Bluefield Blue Jays
Bluefield Blue Jays|
Founded in 1937
Bluefield, West Virginia
|Current||Advanced Rookie (1963–present)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Appalachian League (1946–1955, 1957–present)|
|Mountain State League (1937–1942)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Toronto Blue Jays (2011–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (14)||
|Division titles (11)||
|Nickname||Bluefield Blue Jays (2011–present)|
|Ballpark||Bowen Field (1946–1955, 1957–present)|
|Bluefield Baseball Club, Inc.|
|General Manager||Jeff Gray|
The Bluefield Blue Jays are a minor league baseball team of the Rookie Appalachian League representing the twin cities of Bluefield, West Virginia, and Bluefield, Virginia, affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. The team plays their home games at Bowen Field, a historic stadium (opened in 1939) in Bluefield's city park. The park, which straddles the West Virginia–Virginia state line, is operated by the West Virginia city; however, Bowen Field lies entirely within Virginia.
On August 28, 2010, Andy MacPhail, then-president of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles announced that Baltimore was ending their affiliation with Bluefield and the Appalachian League, effective at the end of the 2010 Appalachian League season. Bluefield's 53 season affiliation with the Orioles, which lasted from 1958 to 2010, had been the oldest continuous affiliation with the same major league franchise in Minor League Baseball.
The Orioles were sometimes known as the "Baby Birds" or the "Baby O's", a reference to their major league parent club. One of the best known players to have played in Bluefield is Cal Ripken, Jr., who played with Bluefield in 1978 when he was 17 years old. Another famous former Baby Bird is Boog Powell, who played there in 1959, also as a 17-year-old.
Bluefield became an affiliate organization with Toronto for the 2011 season.
Outfielder Kevin Pillar played for the Bluefield Blue Jays in 2011, and batted .347, winning the Appalachian League batting title and leading the organization in batting average. He holds the team's all-time records for batting average, on-base percentage (.377), and slugging percentage (.534). In August 2013, Pillar became the first Bluefield Blue Jays alumnus to play in the major leagues for Toronto.
- 2013: Lost to Pulaski 2-0 in semifinals.
- 2011: Defeated Elizabethton 2-1 in semifinals; lost to Johnson City 2-0 in finals.
- 2002: Lost to Bristol 2-1 in finals.
- 2001: Defeated Elizabethton 2-1 to win championship.
- 1997: Defeated Pulaski 2-0 to win championship.
- 1996: Defeated Kingsport 2-1 to win championship.
- 1995: Lost to Kingsport 2-1 in finals.
- 1992: Defeated Elizabethton 2-1 to win championship.
Bluefield Blue Jays roster
- "Blue Jays fly into Bluefield to replace the Orioles". Bluefield Daily Telegraph. September 7, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
- "Orioles leaving Bluefield". Bluefield Daily Telegraph. August 28, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Orioles out of Bluefield". Orioles Insider: Baltimore Sun. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Eric Sondheimer (November 9, 2011). "Baseball: Ex-Chaminade player Kevin Pillar to receive honor". latimes.com. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "2013 Prospect Watch". mlb.com. May 24, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "2012 Bluefield Blue Jays Media Guide". Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Official Site of Minor League Baseball – Bluefield Blue Jays Homepage
- Bluefield Blue Jays at Appalachian League site
- Announcement of Blue Jays replacing the Orioles