• Steve Potter

7/2/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Toledo Mudhens


Time Period - 1974 to 1975


Venue : Ned Skeldon Stadium


City : Toldeo, OH


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Franchise History :


The Toledo Swamp Angels/Mud Hens, an independent, minor league baseball team, have played in the Inter-State League, Western Association, American Association, Southern Michigan Association, Southern Michigan League, New York State League, International Association, Eastern Association, Eastern League and International League between 1896 and 2019.


The team originally played in Bay View Park, which was located near marshland inhabited by wild life birds known as “American Coots”, also known as "mud hens." For this reason, the local press soon dubbed the team the "Mud Hens”. The original franchise played in the American Association as a charter member when it was founded in 1902. That club moved to Wichita, KS to become the Wichita Braves in 1955.


In 1965 an International League franchise was purchased and moved from Richmond, VA to Toledo ... it re-adopted the name “Mud Hens”. There have been numerous major leaguer affiliations with the team since :


New York Yankees - 1965-1966

Detroit Tigers - 1967-1973

Philadelphia Phillies - 1974-1975

Cleveland Indians - 1976-1977

Minnesota Twins - 1978-1986

Detroit Tigers - 1987 to present


The Mudhens remain as a member of the International League today. Toledo will serve as the alternate training location for the Detroit Tigers 2020 summer camp and the auxiliary player pool during the 2020 abreviated MLB season.


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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Ned Skeldon Stadium :

Also Known As: Lucas County Stadium from 1965-1988


Location: 2901 Key Street, in Maumee, OH.

Capacity: 8,000

Dimensions : 325 LF , 410 CF , 310 RF


Ned Skeldon Stadium, originally named Lucas County Stadium, opened in 1965.


Previously it was horse-racetrack dating back to 1902. Public official Ned Skeldon persuaded area businessmen to sponsor the conversion of the Fort Miami Fairgrounds to be used as a baseball park. The racetrack stands were converted into the third-base stands, and additional seating was constructed around the home plate and first base sides, also suites were added that were called "The Diamond Club". The whole area was redeveloped as the Lucas County Recreation Center. - Wikipedia


Lucas County Stadium would be the home of the Toledo Mud Hens for 37 years. In 1988 the stadium was renamed in honor of Skeldon, a few months before his death. The Mudhens moved to a new ballpark in 2002. Today Skeldon Stadium is maintained as part of the Lucas County Recreational Center Complex and continues to be used for amateur baseball.


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The Seasons :


1974


International League (AAA ) ... Manager : Jim Bunning ... 70-74, 3rd place ... Attendance: 93,384.


28 year old outfielder Jay Johnstone played in 57 games and hit .316 in 155 AB’s before moving up to the Phillies where he played in 64 games ... Jay would play in 20 major league seasons with the Angels, White Sox, A’s, Phillies, Yankees, Padres, Cubs and Dodgers ... I remember that Phillies skipper Danny Ozark seemingly liked to tease him endlessly ... he had four very productive seasons with the Phillies from 1974 to 1977 with highlights being hitting .329 in 1975 ( 350 AB’s ) and .318 in 1976 ( 440 AB’s )


20 year RHP Larry Christensen went 11-9 in 27 games ( 6 complete games ... 3.30 ERA in 172 IP ) ... “LC” pitched in 11 big league seasons appearing in 243 games ( 220 starts ) and pitched 1,402.2 innings with a 3.79 ERA - he went 19-6 in 34 starts for the 1977 Phillies


1975


International League (AAA ) ... Manager : Jim Bunning ... 62-78, 7th place ... Attendance: 103,189.


24 year old RHP Dick Ruthven went 10-12 in 23 starts ( 3.18 ERA in 153 IP ) after pitching the three previous seasons in the major leagues with the Phillies. He was traded to the White Sox during the off-season ( 12/10/75 ) to acquire LHP Jim Kaat and traded by the White Sox two days later to the Atlanta Braves to acquire OF Ralph Garr. The Phillies reacquired him in 1978 from Atlanta for RHP Gene Garber.


“Rufus” pitched in 14 big league seasons with the Phillies ( 8 years ), Braves ( 2 years ) and Chicago Cubs ( 4 years ) from 1973 to 1986 amassing 2,109 IP ... he pitched in 355 big league games and was 17-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 213 IP for the 1980 World Series Champion Phillies


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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