnaround; after finishing the prior year 34½ games back, they proceeded to win the Southern Division that season by 8½ games. However, after losing in the playoffs that year, it would be three more years until the Aeros found their way back to the postseason.

On September 6, 1999, the Aeros set an Eastern League attendance record for three straight seasons and once again led all Double-A teams after 522,459 fans attended Canal Park in 1999.[2]

In 2002, the team posted a 93–48 record, the third-highest win total in the Eastern League in 50 years. They built on that success and finally won two league championships (their first since moving to Ohio) in 2003 and 2005. In 2006, the Aeros again posted the best regular-season record in the league, but lost the playoff title to Portland after taking the series to a deciding fifth game.

From 2005 to 2008, the Aeros advanced to the Eastern League Championship Series. Although the Aeros won the ELCS in 2005, they were defeated in three consecutive trips from 2006 to 2008.

In 2009, the Aeros again advanced to the league championship and defeated the Connecticut Defenders (three games to one) capping a 95-win season and their third title in the last seven years. Jared Head was named the playoff MVP.

In their first three seasons in Canal Park, the Aeros led all of Double-A in attendance, becoming the first team at that level to draw a half-million fans in a single season.

The team was sold by Mike Agganis to Ken Babby in October 2012.[3]

2014–present

On October 29, 2013, the Akron Aeros officially changed their name to the Akron RubberDucks.[4]

The RubberDucks won their first Eastern League Championship under the new name in 2016, sweeping Trenton 3-0. Akron also hosted the 2016 Eastern League All-Star Game at Canal Park.

Season-by-season results

  • 1997: 51–90 (5th), manager Jeff Datz
  • 1998: 81–60 (1st), manager Joel Skinner • Lost to Harrisburg 3–1 in first round of playoffs
  • 1999: 69–71 (5th), manager Joel Skinner
  • 2000: 75–68 (3rd), manager Eric Wedge
  • 2001: 68–74 (3rd), manager Chris Bando
  • 2002: 93–48 (1st), manager Brad Komminsk • Lost to Harrisburg 3–2 in first round of playoffs
  • 2003: 88–53 (1st), manager Brad Komminsk • Defeated Altoona 3–1 in first round of playoffs; defeated New Haven 3–0 in ELCS
  • 2004: 63–78 (5th), manager Brad Komminsk
  • 2005: 84–58 (1st), manager Torey Lovullo • Defeated Altoona 3–2 in first round of playoffs; defeated Portland 3–1 in ELCS
  • 2006: 87–55 (1st), manager Tim Bogar • Defeated Altoona 3–2 in first round of playoffs; lost to Portland 3–2 in ELCS
  • 2007: 80–61 (2nd), manager Tim Bogar • Defeated Erie 3–1 in first round of playoffs; lost to Trenton 3–1 in ELCS
  • 2008: 80–62 (2nd), manager Mike Sarbaugh • Defeated Bowie 3–1 in first round of playoffs; lost to Trenton 3–1 in ELCS
  • 2009: 89–53 (1st), manager Mike Sarbaugh • Defeated Reading 3–0 in first round of playoffs; defeated Connecticut 3–1 in ELCS
  • 2010: 71–71 (4th), manager Joel Skinner
  • 2011: 73–69 (4th), manager Chris Tremie
  • 2012: 82-59 (1st), manager Chris Tremie • Defeated Baysox 3–2 in first round of playoffs; defeated Trenton 3–1 in ELCS
  • 2013: 68-73 (5th), manager Edwin Rodriguez
  • 2014: 73-69 (2nd), manager Dave Wallace
  • 2015: 73-69 (4th), manager Dave Wallace
  • 2016: 77-64 (1st), manager Dave Wallace • Defeated Altoona 3–1 in first round of playoffs; defeated Trenton 3-0 in ELCS
  • 2017: 69-71 (3rd), manager Mark Budzinski
  • 2018: 78-62 (2nd), manager Tony Mansolino • Defeated Altoona 3–1 in first round of playoffs; lost to New Hampshire 3–0 in ELCS

Note: Place indicates finish in Eastern League's Northern Division from 1980 to 1982; in divisionless Eastern League from 1983 to 1993; in Eastern League's Southern Division from 1994 to 2009; in Eastern League's Western Division since 2010.

