Fort Myers Miracle

Fort Myers Miracle

Fort Myers Miracle
Founded in 1926
Fort Myers, Florida
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current A-Advanced (1990–present)
Previous
Minor league affiliations
League Florida State League
Division South Division
Major league affiliations
Current Minnesota Twins (1992–present)
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles (6)
  • 1969
  • 1970
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1978
  • 2014
Division titles (3)
  • 1995
  • 2008
  • 2014
  • First Half (4)
    • 2003
    • 2008
    • 2009
    • 2014
  • Second Half (4)
    • 1995
    • 2000
    • 2006
    • 2009
Team data
Nickname Fort Myers Miracle
Previous names
  • Fort Myers Palms (1926)
  • Miami Hustlers (1927-28)
  • Miami Marlins (1962-70) and (1982-88)
  • Miami Orioles (1971-81)
  • Miami Miracle (1989-91)
Colors Navy, Red, White
              
Ballpark Hammond Stadium (1992–Present)
Previous parks
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
SJS Beacon/
Goldklang Group
Manager Jeff Smith
General Manager Andrew Seymour

The Fort Myers Miracle is the Class A Advanced minor league baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball club, based in Fort Myers, Florida and currently managed by Jeff Smith. Home games are played at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Hammond Stadium, which has a capacity of 7,500, and opened in 1991. The park is also used as the Minnesota Twins' Spring Training facility. Prior to Twins Spring Training and the 2014 Florida State League season, Phase I of a two-part renovation was completed with the addition of an outfield boardwalk. The second phase of the renovation, which includes new sky suites, concessions, wider concourses and new offices for the Miracle staff, will be completed before Spring Training in 2015. Due to the start of construction on Phase II in August 2014, the Miracle played the final 10 home dates, including playoffs, at JetBlue Park.

The majority owner is SJS Beacon, a privately held company managed by Jason Hochberg, who purchased the club from the Goldklang Group at the beginning of the 2014 season.[1] Musician Jimmy Buffett and actor Bill Murray were minority owners of the team.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Miracle in Fort Myers 2
  • 2014 Championship Season 3
  • Miracle in the Media 4
  • Roster 5
  • FSL All-Stars 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

History

The Miracle franchise was founded in 1926, as the Fort Myers Palms. One year later, the team moved to Miami, Florida and were renamed the Miami Hustlers. The team became temporarily inactive, with the rest of the Florida State League, midway through the 1928 season. Even though the Florida State League resumed play in 1936, the Hustlers remained inactive until they were reactivated by the FSL during the 19611962 offseason to serve as the Class D affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team was renamed the Miami Marlins in honor of the original Marlins of the Triple-A International League who had moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico (and subsequently Charleston, South Carolina) following the 1960 season.

In 1963, there was a restructuring of the classification system of all Minor League Baseball, which resulted in the FSL changing from Class D to its current status of Class A-Advanced. They became a Baltimore Orioles affiliate in 1966, and were renamed the Miami Orioles after their MLB parent club from 19711981.

Upon the Baltimore Orioles' severing of their affiliation with the Miami Orioles following the 1981 season, the franchise reverted to the Marlins name and participated in the San Diego Padres, and Oakland A's organizations.

The following season the Miami Marlins became a San Diego Padres affiliate. This partnership lasted two years and the Marlins were without a parent club for the 1985 season. They filled their roster with ten former major leaguers looking to rejuvenate their careers with only Dennis Martinez returning to the majors. In 1986, the team moved away from former major leaguers to bring in Japanese stars.[2]

In 1988, the team began the season at Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium, but moved later in the season to the Miami-Hialeah Lakes High School field.[3] The Marlins had per-game attendance totals of approximately 100 fans.[2]

On February 22, 1989, the South Florida Baseball Club Limited Partnership purchased the Marlins and were renamed the Miami Miracle. They moved the team from which the team had called home for the vast majority of its time in South Florida, to Florida International University's University Park with some games to be held at Key West High School.[3][2] South Florida BC LP consisted of Stuart Revo, managing partner, Marvin Goldklang, South Florida commercial real estate developer Michael M. Adler; Potamkin Television, New Age Broadcasting automobile dealership group Potamkin Companies president Alan Potamkin; Sillerman-Magee Communication Management Corp. CEO Robert Sillerman, actor Bill Murray and recording artist Jimmy Buffett. E.J. Narcise was name general manager. While having a partial affiliation with the Cleveland Indians and the Tokyo Giants of the Japanese league, the Miracle were considered an independent entry in the FSL.[3]

The team only received 9 players from the Indians for the 1989 season and had to scramble to find players like pitcher Longo Garcia who was released by the

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^ Brad Shellgren (April 28, 2014). "Fort Myers Miracle sold to New Jersey businessman". WZVN, ABC 7. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hill, Bob (April 6, 1989). "New Nickname, New Owners, New Field - Same Finish?". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Kugiya, Hugo (March 1, 1989). "Marlins Sold". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Fredi Gonzalez Minor League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com". Sports Reference LLC. December 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Miracle, Twins extend Player Development Contract through 2018=www.miraclebaseball.com". September 11, 2014. 

