The Daytona Tortugas are a minor league baseball team based in Daytona Beach, Florida. The team plays in the Florida State League (FSL). They are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball. The team plays at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark; opened in 1914, the park seats 5,100 fans. In 2015, the inaugural season of Tortugas baseball, Daytona finished with a 77-58 record and won the Florida State League North Division Championship with a two-game sweep of the Clearwater Threshers in the first round of the playoffs.
The club was previously known as the Daytona Cubs from 1993 to 2014 when the team was an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The team has won six Florida State League championships: in 1995, 2000, 2004 (co-champions with the Tampa Yankees), 2008, 2011 and 2013. Their sixth FSL Championship came over the Charlotte Stone Crabs, winning 3–1 in a best-of-five series.
Founded in 1993
Daytona Beach, Florida
|Current||Class A-Advanced (1993–present)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Florida State League (1993–present)|
|Division||North Division (2010–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Cincinnati Reds (2015–present)|
|Previous||Chicago Cubs (1993–2014)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (6)|
|Division titles (9)|
*Co-champions Tampa Yankees
|Daytona Cubs (1993–2014)|
|Ballpark||Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark (1993–present)|
|Melching Field at Conrad Park (2004)|
(Interim home due to damage from Hurricane Charley)
|Tortugas Baseball Club, LLC|
|General Manager||Jim Jaworski|
The last Florida State League (FSL) baseball team to play in Daytona Beach, was known as the Daytona Beach Admirals, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. In September 1987, the White Sox decided to move their Class A affiliate to Sarasota. This left Daytona without a major league player development contract, resulting in the Admirals' owner selling the team to the New York Mets. The Mets moved the team to Port St. Lucie to become the St. Lucie Mets. Daytona did not have professional baseball for five years after the move.
Prior to 1993, the Chicago Cubs were affiliated with the Winston Salem Warthogs, a Class A team that played in the Carolina League. At the end of the 1992 season, the Cubs decided to move their Class A affiliate to Florida. The Florida State League originally assigned the transplanted Cubs team to play at Baseball City Stadium in Davenport. However, Jordan Kobritz, the new owner and general manager of the minor league franchise, wanted the team to play in Daytona Beach instead. Negotiations to bring the Cubs to Daytona Beach went on for a couple of months and were completed just in time to start the new season.
The Daytona Cubs opened their first season on the road, sweeping the Vero Beach Dodgers, two games to zero. The home opener was scheduled for April 12. Jackie Robinson Ballpark was sold out on opening night. Chelsea Clinton, President Clinton's daughter, was invited to Daytona to throw the opening pitch. The young Ms. Clinton could not attend due to a family medical emergency, and Daytona Beach Mayor Larry Kelly and FSL President Chuck Murphy threw the ceremonial opening pitches instead. The Cubs' public address announcer led fans in singing "Go, Cubs, Go", although with slightly altered lyrics (substituting "Daytona" for "Chicago"). The Daytona Cubs won their home opener 5-2 against the Sarasota White Sox, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox who left Daytona Beach five years earlier.
After the 2014 season, the Cubs ended their affiliation with Daytona, and signed a new contract with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League. Daytona reached an agreement with the Cincinnati Reds following the 2014 season, and announced the team would be rebranded with a new name with a "local angle" in 2015. They chose the name "Tortugas".
On June 3, 2015, Big Game Florida, LLC, headed by Andy Rayburn, sold the team to Tortugas Baseball Club, LLC, headed by Reese Smith III with partners Bob Fregolle and Rick French. Smith plans to keep the team in Daytona.
|Division and League Champions
|87–48||.644||1st||1st||—||3–2||.600||Clinched Eastern Division title|
Won FSL Championship vs Fort Myers Miracle, 3–2
|76–63||.547||5th||2nd||5||5–0||1.000||Won Eastern Division title vs St. Lucie Mets, 2–0|
Won FSL Championship vs Dunedin Blue Jays, 3–0
|70–56||.556||4th||2nd||3||2–0||1.000||Won Eastern Division title vs Vero Beach Devil Rays, 2–0|
Declared Co-FSL Champions with Tampa Yankees
|73–59||.553||3rd||1st||—||5–2||.714||Won Eastern Division title vs Palm Beach Cardinals, 2–1|
Won FSL Championship vs Fort Myers Miracle, 3–1
|76–61||.555||—||1st||—||5–1||.833||Won North Division title vs Dunedin Blue Jays, 2–1|
Won FSL Championship vs St. Lucie Mets, 3–0
|75–51||.595||1st||1st||—||5–1||.833||Won North Division title vs Dunedin Blue Jays, 2–0|
Won FSL Championship vs Charlotte Stone Crabs, 3–1
|67–69||.493||2nd||1st||—||3–3||.500||Won North Division title vs Dunedin Blue Jays, 2–0|
Lost FSL Championship vs Fort Myers Miracle, 3–1
|77–58||.570||2nd||1st||—||3–3||.500||Won North Division title vs Clearwater Threshers, 2–0|
Lost FSL Championship vs Charlotte Stone Crabs, 3–1
|69-66||.511||6th||3rd||7.0||3–4||.428||Won North Division title vs Clearwater Threshers, 2–1|
Lost FSL Championship vs Fort Myers Miracle, 3–1
|Totals||1,776 – 1,740||.505||—||—||—||34–16||.680||9 Division titles, 6 FSL Championships|
The Daytona Tortugas' current, and only, ballpark is Jackie Robinson Ballpark. The venue has experienced several expansions and renovations since its completion in 1914, and currently seats 5,100 spectators.
