The Bridgeport Bluefish were an American professional baseball team based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The team was a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They played their home games at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard from 1998 to 2017.
|League||Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (Liberty Division)|
|Nickname(s)||Park City Blues, Park City Nine, The Fish, Magic City|
|League championships||1 (1999)|
|Division championships||5 (1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2010)|
|Former ballparks||The Ballpark at Harbor Yard (1998–2017)|
|Colors||Navy blue, teal, silver, white|
|Retired numbers||42, 21, 1, 19|
|General Manager||Paul Herrmann|
The franchise had announced it would relocate to High Point, North Carolina, in 2019, but ceased operations instead. In its place, a new franchise not connected to the Bluefish began play in High Point called the High Point Rockers.
History of Bridgeport baseballEdit
The game of baseball was first played in Bridgeport, Connecticut soon after the Civil War ended. Teams that called the city home included the Victors, Soubrettes, Orators, Crossmen, Mechanics, Hustlers, Bolts, Americans, Bees, and Bears. Bridgeport was the home of Major Leaguer James "Orator" O'Rourke, who signed the first African-American to play for a professional baseball team in 1895.
Visiting Major League and Negro League teams often played exhibition games in the shadow of the Bridgeport's smokestacks. The last affiliated minor league baseball team, the Bridgeport Bees, played in the Interstate League and the Colonial League from 1941 to 1950. Professional baseball was not played in Bridgeport for about another half-century, until the arrival of the Bluefish in 1998.
The first game of the Bridgeport Bluefish was May 21, 1998. The team has been to five Atlantic League Championship Series. It won in 1999 against the Somerset Patriots and lost to Atlantic City in 1998, Newark in 2002, Lancaster in 2006, and York in 2010.
Some of the former major leaguers who have worn Bluefish jerseys include Endy Chávez, Shea Hillenbrand, Alex Hinshaw, José Offerman, Edgardo Alfonzo, Deivi Cruz, Junior Spivey, Quinton McCracken, Antonio Alfonseca, Willy Mo Pena, Joey Gathright, Adam Greenberg, and Mariano Duncan.
The Bluefish won their first league championship in 1999, led by their inaugural manager, and long time major leaguer – Willie Upshaw. The Bluefish have won the most games in Atlantic League history. The land under The Ballpark at Harbor Yard was purchased by the city of Bridgeport from Donald Trump for $1 and with the forgiveness of back taxes owed on the property. The Jenkins Valve plant was demolished to make way for the stadium. The success of the Bluefish led to redevelopment of the South End, including construction of the Arena at Harbor Yard and a multiuse parking garage.
The founders of the Bluefish were Mickey Herbert, Jack McGregor, Mary–Jane Foster, and the Bridgeport Waterfront Investors. Herbert anchored the team through a mayoral scandal and difficult financial circumstances. Prior to the 2006 season, the franchise was purchased by Get Hooked, LLC, a group of investors from Fairfield County that included McGregor and Foster. However, Get Hooked dropped the Bluefish prior to the 2008 season in favor of seeking a new ballpark for the city of Yonkers, New York. The Bluefish were purchased by Frank Boulton, who is also the owner of the Long Island Ducks and the founder of the Atlantic League.
The Bluefish became the first team in Atlantic League history to record 1,000 victories as a franchise in 2012. On June 27, 2012, the team defeated the York Revolution 2–1 at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard to capture the victory.
On August 8, 2017, the Bluefish announced that the 2017 season would be the team's last in Bridgeport. The city of Bridgeport plans to turn The Ballpark at Harbor Yard into a concert venue, leaving the team without a ballpark. The amphitheater proposal is pending approval of the City Council, but team owner Frank Boulton is exploring options for a new city to host Bluefish baseball.
In April 2017, the City of High Point, North Carolina, approved $15 million from the city budget to begin land acquisition and engineering studies for a new $45 million, publicly funded stadium to be financed through limited-obligation tax bonds. The stadium was expected to be the new home for the Bluefish in 2019. It had yet to be determined where (or if) the Bluefish would play in 2018.
On September 17, 2017, the Bluefish played the final game in their 20-year history at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, losing 9–2 to the Somerset Patriots. Despite having the best overall record in the Liberty Division, the Bluefish missed the playoffs, as they finished one game back of the Patriots in the first–half standings and two games back of their cross-sound rival Long Island Ducks in the second half.
