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Baseball current event.svg For current information on this topic, see 2009 Altoona Curve season.
Altoona Curve
Founded in 1998
Altoona, Pennsylvania
AltoonaCurve.png
Team Logo
AltoonaCurvecap.PNG
Cap Insignia
Class-level
  • Double-A (1999-Present)
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
Name
  • Altoona Curve (1999-Present)
Ballpark
Minor league titles
League titles
Division titles 2004
Owner(s)/Operated by: The Lozinak Family
Manager: Matt Walbeck
General Manager: Rob Egan

The Altoona Curve are a minor league baseball team based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, named after nearby Horseshoe Curve (but also alluding to the curveball, a kind of pitch). The team, which plays in the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league club. The Curve play in Blair County Ballpark, located in Altoona; it was opened in 1999 and seats 7,210 fans.

The Curve are currently managed by Matt Walbeck.

The Altoona Curve hosted the Eastern League All-Star Game at Blair County Ballpark on July 12, 2006, before a standing-room-only crowd of 9,308.

Contents

History

The Altoona Curve franchise began when Arizona and Tampa Bay were both awarded major-league franchises in 1998. The addition of these two teams had a domino effect through baseball with the expansion of not only the major leagues, but throughout minor-league baseball as well. With this expansion, AA baseball received two new teams to begin play in the 1999 season. The Erie SeaWolves were already an established minor-league team with outstanding short-season attendance, and were quickly awarded one of the new franchises. The second spot in the new, larger Eastern League looked to be headed to Springfield, Massachusetts, but city native Bob Lozinak, developer Tate DeWeese, and a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers rallied to get the final spot, making a formal presentation to league officials on October 5, 1997. The proposal received unanimous support and Altoona won the other franchise.

Groundbreaking on Blair County Ballpark took place on March 7, 1998, and the franchise was formally awarded in April. In June of that year, the "Curve" nickname was selected over several other proposals, including Lake Monsters, Ridge Runners, and the Altoona Fish.

The next step for the start of the Altoona Curve was to find a major league affiliate. The Erie SeaWolves had already had several successful seasons in the Pirates' organization, as a short-season single-A affiliate. In the end, however, the Pirates chose Altoona for their AA affiliate.

The Altoona Curve began their first season on the road at the Reading Phillies on April 9, 1999. Their first game was suspended by rain and completed the next day as part of a doubleheader. That first game was a 6-2 loss, but the Curve scored their first-ever victory in the second game, beating Reading 6-4. A few days later, on April 15, the Curve christened Blair County Ballpark by defeating the Bowie Baysox 6-1 in front of a crowd of 6,171.

On April 2, 2002, Lozinak and DeWeese sold the franchise to a collective headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg. Among the partners in the collective are Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and NHL star Mario Lemieux. The first season under new ownership was the most successful to date, performance-wise as well as economically. During August of that year, the Pirates signed on for another four-year development agreement through the 2006 season.

During the 2003 season, the Curve made the Eastern League playoffs for the first time, and followed that up with two more appearances in 2004 and 2005. Their performance on the field has led to increased numbers in the stands, and the Curve increased attendance for five consecutive years before dipping by just a few thousand in 2005.

Following the 2004 season, General Manager Todd Parnell was honored as the Eastern League Executive of the Year, and the franchise won the Larry MacPhail Trophy for the best promotional effort (on and off the field) in all of Minor League Baseball.

On April 2, 2006—their fourth anniversary as owners—Greenberg and his group announced an additional four-year extension on the development agreement with the Pirates, keeping the Curve's affiliation intact through at least the 2010 season.

On December 2, 2008 Chuck Greenberg sold the Altoona Curve back to original owner and Altoona native Bob Lozinak.

On May 23, 2009, the Altoona Curve and Pittsburgh Pirates renewed their development agreement which now runs through the 2014 Season.

Notable alumni

Season records

(Place listed is finish in Southern Division)

  • 1999: 67-73 (6th), manager Marty Brown
  • 2000: 74-68 (4th), manager Marty Brown
  • 2001: 63-79 (5th), manager Dale Sveum
  • 2002: 72-69 (4th), manager Dale Sveum
  • 2003: 78-63 (2nd), manager Dale Sveum
  • 2004: 84-56 (1st), manager Tony Beasley
  • 2005: 77-65 (2nd), manager Tony Beasley
  • 2006: 75-64 (2nd), manager Tim Leiper
  • 2007: 73-68 (3rd), manager Tim Leiper
  • 2008: 65-77 (5th), manager Tim Leiper
  • 2009: 62-80 (6th), manager Matt Walbeck

Playoff appearances

  • 2003 season: Lost to Akron 3-1 in semifinals.
  • 2004 season: Defeated Erie 3-0 in semifinals; lost to New Hampshire 3-0 in championships series.
  • 2005 season: Lost to Akron 3-2 in semifinals.
  • 2006 season: Lost to Akron 3-2 in semifinals.

Current roster

Altoona Curve roster
Players Coaches/Other
Pitchers
  • 32 Tim Alderson
  • 44 Kyle Bloom
  • 39 Michael Crotta
  • 47 Michael Dubee
  • 12 Derek Hankins
  • 46 Jared Hughes
  • 30 Dustin Molleken
  • 41 Daniel Moskos
  • -- Moises Robles
  • 38 Tony Watson
Catchers
  • None

Infielders

  • 18 Miles Durham
  • 10 Shelby Ford
  •  5 Brian Friday
  •  2 Jim Negrych

Outfielders

Manager

Coaches

† Disabled list
* On Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated December 21, 2009
Transactions

External links

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