|West Michigan Whitecaps|
Founded in 1994
Comstock Park, Michigan
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Midwest League (1994-present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Team||Detroit Tigers (1997-present)|
|Previous teams||Oakland Athletics (1994-1996)|
|Minor league titles|
|Name||West Michigan Whitecaps (1994-present)|
|Ballpark||Fifth Third Ballpark (1994-present)|
|Lew Chamberlin and Denny Baxter|
|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.
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 and one in Toledo, Ohio. 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 (1.8 kg), 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". 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. Thanks to extensive work, the park was restored and up and running by opening day.
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 55-32 all time in playoff games.
|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)|
|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)|
|2016||3-3||Lost in Second Round||South Bend (2-1), Great Lakes (1-2)|
|2017||1-2||Lost in First Round||Dayton (1-2)|
|2018||2-2||Lost in Second Round||Great Lakes (2-0), Bowling Green (0-2)|
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:
Below is a list of West Michigan Whitecaps who have played in the major leagues.
In February 2019, the Whitecaps extended their broadcasting contract with Cumulus Media, but switched radio frequencies to air games on the newly-launched "The Ticket" for the 2019 season with radio simulcast on four stations: 106.1-FM and 1340-AM in Grand Rapids, and 99.1-FM and 1490-AM in Muskegon. Select games are aired in Holland, Michigan, on WHTC on 1450-AM and 99.7-FM. Dan Hasty is the Voice of the Whitecaps and also serves as the Host of the Detroit Tigers' Road to Detroit podcast, as well as serving as radio voice of Men's Basketball for the University of Detroit Mercy.