Fort Myers Miracle: Wikis

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2009 FSL Southern Division First & Second Half Champion Fort Myers Miracle
Founded in 1926
Fort Myers, Florida
FortMyersMiracleLogo.PNG
Team Logo
FortMyersMiracle 100.png
Cap Insignia
Class-level
  • Advanced A
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
Name
  • Fort Myers Miracle
Ballpark
Minor league titles
League titles 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 & 1978
Division titles 1995, 2008
Owner(s)/Operated by: Goldklang Group
Manager: Jake Mauer
General Manager: Steve Gliner

The Fort Myers Miracle is the Class A Advanced minor league baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball club, currently managed by Jake Mauer. Home games are played at the Lee County 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.

Musician Jimmy Buffett and actor Bill Murray have been minority part-owners of the team since 1989. The majority owner is Marvin Goldklang, who also owns a stake in five other minor league baseball teams throughout the country (Sioux Falls Canaries, Hudson Valley Renegades, Charleston RiverDogs, Brockton Rox, and St. Paul Saints). Murray is also a minority part-owner of the Saints.

Contents

History[1]

The Miracle franchise was founded in 1926, as the Fort Myers Palms. One year later, they moved to Miami, Florida and were renamed the 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.

Before embarking on his Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken, Jr was a member of the Miami Orioles

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 back to the Marlins name, and actually participated in the 1982 FSL season as an independent entry. Without a Major League affiliate, this team was composed of undrafted players from the area, free agents from various organizations and players on loan from the Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, and Oakland A's organizations.

The following season the Miami Marlins became a San Diego Padres affiliate. This partnership only lasted two years, and the Marlins found themselves again without a parent club for the 1985 season. Again, they filled their roster with talent on loan from various organizations, along with eleven former major leaguers looking to rejuvenate their careers. They stuck with this formula through the 1991 season.

In 1989, the Marlins were renamed the Miami Miracle after a group of investors that included Bill Murray and Jimmy Buffett purchased the club. They moved the team from Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium to Florida International University's University Park (the vast majority of their time in Miami, the team played at Miami Stadium).

The Miracle were sold again a year later to the Marvin 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. In 1992, these new owners returned the Miracle to Fort Myers where it has remained ever since. The Miracle operated as a co-op club with the Minnesota Twins that season, and became a full Twins affiliate a year later. This Player Development Contract runs through 2012.

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

Since their arrival in Fort Myers, the Miracle have won the FSL's Western division in the first half of the 2003 And 2008 seasons, and won the second half in 1995, 2000 and 2006. The went on to win the division in 1995 and 2008. They have yet to win an FSL League championship.

On April 4, 2008, the Miracle wore Lee County Sheriff's Office caps in a game against the Sarasota Reds in honor of fallen Lieutenant Mark Niedermeyer. On March 21, Lieutenant Niedermeyer, a fourteen year LCSO veteran, collapsed and died on the field during LCS's annual charity arena football game against Lee County firefighters. Following the game (won 6–3 by the Miracle), the team autographed the hats, and they were auctioned off. The auction raised $2,500, with all proceeds raised from the hat auction going directly to Lieutenant Niedermeyer's family.[2] The 2008 team broke the single season attendance record set in 2006.

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2009[3]

The 2008 Western division champions defended their title in the realigned Florida State League's Southern Division. Joining Fort Myers in the Southern Division are the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Jupiter Hammerheads, Palm Beach Cardinals, St. Lucie Mets and Sarasota Reds.

With major leaguers Scott Baker of the Minnesota Twins and B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Rays both on rehab assignments with their respective major league club's advanced A affiliate, the Miracle's 2009 home opener against Charlotte set a home attendance record of 8,310 fans, eclipsing the old mark of 8,119 set in 1999. Baker pitched 7.1 innings and only gave up one earned run in the Miracle's 7-1 victory.[4]

Twins catcher Joe Mauer also did a rehab assignment with the Miracle after missing the beginning of the major league season due to inflammation in his right sacroiliac joint. In five games with the Miracle before rejoining the Twins, Mauer batted .400 with four RBIs.[5] At one point, the Miracle's roster held the distinction of having both the tallest player in professional baseball, 7'1" Loek van Mil, and the shortest player in professional baseball, 5'3" Chris Cates.

Shortly after capturing the First-half Division Southern title with a 43–26 record, the Miracle hosted the 48th annual Florida State League All-Star Game at Hammond Stadium on June 20, 2009. The last FSL mid-season classic held in Fort Myers was in 2003, when Mauer was the starting catcher. The Miracle led the Florida State League with nine All star selections, which included: pitchers David Bromberg, Carlos Gutierrez, Steven Hirschfeld & Spencer Steedley, catcher Daniel Lehmann, infielders Chris Cates & Steve Singleton and outfielders Ben Revere & Chris Parmelee. Hirschfeld was a late addition, replacing injured St. Lucie pitcher Brant Rustich. Gutierrez and Lehmann did not participate due to their recent promotions to the Twins' Double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats. The Miracle & the Southern Division lost to the North 6-4 on a four for four performance by Daytona Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, including an inside the park home run to be named the game's MVP. Fort Myers first baseman Chris Parmelee won the home run derby held before the game. Bromberg was the starting pitcher.