Notoriety

Over the off-season between the 2010–2011 season, the Aeros received national attention after introducing a number of new promotions as well as menu items at Canal Park. The team was featured in a segment titled "Back in Black" during The Daily Show performed by comedian Lewis Black. In the segment, Black talks about several of the menu items including The "Three Dog Night" consisting of a hot dog in a Bratwurst in a Kielbasa, and "The Nice to Meat You Burger". The food was also covered by CNBC Sports Financial Analyst Darren Rovell.

For the 2016 season, several different promotions were announced, including (but not limited to) Thirsty Thursdays, Star Wars Night on May 4, Shooter McGavin Bobblehead Night, and An action-filled two days for the Eastern League All-Star Game.

Media

Several outlets throughout Northeast Ohio cover the RubberDucks including SportsTime Ohio, as do all four Cleveland television stations. In print, the RubberDucks are covered by Akron News Now (a website run by radio group, Rubber City Radio), and longtime standard The Akron Beacon Journal

Games are broadcast over WARF-AM Fox Sports 1350. Jim Clark, in his 25th year in 2017, as well as Minnesota-native broadcaster Marco LaNave call play by play.

Attendance

On August 12, 2017, the RubberDucks reported their highest single-game attendance since rebranding of 8,396 fans.[5]

Season Total attendance League rank Total openings Average attendance per opening Average attendance per Eastern League opening
1997 473,232 1st 67 7,063 4,260
1998 521,122 1st 70 7,445 4,334
1999 522,459 1st 69 7,572 4,954
2000 481,060 1st 66 7,289 4,147
2001 485,582 1st 69 7,037 4,294
2002 400,187 3rd 67 5,973 4,284
2003 445,603 2nd 67 6,651 4,128
2004 478,611 1st 68 7,038 4,399
2005 455,056 2nd 66 6,894 4,468
2006 412,995 3rd 65 6,354 4,353
2007 355,376 6th 64 5,553 4,831
2008 342,816 7th 67 5,117 4,570
2009 316,836 6th 68 4,659 4,612
2010 261,563 9th 69 3,791 4,796
2011 266,265 9th 68 3,916 4,868
2012 256,473 9th 68 3,772 4,669
2013 295,459 7th 70 4,221 4,616
2014 350,704 4th 68 5,157 4,609
2015 340,916 6th 68 5,013 4,579
2016 350,077 4th 69 5,074 4,259
2017 343,351 6th 66 5,202 4,773
2018 344,754 6th 68 4,996 4,793

Roster

Akron RubberDucks roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

  • 22 Li-Jen Chu Injury icon 2.svg
  • 11 Gianpaul Gonzalez
  •  9 Logan Ice

Infielders

Outfielders

  • 38 Trenton Brooks
  •  7 Alex Call
  • 39 Oscar Gonzalez
  • 30 Mitch Longo
  • 16 Connor Marabell

Manager

Coaches

  • 27 Tony Arnold (pitching)
  • 28 Juan de la Cruz (bench)
  •  2 Justin Toole (hitting)

Injury icon 2.svg 7-day injured list
* On Cleveland Indians 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated August 8, 2019
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • Eastern League
Cleveland Indians minor league players

See also

References

  1. ^ "Webster is Name of New RubberDucks Mascot". Akron Beacon Journal. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Akron Aeros History
  3. ^ "Ken Babby takes over Aeros with fan experience a priority no name changes in plan". Akron Beacon Journal website. October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  4. ^ Hill, Benjamin (29 October 2013). "You're the one: Akron RubberDucks". MiLB.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Lugo throws a gem in Ducks win, 1-0". Akron RubberDucks. Minor League Baseball. August 12, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2017.

External links

Main
Baseball Cube
Baseball Reference
BR Bullpen
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