|Fort Myers Mighty Mussels|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Florida State League (2022–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Minnesota Twins (1992–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (7)|
|Division titles (4)|
|First-half titles (5)|
|Second-half titles (5)|
|Name||Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2020–present)|
|Colors||Navy, purple, golden sun, sand, sky blue, white|
|Ballpark||Hammond Stadium (1992–present)|
|Kaufy Baseball, LLC|
|General manager||Chris Peters|
The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels are a Minor League Baseball team of the Florida State League and the Single-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. They are located in Fort Myers, Florida, and play their home games at the CenturyLink Sports Complex at Hammond Stadium, which has a capacity of 7,500 and opened in 1991. The park is also used as the Minnesota Twins' spring training facility.
The majority owner is Kaufy Baseball, LLC, a privately held company managed by Andrew Kaufmann, who purchased a controlling interest in the club from Jason Hochberg of SJS Beacon Baseball, LLC in January 2019. Musician Jimmy Buffett and actor Bill Murray were minority owners of the team.
The Mighty Mussels franchise was founded in 1926, as the Fort Myers Palms. One year later, the team moved to Miami, and were renamed the Miami Hustlers. The team became temporarily inactive, with the rest of the Florida State League, midway through the 1928 season. Even though the Florida State League resumed play in 1936, the Hustlers remained inactive until they were reactivated by the FSL during the 1961–1962 offseason to serve as the Class D affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team was renamed the Miami Marlins in honor of the original Marlins of the Triple-A International League who had moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico (and subsequently Charleston, West Virginia), following the 1960 season.
In 1963, there was a restructuring of the classification system of all Minor League Baseball, which resulted in the FSL changing from Class D to its current status of Class A-Advanced. They became a Baltimore Orioles affiliate in 1966, and were renamed the Miami Orioles after their MLB parent club from 1971 to 1981.
Upon the Baltimore Orioles' severing of their affiliation with the Miami Orioles following the 1981 season, the franchise reverted to the Marlins name and participated in the 1982 FSL season as an independent entry. Without a Major League affiliate, this team was composed of undrafted players from the area, free agents from various organizations and players on loan from the Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, and Oakland A's organizations.
The following season the Miami Marlins became a San Diego Padres affiliate. This partnership lasted two years and the Marlins were without a parent club for the 1985 season. They filled their roster with ten former major leaguers looking to rejuvenate their careers, including Derrel Thomas, who made it back to MLB later that season with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins continued this practice through the 1988 season. One of their signees in 1987, Dennis Martínez, also returned to MLB, signing with the Montreal Expos later that season. In 1987, the team started receiving some players on loan from the Tokyo Giants. This lasted through the 1988 season.
In 1988, the team began the season at Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium, but moved later in the season to the Miami-Hialeah Lakes High School field. The Marlins had per-game attendance totals of approximately 100 fans.
On February 22, 1989, the South Florida Baseball Club Limited Partnership purchased the Marlins and were renamed the Miami Miracle. They moved the team from Miami Stadium, which the team had called home for the vast majority of its time in South Florida, to Florida International University's University Park with some games to be held at Key West High School. South Florida BC LP consisted of Stuart Revo, managing partner, Marvin Goldklang, South Florida commercial real estate developer Michael M. Adler; Potamkin Television, New Age Broadcasting automobile dealership group Potamkin Companies president Alan Potamkin; Sillerman-Magee Communication Management Corp. CEO Robert Sillerman, actor Bill Murray and recording artist Jimmy Buffett. E.J. Narcise was named general manager. While having a partial affiliation with the Cleveland Indians and the Tokyo Giants of the Japanese league, the Miracle were considered an independent entry in the FSL.
The team received only nine players from the Indians for the 1989 season and had to scramble to find players like pitcher Longo Garcia who was released by the San Francisco Giants organization having been a tenth round draft pick. Jim Gattis was named manager by April 1989.
The Miracle were sold again a year later to the Marv Goldklang Group. Mike Veeck (son of Hall of Fame inductee Bill Veeck, and author of the book, Fun is Good) also became part owner of the organization while Murray and Buffett still maintained their shares as well.
In 1990, the team moved again, playing its home games at Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium. The team spent two seasons in Pompano Beach with future big league skipper Fredi González at the helm.
In 1992, with the impending arrival of MLB's Florida Marlins, the Goldklang Group returned the Miracle to Fort Myers. The Miracle operated as a co-op club with the Minnesota Twins that season, and became a full Twins affiliate a year later. The current Player Development Contract runs through 2018.
In December 2019, the franchise announced that it would be rebrand ahead of the 2020 season and become known as the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.
Since moving to Fort Myers for the 1992 season, the Mighty Mussels have qualified for the Florida State League Playoffs eight times. As the Miracle, the club won the FSL West Division first half in 2003 and 2008 and the FSL West second half in 1995, 2000 and 2006. In 2009, the Florida State League adopted a North–South setup of divisions. In that year, the Miracle won both the FSL South first and second half under manager Jeff Smith. Despite a regular season record of 80–58 and winning game one of a best-of-three series on the road, the Charlotte Stone Crabs defeated the Miracle in games two and three.
After a three-season hiatus, the Miracle returned to the FSL Playoffs under first-year manager Doug Mientkiewicz. Guiding a star-studded team of Twins prospects such as Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario, the Miracle won the first half in the FSL South with a 45–22 record. The 45 wins tied the franchise record for the most in a single half and the winning percentage of .672 marked the best for a half in team history. Posting the best overall record in the Florida State League at 79–56 during the regular season, the Miracle again fell to the Stone Crabs in the FSL South Divisional Playoff. Charlotte held the league-best Fort Myers offense, that included the consensus top prospect in baseball Byron Buxton, to just one run in a two-game sweep.
