Today begins a new series in my blog, called Creative Names. It’s where I take a team with a creative nickname and write about the team, the history, and whatever interesting comes afloat. That said, what better way to kick off a series than to focus on the sport being played right now: baseball. As an employee of the Dayton Dragons, I get to see Midwest League baseball teams day in and day out. There’s some creative names in the league (some that I will be writing about), but none that are more creative than the Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings.
While Clinton has had a baseball team since 1937 as the Owls, the LumberKings name was born in 1994. Before then, Clinton mostly had teams based on the name of their MLB parent. The one exception is when the team was named the Pilots, which started with the affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates (they were affiliated with the Seattle Pilots eventually.) Clinton held on to the Pilots name tag until teaming up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in ’77 and San Francisco in 1980. In the last year of San Fran’s alliance, the LumberKings were born. Since then, Clinton has partnered up with San Diego, Cincinnati, Montreal, Texas, and back to Seattle with the Mariners. The records can be found here.
Clinton, Iowa’s claim to fame was being the “Sawmill Capital of the World” around the 1850’s. Some of the millionaires of Clinton were lumberjacks. The city and county is named after DeWitt Clinton, who was the governor of New York State. More history about the city itself can be found here.
The mascot is called Louie the LumberKing, the self-titled “King of Midwest League Mascots since 1994.” Measuring up to 6’4′ (with the crown, of course) and as heavy as the Mighty Oak, Louie bats and throws with his right hand but can chop and saw switch-handed. More about the mascot can be found here.
The LumberKings have had two sets of logos. The first one lasted ten years and had a lumberjack wearing a silver crown, holding a piece of lumber with a nail in it. The color scheme was green, silver, and white. After 2004, the LumberKings had a new logo, with possibly the same lumberjack wearing a gold crown and holding an actual bat. Also notice that it took Louie ten years to grow a full set of facial hair rather than just a mustache. The Crown C logo and the LumberKings script went through the same change from a silver to a gold crown.
The LumberKings have been playing ball at the same field since it opened in 1937. It was renamed to Alliant Energy Stadium in 2002, to help with the renovations of the park. More info and pictures can be found here.
Currently (as of 8-4-11) Clinton sits in last place overall in the Western Division with a 43-65 record, but is in line to make the playoffs with a 2nd Half record of 19-19 (if you are in first or second place in one of two halves, you go to the playoffs. If it’s the second half and there’s teams that are above a team that already clinched a spot, the next two go in.)
So there you have it, a little history on Iowa’s monarch lumberjacks in Clinton County. The team is currently celebrating 75 years in Clinton, here’s hoping to at least 75 more!
Sources of information from the Clinton LumberKings website, Clinton, Iowa’s website, SportsLogos.net, and littleballparks.com. Picture from littleballparks.com.
Until next time,