Charleston RiverDogs

Charleston RiverDogs
Charleston RiverDogs
Founded in 1980
Charleston, South Carolina
Team Logo
RiverDogs cap.png
Cap Insignia
  • A
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
  • Charleston RiverDogs (1994-present)
  • Charleston Rainbows (1985-1993)
  • Charleston Royals (1980-1984)
Minor league titles
League titles 0
Division titles 5
Owner(s)/Operated by: Marvin Goldklang , Bill Murray
Manager: Aaron Ledesma
General Manager: Goldklang Group

The Charleston RiverDogs are a Minor League Baseball team based in Charleston, South Carolina. They play in the class A South Atlantic League and are an affiliate of the New York Yankees. Their home stadium is at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The majority owner is Marvin Goldklang who also owns a stake in five other minor league baseball teams throughout the country (Fort Myers Miracle, Hudson Valley Renegades, and St. Paul Saints).


Before the Riverdogs

Seagulls, Sea Gulls, and Gulls

Baseball can be traced in Charleston back to 1886 when the Charleston Seagulls took the field in front of only 32 people at an old high school baseball field. But over time the Seagulls became the Sea Gulls and were in full swing having great on-field play which included winning the South Atlantic League Championship in 1907. Due to unknown reasons the Sea Gulls did not play in 1910. They did, however play in 1911, but towards the end of the season, on August 11, 1911, a hurricane destroyed their stadium which resulted in their not playing in 1912. In 1913 a brand new facility was built for the Seagulls, named College Park. Eventually in 1919, the Sea Gulls became officially the Gulls.

Palmettos and Pals

Starting in 1920 the Gulls became the Palmettos, however, later that year year that name was shortened to the Pals while Charleston was promoted to "Class B". In 1922 the Pals created excitement around Charleston as they won the South Atlantic League title, but due to unknown reasons the Pals folded at the end of the season, and that lead to a 16 year baseball drought in Charleston.

Rebels and the Return to Glory

Finally in 1940 a new team began play in the South Atlantic League known as the Charleston Rebels. Just two years later, in 1942 the Rebels won the South Atlantic League Championship ending a 20 year championship drought. However, the next year the Rebels posted a losing record. 1947 started out with a bang as the Rebels were promoted to Class A and drew 184,851 fans in the season, a Charleston baseball record that stood until 1997. After all the excitement from the 1947 season, the Rebels went out and won the South Atlantic League Championship for the second time in seven years in 1948, the last time Charleston won a championship. After that memorable season the Rebels declined and couldn't post a winning season. With fans losing interest the Rebels folded at the end of the 1953 season.

ChaSox and White Sox Experiment With Affiliation

In 1959 baseball returned to Charleston, but this time the team was affiliated with a Major League Baseball Team, the Chicago White Sox. The experiment failed horribly as attendance was down by more than 50% and the White Sox failed to post consecutive winning seasons.

New Team, New League

In 1973 the Charleston Pirates were born, who were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and for the first time since 1893 were playing in a league other than the South Atlantic League, they were in the Western Carolinas League. As the Pirates, Charleston excelled in pitching as in 1973 John Candelaria led the league with a 10-2 record. The following year the Pirates pitcher Randy Sealy set a team record with a 1.97 ERA. However after those promising years the Pirates set a league record by losing 22 straight games. In 1976 and 1977 the Pirates became the Patriots, but the name change still had no effect on the team's play as the team failed to post a winning record and watched attendance plunge. Finally, in 1978 the Pirates decided enough was enough and left town. By now Charleston had been given countless chances to prove that they could support a baseball team, so the city began to give up on baseball. Little, however, did Charlestonians know that commitment and tradition was just around the corner, and a bright future was in store for Charleston baseball.

The RiverDogs Are Born

Early Success As The Royals

The RiverDogs were originally formed in 1980 under the name of the Charleston Royals, and were a farm team of the Kansas City Royals. In their first season as the Royals they won the South Atlantic League's Southern Division championship, but fell in the playoffs against Greensboro. Like the Pirates, the Royals were known for their pitching, because in 1981 pitcher Jeffery Gladden led the league with a 2.09 ERA. In 1982 batting may have caught up with the pitching as pitcher Danny Jackson led the league with a 10-1 record and slugger Cliff Pastornicky paced the South Atlantic League with a .343 batting average. In 1983 Mark Pirruccello set a single-season team record with 25 home runs. 1984 was an exciting season for Charleston as the city hosted the all-star game in which Tom Glavine and Pat Borders played in. On the field the Royals went on to win the Southern Division and Kevin Seitzer was named league MVP.

