Founded in 2001
|Current||Single A (2001–present)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||South Atlantic League (2001–present)|
|Division||Southern Division (2009–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Kansas City Royals (2013–present)|
|Previous||Houston Astros (2001–2012)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (1)||2001|
|Division titles (1)||2001|
|Nickname||Lexington Legends (2001–present)|
|Ballpark||Whitaker Bank Ballpark (2001–present)|
|William Shea / Ivy Walls Management|
The Lexington Legends is a Minor League Baseball team in the South Atlantic League (SAL), and the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The team is located in Lexington, Kentucky, and plays its home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, located in a commercial area on the northeast side of the city just inside New Circle Road. The team's mascot is "Big L", a mustachioed baseball player.
The Houston Astros moved their high Class-A team, the Kissimmee Cobras, out of the Florida State League to Lexington following the 2000 season. The 2001 season began under the guidance of manager Joe Cannon. That year, the team finished the regular season with an overall record of 92 wins and 48 losses; this was the best record in the sixteen team South Atlantic League. In the postseason, the Legends defeated the Hagerstown Suns in the first round and advanced to play the Asheville Tourists in the League Championship Series. The series, however, was cancelled due to the September 11 attacks and the Legends and Tourists were declared Co-League Champions.
Cannon returned to manage in 2002 and led the team to another winning season. The Legends narrowly missed advancing to playoffs that season. Lexington made a return trip to the playoffs in 2003, but were defeated by the Lake County Captains in the first round.
In 2004, the Legends finished with a record of 68-72, the first losing record in team history. They returned to their winning ways in 2005 when manager Tim Bogar led the way to an overall 81-58 regular season record, an SAL best.
On May 31, 2006, it was announced that Roger Clemens would be coming out of retirement for the third time to pitch for the Houston Astros for the remainder of the 2006 season. Planning to keep himself to a strict 60-pitch limit, Clemens returned to baseball with the Legends where his oldest son, Koby, played. Father and son quashed reports that Koby would catch his dad for the return. "He doesn't listen to me", Roger Clemens said. "We'd be shaking each other off and arguing too much." He threw 62 pitches, allowed no walks, and only 1 run while striking out 6 batters in three innings of work with the Legends, who won the game, 5–1.
The team came into the national spotlight for a second time as a result of events that occurred during a game with the Asheville Tourists on June 25, 2006. In the fifth inning of that game, Tourists manager Joe Mikulik went on an extended tirade after being ejected from the game following an argument with an umpire. The event received coverage on various television programs including NBC's The Tonight Show, ESPN's Pardon the Interruption and SportsCenter, and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Roger Clemens' appearance as a Legend as well as Joe Mikulik's meltdown are chronicled in the 2011 documentary film Legendary: When Baseball Came to the Bluegrass.
The Legends experienced three straight losing seasons from 2007 to 2009. In 2007, the team finished in 13th place overall, the second worst finish in team history in the South Atlantic League with 59 wins and 81 losses. In 2008, the team finished in 15th place overall, the worst finish in team history, in the South Atlantic League with 45 wins and 93 losses. The 2009 Legends compiled a 68–72 record. In 2010, Lexington finished the season with a 71–68 record, good for fourth place in the division.
Season by season results
Since its inception in Lexington, Kentucky, the Lexington Legends franchise has played 13 seasons (all in the South Atlantic League). As of the completion of the 2015 season, the club has played in 2,084 regular season games and compiled a win–loss record of 1,026–1,058; this equates to a .492 winning percentage. The team has a postseason win–loss record of 4–4.
|Season||Manager||Record[a]||Win %||League[b]||Division[c]||GB[d]||Post-season record[e]||Post-season win %||Result||MLB affiliate|
|Joe Cannon||92–48||.657||1st||1st||–||4–0||1.000||Won first round vs Hagerstown Suns, 2–0|
Led Asheville Tourists 2–0 in League Championship Series
Declared Co-League Champions[f]
|Russ Nixon||75–63||.543||7th||2nd||25||0–2||.000||Lost first round vs Lake County Captains, 0–2||Houston|
|Jack Lind||75–63||.543||5th||3rd||8½||0–2||.000||Lost first round vs Lakewood BlueClaws, 0–2||Houston|
|2013||Brian Buchanan||68–70||.493||8th||6th/4th||9.5/10||–||–||–||Kansas City|
|2014||Brian Buchanan||57-83||.407||11th||6th/6th||17/20.5||–||–||–||Kansas City|
|2015||Omar Ramirez||58-80||.420||12th||6th||26.5||–||–||–||Kansas City|
- a This column indicates overall wins and losses during the regular season and excludes any postseason play.
- b This column indicates overall position in the league standings.
- c This column indicates overall position in the divisional standings[split seasons for 2013 and 2014].
- d Determined by finding the difference in wins plus the difference in losses divided by two, this column indicates "games behind" the team that finished in overall first place in the division [split seasons for 2013 and 2014].
- e This column indicates wins and losses during the postseason.
- f Due to the September 11 attacks, the 2001 best-of-five League Championship Series against Asheville was cancelled. Asheville and Lexington were declared SAL Co-Champions.
Lexington Legends roster
Legends Hall of Fame
- Josh Anderson, outfielder in 2004, inducted in 2005
- John Buck, catcher in 2001, inducted in 2005
- Joe Cannon, manager from 2001 to 2002, inducted in 2006
- Félix Escalona, second baseman in 2001, inducted in 2005
- Mike Gallo, pitcher in 2002, inducted in 2007
- Kirk Saarloos, pitcher in 2001, inducted in 2006
- David Coggin, pitcher in 2005, inducted in 2008
- Alan Stein, Team President/COO, inducted in 2005
- Charley Taylor, pitching coach, inducted in 2005
- Jon Topolski, outfielder in 2001, inducted in 2005
- Tommy Whiteman, shortstop from 2001 to 2002, inducted in 2007
- Bailey, Rick "Pitch and catch at the park, Clemens style FATHER, SON 'GET AT IT' IN 90-MINUTE SESSION." Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved on June 2, 2006.
- "Lexington Legends Switching Major League Affiliation" WLEX-TV 18. Retrieved on September 19, 2012
- "Lexington Legends Hall of Fame." Minor League Baseball. Retrieved on September 11, 2010.