The Louisville Bats are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Louisville, Kentucky. They play in the International League as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Bats play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field which opened in 2000. The team previously played at Old Cardinal Stadium from 1982 to 1999.
The Bats began play as the Louisville Redbirds as members of the Triple-A American Association in 1982. They became the Louisville RiverBats when they joined the International League in 1998. Louisville won the American Association championship in 1984, 1985, and 1995 as the top affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Their lone International League championship was won in 2001 with Cincinnati.
Founded in 1982
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||International League (1998–present)|
|American Association (1982–1997)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Cincinnati Reds (2000–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (4)|
|Division titles (8)|
|Nickname||Louisville Bats (2002–present)|
|Colors||Red, navy, white|
|Ballpark||Louisville Slugger Field (2000–present)|
|MC Sports Acquisition LLC|
In 1982, the St. Louis Cardinals moved their Triple-A team of the American Association, the Redbirds, from Springfield, Illinois, to Louisville, Kentucky. From the time the Redbirds arrived until the 1999 season, they played their home games at Cardinal Stadium (formally called Fairgrounds Stadium), located at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which seated over 30,000 people, (with the largest quoted as 34,330). During their inaugural 1982 season, the Redbirds broke the minor league attendance record by drawing 868,418 fans. In 1983, the Redbirds were the first minor league team to draw over one million fans in a single season (1,052,438). The Redbirds' success during the 1980s led to some speculation that Louisville could be a potential market for Major League Baseball expansion; however this did not come to pass.
In 1998, the American Association disbanded and its teams moved to either the International League or the Pacific Coast League. Louisville joined the International league and rebranded as the Louisville RiverBats. They became the top farm club of the Milwaukee Brewers for 1998 and 1999 after St. Louis has switched their Triple-A affiliation to the Memphis Redbirds.
The RiverBats became the Triple-A team for the Cincinnati Reds in 2000. They also left Cardinal Stadium for Louisville Slugger Field, a new stadium in downtown Louisville, seating 13,131 with a more intimate baseball setting than their previous ballpark. Spectators enter the stadium through the restored "train shed" building, which was formerly the Brinly-Hardy Co. warehouse. The team's attendance was about 685,000 in the first season of Louisville Slugger Field and 663,961 the following year.
In 2002, the team dropped the word "River" from its name and became simply known as the Louisville Bats. While the logo and mascot consist of the winged mammal, the bat is also synonymous with the Louisville Slugger baseball bat.
Traditionally one of the top-drawing minor league teams, the Bats' attendance in 2011 was second of all minor league teams with an average of 8,716 per game.
|1982||American Association||Cardinals||73–62||2nd (tie)||Joe Frazier|
|1983||American Association||Cardinals||78–57||1st||Jim Fregosi||Lost League Championship|
|1984||American Association||Cardinals||79–76||4th (tie)||Jim Fregosi||American Association Champs|
|1985||American Association||Cardinals||74–68||1st||Jim Fregosi||American Association Champs|
|1986||American Association||Cardinals||64–78||4th||Jim Fregosi; Dyar Miller; Dave Bialas|
|1987||American Association||Cardinals||78–62||2nd||Mike Jorgensen||Lost in semifinals|
|1988||American Association||Cardinals||63–79||4th||Mike Jorgensen|
|1989||American Association||Cardinals||71–74||4th||Mike Jorgensen|
|1990||American Association||Cardinals||74–72||3rd||Gaylen Pitts|
|1991||American Association||Cardinals||51–92||4th||Mark DeJohn|
|1992||American Association||Cardinals||73–70||3rd||Jack Krol; Mark Riggins|
|1993||American Association||Cardinals||68–76||3rd||Jack Krol; Mark Riggins|
|1994||American Association||Cardinals||74–68||4th||Joe Pettini||Lost in semifinals|
|1995||American Association||Cardinals||74–70||4th||Joe Pettini||American Association Champs|
|1996||American Association||Cardinals||60–84||4th||Joe Pettini|
|1997||American Association||Cardinals||58–85||4th||Gaylen Pitts|
|1998||International League||Brewers||77–67||1st||Gary Allenson||Lost in semifinals|
|1999||International League||Brewers||63–81||11th||Gary Allenson|
|2000||International League||Reds||71–73||9th||Dave Miley|
|2001||International League||Reds||84–60||3rd||Dave Miley||League Champions|
|2002||International League||Reds||79–65||6th||Dave Miley|
|2003||International League||Reds||79–64||2nd||Dave Miley; Rick Burleson||Lost in semifinals|
|2004||International League||Reds||67–77||10th||Rick Burleson|
|2005||International League||Reds||66–78||11th||Rick Sweet|
|2006||International League||Reds||75–68||6th||Rick Sweet|
|2007||International League||Reds||74–70||7th||Rick Sweet|
|2008||International League||Reds||88–56||1st (tie)||Rick Sweet||Lost in semifinals|
|2009||International League||Reds||84–58||1st||Rick Sweet||Lost in semifinals|
|2010||International League||Reds||79–64||3rd||Rick Sweet||Lost in semifinals|
|2011||International League||Reds||73–71||8th||Rick Sweet|
|2012||International League||Reds||51–93||14th||David Bell|
|2013||International League||Reds||69–75||9th||Jim Riggleman|
|2014||International League||Reds||68–75||12th||Jim Riggleman|
|2015||International League||Reds||64–80||11th||Delino DeShields|
|2016||International League||Reds||71–73||6th||Delino DeShields|
|2017||International League||Reds||56–86||13th||Delino DeShields|
|2018||International League||Reds||61–76||15th||Dick Schofield|
The Bats have once won the Governors' Cup—the championship of the IL—and twice played in the championship series.
Note: The Bats were ahead 1-0 in the championship series when the September 11, 2001, attacks occurred. The league canceled the rest of the series and declared the Bats the champions, thus the series was reduced to being a championship game.
Under Jim Fregosi's leadership from 1983 to 1986, the Redbirds won the American Association title in 1984 and 1985, and were the league runner-up in 1983, when they won the Eastern Division. The team later won another championship in 1995.
From 2002 until 2016, the Bats had a black-and-purple color scheme, with a stylized bat and the team name across the front, in white. In 2016, the team updated its color scheme to red and navy blue, dropping its former colors. Additionally, the rebranding updated the logo to show a front-facing abstraction depicting a flying bat in front of a baseball moon while gripping a baseball bat in its talons. The update is the first rebranding since the team dropped the word "River" from its name and added the former color scheme.
The Bats have retired one number in honor of a former player in the franchise, number 8, which belonged to catcher Corky Miller, who at the time of his retirement held the franchise record for number of games played. In addition, the Bats have also retired the number 1 for Louisville native and Hall of Famer Harold "Pee Wee" Reese, and the number 42 in honor of his teammate on the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson (whose number was retired across all of Major League Baseball in 1997).
This list contains former Louisville players who have played in at least 100 games in the major leagues:
Listed below are the MLB broadcasting jobs that former Bats broadcasters have held since leaving the Bats
Louisville Bats roster
7-day injured list
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|World Series Championships (5)|
|National League pennants (9)|
|AA pennants (1)|
|Division titles (10)|
|Minor league affiliates|
Sports teams based in Kentucky
|Australian rules football|