Top 10 Toledo Mud Hens Facts You Didn’t Know

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Top 10 Toledo Mud Hens Facts You Didn’t Know

The Toledo Mud Hens are one of Triple-A Baseball’s exciting teams every sports fan needs to learn about. In fact, the Mud Hens are a top-level farm club for the Detroit Tigers. Any Toledo fan that bleeds Mud Hens Red and Blue will know every information possible, from the team winning back-to-back International League titles (2005 and 2006) to Muddy the Yellow Bird being the official mascot. However, there are new Toledo Mud Hens 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 Toledo Mud Hens Facts You Didn’t Know below!

10: The Mud Hens Managed to Pay Off the Mortgage for the Ballpark Five Years Early

Whenever any sports team builds a new facility, there will be some challenges when it comes to financing. For instance, a club that wants a new stadium would need to help pay for construction as well as plumbing and air conditioning. In addition, financial spending would need to be focused on game day fan experiences such as food concessions and team stores. Also, teams would have to help contribute money to help out the players like locker rooms and practice areas. But did you know that the Toledo Mud Hens managed to pay off the mortgage for the ballpark five years early? That’s something that many fans and sports enthusiasts don’t hear everyday! 

When the new downtown stadium opened in 2002, the Mud Hens had to deal with a 20-year mortgage plan. Overall, approximately $38 million was spent on constructing and finalizing details for Fifth Third Field. But in 2016, the Toledo club successfully managed to pay off all of its mortgage debts that were set to expire in 2022. After all that hard work, the Mud Hens held a paid-off-mortgage party at the stadium for season ticket holders. During that event, city officials and team owners gave out speeches sending out congratulations. 

9: Fifth Third Field Has Witnessed Two No-Hitters Since its Opening in 2002

The Toledo Mud Hens know a thing or two when it comes to throwing no-hitters. In fact, the team has accomplished eight no-no’s in its history. The Sounds are one of the several teams to have thrown multiple no-hitters since the early 2000s: Nashville, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, and Colorado Springs (now San Antonio Missions). Another thing to add is that the Mud Hens were no-hit by the opposing club seven times in their timeline. But fortunately, for Fifth Third Field, the downtown ballpark has witnessed two no-hitters since its opening in 2002. 

In July 2015, the Louisville Bats tossed a combined no-no against Toledo 5-0 (13 years after the stadium made its debut). The Bats pitchers that took part in the achievement were the following: Tony Cingrani, David Homberg, and Sam LeCure. One year later, the Mud Hens had a combined no-hitter of their own as they defeated the Charlotte Knights 5-0. The Toledo pitchers for the accomplishment consisted of the following: Warwick Saupold, Preston Guilmet, Logan Kensing, and Bobby Parnell. As of today, the Mud Hens venue has not yet seen a pitcher go through nine innings without giving up a base hit. 

8: A Fan was Ejected from Fifth Third Field in 2013 for Throwing at INF Brandon Inge

Fans in the stands are perhaps the greatest asset every baseball team wants at the ballpark. They cheer for every time the home team hits a home run or throws a strikeout. Also, spectators would jeer and boo if there was a bench-clearing brawl or if an umpire threw a player or manager out of the game. But sometimes, fans might actually do something that would get them in trouble and possibly be removed from the stadium. Well, that was the case during a Mud Hens game in 2013. 

Infielder Brandon Inge was facing a Tigers-related team for the first time after playing with Detroit from 2011 until 2012. In fact, he was playing with the Indianapolis Indians at the time he returned to Toledo. Anyway, the incident occurred during the contest when a fan heckled and threw peanuts at Inge. Some of his teammates soon took exception and tried to protect the former Tigers fan favorite. Eventually, the fan was ejected from Fifth Third Field and the game went on without any further disruptions. 

7: The Roost Seats at Right Field is Unlike Any Other in the Minor Leagues

There are some Triple-A stadiums in the nation that have one feature spectators can’t find anywhere else. First Horizon Park in Nashville has the guitar-shaped videoboard in center field, while Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City has the view of the mountains. Huntington Park in Columbus has the AEP Pavilion located at left field, while Isotopes Park in Albuquerque has a couple statues from The Simpsons. But believe it or not, Fifth Third Field in Toledo has the right field seating section that is unlike any other in the Minor Leagues. That area is called The Roost, which is a three-story brick building incorporated into the stadium. 

The unique experience was named after the fact that the Mud Hens and Roosters are probably the same thing. In most Triple-A ballparks, they only have ground-level seats in the outfield and not a lot of second deck seats. But for The Roost, the area has a right field seating section that is similar to the center field rockpile seats at Coors Field in Denver. In addition, fans can sit in rooftop seats on top of the brick building. Inside The Roost (second or third floor), there is an all-you-can-enjoy buffet for spectators to sample on. In 2007, the right field building was recognized by ESPN as the best experience in the Minor Leagues. 

6: Toledo has had Five International League MVP Winners in Team History

Winning a major award is considered a huge deal in Triple-A Baseball, especially for those who are trying to get to the big leagues. If a person wins Pitcher of the Year or Rookie of the Year, then this achievement could increase his chances of getting called up to the big leagues. Also, that person might face the chances of receiving an invitation to spring camp from his team’s parent club. Luckily, for the Mud Hens, they have made Toledo proud by winning five MVP awards. As a matter of fact, the team has won player awards along with one of the best downtown ballparks in Ohio. 

In 1976, 1B Joe Lis became the first Mud Hens player to claim MVP honors with a 0.306 batting average with 30 home runs and 103 runs batted in. Seven years later, Infielder Tim Teufel won the best player trophy by batting 0.323 with 27 long balls and 100 RBIs. In 1996, 3B Phil Hiatt earned the International League MVP with a 0.261 batting average with 42 home runs and 119 runs batted in.

