The Staten Island Yankees are a minor league baseball team, located in Staten Island, New York. Affectionately nicknamed the "Baby Bombers", the Staten Island Yankees are a Short-Season A classification affiliate of the New York Yankees and play in the New York - Penn League at Richmond County Bank Ballpark along the waterfront in St. George, on the northeast tip of Staten Island.
The first Staten Island Yankee to reach the major leagues as a New York Yankee was pitcher Jason Anderson, pitching in relief in an 8-4 Yankee win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Staten Island Yankees retired the number 19 that he wore with them. The first Staten Island Yankee to reach the majors for any team was Wily Mo Peña, who broke in with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Staten Island Yankees are four time champions of the New York - Penn League. The Yankees won the league championship in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2006.
On March 26, 2006, the Staten Island Advance reported that the teams' majority owners, the Getzler family, were considering selling their 51 percent share of the team, and were asking for between three and five million dollars. The New York Yankees purchased the Getzler's interest in the team and in return hired Mandalay Sports Properties to run the day-to-day operations of the team. Part of the argeement was that the New York Yankees and Mandalay become equal partners and Mandalay now owns 50% of the Staten Island Yankees.
In 2006 the "Baby Bombers" were managed by Gaylen Pitts, noted for frequently being ejected from games. During the month of August 2006 he was ejected from three games arguing calls. In a game on August 25, 2006, Pitts was ejected and then returned to the field from the clubhouse after a Yankee was hit by a pitch in the 9th inning of a 21-6 victory over the Brooklyn Cyclones.
For the 2007 season the Staten Island Yankees were managed by Mike Gillespie, who led the 1998 USC Trojans to a College World Series championship. Gillespie led the Baby Bombers to their third consecutive playoff appearance before rejoining the college ranks as Head Coach of UC Irvine.
On September 29, 2007 Baby-Bombers.com reported that former Florida Gator coach Pat McMahon had accepted a position with the New York Yankees, and that part of his duties will be to manager the Staten Island Yankees for the 2008 season.
The baby bombers opened at home for the first time on June 20, 1999, facing the Hudson Valley Renegades in front of 4,547 fans on the campus of the College of Staten Island. This marked the first professional baseball game played on the island since 1889, when the New York Giants played at the St. George Grounds. On hand for this special occasion were New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Borough President Guy V. Molinari. The Staten Island Yankees were successful winning by a score of 5 - 1.
The Staten Island Yankees sported pinstripe home uniforms just like the parent club, with the inter-locking NY logo and the flag patch of Staten Island on the sleeve. The road jerseys and batting practice uniforms were exactly like the New York Yankees.
The baby bombers became a part of Staten Island; their “Field of Dreams” had been built on the campus of a local college. They finished the season with a 39-35 record, fifth-place in the McNamara Division. In the Post Season, Alex Graman was named the top prospect in the New York – Penn League; and Dave Walling took the 6th spot on the Top Prospect list
The Yanks ended June with an 8-3 record, and a 10 road game winning streak gave the Yankees a club record. July ended with the baby bombers with a 48-26 record and half a game behind the Queens Kings and one game behind the Mahoning Valley Scrappers for the best record in the league.
In the McNamara Division series the Yankees beat the Kings two games to one and go on to the Championship series. The Yankees would play game one of the Championship series on the island, in the final home game of 2000, and the final game at the Ballpark at CSI. The game was a blow out, the baby bombers won 9-0 with Pedro Santana hitting the first post season home run in team history.
The Yankees went on to beat the Mahoning Valley Scrappers two games to one. In the final game, the baby bombers scored three runs in the first inning. Pitchers, Dave Martinez and Jason Anderson pitched well giving Staten Island their first NY-Penn League championship.
Dave Jorn took over the managerial reins from Joe Arnold, and led the team to one of their most impressive campaigns. During the 2001 season, fans of the baby bombers saw many memorable moments. In the first 11 games of July, the Yanks went 10-1 and on July 27, Jason Arnold pitched the first no hitter in the history of the team against Vermont Expos .
On August 16, the Staten Island Yankees held their first ever, shirt off their back night; the team wore special 1/2 jerseys. This night the fans got to see Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez started the game, who wore number 26 1/2. The sold out crowd witnessed him strike out 11 batters, pitching six innings and giving up only two hits. The baby bombers won this game 8-1.
At the end of the regular season, the baby bombers finished second in the McNamara Division behind the Brooklyn Cyclones. In the post season, the SI Yanks would face off with their rival in a three-game set. The first game was played at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, and the final two were at Brooklyn's Keyspan Park. Brooklyn won the series and went on to the championship round to face the Williamsport Crosscutters.
The Baby Bombers started the season off with a then franchise best, 9-4 record in the month of June. July was not as rewarding for the Yanks, they posted a 16-14 record with a season high six straight losses to begin the month. They moved down to fourth place; however they were only two games behind the Crosscutters.
August was the premier month for Staten Island. The team began the month winning six games out of their first ten. They then went on to win another ten straight games from August 19 – August 29. They reached first on August 13, and sat on top of the McNamara Division for the rest of the season. The Yankees ended August with a 23 – 7 record.
On September 1 the Baby Bombers clinched a playoff berth with two losses to the Auburn Doubledays . They would clinch the division with a loss to the New Jersey Cardinals, thanks to Williamsport dropping their game to the Cyclones.
The 2002 playoffs began in Williamsport, the Yankees took game one 3-2, giving them a 1-0 lead in round 1. The Yanks would go back to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at Saint George to clinch the series with a 5-3 victory. The Yankees would go on to sweep the Oneonta Tigers to win the 2002 NY – Penn League Championship on September 12. Matt Brumit came in to close all four games, receiving the save in each contest.
