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The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders are a professional baseball club located in Moosic, Pennsylvania. They currently play in the International League's Northern Division. They are the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. The club plays at PNC Field (formerly Lackawanna County Stadium), their home since 1989.

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Team logo.

Franchise history[]

What is now the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre International League franchise can trace its roots back to 1886 when the club began play as the Buffalo Bisons[1]. The original Bisons played for two seasons in the original IL before the league made the first of several name changes. The IL was known as the Internation Association (1888–1890), Eastern Association (1891), and the Eastern League (1892–1911) before finally settling on the International League. The Bisons left the IL in 1899 but would return in 1902 and remain there for the next 69 seasons. The club saw success, winning the league title ten times. In 1927, the Bisons won a franchise record 112 games. The team began the 1970 season in Buffalo, but were on the verge of bankruptcy. In June of that year, the club was awarded to the Montreal Expos who moved the team to Winnipeg, MB.

The Winnipeg Whips spent less than two full seasons in the International League. The Whips were located 1,108 miles away from their nearest opponent, making for very difficult travel. After the 1971 season, the team was moved to Hampton, Virginia and became the Peninsula Whips. Peninsula also lasted just two seasons and relocated to Memphis, TN after 1973. The Memphis Blues, a former member of the Texas League, joined the IL in 1974. This club reached the postseason in 1974 and 1976.

In 1977, the Blues franchise switched locations to Charleston, WV and became the Charleston Charlies. Success came quickly as the Charlies posted a 78-62 record and won the Governors' Cup trophy while sharing prospects from the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays. (In a move that had little to no effect on the team, some time prior to 1979, the modern Buffalo Bisons reacquired the team's pre-1970 history.) The Charlies followed with four below average finishes before reaching the postseason in 1983. Following that season, the club packed up and moved to Old Orchard Beach, ME to become the Maine Guides.

The 1984 Maine Guides[2] were the most successful team to play in the resort town of Old Orchard Beach. They posted a 77-59 record before losing to Pawtucket in the final round. From the beginning, the club found itself at the bottom of attendance figures due to a seasonal fan base and a serious mosquito problem. The team managed to draw only 105,578 fans in 1986, good for last in the IL.

In 1987, a group from Scranton, PA, Northeast Baseball, Inc., purchased the club with the hopes of moving it to a soon-to-be-built stadium in Lackawanna County. Maine ownership later sued NBI, claiming violation of the purchase contract. NBI also filed suit, and after a lengthy court battle, won control of the Maine franchise. The Philadelphia Phillies took control of the team for its final season in 1988, renaming it the Maine Phillies.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons[]

The new Philadelphia Phillies Triple A club opened play in 1989 as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The name was chosen as a reference to the early minor league franchises in the area, the Scranton Red Sox and the Wilkes-Barre Barons, both members of the Eastern League.

Despite early on-field struggles, the team enjoyed great popularity in the community. The Red Barons drew over 500,000 fans for their first five seasons. Led by .310 hitter Rick Schu and Jay Baller's 22 saves, the club drew 598,067 fans and finished 84-58 in 1992, good for first place in the IL Eastern Division. The Barons would eventually fall to Columbus in the championship series[3]. After six mediocre seasons, Marc Bombard took over as manager in 1997, and led the club to their second postseason appearance in 1999. The Barons reached the playoffs in four straight seasons from 1999–2002, losing in the finals in both 2000 and 2001. Bombard would manage the team for eight seasons, posting the best finish in Red Barons' history, a 91-53 record in 2002, led by Joe Roa's perfect 14-0 record[4].