Though it had been planned for the Bluefish to relocate to High Point, later the team ceased operations at the end of the 2017 season. High Point got an expansion franchise that is not connected to the Bluefish (the High Point Rockers).
Logos and uniformsEdit
The official colors of the Bridgeport Bluefish were navy blue, teal, and silver. The primary logo consisted of the "Bluefish" wordmark in navy blue with white and teal outline superimposed over a depiction of a cartoon bluefish holding a baseball bat.
The primary cap was navy blue with a teal brim and button, with the cap logo depicting a bluefish interwoven with a capital "B" centered on the front. The home jersey was white with traditional navy blue piping below the collar and around the sleeves. The "Bluefish" wordmark is centered across the front in navy blue with white outline and teal drop shadow. The away jersey is grey with navy blue piping, and the "Bridgeport" wordmark centered across the front in navy blue with a white and teal outline. The Bluefish also have a teal alternate jersey, with navy piping with the "fishhook" wordmark centered across the front.
|Season||First Half W–L Record||First Half Winning Percentage||First Half Finish||Second Half W–L Record||Second Half Winning Percentage||Second Half Finish||Overall W–L Record||Overall Winning Percentage||Overall Finish||Playoffs|
|1998||31–18||.633||1st in League||32–18||.640||1st in League||63–36||.636||1st in League||1–3
Championship: Lost to Atlantic City Surf 3–1
|1999||43–17||.717||1st in League||35–25||.583||2nd in League||78–42||.650||1st in League||3–1
Championship: def. Somerset Patriots 3–1
|2000||35–35||.500||4th in North Division||43–26||.571||1st in North Division||78–61||.561||3rd in North Division||1–2
Division: Lost to Nashua Pride 2–1
|2001||30–33||.476||3rd in North Division||36–27||.571||3rd in North Division||66–60||.524||3rd in North Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2002||36–27||.571||1st in North Division||35–28||.556||1st in North Division||71–55||.563||1st in North Division||2–4|
|2003||34–29||.540||2nd in North Division||39–24||.619||1st in North Division||73–53||.579||1st in North Division||1–2
Division: Lost to Nashua Pride 2–1
|2004||38–25||.603||2nd in North Division||34–29||.540||2nd in North Division||72–54||.571||1st in North Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs
Long Island won First Half; Nashua won Second Half
|2005||33–37||.471||2nd in North Division||22–48||.314||4th in North Division||55–85||.393||3rd in North Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2006||38–25||.603||2nd in North Division||37–24||.607||1st in North Division||75–49||.605||1st in North Division||2–3|
|2007||35–28||.556||2nd in North Division||25–38||.397||4th in North Division||60–66||.476||3rd in North Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2008||33–37||.471||3rd in Liberty Division||34–36||.486||3rd in Liberty Division||67–73||.479||3rd in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2009||33–37||.471||3rd in Liberty Division||32–38||.457||3rd in Liberty Division||65–75||.464||3rd in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2010||36–34||.514||3rd in Liberty Division||47–23||.671||1st in Liberty Division||83–57||.592||1st in Liberty Division||3–4|
|2011||32–31||.507||3rd in Liberty Division||36–28||.671||2nd in Liberty Division||68–59||.535||2nd in Liberty Division||0–1
Lost play in game to Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
|2012||31–39||.443||3rd in Liberty Division||36–33||.522||2nd in Liberty Division||67–72||.482||2nd in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2013||23–47||.329||4th in Liberty Division||31–38||.449||2nd in Liberty Division||54–85||.388||3rd in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2014||22–48||.314||4th in Liberty Division||25–45||.357||4th in Liberty Division||47–93||.336||4th in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2015||26–44||.371||4th in Liberty Division||30–39||.435||3rd in Liberty Division||56–83||.403||3rd in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2016||30–40||.429||4th in Liberty Division||36–34||.514||2nd in Liberty Division||66–74||.471||4th in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2017||41–29||.586||2nd in Liberty Division||35–35||.500||2nd in Liberty Division||76–64||.543||1st in Liberty Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs
Somerset won First Half; Long Island won Second Half
|Totals (1998–2017)||660–660||.500||–||680–636||.517||–||1340–1296||.508||–||13–20 (.393)|
- 1 Atlantic League Championship (1999)
- 5 Division Championships (1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2010)
The Bridgeport Bluefish contend with the Long Island Ducks over the Ferry Cup, which is sponsored by the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. The two teams border on Long Island Sound, and many fans of both teams regularly cross it to support them. The Ducks currently hold the Ferry Cup by winning the 2011 season series 12–6. As of 2011 the Bluefish-Ducks rivalry record is 114–112, in favor of Bridgeport.
