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The Official Site of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Franchise History

In 1998, a new home for the new ball club in town was built and was dubbed Myrtle Beach’s “Field of Dreams.” Baseball was officially back at the beach after a seven-year absence following the 1992 departure of the Myrtle Beach Hurricanes (Advanced-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays). The Pelicans debuted in 1999 and with the team as green as the grass at the new ballpark, the victories began to mount. The newest and freshest team in the historic Carolina League burst onto the scene and made an immediate impact, storming through its inaugural season.

Click the button below to view a PDF version of our history that includes stats, the all-time roster, and more. You can also click the Carolina League Champions button to see a complete list of past champions dating back to 1945.


2023 marked the 24th season in franchise history and the Pelicans’ eighth under the Chicago Cubs affiliation. The success continued in Myrtle Beach, as the Birds reached the postseason for the second straight year and topped the Carolina League in the regular season with a 75-55 overall record.

Playing their third season at the Single-A level, the Pelicans Opening Day roster was highlighted by 2022 Cubs’ first round pick Cade Horton, along with top prospects Cristian Hernandez, Moises Ballesteros, and Pedro Ramirez. 20 former Pelicans also returned to the beach, in a group led by Buddy Bailey, who returned as the Birds’ manager for his sixth season.

The Pelicans posted a strong season offensively, leading the league with a team batting average of .253. The lineup also led the league in slugging percentage (.382), OPS (.719), and blasted the most home runs with 104. Eight of their homers were grand slams, setting a new single-season franchise record. Reivaj Garcia claimed the Carolina League batting title at the end of the year, posting a batting average of .306. Felix Stevens belted a team-leading 13 home runs, all hit in the first half, to rank sixth in the league.

After finishing the 2022 season in Myrtle Beach, Ballesteros spent the first half of 2023 with the Pelicans before finishing out in Double-A Tennessee. Through 56 games, the 19-year-old from Venezuela hit eight home runs and finished with a .274 average. The catcher, who also spent time as the designated hitter and first baseman, was named the Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year at the conclusion of the season.

In the beginning of the season, the Pelicans’ pitching staff was built up of mostly returning players. After being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Wingate in 2022, starting pitcher Brody McCullough dominated through 12 starts with a 2.86 ERA and 74 strikeouts through 50 1/3 innings. Nick Hull and Grant Kipp also impressed in their starts after making their Pelicans debuts in 2022. In the second half, reliever Jose Romero found his groove by allowing just two earned runs across the final two months of the season.

While his stay in Myrtle Beach was short, Horton proved why he was the seventh overall pick in 2022. The right-hander started four games and allowed just two runs across 14 1/3 innings. Horton struck out 21 batters with just four walks in a Pelicans uniform, before finishing his first full season in Double-A Tennessee. The Oklahoma native was named the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year following his campaign.

After striking out a franchise record 1,393 batters in 2022, the Pelicans sat down 1,369 batters in 2023, ranking second in the Carolina League. Despite the high strikeout numbers, the Birds walked the most batters in the Carolina League with 711, a franchise record. The pitching staff kept the ball in the park, giving up just 52 home runs throughout the season, the least in the league.

<p>Cade Horton was named the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2023.</p>
<p>After hitting .274 with eight home runs in 56 games for the Pelicans, Moises Ballesteros was named the Buck O'Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year in 2023</p>

For the first time since 2019, the Pelicans opened their season in Myrtle Beach as the Charleston RiverDogs came to Pelicans Ballpark to kick off the year. Opening night ended with a 6-2 loss, but the Pelicans bounced back the next night for a 13-1 victory courtesy of a six RBI night from Andy Garriola.

Horton made his lone Pelicans Ballpark start on April 19th against the Augusta GreenJackets, striking out seven through four hitless innings. A few weeks later, 2022 Cubs’ second-round pick Jackson Ferris made his Pelicans debut in Columbia on May 5th. Ferris passed his first test with flying colors, striking out seven of the 10 batters he faced through three no-hit innings in his Cubs organization debut.

