Founded in 1989
|Previous||Short-Season A (1989–1998)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Eastern League (1999–present)|
|New York–Penn League (1989–1998)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Detroit Tigers (2001–present)|
Anaheim Angels (1999–2000)Pittsburgh Pirates (1989–1998)
|Minor league titles|
|Division titles (4)||
|Nickname||Erie SeaWolves (1995–present)|
|Welland Pirates (1989–1994)|
Black, red, white, yellow, gray|
|Ballpark||UPMC Park (1995–present)|
|Welland Stadium (1989–1994)|
|General Manager||Greg Coleman|
The Erie SeaWolves are an American professional baseball team based in Erie, Pennsylvania. They compete in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) as a member of the Eastern League Western Division, serving as the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The team was founded in 1989 and began playing in Erie for the 1995 season. The SeaWolves currently play their home games at UPMC Park in downtown Erie, a part of the Louis J. Tullio Plaza along with Erie Insurance Arena and the Warner Theatre.
The "SeaWolves" name refers to the city's location along Lake Erie as well as their original affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates. "Sea wolf" was a historical epithet for sailors who engaged in piracy. Coincidentally, the "Pirates" moniker originated with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys' pursuit of second-baseman and Erie native, Lou Bierbauer, in 1891. Bierbauer started his career with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, later joining the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders of the newfound Players' League for the 1890 season. When the Players' League folded in 1891, most of the members went back to their former National League or American Association clubs. However, Bierbauer never signed a contract to return to the Athletics, and the Alleghenys were determined to sign him before other teams noticed. Ned Hanlon, manager of the Alleghenys, braved the icy conditions of Erie's Presque Isle peninsula during a snowstorm to commit Bierbauer. When the Athletics learned about this secret deal, they objected to Bierbauer's signing and demanded his return to their club. An official with the American Association also objected to Bierbauer's contract with the Alleghenys, calling their actions "piratical." Yet, the league ruled in favor of the Alleghenys, and they acquired Bierbauer as a free agent. Soon afterward, both players and their fans referred to the team as the "Pittsburgh Pirates." In 1891, the club officially rebranded as the "Pirates," making light of their critics.
HistoryOn June 20, 1995, the Erie SeaWolves defeated the Jamestown Jammers in their inaugural game in Erie. José Guillén, now a Major League Baseball alumnus, hit the decisive home-run for the team. The SeaWolves club started in 1989 as the Welland Pirates, based in Welland, Ontario as a member of the short-season New York–Penn League. The team played at Welland Stadium from 1989 to 1994 and were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. When the Welland Pirates relocated to Erie in 1995, they were rebranded as the "Erie SeaWolves." The relocation of the team from Welland to Erie forced the Frontier League incarnation of the Erie Sailors to relocate to Johnstown, Pennsylvania where they became the Johnstown Steal (this team is now known as the Florence Freedom, based in Florence, Kentucky). Before that, there was another team called the Erie Sailors which played in the New York - Penn League. However, they relocated to Wappingers Falls, New York (becoming the Hudson Valley Renegades) because the team's owner Marvin Goldklang did not upgrade Ainsworth Field to Major League Baseball specifications. Once the civic government secured an $8 million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to build UPMC Park (then known as Jerry Uht Park) the Welland Pirates moved to Erie.
While Erie lacked affiliated baseball in 1994, the city fielded an independent baseball franchise in the Frontier League and reused the "Sailors" name. The SeaWolves succeed various Erie-based baseball franchises, namely every version of the Erie Sailors (the New York–Penn League franchise is now called the State College Spikes).
The SeaWolves served as a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate from 1995 to 1998. In 1999, the Double-A Eastern League added two expansion franchises, with Erie gaining one of them. The team joined the Eastern League after it moved up from the Short-Season A level to the Double-A level. Therefore, the current SeaWolves organization is considered a continuation of the former one even though it changed classes. Minor League Baseball allowed Erie to keep their New York–Penn League records and history as a member of the Eastern League. Subsequently, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers replaced them in the New York-Penn League, which is officially considered an expansion franchise rather than a continuation of the SeaWolves.
When the SeaWolves began play in Erie in 1995, the team was owned by Palisades Baseball. In 2003, Palisades sold the team to Mandalay Baseball Properties, the owner of multiple Minor League Baseball teams including the Dayton Dragons and Frisco RoughRiders. On March 27, 2015, Fernando Aguirre was introduced as the owner of the SeaWolves. Aguirre, the retired CEO and Chairman of Chiquita Brands International, purchased the team from Mandalay Baseball Properties for an undisclosed amount and announced his intent to keep the team in Erie.
Logos and uniforms
The main colors for the Erie SeaWolves are black, red, and white, with minor accents of yellow and gray. The primary logo includes a stylized "pirate wolf" centered over two intersecting baseball bats complete with sword hilts. The wordmark arches in line with the wolf's tricorne in white, black, and yellow. The SeaWolves also have a secondary logo featuring a weathered Jolly Roger on a "bat sword," charged with a red letter "E." This emblem alludes to Erie's nickname, "Flagship City," a reference to the Flagship Niagara that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commanded during his 1813 victory over the British Royal Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie.