Eleven years later, Infielder Mike Hessman received the team’s first MVP in the 21st century by batting 0.254 with 31 long balls and 101 RBIs. Recently, 1B Aderlin Rodriguez won 2021 MVP honors with a 0.290 batting average with 29 home runs and 94 runs batted in. 

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5: Fifth Third Field was the Site for the 2006 Triple-A All-Star Game

Over the past couple of decades, Fifth Third Field has witnessed some pretty exciting baseball events. For example, the Toledo Mud Hens won back-to-back International League championships in 2005 and 2006. In addition, the downtown baseball stadium has one of the best right field seating sections in The Roost. Since the park’s opening, the venue has been able to host two no-hitters. But in 2006, Fifth Third Field was the official site for the Triple-A All-Star Game. 

For the first and only time in its history, the Mud Hens ballpark got to host the Minor League’s Midsummer Classic. The event’s main logo incorporated the Toledo club’s swinging Mud Hen. Some of the most high-profile players who took part in the All–Star Game were OF Nelson Cruz (Nashville), INF Howie Kendrick (Salt Lake City), and C Geovany Soto (Iowa). Team International went on to beat Team Pacific Coast by the final score of 6-0. Meanwhile, LHP Rich Hill (Iowa) and INF Kevin Witt (Durham) received All-Star Game Co-MVP honors. 

4: Mud Hens’ Former Ballpark, Ned Skeldon Stadium, is Now Part of a Recreation Center

Ned Skeldon Stadium served as the official home for the Toledo Mud Hens from 1965 until 2001. The venue was named in honor of city board member Ned Skeldon, who was responsible for bringing professional baseball back to Toledo. The old venue was first known as Lucas County Stadium before changing to its final name in the late 1980s. But when the Mud Hens moved to their downtown facility in 2002, Ned Skeldon Stadium stood abandoned for quite some time. But in recent years, the old venue had a purpose in the Eastern Ohio community. 

Located on the outskirts of Downtown Toledo, the former Mud Hens ballpark is now a part of the Lucas County Recreation Center. The community area is about a 15-20 minute drive from Fifth Third Field. Anyway, the recreation center would host local events like state fairs and car shows. As for Ned Skeldon Stadium, the park was used for high school and small college baseball games. It’s great to see a former Minor League stadium get transformed into something that other parties can utilize. Unfortunately, Ned Skeldon Stadium is going to be torn down in late 2022 with no replacement being named at this time. 

3: Fifth Third Field has a History of Hosting Outdoor Hockey Games

Ballparks in America have a reputation for hosting major events other than baseball. For instance, rock bands and country stars would take the stage at ballparks either as a post-game performance or during the off-season. In addition, baseball venues would serve as the annual home for college bowl games that take place every December or January. Perhaps the most popular use for ballparks is to have an outdoor hockey game being played on the field. Luckily, for the Mud Hens, their baseball stadium got to host a couple of the ECHL Hockey’s Toledo Walleye’s “home” games in recent years. 

During the holiday break in 2021, the Walleye played two home contests as part of Winterfest at Fifth Third Field. The outdoor ice rink was located between the infield bases and home plate. Anyway, the Walleye played the first game against the Kalamazoo Wings and the second one was vs. the Indy Fuel. Fifth Third Field previously hosted Toledo Walleye Winterfest during the 2014-2015 season. For those who don’t follow Minor League hockey, the Walleye are a farm team for the Detroit Red Wings and the ECHL is the second highest affiliation league in hockey (only behind the American Hockey League). 

2: The Mud Hens Franchise Used to Play in Virginia Before Moving to Toledo

The Mud Hens are one of the most beloved Minor League baseball clubs in the Midwest. They have a stadium that lets fans see the views of Downtown Toledo. There’s a nearby gathering space called Hensville Park that hosts live concerts and inflatable attractions. But believe it or not, the Mud Hens did not begin their mark in Toledo. In fact, the franchise started its professional baseball run in another city. 

In 1954, the team debuted as the Richmond Virginians and it became one of the earliest baseball clubs in the state. Eleven years later, the Virginians relocated to Toledo due to underperformance and declining attendance. Therefore, the Mud Hens came to Eastern Ohio after Toledo had to deal with the previous ten years without professional baseball. Interestingly, there was the original Toledo Mud Hens that existed, but they relocated to West Virginia in the 1950s to become the Charleston Senators. There is a happy ending for Richmond, who lost the Virginians franchise, as the city now hosts the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A for Giants). 

1: Fifth Third Field is One of Two Minor League Stadiums in Ohio Without Any Berm Seating

In Minor League stadiums, they have three different game-day experiences in the outfield. First, ballparks would have additional seating beyond centerfield along with the 360 concourse. Second, some professional venues would have no outfield concourse at all and instead have walls that feature advertisements from the team and local sponsors. Finally, there’s the berm seating where fans can sit on the grass in the outfield concourse. The berm is a great place for families to watch baseball contests because it’s less expensive and allows little ones to walk around the grassy area. But did you know that Fifth Third Field is one of two Minor League stadiums in Ohio without any berm seating? 

When the downtown ballpark first opened in time for the 2002 season, the Mud Hens wanted to add a different experience that stood out from normal professional venues. Rather than installing a berm at the stadium, they decided to add seats to the outfield concourse. More specifically, Fifth Third Field has picnic tables that are situated in right field and in centerfield. Also, the Mud Hens venue has a 360 concourse where fans can walk around the stadium without missing any game action. Fifth Third Field joins Canal park (Akron RubberDucks) as the only Buckeye State baseball venues to not include berm seating. 

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