Top 10 Rochester Red Wings Facts You Didn’t Know

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Top 10 Rochester Red Wings Facts You Didn’t Know

The Rochester Red Wings are one of Triple-A Baseball’s exciting teams every sports fan needs to learn about. In fact, the New York-based franchise is a top-level farm club for the Washington Nationals. Any Rochester fan that bleeds Red Wings Red will know every information possible, from the team reaching the playoffs in 2013 to Spikes Red Bird being the official mascot. However, there are new Rochester Red Wings facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to Top 10 Rochester Red Wings Facts You Didn’t Know below!

10: A Baseball Game at Frontier Field was Postponed Due to a Player’s Seizure

Accidents and injuries can happen to anyone without warning at any time, especially at a baseball game. Those accidents range from making a large spill near the seating aisles to stubbing a toe on a hard door. However, injuries that could be a serious situation would force baseball contests to be postponed. Unfortunately, that was the case during the Rochester Red Wings/Lehigh Valley IronPigs game at Frontier Field. In July 2021, a player’s seizure situation forced a Red Wings game to be postponed. 

It all started as the baseball contest had just gone underway in the first inning. Then all of a sudden, IronPigs 3B Daniel Brito collapsed in the infield and did not move for nearly a half hour. Eventually, Brito was taken to a nearby hospital and the game was postponed. It was later revealed that the player suffered a seizure along with some interior blood loss. One year later, Brito managed to recover from the medical emergency and ended up relearning his skills to continue his professional playing career. 

9: Since the 1980s, the Rochester Red Wings had Three League MVP Winners

Winning a major award is considered a big deal in professional baseball, especially for those who are trying to get to the Major Leagues. If a person wins Pitcher of the Year or Rookie of the Year, then this accomplishment could enhance his chances of getting called up to the big leagues. In addition, that person might face the possibility of receiving an invitation to spring camp from his team’s parent club. Luckily, for the Red Wings, they have made Rochester proud by winning three MVP awards since the 1980s. As a matter of fact, the team has won player awards along with one of the best open-air stadiums in New York. 

In 1988, 3B Craig Worthingham claimed International League MVP honors by batting 0.244 with 16 home runs and 73 runs batted in. Six years later, INF/OF Jeff Manto won the MVP Award with a 0.310 batting average with 27 long balls and 83 RBIs. In 2013, utility player Chris Colabello received MVP recognition due to him batting 0.352 with 24 home runs and 76 runs batted in. Fortunately, all three of those players made their big league debuts and spent multiple seasons at the highest level of professional baseball. That being said, however, neither of those three players went to the MLB All-Star Game nor received any major awards. 

8: Frontier Field in Rochester was the Site for the 2000 Triple-A All-Star Game

Over the past 25-plus years, Frontier Field has witnessed some pretty exciting baseball events. For example, the Rochester Red Wings reached their most recent postseason appearance in 2013. In addition, the east coast stadium has seen over three no-hitters since its opening in 1996. Red Wings baseball is one of New York’s most visited Minor League Baseball attractions, along with the Buffalo Bisons, Syracuse Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Staten Island FerryHawks. But in 2000, Frontier Field in Rochester was the official site for the Triple-A All-Star Game. 

For the first and only time in its history, the Red Wings ballpark got to host the Minor League’s Midsummer Classic. The event’s main logo incorporated Frontier Field’s exterior into the final design. Some of the most high-profile players who took part in the All–Star Game were OF Alfonso Soriano (Columbus), INF Aubrey Huff (Durham), and C Ramon Castro (Calgary-Now Albuquerque). Team Pacific Coast went on to beat Team International by the final score of 8-2. By the way, New York got to host the Triple-A All-Star Game three times: Rochester (2000) and Buffalo (1988 and 2012). 

7: Scranton/WB Yankees Played Half the 2012 Season at the Red Wings Ballpark

Normally, the renovation time period usually takes place in the off-season when the teams are not playing. The remodeling plans range from replacing the old seats with new ones to upgrading the locker rooms. Another idea to keep in mind is that baseball stadiums would change their playing grass turfs once in a while. But sometimes, teams would play their “home” games somewhere else in order to accelerate the renovations progress on their own facilities. Well, that’s what happened to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees during the 2012 Minor League season. 

As a matter of fact, Scranton/WB spent the entire 2012 campaign as a traveling road team due to major remodel construction taking place at PNC Field in Pennsylvania. The reason behind the team playing all road games that year was because the plan helped cut back time on renovations on PNC Field’s press box and new concourses. Anyway, the Empire State Yankees spent about half their season at Frontier Field since Rochester was one of the closest league opponents for Scranton.

Therefore, the Red Wings had to share the same ballpark with the Yankees while Scranton/WB played their remaining contests at other east coast venues. Eventually, PNC Field was finished in time for the 2013 season and the Yankees became the RailRiders. 

6: Frontier Field Hosted 3.5 No-Hitters Since it Opened in 1996

The Red Wings know a thing or two when it comes to throwing no-hitters. Since the 21st century, the team has been involved in two no-no’s and one of those was a combined effort. Rochester is one of the several Triple-A cities to have witnessed multiple no-hitters since the early 2000s: Des Moines, Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Syracuse, Gwinnett, and Worcester. Another thing to mention is that the Red Wings went on the wrong side of the accomplishment two times since the 2000s began. But for Frontier Field, the New York stadium has witnessed 3.5 no-hitters since its opening in 1996. 