Despite an increase in talent featuring many future major leaguers such as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Cole Hamels, attendance began to decline through the middle part of the decade. After 2006, the Phillies decides to end their affiliation with the Red Barons and signed a Player Development Contract with the Ottawa Lynx in anticipation of that team's move to Allentown's new Coca-Cola Park for the 2008 season.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees[]

On September 21, 2006, the Red Barons announced an affiliation agreement with the New York Yankees, ending the Yankees' 28-year relationship with the Columbus Clippers.[5] The Red Barons sold 47,000 tickets on the day of the announcement.[6] On December 12, 2006, the team officially changed its nickname to the Yankees, and unveiled new team logos and uniforms.[7]

The club has enjoyed much success in their first three seasons as the Yankees. In 2007, the Yankees finished with a record of 84-59 and captured the IL North Division title for the fourth time in team history before losing to Richmond in the semi finals. The 2008 season was the most successful in franchise history as the Yankees finished 88-56, won another division championship, and earned their first league title. After defeating the Pawtucket Red Sox 3-1 in the semi finals, the Yankees beat the Durham Bulls 3-1 in the final round to earn the Governors' Cup trophy. The team would again finish in first place in 2009 and advance to the championship before being swept by Durham, 3-0.

File:Scranton Yankees BP allentown.jpg

Members of the 2009 Scranton Yankees take BP before Opening Day, 2009 in Allentown.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre yearly results[]

Year Record League Finish Manager Playoffs
1989 64-79 7th Bill Dancy
1990 68-78 5th Bill Dancy
1991 65-78 7th Bill Dancy
1992 84-58 2nd Lee Elia Lost League Finals
1993 62-80 8th George Culver
1994 62-80 10th Mike Quade
1995 70-72 8th Mike Quade
1996 70-72 5th (tied) Butch Hobson (13-14)/Ramon Aviles (57-58)
1997 66-76 8th Marc Bombard
1998 67-75 11th Marc Bombard
1999 78-66 5th Marc Bombard Lost Semi Finals
2000 85-60 2nd Marc Bombard Lost League Finals
2001 78-65 4th Jerry Martin (33-32)/Marc Bombard (45-33) Lost League Finals
2002 91-53 1st Marc Bombard Lost Semi Finals
2003 73-70 4th (tied) Marc Bombard
2004 69-73 8th Marc Bombard
2005 69-75 9th (tied) Gene Lamont
2006 84-58 1st John Russell Lost Semi Finals
2007 84-59 1st Dave Miley Lost Semi Finals
2008 88-56 1st Dave Miley League Champions
2009 81-60 3rd Dave Miley Lost League Finals
2010 Dave Miley

Titles as other names[]

As the Maine Guides, they played in the championship series once.

As the Charleston Charlies, they won the Governors' Cup once, and played in the championship series 2 times.

As the Buffalo Bisons, they won the International League Championship ten times (1891, 1904, 1906, 1915, 1916, 1927, 1933, 1936, 1957, 1961).

Uniform design[]

File:Raul Chavez.jpg

Raúl Chávez in 2007


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees home cap

The team's two home uniforms are white with navy blue pinstripes, mirroring those of the parent club. The primary home jersey features the cap logo on the left chest. The home cap is navy blue.[8] There is also an alternate cap, which is navy blue and features the scripted "Y" from the home cap, but without the bat and Uncle Sam hat.[9]

The team's road uniforms are grey with navy blue and white trim, with the Yankees wordmark across the chest. In 2008, the team began wearing their navy blue batting practice jerseys for a majority of their road games. The road cap is navy blue with the "Y" logo.[10]


Mike Vander Woude is the current radio play-by-play announcer. Vander Woude joined the team after leaving the Cincinnati Reds single-A team the Dayton Dragons.

The team's former radio play-by-play announcer, Kent Westling, retired prior to the 2008 season and had been with the franchise since it moved to Pennsylvania in 1989. While he cut back his schedule in later years, Westling, a former local television sportscaster who once worked on telecasts of St. Louis Blues hockey team, had been behind the microphone for more than 2,000 games until announcing his resignation after the 2007 season[11]. Bill Savage, a sports writer for The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, covered the team for its first six seasons, and during that stretch, from 1989 to 1994, missed only about 10 of the team's games.


Template:Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees roster

Notable alumni[]

Red Barons[]



External links[]