Altoona Curve
Altoona Curve logo.svg
Altoona Curve cap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassDouble-A (1999–present)
LeagueEastern League (2022–present)
DivisionSouthwest Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
TeamPittsburgh Pirates (1999–present)
Minor league titles
League titles (2)
  • 2010
  • 2017
Division titles (4)
  • 2004
  • 2010
  • 2017
  • 2018
Team data
NameAltoona Curve (1999–present)
ColorsRed, black, bronze, gray, white
         
MascotsLoco AlTuna
BallparkPeoples Natural Gas Field (1999–present)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Lozinak Baseball, LLC
General managerNate Bowen[1]
ManagerKieran Mattison

The Altoona Curve are a Minor League Baseball team based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, named after nearby Horseshoe Curve (but also alluding to the curveball, a type of pitch). The team plays in the Eastern League and is the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Curve play in Peoples Natural Gas Field, located in Altoona; it was opened in 1999 and seats 7,210 people.

History

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Altoona Curve" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (October 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The Altoona Curve franchise began when Arizona and Tampa Bay were both awarded Major League Baseball franchises beginning in the 1998 season. The addition of these two teams had a domino effect through baseball with the expansion of not only the major leagues, but throughout Minor League Baseball as well. With this expansion, AA baseball received two new teams to begin play in the 1999 season. The Erie SeaWolves were already an established minor-league team with outstanding short-season attendance, and were quickly awarded one of the new franchises. The second spot in the new, larger Eastern League looked to be headed to Springfield, Massachusetts, but city native Bob Lozinak, developer Tate DeWeese, businessman Mark Thomas and a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers rallied to get the final spot, making a formal presentation to league officials on October 5, 1997. The proposal received unanimous support and Altoona won the other franchise.

Groundbreaking on Blair County Ballpark took place on March 7, 1998, and the franchise was formally awarded in April. In June of that year, the "Curve" nickname was selected over several other proposals, including Lake Monsters, Ridge Runners, and the Altoona Fish. The name was inspired by nearby Horseshoe Curve, with many of the logos inspired by the former Pennsylvania Railroad which housed their maintenance facility in Altoona.

The next step for the start of the Altoona Curve was to find a major league affiliate. The Erie SeaWolves had already had several successful seasons in the Pirates' organization, as a short-season single-A affiliate. In the end, however, the Pirates chose Altoona for their AA affiliate.

The Altoona Curve began their first season on the road at the Reading Phillies on April 9, 1999. Their first game was suspended by rain and completed the next day as part of a doubleheader. That first game was a 6–2 loss, but the Curve scored their first-ever victory in the second game, beating Reading 6–4. A few days later, on April 15, the Curve christened Blair County Ballpark by defeating the Bowie Baysox 6–1 in front of a crowd of 6,171.

On April 2, 2002, Lozinak and DeWeese sold the franchise to a collective headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg. Among the partners in the collective are Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and NHL star Mario Lemieux. The first season under new ownership was the most successful to date, performance-wise as well as economically. During August of that year, the Pirates signed on for another four-year development agreement through the 2006 season.

During the 2003 season, the Curve made the Eastern League playoffs for the first time, and followed that up with two more appearances in 2004 and 2005. Their performance on the field has led to increased numbers in the stands, and the Curve increased attendance for five consecutive years before dipping by just a few thousand in 2005.

Following the 2004 season, General Manager Todd Parnell was honored as the Eastern League Executive of the Year, and the franchise won the Larry MacPhail Award for the best promotional effort (on and off the field) in all of Minor League Baseball.

On April 2, 2006, their fourth anniversary as owners, Greenberg and his group announced an additional four-year extension on the development agreement with the Pirates, keeping the Curve's affiliation intact through at least the 2010 season. The Curve hosted the Eastern League All-Star Game at Blair County Ballpark on July 12, 2006, before a standing-room-only crowd of 9,308.

On December 2, 2008, Chuck Greenberg sold the Altoona Curve back to original owner and Altoona native Bob Lozinak.

On May 23, 2009, the Altoona Curve and Pittsburgh Pirates renewed their development agreement, which now runs through the 2014 season.

On September 18, 2010, the Curve defeated the Trenton Thunder to clinch the franchise's first ever Eastern League Championship. The Curve won the series three games to one. Later that month, it was announced that the Pirates would not be bringing back Altoona manager Matt Walbeck for the following season.[2]

In 2016, four Curve players were picked for the Eastern League All-Star Game—Tyler Eppler, Edwin Espinal, Jared Lakind, and Harold Ramírez.[3]

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Curve were organized into the Double-A Northeast.[4] In 2022, the Double-A Northeast became known as the Eastern League, the name historically used by the regional circuit prior to the 2021 reorganization.[5]

No-hitters

On April 23, 2002, Adrian Burnside, Neal McDade and Chris Spurling combined for the first no-hitter in Altoona Curve history. Burnside pitched the first five innings, McDade pitched the next three and Spurling pitched the ninth inning to complete the no-hitter.[6] On July 25, 2013, Ethan Hollingsworth, Jason Townsend, Jhonathan Ramos and Ryan Beckman combined for the second no-hitter in Altoona Curve history. Hollingsworth pitched the first four innings, Townsend pitched the next three, Ramos pitched the eighth inning and Beckman pitched the ninth to complete the no-hitter.[7]

Season records

(Place listed is finish in Southern Division from 1999–2009 and finish in Western Division from 2010–2020)

Playoff appearances

Roster

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 14 Bear Bellomy
  • 46 Brad Case
  • 10 Omar Cruz
    Injury icon 2.svg
  • 34 Nick Dombkowski
  • 37 J.C. Flowers
  • 14 Oliver Garcia
    Injury icon 2.svg
  • -- Will Kobos
    Injury icon 2.svg
  • 52 Enmanuel Mejia
  • 31 Cristofer Melendez
  • 44 Carmen Mlodzinski
  • 23 Kyle Nicolas
  • 32 Luis Ortiz
  • 30 Jeffrey Passantino
  • 53 Quinn Priester
  • 26 Austin Roberts
  • 13 Tyler Samaniego
  • 36 Colin Selby
  • 19 Aaron Shortridge
  • 17 Tahnaj Thomas

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

  • 22 Kieran Mattison

Coaches

  • 41 Drew Benes (pitching)
  • 49 Blake Butler (development)
  • 25 Jon Nunnally (hitting)
  •  6 Jonathan Prieto (coach)


Injury icon 2.svg
7-day injured list
* On Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated August 2, 2022
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • Eastern League
Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players

References

  1. ^ "Personnel News: Altoona". Ballpark Digest. October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  2. ^ Shetler, Matt (30 September 2010). "Pittsburgh Pirates Part Ways With Altoona Manager Matt Walbeck". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Four Curve players selected for Eastern League All-Star Game".
  4. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  5. ^ "Historical League Names to Return in 2022". Minor League Baseball. March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  6. ^ "Pirates Report: 4/25/02".
  7. ^ "#NONONONO: Quartet of Curve Hurlers Combine to No-Hit 'Cats".