The low point of the 2009 season was a misguided promotion entitled "What Would Tim Tebow Do?" night.[6] In "tribute" to Tebow's "God-like" status, the Miracle intended to play his September 27, 2008 pledge[7] to his team and Florida Gators fans over the intercom during the game, have a local construction worker named Tim Tebo attempt to walk on water and give out promise rings at the gate to the first 500 fans in attendance. Unamused, the University of Florida ordered the Miracle to cease and desist. The Miracle went along with the promotion, regardless, with the name changed to "What Would T.T. Do?" night. Tim Tebo did not show up, but a character named T.T. attempted to walk on water.[8]

The 2009 team notched a franchise first by capturing the second half division crown as well with an 8-4 victory over the St. Lucie Mets. They faced the Charlotte Stone Crabs, who finished second both halves, in the South Division Finals.[9] Despite a 14-6 regular season record against the Stone Crabs, the Miracle lost in three games to Charlotte.[10]

David Bromberg was named the 2009 FSL Post-Season Pitcher of the Year after going 13-4 with a 2.70 earned run average. Miracle manager Jeff Smith was honored as the FSL’s Manager of Year, and Chris Parmelee and Ben Revere were named FSL Post-Season All-Stars. Bromberg was also selected as one of the four FSL Post-Season All-Star starting pitchers.

Joe Mauer was a 2003 FSL All-Star for the Fort Myers Miracle
Fort Myers Miracle roster
Players Coaches/Other
Pitchers
Catchers
  • 8 Allan de San Miguel
  • 18 Jair Fernandez
  • 38 Juan Richardson
  • 28 Alexander Soto

Infielders

Outfielders

  •  5 Joe Benson
  • 21 Evan Bigley
  • 23 Mark Dolenc
  •  7 Ben Revere
Manager

Coaches

  • 26 Jim Dwyer (hitting)
  • 13 Steve Mintz (pitching)
  • 26 Larry Bennese (trainer)
  • 13 Mike MacDonald (strength coach)

† Disabled list
* On Minnesota Twins 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated 2009-11-20
Transactions

FSL All-Stars

David Ortiz would have represented the Miracle in the 1997 All-Star game had he not been promoted to Double A
In 1982, Jose Canseco was an Oakland A's farmhand on loan to the Miami Marlins

Affiliates

The Miracle have been affiliated with the following major league teams:

Year(s) Affiliate(s)
19621965 Philadelphia Phillies
19661981 Baltimore Orioles
1982 Independent
19831984 San Diego Padres
19851991 Independent
1992–Present Minnesota Twins

Trivia

Missy poses for a picture with some young fans
  • 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.
  • Felix Piloto, the fictional character of the book Free Baseball by Sue Corbett becomes the batboy for the Miracle after sneaking into the luggage compartment of the Miracle's bus. Felix's dog is also based upon Jericho.
  • Mike Veeck's Golden Retriever, Jericho, was the inspiration for Miss A-Miracle, the Fort Myers Miracle Mascot. "Missy" is a fun loving Golden Retriever who became a fixture at all of the Miracle's home games in 2004. She wears the number "04" to commemorate her first season.
  • Brock Peterson set the Miracle single season home run record in 2006 with 21. His 33 home runs over two seasons are the most ever by a Miracle player.[29]
  • Two former Miracle players-- pitcher Brian Duensing and outfielder Terry Tiffee-- were members of the Bronze medal winning baseball team representing the USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

References

  1. ^ "Fort Myers Miracle". http://miraclebaseball.com/. Retrieved 2008-07-20.  
  2. ^ "Miracle raise money for fallen deputy's family". http://www.nbc-2.com/Articles/readarticle.asp?articleid=18577&z=3. Retrieved 2008-04-05.  
  3. ^ "Minor League Baseball". http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp. Retrieved 2009-04-07.  
  4. ^ "Miracle Shatter Opening Night Attendance Mark". http://miraclebaseball.com/news/?id=7493. Retrieved 2009-04-17.  
  5. ^ "Minor League Baseball". http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Joe%20Mauer&pos=&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=408045. Retrieved 2009-05-07.  
  6. ^ "Miracle hosting "What would Tim Tebow do? Night on Aug. 26". http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/aug/24/miracle-hosting-what-would-tim-tebow-do-night-aug-/?partner=RSS. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  7. ^ "Tebow Speech Engraved on Plaque". http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4016429. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  8. ^ "Baseball team changes promotion". http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4426329. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  9. ^ "Miracle Notch First in Team History". http://miraclebaseball.com/news/?id=7670. Retrieved 2009-09-07.  
  10. ^ "Miracle bow out of playoffs as Stone Crabs advance to finals". http://miraclebaseball.com/news/?id=7677. Retrieved 2009-09-11.  
  11. ^ Injured & did not play
  12. ^ FSL All-Star game MVP
  13. ^ MLB All-Star
  14. ^ Promoted & did not play
  15. ^ MLB All-Star
  16. ^ Promoted & did not play
  17. ^ MLB All-Star
  18. ^ FSL All-Star game MVP
  19. ^ Promoted & did not play
  20. ^ Promoted & did not play
  21. ^ MLB All-Star
  22. ^ Promoted & did not play
  23. ^ Promoted & did not play
  24. ^ Promoted & did not play
  25. ^ Promoted & did not play
  26. ^ Injured & did not play
  27. ^ Promoted & did not play
  28. ^ Promoted & did not play
  29. ^ "Peterson Honored with FSL TOPPS Player of Month for August". http://miraclefans.com/news/september2006/miracle_090706.html. Retrieved 2009-04-20.  

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