Founded in 1982
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||International League (1998–present)|
|American Association (1982–1997)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Cincinnati Reds (2000–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (4)||
|Division titles (4)||
|Nickname||Louisville Bats (2002–present)|
Red, navy, white|
|Ballpark||Louisville Slugger Field (2000–present)|
|General Manager||Dale Owens|
The Louisville Bats are an American minor league professional baseball franchise based in Louisville, Kentucky. The Bats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The team, formerly known as the Louisville RiverBats, plays in the International League. The Bats play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field; the naming rights for the stadium were purchased by Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of the famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat.
In 1982, the St. Louis Cardinals switched their Triple-A team of the American Association, the Redbirds, from Springfield, Illinois to Louisville. During the 1982 season, the Louisville Redbirds broke the minor league attendance record by drawing 868,418 fans. In 1983, the Redbirds were the first minor league team to draw over one million fans in a single season (1,052,438). The Redbirds' success during the 1980s led to some speculation that Louisville could be a potential market for Major League Baseball expansion; however this did not come to pass. In 1998, the American Association folded and the teams moved to either the International League or the Pacific Coast League. The league changed and expanded to Memphis and Durham, and the Cardinals shifted their Triple-A affiliation to Memphis, Tennessee and the new Memphis Redbirds not-for-profit franchise. In 1998 and 1999, Louisville was affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers and since 2000 with the Cincinnati Reds.
From the time the Redbirds arrived in 1982 until the 1999 season, they played their home games at Cardinal Stadium (formally called Fairgrounds Stadium), located at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which seated over 30,000, (largest quoted as 34,330) allowing for the broken attendance records. In 1999, when the Redbirds became affiliated with the Brewers, they took the name Louisville RiverBats. In 2000 the team moved to Louisville Slugger Field, a new stadium in downtown Louisville, seating 13,131 with a more intimate baseball setting than at Cardinal Stadium. Spectators enter the stadium through the restored "train shed" building, which was formerly the Brinly-Hardy Co. warehouse. In 2002 the team dropped the word "River" from its name and became simply known as the Louisville Bats. While the logo and mascot consist of the winged mammal, the bat is also synonymous with the Louisville Slugger baseball bat.
The team's attendance was about 685,000 in the first season of Louisville Slugger Field and 663,961 the following year. Traditionally one of the top-drawing minor league teams, the Bats' attendance in 2011 was second of all minor league teams with an average of 8,716 per game.
In 2016, Forbes listed the Bats as the 11th-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $36 million.
The Bats have once won the Governors' Cup—the championship of the IL—and twice played in the championship series.
Note: The Bats were ahead 1-0 in the championship series when the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred. The league canceled the rest of the series and declared the Bats the champions, thus the series was reduced to being a championship game.
Under Jim Fregosi's leadership from 1983 to 1986, the Redbirds won the American Association title in 1984 and 1985, and were the league runner up in 1983, when they won the Eastern Division. The team later won another AA championship in 1995.
