|League||Northwoods League (Great Lakes East Division 2019-pres)|
(South Division 2014-2018)
|Ballpark||Homer Stryker Field|
|Nickname(s)||The Blues, The 64s|
|Colors||Navy, Teal and Gold|
|Ownership||Dick Radatz Jr.|
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a baseball team based in Kalamazoo, Michigan that plays in the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball league. The Growlers were founded in 2013 and played their first game on May 28, 2014, losing to the then defending league champion Madison Mallards 6-2. The Growlers played their first home game on May 30, 2014, beating the Battle Creek Bombers 13-3. The team plays its home games at Homer Stryker Field.
On June 3, 2013, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a contract with Kalamazoo Baseball, LLC to bring a team back to the city. Kalamazoo had been without a baseball team since the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League disbanded in 2011. The contract stipulated that the Northwoods League would pay expenses associated with the team's home games, practice and the maintenance of Homer Stryker Field. On Nov. 15 of that year, the team was formally introduced as the Kalamazoo Growlers, a tribute to the city's brewing tradition and the black bears that can be heard "growling" in the forests of Michigan.
|Year||W-L||PCT||Place||I-94 Rivalry Cup||Postseason|
|2014||29-43||.403||8th NWL South||Won: 5 games to 3|
|2015||17-55||.236||9th NWL South||Lost: 0 games to 8|
|2016||33-39||.458||5th NWL South||Lost: 2 games to 6|
|2017||28-44||.389||6th NWL South||Lost: 1 game to 7|
|2018||41-31||.569||2nd NWL South||Won: 5 games to 3||Wild Card: Beat the Kenosha Kingfish 5-3. Division Championship: Lost to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders 3-1.|
|2019||37-35||.514||2nd NWL GLE||Won: 8 games to 4||GLE: Lost to the Traverse City Pit Spitters 2 games to 0.|
|2020||40-25-6||.597||1st NWL MIS||Won: 19-13-3||Lost to the Kalamazoo Mac Daddies 4-2|
The Growlers compete for the I-94 Rivalry Cup with the Battle Creek Bombers. The rivalry began in 2014 when the Growlers entered the Northwoods League, ending the Bombers reign as the only team in the league from Michigan. The teams are tied in the yearly series 3-3 and Kalamazoo trails in the all-time series 21 games to 31.
The mascot of the team is an anthropomorphic black bear named Porter. He was named after a dark style of beer and wears jersey number 64 (number of ounces held in a Growler), which pays homage to Kalamazoo's microbreweries. The original mascot was named Barlee, but the team lost the rights of the name to the Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League.
The unofficial nickname of the team is "The Blues" which refers to the color of the team's away uniforms as well as two of their alternate uniforms. Another unofficial nickname is "The 64s" because 64 is the number of fluid ounces held in a Growler. The team mascot, Porter, wears jersey number 64 for this reason, and many fan jerseys are sold with the number.
The Growlers were recognized as a finalist for Ballpark Digest's 2014 Logo/Branding of the Year and the team took home the top prize as the 2014 Summer-Collegiate Promotion of the Year for their "Salute to Selfie" Night which featured a collage of selfies on the player's jerseys which were submitted by Growlers fans.
The team name was chosen in a #NameTheTeam contest. Finalists included "Growlers", "Kraken", "Cabbies", "Kangaroos" and "Clutch". On June 20, 2015 the team saluted the contest by holding a "What If" night where the team changed their name to the Kraken for one game, losing to the La Crosse Loggers 9-7. Similarly on June 4, 2016 the team held a "What Would Have Been" night where they changed the team name to the Cabbies for one game, beating the Battle Creek Bombers 9-0.
In the 2015 season, the Growlers were 5th in the nation in attendance for summer collegiate baseball.
One of the feature items on the concessions menu was the Bear Claw Burger. The Bear Claw Burger was a 2/3 pound Angus hamburger topped with barbeque pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw between two Sweetwater’s Donut Mill bear claw shaped donuts. This towering burger was originally sold with a drink and chips for an estimated total of 3,000 calories. It was available at Growlers games during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
On August 13, 2016 the team wore "Emojerseys" covered in 25 different fan-favorite emojis.
On July 24th, 2018 the team hosted the Northwoods League All Star Game as well as a celebration for the league's 25th anniversary. Three Growlers players represented the South Division in the game, which was a victory over the North Division 2-1. Three Growlers also competed in the Home Run Derby, which was won by Growlers Player Zach Daniels who hit three home runs.
On August 9th, 2019, John Schreiber became the first former Growler to reach the major leagues when he made his major league debut pitching in relief for the Detroit Tigers.
|Name||MLB Team||MLB Debut||Years with Growlers|
|John Schreiber||Detroit Tigers||August 9, 2019||2014|
|Name||Highest Level Team||Professional Organization||Years with Growlers|
|Caleb Baragar||Sacramento River Cats||San Francisco Giants (AAA)||2014|
|Sean Isaac||Salt Lake Bees||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (AAA)||2015|
|Troy Montgomery||Erie SeaWolves||Detroit Tigers (AA)||2014|
|Seby Zavala||Birmingham Barons||Chicago White Sox (AA)||2014|
|Matt Frawley||Trenton Thunder||New York Yankees (AA)||2015|
|Ryan Lidge||Trenton Thunder||New York Yankees (AA)||2015|
|Nick Yarnall||Rancho Cucamonga Quakes||Los Angeles Dodgers (A Advanced)||2014-2015|
|Camden Duzenack||Visalia Rawhide||Arizona Diamondbacks (A Advanced)||2015-2016|
|Charles Leblanc||Down East Wood Ducks||Texas Rangers (A Advanced)||2015|
|Tre Gantt||Lynchburg Hillcats||Cleveland Indians (A Advanced)||2016|
|Kenny Koplove||Lakewood BlueClaws||Philadelphia Phillies (A)||2014|
|Ryan Colegate||Lake County Captains||Cleveland Indians (A)||2014|
|Brandon Hughes||South Bend Cubs||Chicago Cubs (A)||2015|
|Dylan Busby||West Virginia Power||Pittsburgh Pirates (A)||2015|
|Nick Hutchins||Lexington Legends||Kansas City Royals (A)||2016-2017|
|Trey Ganns||Greenville Drive||Boston Red Sox (A)||2015|
|Brett Sunde||Vermont Lake Monsters||Oakland Athletics (A Short-Season)||2014|
|Josh Alberius||Batavia Muckdogs||Miami Marlins (A Short-Season)||2015|
|Alec Byrd||Boise Hawks||Colorado Rockies (A Short-Season)||2015|
|Dalton Combs||Salem-Keizer Volcanoes||San Francisco Giants (A Short-Season)||2015|
|Bryan Saucedo||Arizona League White Sox||Chicago White Sox (Rookie)||2015|