In honor of clinching the last playoff spot of the Midwest League, let’s talk about the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
While Fort Wayne has had the same team since 1993, the TinCaps were born prior to the 2009 season. The name is based on Johnny Appleseed, who is buried within the area. Along with a new name, the TinCaps also got a new ballpark to play in downtown called Parkview Field (named after a healthcare institution.)
The history is a treat to read, as the team we now know started as the Kenosha Twins. The Midwest League created a rule where all parks had to be updated before the start of the 1994 season. When the owners discovered that the area had little to no interest in the K-Twins, the team was shopping for a new home. The former Twins team moved and started playing as the Fort Wayne Wizards in 1993, at brand-new Memorial Stadium.
Keep in mind, the Wizards were still part of the Minnesota Twins system. They would switch to the San Diego Padres farm system following the 1998 season. There would also be a redesigning of logos in 1999, as the current set of logos and the mascot Wayne the Wizard was replaced by Dinger the Dragon. You can catch a look at the progress of those logos here. There’s also an interesting story about the guy that was Wayne the Wizard on this site. As an additional tidbit on how the jerseys looked in 1993, give this picture a look.
While a couple teams out there hold the nickname of Wizards, it’s a creative name for the TinCaps. The colors, which were green and blue during the Dinger Days, are red, brown, and green. The apple is also said to be of good luck, according to the team’s website.
While there was nothing technically wrong with the Wizards name, it’s a bit more creative and close to home with the legend of Johnny Appleseed. It’s also an attempt to revitalize downtown Fort Wayne, with the new ballpark and new look.
There’s a ton of baseball history, including 15 years with the Wizards and many more years to come with the TinCaps.
Sources of information from the TinCaps website, checkoutmycards.com, and Baseball in Fort Wayne’s website.
Until next time,