|Salem Red Sox|
Founded in 1955
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Low-A East (2021–present)|
|Carolina League (1968–2020)|
Appalachian League (1955, 1957–1967)
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Boston Red Sox (2009–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (7)|
|Division titles (12)|
|Name||Salem Red Sox (2009–present)|
Big Mo (2005–2008)
The Baseball Nut (1995–1996)
Long Ball Silver (1987–1994)
|Ballpark||Salem Memorial Ballpark (1995–present)|
|Kiwanis Field (1955, 1957–1994)|
|Fenway Sports Group|
|General Manager||Allen Lawrence|
The Salem Red Sox are a Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB), based in Salem, an independent city adjacent to Roanoke, Virginia.[a] The team competes at the Low-A level in the Low-A East league. Home games are played at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark, a 6,300-seat facility opened in 1995.
The team first played in 1955, and then from 1957 to 1967, in the Appalachian League, initially at the now-defunct Class D level and then at the Rookie level starting in 1963. From 1968 through 2020, the team competed in the Carolina League, initially Class A and then Class A-Advanced starting in 1990.
Prior to adopting the Red Sox name in 2009, the team was known as the Salem Avalanche from 1995 through 2008, when it was affiliate with the Colorado Rockies (1995–2002) and Houston Astros (2003–2008). Prior to 1995, the franchise played under several other names and affiliations.
The franchise debuted in 1955 and was initially known as the Salem Rebels, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The franchise was owned from 1986 until 2006 by Kelvin Bowles, a cable television executive and scout in Major League Baseball. Bowles, who scouted for the Boston Red Sox from 2002 to 2005, bought the team when it was in danger of moving from Salem. In 2006, the team was sold to a pair of businessmen from Atlanta who also owned the Fort Wayne Wizards. In December 2007, this group sold the team to Fenway Sports Group, a subsidiary of the Boston Red Sox ownership group, preparing the team for an affiliation change after its Player Development Contract with the Houston Astros ended in 2008. As such, the Salem Red Sox are owned by the same parent company that manages Liverpool F.C. and the Boston Red Sox.
In 2006, Salem Memorial Ballpark hosted the All Star Game between the Carolina League and California League.
Since switching affiliation to Boston in 2009, the team has claimed four division titles (2009, 2013, 2016, 2019), has made five playoff appearances (each division title season, plus 2014 as a wild card), and has won one league championship (2013). League and divisional titles are commemorated on the press box and sky boxes overlooking the Haley Toyota Field Grandstand.
In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the team moved from being the Red Sox' Class A-Advanced affiliate to being their Low-A affiliate, and became a member of the Low-A East league; in a corresponding move, the Greenville Drive moved from Class A to High-A. At the time of the restructuring, the website Ballpark Digest speculated that the Red Sox could look to move the Salem franchise to Lowell, Massachusetts in time for the 2022 season. In May 2021, Rick White, president of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, announced that Salem, along with Staten Island, New York, was "on board for 2022" as an expansion franchise location, further fueling speculation that Salem would lose their affiliation status to Lowell.
While the team is located in a relatively small city (population circa 25,000) when compared to other teams of its classification, the Red Sox are strongly identified with the Roanoke Valley as a whole, drawing fans from neighboring cities and counties within the roughly 300,000-person metropolitan area. The connection with neighboring Roanoke was emphasized during the 2017 Carolina League All-Star Classic, hosted by Salem, that was represented by a logo featuring the iconic Mill Mountain Star. Salem is also located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are featured prominently on the team's logo and are clearly visible over Haley Toyota Field's outfield walls. This mountain view includes the aforementioned star, visible on clear nights over the left field wall.
Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is located roughly 2 miles (3.2 km) from downtown Salem and is part of the James E. Taliaferro Sports and Entertainment Complex, which also includes the Salem Civic Center and Salem Football Stadium (former location of the annual Stagg Bowl). The Red Sox share their stadium with the NCAA Division III Roanoke Maroons and have previously hosted the "Hokie-Smokey Classic" baseball series between the Tennessee Volunteers and the nearby Virginia Tech Hokies.