The first no-no in the ballpark’s history took place in 2006, when Jeremy Cummings (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) threw one against the Red Wings. Five years later, Rochester tossed a combined no-no led by Jeff Manship vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs. In 2014, the Red Wings threw a no-hitter against the Durham Bulls in a contest originally played in North Carolina. However, the game was suspended and finished at Frontier Field due to bad weather at Durham Athletic Ballpark. In 2019, Buffalo Bisons pitcher T.J. Zeuch tossed a no-no vs. Rochester in the Red Wings stadium’s recent achievement. 

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5: There’s a Horse Sculpture Covered with over 100 Baseball Gloves in the Concourse

Most likely, every sports stadium within the nation has a statue either inside or outside the premises. For example, Wrigley Field in Chicago has two such life-sized figurines of Cubs legends: Harry Caray and Ernie Banks. Another example is that Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati has a statue of Reds icon Pete Rose. One more example to include is that Oracle Park in San Francisco has a life-sized sculpture of the Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher Juan Marichel. But did you know that there’s a horse sculpture covered with over 100 baseball gloves in the concourse? 

Bill Stewart, who was a Rochester-based artist, came up with the idea of giving the horse statue baseball mitts. After receiving the blessing of then-Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason, Stewart decided to place the feature in the concourse so fans could see it. Normally a painter, Stewart felt that the horse experiment was a new challenge and an exciting feat to accomplish. Perhaps the most unique fact about the horse statue was that each of the baseball gloves were donated by the locals in the community. In order to prove that the project was involved with the community, donors had to write their names on the mitts so spectators could learn who wrote them. 

4: An Outdoor Hockey Game was Played at the Rochester Red Wings Stadium

Ballparks have a reputation for hosting major events other than baseball. For instance, rock bands and pop stars would take the stage at baseball stadiums either following the games or during the off-season. In addition, baseball venues would serve as the annual home for college bowl games that take place every winter. Perhaps the most popular use for ballparks is to have an outdoor hockey game being played on the field. Luckily, for the Rochester Red Wings, their baseball stadium got to host the American Hockey League’s (AHL) version of the Winter Classic in 2013. 

In December 2013, the Rochester Americans were taking on the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters as part of the Frozen Frontier event. Unlike the NHL’s Winter Classic, the outdoor rink was tilted sideways between home plate and third base. Frontier Field was not the only Triple-A stadium to host an outdoor hockey contest as the Sacramento River Cats venue hosted the Stockton Heat/Bakersfield Condors contest in 2015. Anyway, Rochester went on to defeat Lake Erie 5-4 in a shoot-out. For those who don’t follow Minor League Hockey, the AHL is the highest level farm system in the NHL followed by the ECHL League. 

3: Before Spikes the Red Bird, the Official Mascot for Rochester was Wild Fang the Bat

Spikes the Red Bird is perhaps the most remembered mascot in the history of Rochester baseball. He walked on top of the dugouts to take part in baseball’s traditional seventh inning stretch. In fact, the mascot meets-and-greets fans in the concourses for selfies and autographs. By the way, Red Wings’ red bird mascot is not to be confused with another mascot of the same color and the same animal: Booster the Hot Chicken-Nashville Sounds. But did you know that before Spikes, Wild Fang the Bat was Rochester’s official mascot? 

Debuted in the early 1990s, Wild Fang immediately fit the theme for the team’s baseball identity. He wore a white Red Wings jersey and sported red ears, red wings (of course), and black fur. Wild Fang’s inspiration came from the fact that Charlie Sheen’s character in Major League films was nicknamed “Wild Thing.” However, Wild Fang went into permanent hibernation in 1997 as part of the Rochester baseball club moving into their new stadium: Frontier Field. The bat spokesperson was replaced by the current mascot Spikes the Red Bird, who was named after the baseball cleats players and coaches usually wear. 

2: Two Major Concerts Have Taken Place at Rochester Ballpark Since its Opening in 1996

It is an amazing practice for professional baseball venues to host live music concerts. In fact, there are big league teams that previously hosted large scale shows. Those teams were the following: Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Brewers, Tigers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, and many more. Concerts can vary with either a post-game event or just a stand alone performance during the off-season. But believe it or not, Frontier Field in Rochester has hosted two major concerts since its debut in 1996. And that doesn’t count singing at National Anthems or having themed nights. 

In 1996, the 50s rock group The Beach Boys made a live show appearance at the Rochester Red Wings stadium. The band is notable for its hit songs like “Surfin’ USA” and “Good Vibrations.” Nine years later, Def Leppard performed a large-scale show at Frontier Field as part of a collaboration with Bryan Adams. The British rock band is known for making hit songs such as “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Photograph.” However, the Rochester Red Wings venue has not hosted a high-profile concert since 2005. 

1: Frontier Field will Become the Latest Triple-A Stadium to Install a 360 Concourse

Frontier Field is one of New York’s most beloved Minor League ballparks that baseball fans and sports spectators in general can enjoy. The Red Wings stadium is known for its glove-covered horse statue located in the concourse. In addition, anyone who had seats on the third base side could have the views of Downtown Rochester. Frontier Field received national attention in 2013 when the venue hosted the Pepsi Max® Field of Dreams Game. Unlike the current edition of the one in Iowa, the Field of Dreams event in Rochester featured some of the greatest players in history: Ozzie Smith, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Bench, Wade Boggs, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, and many more. 

But recently, Frontier Field will become the latest Triple-A stadium to install a 360 concourse as part of the new round of renovations. Since the Red Wings have been playing at the current venue since 1997, the remodeling project was necessary. Slated for a Spring 2025 completion date, the renovations included the following: a 360 concourse, a new main kitchen, a modified picnic option, and additional premium seating. In the past, attendees were not able to walk around the stadium in the entire loop due to a lack of seating in the outfield. In the next couple years, Frontier Field will have a walkway in the outfield concourse so fans could walk around the ballpark without missing any game action. 

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