Dark Days

In 1985 the Royals were renamed the Rainbows and became affiliated with the San Diego Padres. 1985-1987 were building years as the Rainbows improved each season under a great pitching staff until 1988 when they won the Southern Division title, but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. The 1988 season was powered by a pitching staff whose combined ERA equaled 2.07. 1988 was the last of the "good ol' days", because starting in 1989 the team suffered eleven consecutive losing seasons. Poor play on the field translated into a South Atlantic League record, when in 1990 pitcher Charles Thompson[disambiguation needed ] registered seventeen losses. 1994 saw the final name change as the Rainbows became the RiverDogs. Despite the name change, the losing continued. 1997 saw the RiverDogs leave their 84-year-old College Park stadium and move into the brand-new 5,500-seat stadium, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The team also began its eight year affiliation with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1997. The move to the "Joe" helped to spur a rise in total attendance, as the team set a record with an increase in over 100,000 fans over just season year. Finally, in 2000 the 'Dogs posted their first winning season since 1988.

Great Play and Return to the Playoffs

2003 saw the beginning of a new era as the RiverDogs played well on the field and posted a winning season for the first time since 2000. In 2004 the RiverDogs secured the wildcard spot in the playoffs bringing Charleston a playoff series for the first time in sixteen years. Charleston faced the hated rival Capital City in the first round, but were swept two games to none. The RiverDogs became a Class A affiliate with the New York Yankees on September 15, 2004. 2005 was another great season as the Riverdogs jumped out winning the first-half Southern Division Championship qualifying them for the playoffs for the first consecutive seasons in franchise history. The 2005 playoffs weren't as good to the RiverDogs as fans had hoped, because the RiverDogs fell to eventual champion the Kannapolis Intimidators two games to none. At the end of the 2005 season, Charleston was making an attempt to attract a Class AA team by expanding their stadium by a few hundred seats. 2006 saw a good performance on the field, but no playoffs as the RiverDogs posted a 78-62 record. 2007 saw a record year for winning seasons when they finished the season with a 78-62 record and securing their fifth consecutive winning season tying a Charleston Professional Baseball record with the Sea Gulls (1914–1917, 1919) (No team in 1918). A downside to the record tying season was that the 'Dogs failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season. 2008 brought a memorable year to Charleston, as the Riverdogs recorded their final record at 80-59 bringing their sixth consecutive winning season, breaking a record for the most consecutive winning seasons (a record that stood since 1919) in Charleston baseball history. The downside to 2008 was the third straight season the Riverdogs failed to make the playoffs - despite having the best record in the Southern Division each season, they never held the division lead at the end of a half-season to claim a playoff spot. The 2009 season saw the Riverdogs finish with a winning record again. In the first half the Riverdogs came up a game short to their arch-rival Greenville Drive and never posed as a threat in the second half failing to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Colbrunn Era

After posting a 232-186 record Riverdogs manager Torre Tyson was named the Tampa Yankees manager in High A baseball. The Riverdogs were quick to name hitting coach Greg Colbrunn as the new manager for the 2010 season. With the Riverdogs on the verge of making the playoffs each of the last four seasons expectations were high for Colbrunn. In 2010 the Riverdogs never seemed to muster any momentum together to make a run for the South Division in either half of the season as the Dogs suffered their first losing season since 2002 failing to qualify for the postseason the fifth straight year.

