The Tri-City ValleyCats (often shortened to 'Cats) are a Minor League Baseball team based in Troy, New York. They play in the New York–Penn League (NYPL) as the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Houston Astros Major League Baseball club. The Tri-City name refers to the three nearby cities of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy which make up New York State's Capital District. Beginning play in 2002, the ValleyCats are the Capital Region's longest-tenured professional sports organization. They play their games at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium which opened in 2002 on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. They won the NYPL championship in 2010, 2013, and 2018.
Founded in 2002
Troy, New York
|Current||Class A Short Season|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||New York–Penn League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Houston Astros (2002–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (3)|
|Division titles (8)|
|Nickname||Tri-City ValleyCats (2002–present)|
|Colors||Scarlet, black, tan, silver, white|
|Ballpark||Joseph L. Bruno Stadium (2002–present)|
|General Manager||Matt Callahan|
Prior to their arrival in Troy, the club was based first in Little Falls, New York, as the Little Falls Mets (1977–1988), and then in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as the Pittsfield Mets (1989–2000) and Pittsfield Astros (2001).
The ValleyCats played their first game on the road in Lowell, Massachusetts, on June 18, 2002, against their rival the Lowell Spinners. The Spinners had a 3–1 lead going into the eighth inning, but a triple by Aneudi Cuevas down the right field line drove in three runs leading the ValleyCats to a 5–4 victory.
In their 2006 season, the ValleyCats registered an attendance of 129,126 in 37 contests, averaging 3,489 fans per game. On July 4, 2006, the ValleyCats set a new all-time home attendance mark as 6,123 people attended a game against the Lowell Spinners which was later broken in the following years.
The Valley Cats hosted the fourth annual New York–Penn League All-Star Game at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in 2008. The game was played between teams made up of the affiliates of National League (NL) and American League (AL) teams. The ValleyCats, affiliates of the National League's Houston Astros, were part of the NL squad. Four ValleyCats were voted to play in the game: first baseman Phil Disher, left fielder Jack Shuck, pitcher Philip Rummel, and center fielder Thomas Steele. However, Steele was injured two weeks before the game and was replaced by Tri-City third baseman David Flores. The NL All-Stars won the game on a walk-off RBI by Tri-City's David Flores. Flores was also voted MVP of the game.
On June 21, 2008, pitchers Shane Wolf, David Miller, and Ashton Mowdy combined to throw the first no-hitter in the franchise's history. Wolf is a native of nearby Lansing. The ValleyCats won, 10–0, over the Oneonta Tigers.
On July 4, 2008, The ValleyCats broke their single-game attendance record drawing 6,630 to the ballpark, 2,130 more than the listed capacity. The ValleyCats won, 9–2, against the Jamestown Jammers. The team also set a season attendance record in 2008 with 140,631 fans in attendance despite missing many games due to rain.
The ValleyCats once again broke attendance records in 2009. Their single-game attendance record was broken again on July 4 against the Brooklyn Cyclones. A crowd of 6,838 fans attended the 2–1 ValleyCats loss. They also set a new single season attendance record, attracting 145,976 fans to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium that season. Tri-City finished the season in fourth place in the Stedler Division, 18 games behind first-place Lowell.
After three losing seasons, the ValleyCats finally turned around to be one of the front runners in the Stedler Division. Led by manager Jim Pankovits, they were the underdog in the 2010 NYPL playoffs with a 38–36 record, and having won their division by only a half game over the Connecticut Tigers. They reached the championship series for the third time in their short history, and beat the heavy favorite Brooklyn Cyclones (51–24), two games to none.
The second no-hitter in ValleyCats history was thrown on August 6, 2015. Pitchers Kevin McCanna, Ralph Garza, and Zac Person combined for the road win against the Aberdeen IronBirds at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, 5–0.
The ValleyCats have several mascots, the three most prominent being SouthPaw, his grandfather, Pappy, and his best friend, Ribbie. SouthPaw is a jersey-wearing cat, representing the "ValleyCat", the team's nickname. Another fan-favorite is Sammy Baseball who wears a patriotic costume and resembles Uncle Sam, reputedly derived from Samuel Wilson who operated a meat packing plant in Troy. The Tri-City Mayors, large caricature heads representing the current Mayors of Troy, Albany, and Schenectady, race (and dance) on a nightly basis at the ballpark. Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish mascots participate in a hot dog race. Other mascots include Spiedie the Chicken, Zoggy the Dinosaur, and Rowdy the River Rat, obtained when the Albany River Rats moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.
|2002||Astros||Iván DeJesús||27–48, 4th place Stedler|
|2003||Astros||Iván DeJesús||44–32, 2nd place Stedler|
|2004||Astros||Gregg Langbehn||50–25, 1st place Stedler|
|2005||Astros||Gregg Langbehn||34–42, 3rd place Stedler|
|2006||Astros||Gregg Langbehn||43–31, 1st place Stedler|
|2007||Astros||Pete Rancont||27–47, 4th place Stedler|
|2008||Astros||Pete Rancont||28–45, 4th place Stedler|
|2009||Astros||Jim Pankovits||27–48, 4th place Stedler|
|2010||Astros||Jim Pankovits||38–36, 1st place Stedler|
|2011||Astros||Stubby Clapp||33–42, 3rd place Stedler|
|2012||Astros||Stubby Clapp||51–25, 1st place Stedler|
|2013||Astros||Ed Romero||44–32, 1st place Stedler|
|2014||Astros||Ed Romero||48–28, 1st place Stedler|
|2015§||Astros||Ed Romero||42–33, 1st place Stedler|
|2016||Astros||Lamarr Rogers||38–38, 3rd place Stedler|
|2017||Astros||Morgan Ensberg||34–39, 3rd place Stedler|
|2018||Astros||Jason Bell||42–33, 1st place Stedler|
|NY–Penn League champions ()||NY–Penn League finalists ()||Stedler Division champions (§)||Wild Card winner (*)|
Tri-City ValleyCats roster
7-day injured list
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|League pennants (2)|
|Division titles (9)|
|Wild card titles (3)|
Sports teams based in New York State
(NCAA Division I)