The Baby Bombers fell to sixth place in the McNamara Division, the lowest in team history. They started the season losing seven straight games including an 18-0 loss to Williamsport in the June 20 home opener. They would give up all 18 runs in the 5th and 6th innings, after pulling their starting pitcher after 4 innings. The baby bombers would commit 6 errors and end June with a 3 – 10 record.
July was not much better for the Yankees, they posted an 11-8 record, 14-28 overall. By July 31, the team was only winning approximately 33% of their games. The team improved a bit in August, playing .500 ball, they tried to battle out of the basement winning the last home game against the New Jersey Cardinals. However, they failed to capture fifth place.
2003 was a year of rain, errors, and roster moves. Pitcher, Elvys Quezada, was promoted to Battle Creek. First round draft pick Eric Duncan also had a brief tenure at the end of the season.
On July 14, the Staten Island Yankees celebrated Jason Anderson Day, which his number 19 was officially retired. Jason Anderson became the first former SI Yankee to play for the NY Yankees, however, he was traded to the Mets the very next day.
The Staten Island Yankees went on to sweep the Brooklyn Cyclones to begin the season, and have the best start of the team’s history. At the end of June the Bombers were 6-5, and in third place in the new four team McNamara Division.
The Baby Bombers owned the second annual All Star Game, sweeping the awards. Yankee reliever Nick Peterson received Best Pitcher honors and Third baseman and Shortstop Mitch Hilligoss received MVP. Gaylen Pitts and Yankee coaches helmed the American League team facing off against the Cyclone coaches and the National League team.
The Division race was tight early on; every team had a taste of first at one point or another, how ever after the All Star Break, the bombers took sole possession and never looked back.
On August 21, 2006 Staten Island set a new franchise record for the most runs scored in a game, crushing the Cyclones 21-6 again at KeySpan. Tempers flew in the game as both benches cleared and Gaylen Pitts marched back out onto the field in flip flops after being thrown out in the third inning to argue with a roving Met instructor.
For the first time in the team’s history the Staten Island Yankees won back to back division titles, clinching the division with only a few games left and home field advantage through out the playoffs in the final regular season home game. Ian Kennedy , the Yankees number one pick, made his professional debut in game one of a double header. Kennedy through 2.2 innings, 48 pitches as the bombers went to win the game 1-0.
The first game of the 2006 NY-Penn League Playoffs the bombers faced off against the Brooklyn Cyclones, who just barely squeezed their way to the league’s lone wild card spot.
Game one took place in Brooklyn . The Cyclones were the first to score in the first inning off George Kontos. After giving up the first run, Kontos held them scoreless until the sixth inning. The Yankees took the lead in the top of the sixth with a two run home run by Wilmer Pino. However the lead was short lived as Kontos gave up on more run tying the game. The Yankees would take the lead once again in the seventh, going on to take the game 5-2.
Game two was at home at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. Tim Norton got the ball for the bombers and was solid in the game. Norton took a no hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a single with two outs. The bombers hit 9 runs in the game. Norton got the win in the 9-0 two hit victory advancing the bombers to the NY-Penn League championship finals.
Yankees would face off against the Tri-City Valley Cats in the finals, just the second time they advanced to the final round in Valley Cat history. Game one of the series was at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY. Ian Kennedy started and gave up a home run and a RBI single to give Tri-City a 2-0 lead. However, after a Jeffrey Seth Fortenberry lead off the third inning, the bombers came back to take the lead 3-2. The score would remain at 3-2 to the ninth inning when a wild pitch with the bases loaded scored catcher Francisco Cervelli giving the bombers an insurance run. Mark Melancon, the new Yankee closer came in the ninth inning and got his second save of the post season. After losing the second game of the Championship Series, the baby bombers responded with a classic pitchers duel, George Kontos got his second playoff start for the bombers and pitched six shutout innings, striking out 11 batters for the win. Kyle Larsen drove in the only two runs of the game, both off Chris Salamida.
The original Staten Island Yankees Mascot is Scooter "the holy" Cow. A combination of NY Yankees shortstop,Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, and his commentating catch phrase "Holy Cow!". Scooter debuted for the Staten Island Yankees when the franchise relocated from Watertown, NY in 1999. In the summer of 2003, the Baby Bombers debuted Scooter's brothers Red and Huckleberry. Since then, Scooter and his brothers have been a staple at SI Yankee games, leading fan rallies and between inning on field games. The three cows, have known to have a "stooges" like relationship, often with the two "newer" cows "Red" and "Huck" teaming up to trick and trap Scooter. The Mascots are even featured in the team's annual baseball cards.
The summer of 2004, the Yankees added another personality to the stable. Omari McCleary (who previously held multiple roles in the on-field department) became the SI Yankees on-field host. The fan reaction was enthusiastic. Omari's unique antics included bits of insults with the PA announcer, pranks and dances with the mascots, magic tricks, throwing t-shirts, and hosting games. Omari McCleary was accompanied by a group dubbed the “Pinstripe Patrol”. His trademarks were his many alter egos, the most popular being "Grandma-Mari". The SI Yankees message board teemed with discussion about the team spirit element and entertainment his shtick brought to the ballpark. Some even considered Omari as the team's lucky charm. Omari and the Mascots often appeared at charity events in the surrounding area. Season ticket holders often hired Omari to host private parties and engagements, and he has toured other Yankee farm team stadiums. Omari has since left for other endeavors, but makes occasional visits.