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West Michigan Whitecaps
Founded in 1994
Comstock Park, Michigan
Team Logo
Cap Insignia
  • Single-A (1994–present)
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
  • West Michigan Whitecaps (1994–present)
Minor league titles
League titles 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007
Division titles 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007
Owner(s)/Operated by: Lew Chamberlin and Denny Baxter
Manager: Joe DePastino
General Manager:

The West Michigan Whitecaps are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, that plays in the Midwest League. Their home games are played in Comstock Park, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids. They are currently the defending champions of the Midwest League.


Franchise history

The Midwest League came to the Grand Rapids area in 1994 upon the arrival of the former Madison Muskies. The Whitecaps were brought to West Michigan by local businessmen Lew Chamberlin and Dennis Baxter. The Whitecaps were affiliated with the Oakland Athletics before they joined the Tigers' farm system in 1997.

Their home ballpark is Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. Before the 2002 season it was known as Old Kent Park; the name was changed when the park's title sponsor, Old Kent Bank, was purchased by Fifth Third Bank. Fifth Third also sponsors ballparks in Dayton and Toledo, Ohio. The team's official mascots are Crash the River Rascal and Franky the Swimming Pig.

The franchise's attendance record of 547,401 was set in 1996.

Several league and team records were set during the 2006 season. The team posted the second best record in franchise history, going 89-48, including going 23-6 in July. Michael Hollimon hit 3 home runs in one game. Cameron Maybin hit 2 grand slams in the season. Michael Hernandez became the first person ever in the history of the Midwest League to hit for the cycle twice. The Whitecaps went on to defeat the Kane County Cougars in four games to win their fourth Midwest League Championship.



The team drew the attention of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine after a 4-pound, 4,800-calorie hamburger called the Fifth Third Burger was placed on the menu of the team's concession stand. It was so named in part for the ballpark sponsor and part for its 1.6666 (or 5/3) pounds of meat. The Committee requested that the team put a label on the burger indicating that it was a "dietary disaster".[1] To date, more than 100 fans, or about a half of the people who have attempted the challenge, have conquered the burger and earned a commemorative t-shirt.[1] On July 15th, 2009, Travel Channel's "Man vs. Food" and its host Adam Richman came to Fifth Third Ballpark to attempt to conquer the burger in an episode of the popular show. The episode aired on September 30th, 2009, wherein he successfully met the challenge [2]

Whitecaps at home in Fifth Third Ballpark

Regular season

Season W L Pct.
1994 74 65 .532
1995 67 69 .492
1996 77 61 .557 MWL Champions
1997 92 39 .702
1998 83 57 .593 MWL Champions
1999 68 72 .485
2000 88 52 .629
2001 65 72 .474
2002 83 57 .593
2003 67 73 .478
2004 69 70 .496 MWL Champions
2005 73 70 .510
2006 89 48 .649 MWL Champions
2007 83 57 .593 MWL Champions

Postseason success

The Whitecaps have won the best-of-5 Midwest League championship five times in five opportunities. They defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 1996, the Rockford Cubbies in 1998, the Kane County Cougars twice (2004 and 2006), and the Beloit Snappers in 2007. West Michigan is 43-25 all time in playoff games. They’ve made the playoffs 11 times in 14 seasons.

Oakland Athletics affiliation

Year Record Results Opponents
1994 0–2 Lost in First Round Rockford (0–2)
1995 3–3 Lost in Second Round Kane County (2–1), Michigan (1–2)
1996 7–2 Won Championship Lansing (2–1), Rockford (2–0), Wisconsin (3–1)

Detroit Tigers affiliation

Year Record Results Opponents
1997 0–2 Lost in First Round Fort Wayne (0–2)
1998 7–2 Won Championship Michigan (2–1), Clinton (2–0), Rockford (3–1)
1999 Did not qualify for playoffs
2000 1–2 Lost in First Round Dayton (1–2)
2001 Did not qualify for playoffs
2002 3–2 Lost in Second Round Dayton (2–0), Lansing (1–2)
2003 Did not qualify for playoffs
2004 7–3 Won Championship Lansing (2–1), South Bend (2–0), Kane County (3–2)
2005 2–2 Lost in Second Round Fort Wayne (2–0), South Bend (0–2)
2006 7–2 Won Championship Fort Wayne (2–1), Lansing (2–0), Kane County (3–1)
2007 7–2 Won Championship Lansing (2–0), South Bend (2–0), Beloit (3–2)


Since 1994, the Whitecaps have had six managers. In 2007, former Tigers' third baseman Tom Brookens became the seventh manager in the history of the Whitecaps.

Listed here are each manager and their won/loss record:

Oakland Athletics affiliation

Detroit Tigers affiliation

Current roster

West Michigan Whitecaps roster
Players Coaches/Other
  • 20 Nicholas Cassavechia
  • 17 Tyler Conn
  • 15 Erik Crichton
  • 26 Casey Crosby
  • 14 Brandon Hamilton
  • 23 Victor Larez
  • 29 Luke Putkonon
  • 21 Anthony Shawler
  • 33 Tyler Stohr
  • 34 Jade Todd
  • 22 Brayan Villarreal
  • 13 Robert Waite
  • 16 Adam Wilk
  • 27 Joseph Bowen
  • 28 Angel Flores


  • 25 Ron Bourquin
  •  7 Alden Carrithers
  •  8 Brandon Douglas
  • 36 Jordan Lennerton
  • 35 Billy Nowlin
  •  5 Gustavo Nunez
  • 19 Bryan Pounds


  • 24 Avisail Garcia
  • 10 Ben Guez
  • 12 Luis Salas
  • 18 Brent Wyatt


† Disabled list
* On Detroit Tigers 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated December 29, 2009

Former Whitecaps in the majors

Below is a list of West Michigan Whitecaps who have played in the major leagues.

Oakland Athletics affiliation (1994–1996)

Detroit Tigers Affiliation (1997–present)


  1. ^ Doctors Have Beef With Burger ESPN, March 31, 2009

External links


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