It was a slow start on the Grand Strand, as the Pelicans began the season 17-19 and found themselves toward the bottom of the Carolina League South Division standings. A doubleheader sweep on May 20th over the Augusta GreenJackets started the fire, as the Birds went on to win 19 of their next 25 games to climb up to the top of the standings. They hosted the Fredericksburg Nationals on Sunday, June 18th, with a chance to clinch the first-half title at home. In front of over 6,000 fans, Myrtle Beach grabbed the lead in the fifth and went on to win 8-2, clinching their second consecutive Carolina League South Division first-half title and 13th playoff appearance in franchise history.

Despite losing their two power bats in Ballesteros and Stevens after the clinching victory, the Pelicans reloaded to continue their winning ways in the second half. At just 18 years old, shortstop Jefferson Rojas received the call up to Myrtle Beach in June and hit .322 through his first month. Rojas would finish the year with seven home runs and 31 runs batted in, and ranked 11th on the Cubs’ top prospect list.

The second half continued to provide exciting moments, with left-handed starter Marino Santy tossing a rain-shortened five-inning no-hitter on July 23rd against the Columbia Fireflies. With the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers in town, the Pelicans grabbed walk-off wins on three straight nights from August 22-24th. They finished the second half with a 36-29 record and finished second in the south division behind Charleston, setting up a rematch of the South Division Championship round of 2022.

It was a pitcher’s duel in game one in Charleston on September 12th, as the RiverDogs grabbed an early advantage with a 2-1 win. The series returned to Myrtle Beach, where the Pelicans took home their first playoff victory since 2016 with a 3-0 shutout. Kevin Valdez struck out nine batters through four innings out of the bullpen, and Ramirez hit a solo home run in the fourth. After forcing a game three, the Birds fell short in an 18-4 loss the next day, sending Charleston to the championship, where they’d win their third straight Carolina League title.

12 players were promoted throughout the season, with Ballesteros and Horton winning the Southern League title with Double-A Tennessee. The Pelicans collected six Carolina League weekly awards, and Brian Kalmer was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for August. The Birds came from behind to win 32 games and walked-off winners eight times. Their winning percentage of .577 led the Carolina League for the first time since 2015.

<p>The Pelicans celebrate after claiming the first-half title.</p>


The 2022 season in Myrtle Beach was one that will be remembered as one of the best in franchise history. A number of top prospects in the Cubs organization created many incredible moments that led to the Pelicans’ first postseason appearance since 2017.

The Carolina League title returned to the division after competing under the “Low-A East” tag in 2021. The league was restructured to two divisions, while also bringing back a season split into halves, each at 66 games apiece. With that saw the return of a divisional playoff round before the championship, with the first and second-half winners meeting for a best-of-three series to decide the North and South Division representatives for the championship. The Pelicans were placed in the South Division along with Augusta, Charleston, Columbia, Fayetteville, and Kannapolis.

In their eighth year being a Cubs affiliate, the Pelicans' Opening Day roster contained two of the top six Cubs prospects by MLB Pipeline in James Triantos and Pete Crow-Armstrong. 20 former Birds were also slated to return to the beach to make up the 2022 squad, led once again by Buddy Bailey, who led the ship for his fifth season in Myrtle Beach.

Offensively, the Pelicans had one of their best seasons in recent memory with a .253 batting average as a team, ranking second in the Carolina League. Their 113 home runs also trailed just Charleston (120) and were their most in a season since 2009 (114). 2022 saw the breakout of Kevin Alcantara, who ended the season as a top 100 prospect by MLB Pipeline. Alcantara led the Birds in home runs (15) and RBI (85) while playing 112 games, mostly in centerfield.

Crow-Armstrong also made a significant impression on the beach, making his Cubs affiliate debut after being acquired in the Javier Baez trade in the summer of 2021. Crow-Armstrong, nicknamed “PCA”, played 38 games across April and May and ended his Pelicans tenure with a .354 batting average and 1.000 OPS, with seven home runs and 13 stolen bases. Crow-Armstrong ended the 2022 season as the top-ranked prospect in the Cubs system and made an appearance in Los Angeles for the MLB All-Star Futures Game.

