The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are a minor league baseball team based in Manchester, New Hampshire. The team, which plays in the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays major-league club.
During the team's first season in Manchester, the Fisher Cats played at Gill Stadium, a historic ballpark in a residential neighborhood. Starting with the 2005 season, the Fisher Cats have played at Merchantsauto.com Stadium (originally known as simply "Fisher Cats Ballpark") located in Manchester. The park seats 6,500 fans.
In 1992, New Haven, Connecticut was granted an expansion Double-A franchise which was named the New Haven Ravens. The Ravens began play in the 1994 season affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. The team hosted the 1998 Double-A All-Star Game, was league runner-up in 1995 and 2003, and won the Eastern League Championship in 2000 with an 82-60 record, defeating the Binghamton Mets 3 games to 1 in the championship series. The Ravens played in Yale Field.
On January 26, 2003, the team was sold to businessman Drew Weber, who had the intent of moving the team to Manchester, NH. During the league playoffs on September 2, 2003, the Eastern League baseball team owners voted to approve the move. The team's first season in Manchester was 2004. The first season was played at Gill Stadium south of the downtown area while the current ballpark, Merchantsauto.com Stadium, was under construction.
On July 19, 2005, Drew Weber sold his controlling interest in the team. Art Solomon is the new controlling owner with 60% ownership, while Weber retained a 40% ownership share.
Gary Cathcart was named the team's new manager on November 28, 2007; Cathcart had served as the Fisher Cats' hitting coach during 2005 and 2006, and had most recently managed the single-A Lansing Lugnuts.
On July 16, 2008, the team hosted the 2008 Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby between the Northern Division and Southern Division. Travis Snider of the Fisher Cats won the Home Run Derby over Luis Montanez of the Bowie Baysox 7 to 6. In the All-Star Game itself, the Northern Division defeated the Southern Division 5-3 before a Merchantsauto.com Stadium record crowd of 8,762.
On November 6, 2003, the new management unveiled the New Hampshire Primaries name and logo, which featured an elephant and a donkey holding baseball bats, and was to be used starting in the 2004 season. The management stated that they felt it reflected a unique aspect of the state, since the New Hampshire primary, held every four years, signifies the start of the Presidential election process. Immediately, the name and logo were widely criticized. An online petition was created by two local baseball fans asking the team ownership to reconsider their decision and was covered by local newspapers, radio, and television stations. This coverage was led by a front-page article in the New Hampshire Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest newspaper, on Sunday November 9, 2003. By the afternoon of November 10, over 1200 unique visitors had signed the petition. Later in the day, the team announced that they would not use the Primaries name after all and that they would seek public opinion on a new name.
On November 13, 2003, the team announced the “Name the Team” contest which had three phases over the following weeks. During the first phase, fans submitted suggestions. During the second phase, fans ranked their top five favorite names from the suggestions. For the final phase, fans voted for their single favorite among the top five names from the second round. On December 3, the final voting results were announced: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (1,574 votes - 24.5%), Manchester Millers (1,552 votes - 24.1%), Granite State Mountain Men (1,382 vote - 21.5%), New Hampshire Granite (1,302 votes - 20.2%), and New Hampshire Primaries (627 votes - 9.7%). The ultimate source of the name is from the fisher, most often called a fisher cat in New Hampshire.
On January 22, 2004, the team unveiled the set of logos that would be used for the name New Hampshire Fisher Cats. All of the team's logos and fonts were created and designed by Studio Simon of Louisville, Kentucky. Team colors were green, black, silver, and bronze.
On August 25, 2007, the team had a one-time promotion and played as the New Hampshire Primaries against the Portland Sea Dogs. The Primaries wore specially-designed game worn jerseys for the game.
On November 28, 2007, the team unveiled a new logo, uniforms, and team colors that were designed by Rickabaugh Graphics of Gahanna, Ohio. The official colors are emerald green, black, white, and silver.
Rough start sinks Dogs ; The New Hampshire Fisher Cats strike for six runs in the first inning and roll to an 11-3 win.
Jul 13, 2009; Anonymous By KEVIN THOMAS Staff Writer -- Portland Press Herald (Maine) 07-13-2009 Rough start sinks Dogs ; The New Hampshire...
Cats cuff slumping Sea Dogs ; The New Hampshire Fisher Cats tee off on suddenly struggling pitcher Chris Smith and beat Portland, 8-4.
Jul 08, 2006; KEVIN THOMAS Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 07-08-2006 Cats cuff slumping Sea Dogs ; The New Hampshire Fisher Cats...
Fishing for a following ; They may not be a Red Sox affiliate, but the New Hampshire Fisher Cats are working patiently to develop a fan base.
May 23, 2004; KEVIN THOMAS Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 05-23-2004 Fishing for a following ; They may not be a Red Sox affiliate,...
Plenty of hits, plus pitching and defense ; The Sea Dogs shine in all areas and cruise to a 9-3 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Sep 07, 2006; Portland Press Herald (Maine) 09-07-2006 Plenty of hits, plus pitching and defense ; The Sea Dogs shine in all areas and cruise...