Given the teams' close proximity, their long-time histories in the league, and both competing in the Carolina League's North Division, Salem's chief rival is the Lynchburg Hillcats. The regular matchups of these teams, known as the "460 Series", named for U.S. Route 460 which connects the cities, has occasionally feature day/night doubleheaders during which two games will be split between the two cities over the course of the same day.
Salem has been a member of three different leagues, at four different classification levels:
Note that while records in the below table are for entire seasons, the Carolina League played a split-season schedule starting in 1970. Thus, a team may have earned a division title by finishing first in either half of the season, despite not having the best overall record for the entire season. Alternately, a team may have had the best overall record for the entire season, but did not finish first in either half of the season, thus did not earn a division title.
|Season||Nickname||Affiliation||Record (win %)||Finish||Manager||Playoffs (games)||Attendance||Ref.|
|1955||Rebels||Pittsburgh||84–38 (.689)||1st of 8||Jack Crosswhite||defeated Kingsport Cherokees (2–0)
no contest vs. Johnson City Cardinals[b]
|1957||Rebels||Pittsburgh||38–30 (.559)||3rd of 6||Lamar Dorton||none held||18,007|||
|1958||Rebels||Pittsburgh||42–29 (.592)||3rd of 6||Lamar Dorton||none held||21,351|||
|1959||Rebels||Pittsburgh||38–29 (.567)||2nd of 6||Lamar Dorton||none held||36,128|||
|1960||Rebels||San Francisco||28–39 (.418)||6th of 6||Jodie Phipps||none held||38,929|||
|1961||Rebels||San Francisco||31–35 (.470)||7th of 8||Jodie Phipps||none held||34,125|||
|1962||Rebels||San Francisco||31–39 (.443)||5th of 6||Alex Cosmidis||none held||40,913|||
|1963||Rebels||San Francisco||36–34 (.514)||2nd of 6||Alex Cosmidis||none held||34,061|||
|1964||Rebels||Pittsburgh||30–41 (.423)||3rd of 4||George Detore||none held||36,184||:527|
|1965||Rebels||Pittsburgh||43–27 (.614)||1st of 6||George Detore||(champions, no playoff)||44,254|||
|1966||Rebels||Pittsburgh||25–43 (.368)||5th of 5||George Detore||none held||34,884||:535|
|1967||Rebels||Pittsburgh||28–38 (.424)||5th of 6||Bob Pritchard||none held||34,822||:539|
|1968||Rebels||Pittsburgh||85–55 (.607)||1st of 6 (West)||Don Hoak||lost to Lynchburg White Sox (0–1)||64,532|||
|1969||Rebels||Pittsburgh||78–66 (.542)||1st of 5 (West)||Chuck Hiller||defeated High Point-Thomasville Royals (2–0)
lost to Burlington Senators (0–2)
|1970||Rebels||Pittsburgh||60–80 (.429)||7th of 8||Billy Klaus||did not qualify||50,076|||
|1971||Rebels||Pittsburgh||65–71 (.478)||6th of 8||Tim Murtaugh||did not qualify||37,872|||
|1972||Pirates||Pittsburgh||79–58 (.577)||1st of 6[c]||Tim Murtaugh||defeated Burlington Rangers (2–1)||43,910|||
|1973||Pirates||Pittsburgh||66–72 (.478)||5th of 6||Steve Demeter||did not qualify||45,915|||
|1974||Pirates||Pittsburgh||87–50 (.635)||1st of 6[d]||Johnny Lipon||(champions, no playoff)||41,379|||
|1975||Pirates||Pittsburgh||74–66 (.529)||3rd of 4||Johnny Lipon||did not qualify||39,007|||
|1976||Pirates||Pittsburgh||68–69 (.496)||3rd of 4||Steve Demeter||did not qualify||30,387|||
|1977||Pirates||Pittsburgh||66–72 (.478)||3rd of 4||Steve Demeter||did not qualify||32,744|||