In 1999, Daytona Cubs' owner and General Manager Jordan Kobritz decided to move a home game to Melching Field at Conrad Park, located in nearby DeLand. This ballpark is the home of the Stetson University Hatters baseball team. Kobritz's goal was to generate some fan interest in the Cubs, in the western part of Volusia County. The game (vs. the St. Petersburg Devil Rays) was played on June 26, 1999. In August 2004, the D-Cubs had to move several games to Melching Field, due to damage to Jackie Robinson Ballpark, caused by Hurricane Charley. The Cubs paid another visit to Melching Field on June 20, 2007, when they played a double-header against the Palm Beach Cardinals. The game was moved this time to benefit a local charity in DeLand, as well as provide another opportunity to showcase the Daytona Cubs to fans in DeLand.
The team's color scheme consists of blue and green. Jerseys and pants for home games are made of white fabric with green trim, while those for road games are made of gray fabric with blue trim. On home jerseys, the word "Tortugas" is scripted across the chest in green. On road jerseys, the word "Daytona" is written across the chest in blue script. The player's number is written on the back in large green characters surrounded by blue.
The team's batting practice uniforms, which double as alternate uniforms, are made green fabric. "Tortugas" is written across the chest in white script, trimmed in blue. There is a Daytona Tortugas logo on the right shoulder. Numbers, in white surrounded by blue, are sewn on the back in block characters.
The official home and road caps were green with Daytona Tortugas logo centered on the front. The batting practice/alternate caps are blue in color, with a white front and blue brim. The alternate Shelldon head logo is in the center of the cap. A green belt is typically worn.
From 1993 to 2014 as the Cubs, the team's color scheme consisted of red, white, and blue, the same colors used by the Chicago Cubs. The uniforms of the Daytona Cubs were descendants of the Chicago Cubs' uniforms. Jerseys and pants for home games were made of white fabric with blue pinstripes, while those for road games were made of gray fabric with blue pinstripes. On home jerseys, the Chicago Cubs logo was located on the left chest, and a Daytona Cubs logo was located on the left sleeve. On road jerseys, the word "Daytona" was written across the chest in red script, and a Daytona Cubs logo was present on the left shoulder. The player's number was written on the back in large blue characters surrounded by red. Blue T-shirts of varying sleeve lengths were worn underneath the jerseys. The team's batting practice uniforms, which doubled as alternate uniforms, were made of light blue fabric with white pinstripes. "Daytona" was written across the chest in red script. There was a Daytona Cubs logo on the left shoulder. Numbers, in blue surrounded by red, were sewn on the back in block characters. The official home and road caps were blue with either the Chicago Cubs or Daytona Cubs logo centered on the front. A blue belt was worn on all the different uniforms along with blue ankle-length socks.
A mascot for games was developed from the logo: an anthropomorphic turtle ("Tortuga") named Shelldon. When he is not attending games, Shelldon acts as the team's Goodwill Ambassador, visiting local schools and charity events. Shelldon is green and white, with a blue shell on his back. He sports his white Tortuga jersey almost daily. Daytona Tortuga fans have learned to not get attached to any particular players, since the reward for superior play is to be taken away from Daytona and sent up to a higher farm team. Shelldon has been an adequate substitute to represent the team to the public.
Prior to becoming the Tortugas, the Daytona Cubs originally used a version of the Chicago Cubs emblem. In 1994, the Cubs hired Benedict Advertising, a local marketing firm, to develop a new logo. Benedict's design department created a bear cub wearing sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap.
As a mascot, Cubby first appeared on the field on May 27, 1994. He had brown fur and wore the same style of uniform as the team, but wearing his hat backwards.
Since 2011, the Daytona Tortugas have enjoyed a radio partnership with "The Great Voice of Volusia County", AM 1230 and AM 1490 WSBB, to broadcast all the home and away games on the station. Luke Mauro, the Tortugas Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations, provides the play-by-play coverage.
Local newspaper coverage of the team is provided by The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Four Daytona players have hit for the cycle to date:
Daytona Tortugas roster
7-day injured list
Some Daytona players have distinguished themselves in the Florida State League
Many Daytona players have advanced to play in the major leagues.
Thirteen men have managed Daytona baseball teams since the franchise's inception in 1993. Six managers have guided the team to win the FSL Championship: Dave Trembley (1995), Richie Zisk (2000), Steve McFarland (2004), Jody Davis (2008), Buddy Bailey (2011), and Dave Keller (2013). Trembley won 290 games from 1995 to 1996 and 2001 to 2002, placing him first on the all-time wins list for Daytona managers. Having managed the team for 545 games, he is also the longest-tenured manager in team history. The manager with the highest winning percentage over a full season or more is Steve McFarland (.556). Conversely, the lowest winning percentage over a season or more is .429 by the team's first manager, Bill Hays. Buddy Bailey managed his first Daytona game in 2006, was replaced as manager following the season but returned to Daytona in 2009. Eli Marrero managed the Tortugas from 2015 to 2017. Former shortstop Ricky Gutierrez, who won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and was the Tortugas bench coach in 2017, was named the team’s full-time manager for the 2018 season.
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|World Series Championships (5)|
|National League pennants (9)|
|AA pennants (1)|
|Division titles (10)|
|Minor league affiliates|