Season-by-season records

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses

Season W L Finish Postseason
1980 (Royals) 78 61 Southern Division Champions WON First Round (Spartanburg) 2-0
Lost SAL Championship Series (Greensboro) 1-3
1981 (Royals) 75 67 2nd Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1982 (Royals) 74 66 2nd Southern Division Lost First Round (Florence) 0-2
1983 (Royals) 64 80 5th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1984 (Royals) 78 64 First Half Southern Division Champions WON First Round (Columbia) 3-1
Lost SAL Championship Series (Asheville) 2-3
1985 (Rainbows) 63 69 3rd Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1986 (Rainbows) 68 71 3rd Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1987 (Rainbows) 85 53 5th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1988 (Rainbows) 72 68 Southern Division Champions WON First Round (Myrtle Beach)3-1
Lost SAL Championship Series (Spartanburg) 0-3
1989 (Rainbows) 46 96 3rd Southern Division Lost First Round (Augusta) 0-3
1990 (Rainbows) 69 72 6th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1991 (Rainbows) 55 85 4th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1992 (Rainbows) 55 85 7th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1993 (Rainbows) 66 70 5th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1994 (Riverdogs) 50 89 6th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1995 (Riverdogs) 50 89 7th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
1996 (Riverdogs) 63 78 4th Central Division Did Not Qualify
1997 (Riverdogs) 60 82 6th Central Division Did Not Qualify
1998 (Riverdogs) 67 74 5th Central Division Did Not Qualify
1999 (Riverdogs) 65 77 5th Central Division Did Not Qualify
2000 (Riverdogs) 73 66 3rd Central Division Did Not Qualify
2001 (Riverdogs) 64 76 7th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
2002 (Riverdogs) 60 76 7th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
2003 (Riverdogs) 77 62 3rd Southern Division Did Not Qualify
2004 (Riverdogs) 76 63 2nd Southern Division Lost First Round (Capital City) 0-2
2005 (Riverdogs) 80 58 Southern Division Champions Lost First Round (Kannapolis) 0-2
2006 (Riverdogs) 78 62 2nd Southern Division Did Not Qualify
2007 (Riverdogs) 78 62 4th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
2008 (Riverdogs) 80 59 Southern Division Champions Did Not Qualify (Were not leading division at the end of each half season)
2009 (Riverdogs) 74 65 2nd Southern Division Did Not Qualify
2010 (Riverdogs) 65 74 6th Southern Division Did Not Qualify
Overall (Regular Season) 2108 2219
Overall (Playoffs) 11 20
Overall 2119 2239

Cursed City and Teams

Charleston has had very little success on the field with minor league baseball. The Riverdogs in 2009 completed the most successful stretch of on the field play in Charleston's baseball history with their seventh straight winning season yet only making the playoffs twice in that stretch. This being known, Charlestonians have suggested that their baseball teams have been cursed over the years. Evidence to support this can be found in the 22 straight losses by a Charleston team in 1975, failure to post a winning season in the 1990s, as the Rainbows, in 2008 when the Riverdogs failed to make the playoffs despite having the best record in the Southern Division, and the fact that Charleston has not won a championship since 1948, bringing over 60 years of futility to Charleston baseball.

Notable players

A number of ex-RiverDogs have gone on to make a name for themselves in Major League Baseball, including: B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Delmon Young, Sandy Alomar, Jr. who played for the Rainbows, Roberto Alomar who played for the Rainbows, Carlos Baerga who played for the Rainbows, Seth McClung, Josh Hamilton, Fernando Tatis, Aubrey Huff, and David Cone who played for the Royals.

Josh Hamilton, Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke have also played for the RiverDogs.

Current roster

Charleston RiverDogs rosterview · talk · edit
Players Coaches/Other


  • 11 Scottie Allen Injury icon 2.svg
  •  3 Manuel Barreda
  • 32 Aaron Dott
  • 30 Steve Evarts ‡
  • 19 Nathan Forer
  • 18 Brett Gerritse
  • 21 Mike Gipson
  • 27 Shane Greene
  • 31 Thomas Kahnle
  • 25 Mark Montgomery
  • 36 Zachary Nuding Injury icon 2.svg
  • 34 Vidal Nuno
  • 15 Kelvin Perez
  • 16 Jose A. Ramirez Injury icon 2.svg
  • 17 Michael Recchia
  • 12 Yobanny Reyes
  • 41 Francisco Rondon


  • 23 Jeffrey Farnham
  •  8 Kyle Higashioka Injury icon 2.svg
  • 35 Gary Sanchez Injury icon 2.svg
  •  5 Wes Wilson


  • 10 Anderson Feliz
  • 20 Ramon Flores
  •  6 Garrison Lassiter
  • 26 Kevin Mahoney
  • 13 Jose Mojica
  •  9 Jose Toussen


  •  7 Shane Brown
  • 29 Kevin De Leon
  • 24 Michael Ferraro
  • 22 Taylor Grote
  •  2 Eduardo Sosa Injury icon 2.svg



  • 33 Carlos Chantres (pitching)
  • 28 Greg Colbrunn (hitting)
  • 38 Victor Valencia (coach)

Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On New York Yankees 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated August 25, 2011
More rosters

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