|1978||Pirates||Pittsburgh||72–63 (.533)||3rd of 6||Jim Mahoney||did not qualify||51,096|||
|1979||Pirates||Pittsburgh||54–82 (.397)||6th of 6||Jim Mahoney||did not qualify||43,036|||
|1980||Pirates||Pittsburgh||79–60 (.568)||2nd of 4 (Virginia)||Johnny Lipon||did not qualify||102,456|||
|1981||Redbirds||San Diego||66–74 (.471)||3rd of 4 (North)[e]||Glenn Ezell||lost to Hagerstown Suns (0–1)||72,125|||
|1982||Redbirds||San Diego||39–101 (.279)||4th of 4 (North)||Jim Zerilla||did not qualify||47,202|||
|1983||Redbirds||San Diego||50–89 (.360)||4th of 4 (North)||Steve Smith||did not qualify||56,451|||
|1984||Redbirds||Texas||64–74 (.464)||3rd of 4 (North)||Bill Stearns||did not qualify||61,623|||
|1985||Redbirds||Texas||72–65 (.526)||2nd of 4 (North)||Bill Stearns||did not qualify||71,788|||
|1986||Redbirds||Texas||45–93 (.326)||4th of 4 (North)||Mike Bucci||did not qualify||87,047|||
|1987||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||80–59 (.576)||1st of 4 (North)[f]||Steve Demeter||defeated Hagerstown Suns (2–0)
defeated Kinston Indians (3–1)
|1988||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||73–66 (.525)||2nd of 4 (North)[g]||Jay Ward||lost to Lynchburg Red Sox (1–2)||119,966|||
|1989||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||63–75 (.457)||4th of 4 (North)||Rocky Bridges||did not qualify||121,581|||
|1990||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||55–84 (.396)||4th of 4 (North)||Stan Cliburn||did not qualify||126,121|||
|1991||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||63–77 (.450)||3rd of 4 (North)||Stan Cliburn||did not qualify||131,582|||
|1992||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||64–76 (.457)||4th of 4 (North)||John Wockenfuss||did not qualify||159,316|||
|1993||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||61–79 (.436)||4th of 4 (South)||Scott Little||did not qualify||145,657|||
|1994||Buccaneers||Pittsburgh||64–75 (.460)||3rd of 4 (South)||Trent Jewett||did not qualify||153,575|||
|1995||Avalanche||Colorado||68–72 (.486)||3rd of 4 (South)||Bill Hayes||did not qualify||140,111|||
|1996||Avalanche||Colorado||62–76 (.449)||4th of 4 (South)||Bill McGuire||did not qualify||173,703|||
|1997||Avalanche||Colorado||63–75 (.457)||2nd of 4 (South)||Bill McGuire||did not qualify||188,023|||
|1998||Avalanche||Colorado||62–78 (.443)||3rd of 4 (South)||Jay Loviglio||did not qualify||189,069|||
|1999||Avalanche||Colorado||69–69 (.500)||3rd of 4 (South)||Ron Gideon||did not qualify||206,012|||
|2000||Avalanche||Colorado||73–67 (.521)||2nd of 4 (South)||Alan Cockrell||did not qualify||200,863|||
|2001||Avalanche||Colorado||70–68 (.507)||3rd of 4 (South)[h]||Dave Collins||defeated Kinston Indians (2–1)
defeated Frederick Keys (3–2)
|2002||Avalanche||Colorado||74–66 (.529)||3rd of 4 (South)||Stu Cole||did not qualify||196,347|||
|2003||Avalanche||Houston||73–65 (.529)||1st of 4 (South)[i]||John Massarelli||did not qualify||175,155|||
|2004||Avalanche||Houston||65–74 (.468)||4th of 4 (South)||Russ Nixon||did not qualify||224,991|||
|2005||Avalanche||Houston||67–74 (.475)||3rd of 4 (South)||Iván DeJesús||did not qualify||255,225|||
|2006||Avalanche||Houston||76–61 (.555)||2nd of 4 (South)[j]||Jim Pankovits||lost to Kinston Indians (0–2)||237,724|||