One of the Bridgeport Bluefish official mascots is an anthropomorphic bluefish named B.B. He wears the team's alternate jersey (number 98) with black sneakers. B.B. was born on May 29, 1997, in Cape Hatteras. He later migrated to the Long Island Sound and joined the Bluefish soon after. The mascot's name alludes to the initials of the team and its nickname.
Captain L.I Sounder is another source of entertainment at the Harbor Yard. He wears a uniform of a sailor. L.I Sounder's name referred to the nautical rank of captain and a name for a Long Island Sound resident. Sounder occasionally appears at Bluefish home games.
1 (Angel Espada)
On several occasions, the Bluefish had promotional nights in which former baseball players and managers, as well as other celebrities, have been enlisted to serve as guest managers.
|Pete Rose||June 16, 2014||Lancaster Barnstormers||W 2–0|
|Paul O'Neill||July 24, 2015||Long Island Ducks||W 4–3|
|Jennie Finch||May 29, 2016||Southern Maryland Blue Crabs||W 3–1|
|Roger Clemens||August 5, 2016||Long Island Ducks||L 6–2|
|Ozzie Guillén||August 19, 2016||Somerset Patriots||L 9–3|
|New World Order
(Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman)
|September 2, 2016||Southern Maryland Blue Crabs||W 8–6|
- "Atlantic League Professional Baseball: History". www.atlanticleague.com. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Eric D. Lehman (March 7, 2015). Insiders' Guide® to Connecticut. Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 978-1-4930-1618-1.
- "Bridgeport Renewal" (PDF). EPA. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2006. Retrieved May 26, 2006.
- "Bluefish Win # 1,000". Bridgeportbluefish.com. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- "Bridgeport Bluefish vs. York Revolution – Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs – boxscore". Pointstreak Sports Technologies. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- Eisenberg, Matt (July 16, 2013). "Guest manager Jennie Finch leads Bridgeport Bluefish to win". Espn.go.com. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- "City To Turn Bluefish Ballpark Into Concert Venue". Bridgeport Bluefish. August 8, 2017. Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- Lackhart, Brian (August 7, 2017). "Bluefish baseball out, concerts in at Bridgeport's Harbor Yard". Connecticut Post. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- Speddon, Zach (August 14, 2017). "Bridgeport Bluefish Planning Their Future". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
- Speddon, Zach (September 18, 2017). "Bridgeport Bluefish Play Ballpark at Harbor Yard Finale". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "Archived Document". Archived from the original on September 18, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "2017 Atlantic League Playoffs Complete". Atlanticleague.com. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Atlantic League Information". Nbpfaus.net. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- "Bluefish and Ducks introduce Ferry Cup". Bridgeport Bluefish. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- "Mascot Biographies". Bridgeport Bluefish. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
- Roberto Clemente Night, Bridgeport Bluefish, August 14, 2008. Accessed March 5, 2009. "Roberto Clement Night."
- "Pete Rose Manages the Bridgeport Bluefish Photos and Images | Getty Images". Gettyimages.com. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- Pierson, John (July 25, 2015). "Yankees legend Paul O'Neill manages Bridgeport Bluefish to 4–3 win". SportzEdge. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- "Guest manager Jennie Finch leads Bridgeport Bluefish to win". Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- "Roger Clemens loses managerial debut, doesn't see himself as a full-time skipper". Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- "Somerset Takes Opener Of Big Showdown". Bridgeportbluefish.com. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- Werner, Barry. "Bridgeport Bluefish nWo jerseys are too sweet". Retrieved September 14, 2016.
Atlantic City Surf
| Atlantic League Champions
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
| Liberty Division Champions
Long Island Ducks
| North Division Champions
| North Division Champions
| Atlantic League
Best Regular Season Record
North Division 2000
South Division 2000