|1982||American Association||Cardinals||73-62||2nd (tie)||Joe Frazier|
|1983||American Association||Cardinals||78-57||1st||Jim Fregosi||Lost League Championship|
|1984||American Association||Cardinals||79-76||4th (tie)||Jim Fregosi||American Association Champs|
|1985||American Association||Cardinals||74-68||1st||Jim Fregosi||American Association Champs|
|1986||American Association||Cardinals||64-78||4th||Jim Fregosi; Dyar Miller; Dave Bialas|
|1987||American Association||Cardinals||78-62||2nd||Mike Jorgensen||Lost in semifinals|
|1988||American Association||Cardinals||63-79||4th||Mike Jorgensen|
|1989||American Association||Cardinals||71-74||4th||Mike Jorgensen|
|1990||American Association||Cardinals||74-72||3rd||Gaylen Pitts|
|1991||American Association||Cardinals||51-92||4th||Mark DeJohn|
|1992||American Association||Cardinals||73-70||3rd||Jack Krol; Mark Riggins|
|1993||American Association||Cardinals||68-76||3rd||Jack Krol; Mark Riggins|
|1994||American Association||Cardinals||74-68||4th||Joe Pettini||Lost in semifinals|
|1995||American Association||Cardinals||74-70||4th||Joe Pettini||American Association Champs|
|1996||American Association||Cardinals||60-84||4th||Joe Pettini|
|1997||American Association||Cardinals||58-85||4th||Gaylen Pitts|
|1998||International League||Brewers||77-67||1st||Gary Allenson||Lost in semifinals|
|1999||International League||Brewers||63-81||11th||Gary Allenson|
|2000||International League||Reds||71-73||9th||Dave Miley|
|2001||International League||Reds||84-60||3rd||Dave Miley|
|2002||International League||Reds||79-65||6th||Dave Miley|
|2003||International League||Reds||79-64||2nd||Dave Miley; Rick Burleson||Lost in semifinals|
|2004||International League||Reds||67-77||10th||Rick Burleson|
|2005||International League||Reds||66-78||11th||Rick Sweet|
|2006||International League||Reds||75-68||6th||Rick Sweet|
|2007||International League||Reds||74-70||7th||Rick Sweet|
|2008||International League||Reds||88-56||1st (tie)||Rick Sweet||Lost in semifinals|
|2009||International League||Reds||84-58||1st||Rick Sweet||Lost in semifinals|
|2010||International League||Reds||79-64||3rd||Rick Sweet||Lost in semifinals|
|2011||International League||Reds||73-71||8th||Rick Sweet|
|2012||International League||Reds||51-93||14th||David Bell|
|2013||International League||Reds||69-75||9th||Jim Riggleman|
|2014||International League||Reds||68-75||12th||Jim Riggleman|
|2015||International League||Reds||64-80||11th||Delino DeShields|
|2016||International League||Reds||71-73||6th||Delino DeShields|
The Bats have retired one number, number 8, in honor of catcher Corky Miller.
This list contains former Louisville players who have played in at least 100 games in the major leagues:
- Homer Bailey
- Jay Bruce
- Aroldis Chapman
- Vince Coleman
- Zack Cozart
- Johnny Cueto
- Adam Dunn
- Edwin Encarnación
- Billy Hamilton
- Lance Johnson
- Brian Jordan
- Austin Kearns
- Jeff Keppinger
- Felipe López
- Joe Magrane
- Willie McGee
- Devin Mesoraco
- Corky Miller
- Matt Morris
- Tom Nieto
- Wily Mo Peña
- Terry Pendleton
- Deion Sanders
- Rafael Santana
- José Uribe
- Andy Van Slyke
- Joey Votto
- Todd Zeile
Listed below are the MLB broadcasting jobs that former Bats broadcasters have done since leaving the Bats
- Joe Buck (1989–90), St. Louis Cardinals 1991–2007, MLB on FOX, 1996–present
- Jim Kelch (1989–2009), St. Louis Cardinals fill-in, 1993–97, Cincinnati Reds, fill-in 1998–2009, full-time 2010–present
- Todd Kalas (1991), New York Mets, 1992, Philadelphia Phillies, 1994–96, Tampa Bay Rays, 1998–present
- Mark Neely (1992–94), San Diego Padres, 2009–2011
Louisville Bats roster
- Fischer, Chadwick (November 23, 2015). "Louisville Bats unveil new logos and uniforms". Louisville Bats. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Louisville Bats New Logo Guide" (PDF). Louisville Bats. November 23, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- Klebnikov, Sergei (July 8, 2016). "Minor League Baseball's Most Valuable Teams – 11. Louisville Bats". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- "Baseball, Professional", The Encyclopedia of Louisville, p. 70-73, John E. Kleber, Editor in Chief, ISBN 0-8131-2100-0
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