|2007||Avalanche||Houston||79–60 (.568)||2nd (South)[k]||Jim Pankovits||defeated Kinston Indians (2–1)
lost to Frederick Keys (1–3)
|2008||Avalanche||Houston||56–84 (.400)||4th (South)||Jim Pankovits||did not qualify||235,823|||
|2009||Red Sox||Boston||67–72 (.482)||2nd (South)[l]||Chad Epperson||defeated Winston-Salem Dash (3–0)
lost to Lynchburg Hillcats (0–3)
|2010||Red Sox||Boston||73–65 (.529)||2nd (South)||Kevin Boles||did not qualify||211,527|||
|2011||Red Sox||Boston||64–75 (.460)||4th (South)||Bruce Crabbe||did not qualify||226,337|||
|2012||Red Sox||Boston||68–69 (.496)||3rd (South)||Billy McMillon||did not qualify||178,730|||
|2013||Red Sox||Boston||76–64 (.543)||2nd (South)[m]||Billy McMillon||defeated Myrtle Beach Pelicans (2–0)
defeated Potomac Nationals (3–0)
|2014||Red Sox||Boston||68–68 (.500)||2nd (South)[n]||Carlos Febles||lost to Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1–2)||220,782|||
|2015||Red Sox||Boston||66–73 (.475)||4th (South)||Carlos Febles||did not qualify||228,120|||
|2016||Red Sox||Boston||87–52 (.626)||1st (South)[o]||Joe Oliver||lost to Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1–2)||200,478|||
|2017||Red Sox||Boston||87–52 (.626)||2nd (North)||Joe Oliver||did not qualify||215,244|||
|2018||Red Sox||Boston||63–75 (.457)||5th (North)||Joe Oliver||did not qualify||192,621|||
|2019||Red Sox||Boston||67–70 (.489)||3rd (North)[p]||Corey Wimberly||lost to Wilmington Blue Rocks (2–3)||171,866|||
|2020||Red Sox||Boston||season canceled, COVID-19 pandemic||Corey Wimberly||—|
|2021||Red Sox||Boston||TBD||Luke Montz|
At least two inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame played for Salem; Orlando Cepeda, who played 26 games for the Rebels in 1955, and Larry Walker, who played two rehabilitation games with the Avalanche in 1996.
Tim Murtaugh was a player, manager, and player-manager for Salem; he played 38 games for the 1965 Rebels, he managed the 1971 Rebels, and he appeared in 10 games while managing the 1972 Pirates.
Mario Mendoza played 136 games for Salem in 1972, registering a .221 batting average, slightly above the Mendoza Line that is named for him.
Daisuke Matsuzaka made a rehabilitation start for Salem in September 2009, in a Carolina League playoff game against the Winston-Salem Dash, and later made a regular-season rehabilitation start for Salem in 2012.
For notable players who made appearances with Salem, see:
Lefty and Righty, the team's newest mascots; two person-sized red socks, each wearing a Boston Red Sox hat; one has an "L" on its back, the other has an "R".
Mugsy, a St. Bernard mascot who made his rookie debut in professional baseball in 1997 with the Avalanche. According to the team's website, Mugsy descended from the passing Hale-Bopp comet that raced across the Roanoke Valley sky on April 4, 1997.
Misty, a female saint bernard mascot who joined the team in 2005.
Big Mo, the Salem Avalanche's Kid's Club mascot; a giant abominable snowman.
The Baseball Nut, the Avalanche's first mascot, which resembled an almond. While the idea was original, the Baseball Nut proved to be unpopular. Lacking a cute or friendly appearance, the mascot intimidated children and was an object of derision by adult fans. Mugsy was developed as a replacement.
60-day injured list