References

Miss-A-Miracle poses for a picture with some young fans

† Injured & did not play
†† Promoted & did not play
‡ FSL All-Star Game MVP
‡‡ MLB All-Star

Joe Mauer was a 2003 FSL All-Star for the Fort Myers Miracle

FSL All-Stars

In 1982, Jose Canseco was an Oakland A's farmhand on loan to the Miami Marlins

Roster

The Miracle's name and logo appeared in the 1998 film Major League: Back to the Minors. Gus Cantrell (Scott Bakula) pitched for the Miracle before retiring to become the manager of the Buzz.

Miracle in the Media

Facing the Cubs again, the Miracle hosted the first two games of the best-of-five series at JetBlue Park. The Miracle pitching staff allowed just one run in a pair of wins. Fort Myers took game one, 5-1, and game two, 5-0. With a 2-0 series lead for the Miracle, the Cubs staved off elimination in game three at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona, Fla. After a two-hour, seven-minute delay, the Cubs and Miracle engaged in a back-and-forth battle with Daytona eventually going on to win, 8-7. The Cubs trailed 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning, but took the lead on a three-run homer by Wilson Contreras. After the Cubs' win, the two teams had to wait a day after heavy storms made the field in Daytona unplayable. On Monday, September 8, the Miracle and Cubs played game four. Fort Myers built a 2-0 lead midway through the fourth inning. Daytona tied the game in the sixth. Going into extra innings, Kanzler gave the Miracle a 4-2 lead with a two-run homer in the top of the eleventh. Zack Jones recorded a perfect ninth inning, striking out Contreras for the save. The FSL Championship was the first in team history since moving to Fort Myers in 1992. The series win also marked the first time the Daytona Cubs had lost a FSL Playoff series.

In the FSL South Divisional Playoff, the Miracle faced Bradenton. Trailing 7-3 in the top of the fourth inning, Jason Kanzler hit an opposite field grand slam to tie the game in the first of a best-of-three series. After the fifth inning, play was halted for 58 minutes due to rain. When the game resumed in the top of the sixth, Dalton Hicks drove in the eventual game-winning run with a single. The Miracle won game one, 8-7, and Kanzler had six runs batted in. In game two, the Miracle scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning to take 6-1 lead. Miracle starter D. J. Baxendale earned the win with six innings allowing just one unearned run and five strikeouts. After a two-game sweep of the Marauders, the Miracle advanced to the FSL Championship series for the third time in team history.

Entering the Adam Brett Walker. During the 2014 campaign, Walker broke the Miracle franchise record for home runs in a season with 25; previously held by Brock Peterson with 21 in 2006. Walker was also a 2014 FSL All-Star Game MVP and Home Run Derby Champion at the 2014 FSL All-Star Game in Bradenton, Fla. at McKechnie Field. In the second half, the Miracle posted a record of 41-29 for an overall mark of 82-57, second-best in team history.

2014 Championship Season

After a three season hiatus, the Miracle returned to the FSL Playoffs under first-year manager Doug Mientkiewicz. Guiding a star-studded team of Twins prospects such as Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario, the Miracle won the first half in the FSL South with a 45-22 record. The 45 wins tied the franchise record for the most in a single half and the winning percentage of .672 marked the best for a half in team history. Posting the best overall record in the Florida State League at 79-56 during the regular season, the Miracle again fell to the Stone Crabs in the FSL South Divisional Playoff. Charlotte held the league-best Fort Myers offense, that included the consensus top prospect in baseball Byron Buxton, to just one run in a two-game sweep.

Since moving to Fort Myers for the 1992 season, the Miracle have qualified for the Florida State League Playoffs eight times. The Miracle won the FSL West Division first half in 2003 and 2008 and the FSL West second half in 1995, 2000 and 2006. In 2009, the Florida State League adopted a North-South set up of divisions. In that year, the Miracle won both the FSL South first and second half under manager Jeff Smith. Despite a regular season record of 80-58 and winning game one of a best-of-three series on the road, the Charlotte Stone Crabs defeated the Miracle in games two and three.

The 2008 1st & 2nd half Western Division champions take the field in game 2 of the playoffs at Hammond Stadium

Miracle in Fort Myers

In 1992, with the impending arrival of MLB's Florida Marlins, the Goldklang Group returned the Miracle to Fort Myers. The Miracle operated as a co-op club with the Minnesota Twins that season, and became a full Twins affiliate a year later. The current Player Development Contract runs through 2018.[5]

In 1990, the team moved again, playing its home games at Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium. The team spent two seasons in Pompano Beach with future big league skipper Fredi Gonzalez at the helm.[4]

The Miracle were sold again a year later to the Marv Goldklang Group. Mike Veeck (son of Hall of Fame inductee Bill Veeck, and author of the book, Fun is Good) also became part owner of the organization while Murray and Buffett still maintained their shares as well.

Hammond Stadium

[2]