Bluefield Blue Jays
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 at Peters Park, 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.
|Bluefield Blue Jays|
Founded in 1937
|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 (12)|
|Nickname||Bluefield Blue Jays (2011–present)|
|Mascot||Baby Jay (2011-present)|
Baby Bird (1999-2010)
|Ballpark||Bowen Field at Peters Park (1946–1955, 1957–present)|
|Bluefield Baseball Club, Inc.|
|General Manager||Rocky Malamisura|
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.
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.
- 1992: Defeated Elizabethton 2–1 to win championship.
- 1995: Lost to Kingsport 2–1 in finals.
- 1996: Defeated Kingsport 2–1 to win championship.
- 1997: Defeated Pulaski 2–0 to win championship.
- 2001: Defeated Elizabethton 2–1 to win championship.
- 2002: Lost to Bristol 2–1 in finals.
- 2011: Defeated Elizabethton 2–1 in semifinals; lost to Johnson City 2–0 in finals.
- 2013: Lost to Pulaski 2–0 in semifinals.
- 2017: Lost to Pulaski 2–1 in semifinals.
- 2018: Lost to Princeton 2–1 in semifinals.
Hall of Fame alumni
- Travis Jackson (MGR 1951) Inducted, 1983
- Eddie Murray (1973) Inducted, 2003
- Cal Ripken Jr. (1978) Inducted, 2007
- Joe Altobelli (1966–1967, MGR) Manager: 1983 World Series Champion – Baltimore Orioles
- Bob Bailor (1970)
- Don Baylor (1967) MLB All-Star; 1979 AL Most Valuable Player
- Mark Belanger (1962) MLB All-Star; 8 x Gold Glove
- Armando Benitez (1992) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Mike Boddicker (1978) 2 x MLB All-Star; 1984 AL ERA Leader
- Zach Britton (2006) 2 x MLB All-Star; 2016 AL Saves Leader
- Don Buford (2003) MGR) MLB All-Star
- Enos Cabell (1969)
- Dean Chance (1959) 2 x MLB All-Star; 1964 AL Cy Young Award
- Storm Davis (1979) MLB All-Star
- Doug DeCinces (1970) MLB All-Star
- David Dellucci (1995)
- Duffy Dyer (1999, MGR)
- Andy Etchebarren (1993–1994,1998, MGR) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Jim Frey (1964–1965, MGR) 1984 NL Manager of the Year
- Bobby Grich (1967) 6 x MLB All-Star
- Ricky Gutierrez (1978)
- Jerry Hairston Jr. (1997)
- Pete Harnisch (1987) MLB All-Star
- Larry Haney (1961)
- Billy Hunter (1962–1963, MGR) MLB All-Star
- Jim Johnson (2002–2003) MLB All-Star; 2012, 2013 MLB Saves Leader
- Mark Leiter (1983)
- Sparky Lyle (1964) 3 x MLB All-Star; 1977 AL Cy Young Award
- Ken McBride (1954) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Bill Monbouquette (1955) 4 x MLB All-Star
- Johnny Oates (1967) 1996 AL Manager of the Year
- Roberto Osuna (2012) MLB All-Star
- Kevin Pillar (2011)
- Sidney Ponson (1995)
- Boog Powell (1959) 4 x MLB All-Star; 1970 AL Most Valuable Player
- Arthur Rhodes (1988) MLB All-Star
- Billy Ripken (1982–1983)
- Aaron Sanchez (2011) MLB All-Star ; 2016 AL ERA Leader
- Jonathan Schoop (2010) MLB All-Star
- John Shelby (1977)
- Vic Sorrell (1938–1940)
- Sammy Stewart (1975)
- Noah Syndergaard (2011) MLB All-Star
- Gregg Zaun (1990)
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (2019-Present)
Bluefield Blue Jays roster
- "Blue Jays fly into Bluefield to replace the Orioles". Bluefield Daily Telegraph. September 7, 2010. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. 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.
- "MORNING UPDATE: Blue Jays fly into Bluefield to replace the Orioles". bdtonline.com. September 7, 2010. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
- 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. Cite journal requires
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2013-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)