|Toledo Mud Hens|
(1896–1914, 1916–1952, 1965–present)
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Triple-A East (2021–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Detroit Tigers (1987–present)|
|Previous teams||Since 1965:|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (4)||Since 1965:|
|Division titles (7)||Since 1965:|
|Name||Toledo Mud Hens|
|Colors||Navy, red, white, gold|
|Mascots||Muddy and Muddonna|
|Ballpark||Fifth Third Field (2002–present)|
|Ned Skeldon Stadium (1965–2001)|
|Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club|
|General Manager||Erik Ibsen|
The Toledo Mud Hens are a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A East and the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They are located in Toledo, Ohio, and play their home games at Fifth Third Field. A Mud Hens team has played in Toledo for most seasons since 1896, including a 50-year history as a member of the now defunct American Association. The current franchise was established in 1965, and through 2020 the team competed in the International League; they joined Triple-A East in 2021.
Professional baseball had been played off and on in Toledo since 1883, and the Mud Hens era began in 1896 with the "Swamp Angels", who played in the Interstate League. They played in Bay View Park, which was outside the Toledo city limits and therefore not covered by the city's blue laws. The park was located near marshland inhabited by American coots, also known as "mud hens." For this reason, the local press soon dubbed the team the "Mud Hens"—a nickname that has stuck to Toledo baseball teams for all but a few years since. After only one season, the team moved to Armory Park.
A Mud Hens team played in the Interstate League from 1896 through 1900, then the Western Association in 1901, the American Association from 1902 through 1913, and the Southern Michigan League in 1914.: 95 The team used the Swamp Angels nickname during 1901. No team was fielded in 1915.
The team resumed play in the American Association in 1916 as the Iron Men, a nickname they used through 1918. The Mud Hens name returned in 1919, and the team competed in the American Association until 1952.
Mid-season in 1952, team owner Danny Menendez moved the Mud Hens to Charleston, West Virginia, where they competed as the Charleston Senators through 1960. Toledo fielded a replacement franchise in the American Association from 1953 to 1955, the Toledo Sox, which was the former Milwaukee Brewers minor-league team. That franchise subsequently moved to Wichita, Kansas, for the 1956 season, where it competed as the Wichita Braves through 1958.
In 1965, the Richmond Virginians franchise of the International League moved to Toledo and became the current incarnation of the Mud Hens. They were based in Maumee, Ohio, at the converted Fort Miami Fairgrounds. The local ownership group led by Ned Skeldon signed with the New York Yankees to be its top farm team.
In 1967, the Detroit Tigers replaced the Yankees as its major league affiliate. That year, the team was third in the league but claimed the Governors' Cup via the four-team playoff. The next year, the team won a record 83 games and the league pennant, but failed to repeat as Cup winners. The team was affiliated with Detroit through 1973. In 1974 and 1975, the Philadelphia Phillies affiliated with the Mud Hens, followed by two years affiliated with Cleveland Indians. All four seasons were losing seasons.: 77
The Minnesota Twins took over as the team's major league affiliate in 1978 and brought in Gene Cook as general manager, who was good at promoting the team, particularly as a family event. Cook also got Jamie Farr to incorporate the Mud Hens in Farr's M*A*S*H character's background.: 77 The Twins affiliation lasted through the 1986 season. The Mud Hens resumed their affiliation with the Tigers in 1987, and have remained in the Detroit organization since then.
Records of the five most recently completed Toledo Mud Hens seasons are listed below.
|2015||61||83||.424||4th in IL West||Did not qualify|
|2016||68||76||.472||4th in IL West||Did not qualify|
|2017||70||71||.496||3rd in IL West||Did not qualify|
|2018||73||66||.525||1st in IL West||Lost Governors' Cup Semi-finals|
|2019||66||74||.471||T-2nd in IL West||Did not qualify|
|5-Year Record||338||370||.477||1 Division Title||0 League Titles|
7-day injured list
Mud Hens players who were later inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame include:
Mud Hens players who were selected as MLB All-Stars during their careers include:
- Steve Avery
- Nicholas Castellanos
- Tony Clark
- Pat Dobson
- Ed Farmer
- Travis Fryman
- Freddy García
- Curtis Granderson
- Shane Greene
- Marv Grissom
- Carlos Guillén
- Mike Henneman
- Willie Hernández
- John Hudek
- Omar Infante
- Gregg Jefferies
- Thornton Lee
- José Lima
- Mike Marshall
- J. D. Martinez
- Víctor Martínez
- Bobby Murcer
- Joe Nathan
- Phil Nevin
- Jeff Newman
- Joe Niekro
- Dean Palmer
- Lance Parrish
- Carlos Peña
- Dick Radatz
- Mark Redman
- Fernando Rodney
- Kenny Rogers
- Max Scherzer
- Rip Sewell
- Vern Stephens
- Dizzy Trout
- José Valverde
- Justin Verlander
- Frank Viola
- Dixie Walker
- Gary Ward
- Scott Williamson
- Dontrelle Willis
- Dmitri Young
- Al Zarilla
Mud Hens players who later managed MLB teams include:
Other Mud Hens players of specific notoriety include:
- Billy Beane, three-time Sporting News Executive of the Year and subject of Moneyball
- Moe Berg, spy for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II
- Ralph Schwamb, convicted murderer
- Jim Thorpe, two-time Olympic gold medal winner and inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame
In popular culture
- M*A*S*H character Maxwell Klinger (played by Jamie Farr) hailed from Toledo and often mentioned the Mud Hens as his favorite baseball team throughout the series. He was often seen wearing a Toledo Mud Hens cap (which bears a strong resemblance to a Texas Rangers cap). In fact, Klinger feels so strongly about the Mud Hens that he gets put on KP duty for a month when he punches his arch nemesis, Sgt. Zelmo Zale, who insulted the Mud Hens. Like Klinger, Farr was born and raised in Toledo, and the Mud Hens retired jersey No. 1 in Farr's honor.
- The title character of the comic strip Crankshaft was a pitcher for the Mud Hens just before World War II when he enlisted in the Army. He invariably wears a Mud Hens cap in the strip, and reminisces often about his playing days. In the summer of 2016 the Mud Hens retired jersey No. 13 in Crankshaft's honor.
- Lou Brown, the fictional manager of the Cleveland Indians in the film Major League, was said to have managed in Toledo for 30 years prior to managing the Indians.
- Richard Pryor's character, Montgomery Brewster, in the 1985 film Brewster's Millions was said to have previously pitched for the Mud Hens.
- The Melissa & Joey character Joe Longo (played by Joey Lawrence) is a Mud Hens fan and claims they win every single time he goes to the game with his foam finger. In Season 3, Episode 21 "Plus One", Mel Hart (played by Melissa Joan Hart) gets tickets right behind first base for Joe. They both end up at the game later in the episode.
- The Toledo Baseball Guide of the Mud Hens 1883–1943, Ralph Elliott Lin Weber, 1944.
- "Toledo, Ohio Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
- Husman, John (2003). Baseball in Toledo. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738523275.
- The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball. Lloyd Johnson & Miles Wolff, editors (Third ed.). Baseball America. 2007. ISBN 1932391177.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Whiteford, Mike (August 17, 2019). "Out of nowhere in 1952, Charleston had a chance for Class AAA baseball". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
- Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
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