As one of the last PDC extensions, if not THE last, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Lansing Lugnuts (A Full Season, Midwest League) has extended their cooperation for another two years through the 2018 season.
Next to their 21-year anniversary, the Lugnuts celebrated the 12th anniversary of the player development contract with the Blue Jays, which started in 2005.
The usual pleasantries were exchanged as Lugnuts co-owner Tom Dickson stated: “This is terrific news for the city of Lansing. The Toronto Blue Jays consistently provide high-character, high-ceiling baseball players. Our fans were able to enjoy watching great players like Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Daniel Norris. Each season we are excited to see who follows in their footsteps.”
“We are thrilled to extend our agreement with the Lansing Lugnuts,” said Blue Jays Director of Player Development, Gil Kim. “Owner Tom Dickson and General Manager Nick Grueser are first class people who have a genuine interest in developing Blue Jays players. They operate a first class organization which is reflected in the passionate fan base, good ballpark atmosphere, and a knowledgeable front office. Our players are fortunate to benefit from the professional atmosphere in Lansing.”
The history of the Lugnuts dates back to 1955 when the team was located in Fayetteville and operated under the name Chiefs. In that sole year, the Cleveland Indians were the parent club. From 1956 the team was affiliated with the Boston Red Sox and was named after the club in 1956 and 1957. In 1958 the team chose an own identity as it adopted the name Hawks after it was moved to the city of Waterloo in Iowa. The Red Sox left after the 1968 season and the newly established Kansas City Royals filled the void and stayed in Waterloo until 1977. During that time span the team was called after the parent club. After the Royals left, the Cleveland Indians jumped in in 1977. The affiliation with the Indians would last through the 1988 season. Once again the minor league club adopted the moniker of the parent club. In 1989 the club would be a co-op team, linked to more than one MLB club. The team would call itself Diamonds and would keep that name until it moved to Springfield IL in 1994. The team would only stay in Springfield for two seasons before it moved to Lansing.
The Lugnuts are playing in Cooley Law School Stadium (previously known as Oldsmobile Park), a facility that is as old as the club itself.
Notable players that once called Lansing home are: Ryan Dempster, Carlos Beltran, Yan Gomes, Danny Farquhar, Casey Janssen, Kevin Pilar and Noah Syndergaard.