The home uniforms include a black cap charged with the "bandanna wolf" logo and white jerseys featuring black piping. The "SeaWolves" wordmark arches across the front in black letters with red outline, and the crossed "bat swords" logo on the left sleeve. The away uniforms feature a gray jersey with black piping, the "Erie" wordmark in red with black outline, and the crossed "bat sword" logo on the left sleeve. The alternate jersey is red with black piping and includes the "Erie" wordmark in white with black outline; the "tricorne wolf" logo occupies the left sleeve. For the 2014 season, the SeaWolves added a black, white, and red panel cap with a black alternate jersey to match. Both include the "pirate wolf" logo. In 2016, the team debuted another alternate cap featuring a black crown with a red bill, charged with the "bandanna wolf" logo.
- Secondary, 2013-present
The Erie SeaWolves' official mascot is an anthropomorphic, gray canidae named C. Wolf. He wears the team's official red alternate jersey with a pirate hat, a red and white bandana, and an eye patch. His friends include Paws (the Detroit Tigers' official mascot) as well as three anthropomorphic sausages from the Erie meat producer, Smith's Provisions: Kenny Kiełbasa, Herbie Hot Dog, and Santino the Italian Sausage. In 2012, the SeaWolves introduced a new mascot named Perry (presumably after Oliver Hazard Perry), a nine-foot inflatable fish, to work alongside C. Wolf. The name was decided in a fan poll.
"Buck Night" is a highly celebrated promotion by the Erie SeaWolves at UPMC Park. It is held several times each season, allowing fans who have paid for reserved seats to purchase specified food items for only $1.00 each. The menu includes hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks, and American-made beer.
The Erie SeaWolves engage in many philanthropic efforts throughout Erie and its surrounding communities. Key team initiatives include UPMC Health Plan Paint the Park Pink Weekend to benefit local cancer charities, Northwest Savings Bank Gloves for Kids equipment drive, and Sensory-Friendly Day at the Ballpark in partnership with the Autism Society of Northwest Pennsylvania. The team also sponsors youth sports and education programs through the SeaWolves Community Fund. On September 16, 2015, the Erie SeaWolves earned the Erie Times-News Commitment to Erie Award for community service by a business with 50 or fewer employees.
Season results in New York–Penn League
|Welland Pirates – 1989 to 1994|
|1989||Pirates||U. L. Washington||32-44, 5th place Stedler|
|1990||Pirates||Jack Lind||36-42, 3rd place Stedler|
|1991||Pirates||Lee Driggers||30-47, 6th place Stedler|
|1992||Pirates||Trent Jewett||31-46, 6th place Stedler|
|1993||Pirates||Larry Smith||35-42, 5th place Stedler|
|1994||Pirates||Jeff Banister||30-44, 4th place Stedler|
|Erie SeaWolves – 1995 to 1998|
|1995||Pirates||Scott Little||34-41, 3rd place Stedler|
|1996||Pirates||Jeff Richardson||30-46, 4th place Stedler|
|1997||Pirates||Marty Brown||50-26, 1st place Stedler|
|1998||Pirates||Tracy Woodson||26-50, 4th place Stedler|
- 1997: Lost to Pittsfield Mets, 2 games to 0, in opening round
Season results in Eastern League
|Erie SeaWolves – 1999 to 2016|
|1999||Angels||Garry Templeton||81-61, 1st place South|
|2000||Angels||Don Wakamatsu||47-94, 6th place South|
|2001||Tigers||Luis Pujols||84-58, 1st place South|
|2002||Tigers||Kevin Bradshaw||52-89, 6th place South|
|2003||Tigers||Kevin Bradshaw||72-70, 3rd place South|
|2004||Tigers||Rick Sweet||80-62, 2nd place South|
|2005||Tigers||Duffy Dyer||63-79, 6th place South|
|2006||Tigers||Duffy Dyer||60-81, 6th place South|
|2007||Tigers||Matt Walbeck||81–59, 1st place South|
|2008||Tigers||Tom Brookens||68–74, 4th place South|
|2009||Tigers||Tom Brookens||71-70, 4th place South|
|2010||Tigers||Phil Nevin||66-76, 6th place West|
|2011||Tigers||Chris Cron||67-75, 5th place West|
|2012||Tigers||Chris Cron||57-84, 6th place West|
|2013||Tigers||Chris Cron||76-66, 2nd place West|
|2014||Tigers||Lance Parrish||71-71, 4th place West|
|2015||Tigers||Lance Parrish||64-78, 6th place West|
|2016||Tigers||Lance Parrish||62-79, 4th place West|
- 1999: Lost to Harrisburg Senators, 3 games to 1, in opening round
- 2001: Lost to Reading Phillies, 3 games to 1, in opening round
- 2004: Lost to Altoona Curve, 3 games to 0, in opening round
- 2007: Lost to Akron Aeros, 3 games to 1, in opening round
- 2013: Lost to Harrisburg Senators, 3 games to 1, in opening round
Erie SeaWolves roster
|Sam Jethroe||Jackie Robinson|
| CF |
Retired by the
on June 6, 2005
| 2B |
on April 15, 1997
- "Double-A Erie updates nautical logo". MiLB.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
- Why is our baseball team called the Pirates? Pittsburgh City Paper, August 14, 2003.
- "Jerry Uth Park". Erie County Convention Center Authority. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
- "Erie SeaWolves relocation rumor rises anew" (PDF). Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "C-Wolf to welcome sidekick other new attractions at Erie SeaWolves home opener". Erie SeaWolves. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "C-Wolf to welcome sidekick other new attractions at Erie SeaWolves home opener". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "Buck Night Package". Erie SeaWolves. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
- "Erie SnapShot: Having fun for less at the Erie SeaWolves' Buck Night". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
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