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West Michigan Whitecaps

West Michigan Whitecaps
Founded in 1994
Comstock Park, Michigan
Team logo Cap insignia
Current Single-A (1994–present)
Minor league affiliations
League Midwest League (1994–present)
Division Eastern Division
Major league affiliations
Current Detroit Tigers (1997–present)
Previous Oakland Athletics (1994–1996)
Minor league titles
League titles (6)
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2015
Division titles (6)
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2015
Team data
Nickname West Michigan Whitecaps (1994–present)
Previous names
Western Michigan Wave Riders
Ballpark Fifth Third Ballpark (1994–present)
Lew Chamberlin and Denny Baxter
Manager Andrew Graham
General Manager Jim Jarecki

The West Michigan Whitecaps are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, that plays in the Midwest League. Their home games are played in Comstock Park, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids.


  • Franchise history 1
  • Regular season 2
  • Postseason success 3
    • Oakland Athletics affiliation 3.1
    • Detroit Tigers affiliation 3.2
  • Managers 4
    • Detroit Tigers affiliation 4.1
  • Current roster 5
  • Former Whitecaps in the majors 6
    • Oakland Athletics affiliation (1994–1996) 6.1
    • Detroit Tigers Affiliation (1997–present) 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Franchise history

The Midwest League came to the Grand Rapids area in 1994 upon the arrival of the former Madison Muskies. The Whitecaps were brought to West Michigan by local businessmen Lew Chamberlin and Dennis Baxter. The Whitecaps were affiliated with the Oakland Athletics before they joined the Tigers' farm system in 1997.

Their home ballpark is Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. Before the 2002 season it was known as Old Kent Park; the name was changed when the park's title sponsor, Old Kent Bank, was purchased by Fifth Third Bank. Fifth Third also sponsors a ballpark in Dayton, one in Toledo, Ohio, and one in Geneva, Illinois. The team's official mascots are Crash the River Rascal, Roxy the River Rascal and Franky the Swimming Pig.

The franchise's attendance record of 547,401 was set in 1996.

Several league and team records were set during the 2006 season. The team posted the second best record in franchise history, going 89–48, including going 23–6 in July. Michael Hollimon hit 3 home runs in one game. Cameron Maybin hit 2 grand slams in the season. Michael Hernandez became the first person ever in the history of the Midwest League to hit for the cycle twice. The Whitecaps went on to defeat the Kane County Cougars in four games to win their fourth Midwest League Championship.

In 2009, the team drew the attention of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine after a 4-pound, 4,800-calorie hamburger called the Fifth Third Burger was placed on the menu of the team's concession stand. It was so named in part for the ballpark sponsor and part for its 1.6666 (or 5/3) pounds of meat. The Committee requested that the team put a label on the burger indicating that it was a "dietary disaster".[1] To date, more than 100 fans, or about a half of the people who have attempted the challenge, have conquered the burger and earned a commemorative T-shirt. On July 15, 2009, Travel Channel's "Man v. Food" and its host Adam Richman came to Fifth Third Ballpark to attempt to conquer the burger in an episode of the popular show. The episode aired on September 30, 2009, wherein he successfully met the challenge. In 2012, The Whitecaps installed a new scoreboard and high resolution video display screen which was installed by TS Sports out of Dallas, Texas.

On January 3, 2014 a fire started in one of the suites. It spread and caused extensive damage, close to one half of the suites and 1st base concourse were destroyed.[2] Management is telling the local press that they intend to be fully ready for business on opening day.[3]

Whitecaps at home in Fifth Third Ballpark

Regular season

Season W L Pct.
1994 74 65 .532
1995 67 69 .492
1996 77 61 .557 MWL Champions
1997 92 39 .702
1998 83 57 .593 MWL Champions
1999 68 72 .485
2000 88 52 .629
2001 65 72 .474
2002 83 57 .593
2003 67 73 .478
2004 69 70 .496 MWL Champions
2005 73 70 .510
2006 89 48 .649 MWL Champions
2007 83 57 .593 MWL Champions
2008 73 76 .532
2009 83 57 .593
2010 62 77 .446
2011 70 69 .504
2012 72 68 .514
2013 69 70 .496
2014 82 58 .586
2015 75 64 .540 MWL Champions

Postseason success

The Whitecaps have won the best-of-5 Midwest League championship six times in six opportunities. They defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 1996, the Rockford Cubbies in 1998, the Kane County Cougars twice (2004 and 2006), the Beloit Snappers in 2007, and the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2015. West Michigan is 52–29 all time in playoff games.

Oakland Athletics affiliation

Year Record Results Opponents
1994 0–2 Lost in First Round Rockford (0–2)
1995 3–3 Lost in Second Round Kane County (2–1), Michigan (1–2)
1996 7–2 Won Championship Lansing (2–1), Rockford (2–0), Wisconsin (3–1)

Detroit Tigers affiliation

Year Record Results Opponents
1997 0–2 Lost in First Round Fort Wayne (0–2)
1998 7–2 Won Championship Michigan (2–1), Clinton (2–0), Rockford (3–1)
2000 1–2 Lost in First Round Dayton (1–2)
2002 3–2 Lost in Second Round Dayton (2–0), Lansing (1–2)
2004 7–3 Won Championship Lansing (2–1), South Bend (2–0), Kane County (3–2)
2005 2–2 Lost in Second Round Fort Wayne (2–0), South Bend (0–2)
2006 7–2 Won Championship Fort Wayne (2–1), Lansing (2–0), Kane County (3–1)
2007 7–2 Won Championship Lansing (2–0), South Bend (2–0), Beloit (3–2)
2014 1–2 Lost in First Round Fort Wayne (1–2)
2015 7–3 Won Championship Fort Wayne (2–0), Lansing (2–1), Cedar Rapids (3–2)


Since 1994, the Whitecaps have had nine managers. In 2007, former Tigers' third baseman Tom Brookens became the fifth manager in the history of the Whitecaps.

Listed here are each manager and their won/loss record:

Detroit Tigers affiliation

Current roster

Former Whitecaps in the majors

Below is a list of West Michigan Whitecaps who have played in the major leagues.

Oakland Athletics affiliation (1994–1996)

Detroit Tigers Affiliation (1997–present)

See also



  1. ^ Doctors Have Beef With Burger ESPN, March 31, 2009
  2. ^ MiLB Whitecaps' ballpark damaged in fire:
  3. ^ WZZM Whitecaps: We will play baseball April 8:


  • Dinda, J. (2003), "Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the Midwest League,"
  • Official site of the West Michigan Whitecaps, History
  • Official site of the West Michigan Whitecaps, All-Time Roster

External links

  • Official website
  • West Michigan Whitecaps at
  • Current roster
  • The Surge, a fan publication.
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