The Bowie Baysox are a minor league baseball team located in Bowie, Maryland. They are the class-AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, and play in the Eastern League. The team's home ballpark is Prince George's Stadium.
The Baysox are currently managed by Brad Komminsk, and games are broadcast on WRGW, an online radio station produced by The George Washington University.
From 1989 to 1992 the Orioles' AA affiliate was located in Hagerstown, Maryland
and called the Suns
. When Major League Baseball
added two teams in 1993, bids were offered for two new triple-A franchises, and the Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership (which owned the Suns and also the single-A Frederick Keys
) got into the running to put one of the new franchises in central Maryland. Although their bid fell short, the idea of having a team in Bowie was so well-received, that the MBLP decided to move the double-A team across the state from Hagerstown. The Suns, meanwhile, were dropped to single-A status.
A contest was held among the community to choose a new name for the team, and over 3500 suggestions poured in. "Baysox" was chosen over the other finalists, which were "BayBirds" and "Nationals" (the latter was also chosen for the nearby Washington major-league team when it moved to the area in 2005). The "Bay" references are to the Chesapeake Bay, which lies less than 20 miles to the east of Bowie.
A complex land deal hindered completion of the stadium, and in their inaugural season in 1993, the Baysox were forced to find an alternate site to play their home games. Eventually a deal was reached that gave them Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, which had been vacated a year earlier when the Orioles moved into Camden Yards. A harsh winter prevented the new stadium from being completed in time for the beginning of the 1994 season, and the Baysox played 31 games that year at four other ballparks, including the University of Maryland and the Naval Academy. Finally the Baysox moved into their permanent home on June 16.
After two losing seasons, the Baysox made it back to the playoffs in 1997, and were also named the top double-A franchise in America, in part because of their tremendous attendance figures despite their proximity to the Baltimore major-league market. The Bob Freitas Award is given annually by Baseball America to the top franchise in each classification. Also in 1997 (June 28), the team introduced "Louie", its green furry mascot with pink hair and long snout, but unknown species. He continues to serve as mayor of "Louieville, Maryland", a play on the real city of Louisville, Kentucky, and also a rhyme to the team's home of Bowie.
The Baysox hosted the double-A All-Star Game on July 12, 2000, bringing players from not only the Eastern League, but also the Southern and Texas leagues to Bowie. During that season, the Baysox also got a new owner, as the Maryland Baseball Partnership sold the team (along with the Frederick Keys and Delmarva Shorebirds) to the Comcast cable network.
The Baysox were again sold in October 2006 by Comcast Spectacor to Maryland Baseball Holding, LLC. A group headed by Ken Young, who is president of Ovations Food Service and also the owner of the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins.
The Baysox went six straight seasons (1998 to 2003) without posting a winning record. In 2005 the team was in contention for the last playoff spot at the end of the season, but lost four straight games to Altoona on the final weekend to just miss the postseason once again. They won their first division championship in 2008.
History excerpted from Baysox website (see link below)
Ryan Keefer - Pitcher
- Armando Benitez, closer for the San Francisco Giants (previously with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Florida Marlins)
- Steve Bechler, relief pitcher who briefly appeared for the Baltimore Orioles and died in spring training in 2003; his death, likely contributed to by ephedra, spurred widespread debate over the drug that resulted in the Food and Drug Administration banning it.
- Erik Bedard, starting pitcher for the Seattle Mariners
- Joe Borowski, closer for the Cleveland Indians
- Daniel Cabrera, starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles
- David Dellucci, outfielder for the Cleveland Indians (previously with the Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and the Philadelphia Phillies)
- Jerry Hairston, Jr., second baseman and outfielder for the Chicago Cubs; first third-generation African-American major-leaguer; one of three players traded by the Orioles for Sammy Sosa
- Jeffrey Hammonds, outfielder with the Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals; played in the 2000 All-Star Game.
- Jimmy Haynes, starting pitcher for several major-league teams throughout his career
- Eugene Kingsale, knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; announced in games in 2004 as "Sir Eugene Kingsale".
- Adam Loewen, starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles
- Nick Markakis, outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles
- Luis Matos, former center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals
- Hayden Penn, starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles
- Calvin Pickering, first baseman who held the Baysox single-season home run record for several years
- Sidney Ponson, former starting pitcher for the New York Yankees (previously with the Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants); knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands)
- Chris Ray, closer for the Baltimore Orioles
- Matt Riley, starting pitcher first called up to the Orioles at age 19; later played in the Texas Rangers organization.
- Brian Roberts, second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles; started at second base for the 2005 American League All-Star team.
- Josh Towers, starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays
- Eli Whiteside, catcher for the Minnesota Twins
- Walter Young, first baseman and designated hitter who holds the Baysox' season record for home runs with 33
- Gregg Zaun, catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Place, except 1993, is finish in Southern Division.
- 1993: 72-68 (3rd in Eastern League), manager Don Buford
- 1994: 84-58 (2nd), manager Pete Mackanin
- 1995: 68-74 (3rd), manager Bob Miscik
- 1996: 54-88 (5th), managers Bob Miscik/Tim Blackwell
- 1997: 75-67 (2nd), manager Joe Ferguson
- 1998: 71-71 (5th), manager Joe Ferguson
- 1999: 70-71 (4th), manager Joe Ferguson
- 2000: 65-77 (5th), manager Andy Etchebarren
- 2001: 59-82 (6th), manager Dave Machemer
- 2002: 55-84 (5th), manager Dave Cash/Dave Stockstill
- 2003: 69-72 (4th), manager Dave Trembley
- 2004: 73-69 (3rd), manager Dave Trembley
- 2005: 74-68 (3rd), manager Don Werner
- 2006: 67-74 (4th), manager Don Werner
- 2007: 72-68 (4th), manager Bien Figueroa
- 2008: 84-58 (1st), manager Brad Komminsk
- 1993 season: Lost to Canton-Akron, 3-2 in first round.
- 1994 season: Lost to Harrisburg, 3-2 in first round.
- 1997 season: Lost to Harrisburg, 3-2 in first round.
- 2008 season: Lost to Akron, 3-1 in first round.