Entering the 2014 season, the Miracle had appeared in the Florida State League Championship series twice; losing to the Daytona Cubs in 1995 and 2008. For a second consecutive season, Mientkiewicz led the Miracle to a first half title in the FSL South, narrowly edging the St. Lucie Mets by one game in the standings with a final day win, 4–0, over the Bradenton Marauders. Fort Myers finished with a first half record of 41–28 with a roster featuring top prospects José Berríos, Jorge Polanco and Adam Brett Walker. During the 2014 campaign, Walker broke the Miracle franchise record for home runs in a season with 25; previously held by Brock Peterson with 21 in 2006. Walker was also a 2014 FSL All-Star Game MVP and Home Run Derby Champion at the 2014 FSL All-Star Game in Bradenton, at McKechnie Field. In the second half, the Miracle posted a record of 41–29 for an overall mark of 82–57, second-best in team history.
In the FSL South Divisional Playoff, the Miracle faced Bradenton. Trailing 7–3 in the top of the fourth inning, Jason Kanzler hit an opposite field grand slam to tie the game in the first of a best-of-three series. After the fifth inning, play was halted for 58 minutes due to rain. When the game resumed in the top of the sixth, Dalton Hicks drove in the eventual game-winning run with a single. The Miracle won game one, 8–7, and Kanzler had six runs batted in. In game two, the Miracle scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning to take 6–1 lead. Miracle starter D. J. Baxendale earned the win with six innings allowing just one unearned run and five strikeouts. After a two-game sweep of the Marauders, the Miracle advanced to the FSL Championship series for the third time in team history.
Facing the Cubs again, the Miracle hosted the first two games of the best-of-five series at JetBlue Park. The Miracle pitching staff allowed just one run in a pair of wins. Fort Myers took game one, 5–1, and game two, 5–0. With a 2–0 series lead for the Miracle, the Cubs staved off elimination in game three at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona, Florida After a two-hour, seven-minute delay, the Cubs and Miracle engaged in a back-and-forth battle with Daytona eventually going on to win, 8–7. The Cubs trailed 6–5 in the bottom of the eighth inning, but took the lead on a three-run homer by Wilson Contreras. After the Cubs' win, the two teams had to wait a day after heavy storms made the field in Daytona unplayable. On Monday, September 8, the Miracle and Cubs played game four. Fort Myers built a 2–0 lead midway through the fourth inning. Daytona tied the game in the sixth. Going into extra innings, Kanzler gave the Miracle a 4–2 lead with a two-run homer in the top of the eleventh. Zack Jones recorded a perfect ninth inning, striking out Contreras for the save. The FSL Championship was the first in team history since moving to Fort Myers in 1992. The series win also marked the first time the Daytona Cubs had lost a FSL Playoff series.
These statistics are current through the 2019 season, and include only seasons dating back to when the team was first called the Miracle.
|League champions †||Finals appearance *||Division winner ^||Wild card berth ¤|
|1st half||2nd half|
|Fort Myers Miracle|
|1995||FSL||West||6th||34||34||.500||6||1st ^||41||21||.661||—||Won semifinals (Tampa) 2–1|
Lost finals (Daytona) 2–3 *
|2000||FSL||West||2nd||38||32||.543||2.5||1st ^||45||25||.643||—||Lost semifinals (Dunedin) 0–2|
|2003||FSL||West||1st ^||44||26||.629||—||6th||29||37||.439||9||Lost semifinals (Dunedin) 1–2|
|2006||FSL||West||2nd||38||32||.543||—[a]||1st ^||42||28||.600||—||Lost semifinals (Dunedin) 1–2|
|2008||FSL||West||1st ^||45||24||.652||—||3rd||32||35||.478||15.5||Won semifinals (Dunedin) 2–0|
Lost finals (Daytona) 1–3
|2009||FSL||South||1st ^||43||26||.623||—||1st ^||37||32||.536||—||Lost semifinals (Charlotte) 1–2|
|2013||FSL||South||1st ^||45||22||.672||—||4th||34||34||.500||5.5||Lost semifinals (Charlotte) 0–2|
|2014||FSL||South||1st ^||41||28||.594||—||2nd||41||29||.586||2||Won semifinals (Bradenton) 2–0|
Won finals (Daytona) 3–1 †
|2017||FSL||South||5th||33||35||.485||7.5||1st ^||42||25||.627||—||Lost semifinals (Palm Beach) 0–2|
|2018||FSL||South||5th||28||40||.412||13||1st ^||40||29||.580||—||Won semifinals (Palm Beach) 2–0|
Won finals (Daytona) 3–1 †
|2019||FSL||South||1st ^||39||27||.591||—||4th||35||32||.522||11||No playoffs[b]|
|All-time regular season record (1989–2019)||2,136||2,089||.506|
|Postseason record (1989–2019)||20||21||.488|
|All-time regular and postseason record||2,156||2,110||.505|
The Miracle's name and logo appeared in the 1998 film Major League: Back to the Minors. Gus Cantrell (Scott Bakula) pitched for the Miracle before retiring to become the manager of the Buzz.
† Injured & did not play
†† Promoted & did not play
‡ FSL All-Star Game MVP
‡‡ MLB All-Star
Baseball Hall of Fame franchise alumni