It was a tale of two halves for the Pelicans' pitching staff, as many starters received a promotion to High-A South Bend in the second half. Leading that starting rotation was Luis Devers, who ended his tenure in Myrtle Beach with a 2.58 ERA and a 9-3 record after pitching just over 66 innings. Devers ended the 2022 season as the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

The Pelicans ended the first half as the leaders of the Carolina League in ERA (3.03), WHIP (1.24), and shutouts (8). Those numbers slipped in the second half, as the Birds posted a 4.84 ERA through 65 games to rank 11th in the league. Their 345 walks also ranked as the second most in the league for the second half. For the season, the Pelicans struck out 1,393 batters, the most in franchise history.

Another pitcher that led the staff throughout the whole season was Tyler Santana. Santana started eight games and came out of the bullpen for 16. His 11 wins ranked eighth in franchise history and he led the Birds with a 2.28 ERA through 98 2/3 innings. The 2021 undrafted free agent racked up the Carolina League Pitcher of the Month award for July to add to his productive season.

<p>Jake Reindl (left) and Ethan Hearn (right) celebrate after the Pelicans threw a combined no-hitter against the Columbia Fireflies on May 1, 2022 at Pelicans Ballpark.</p>
<p>Kevin Alcantara led the 2022 Pelicans in home runs (15), RBI (85), and was the first in franchise history to hit three grand slams in one season.</p>

For the second straight season, the Pelicans began the year in Charleston to face the defending champions. Returning Pelican Tyler Schlaffer started game one and gave up a two-run home run in the first inning, as the RiverDogs went on to take the Opening Night game 5-2. In their return to Pelicans Ballpark, the Pelicans played an exciting six-game series with the Augusta GreenJackets that included three walk-off wins. In the home opener, the Pelicans and GreenJackets went through 11 innings without scoring a run, before Augusta went up 1-0 in their half of the 12th. The Pelicans answered back with a run to tie the game in the bottom of the 12th, and Alcantara came up with one out and runners on the corners. In his first game as a Pelican, Alcantara lined a single to left-center that scored the winning run, and the Pelicans walked off winners in their first home game on the night of Tuesday, April 12th.

On the first day of May, the Pelicans did something that had never been done at Pelicans Ballpark before. Walker Powell, Adam Laskey, and Jake Reindl, all pitchers who had returned from the 2021 season, combined for the first-ever no-hitter thrown by the Pelicans at home as the Birds won 8-0 over the Columbia Fireflies. It was the team’s second no-hitter in back-to-back years, both against Columbia, and the third nine-inning no-hitter in franchise history. That kickstarted an incredible month of May, as the Pelicans won 19 of their 26 games, including a franchise-record 12-straight, to put them in front of the Carolina League South Division standings.

Heading into the 66th and final game of the first half, the Pelicans held a one-game lead over the RiverDogs to secure a playoff spot. Playing in Kannapolis, the Pelicans needed a win or a Charleston loss to clinch the title. If both teams won, the RiverDogs held the tiebreaker. As the Pelicans fell behind to the Cannon Ballers, the RiverDogs mounted an improbable comeback on the Fireflies and won on a walk-off home run to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Pelicans scored six combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take a lead on the Cannon Ballers, only for Kannapolis to even the score in the ninth to send the game to extras. In their half of the 10th, the Pelicans scored one as Ethan Hearn plated Ezequiel Pagan on a groundout to give Myrtle Beach an 8-7 lead. Reliever Johzan Oquendo retired the side in order to give the Pelicans a first-half title and their first playoff appearance since 2017. The Birds ended the first half with a franchise record 47 wins to just 19 losses.

On the final day before MLB’s All-Star break, the Pelicans again threw a no-hitter at home, this time against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. Schlaffer threw the first three innings, and was backed up by Luis Angel Rodriguez, Gregori Montano, Angel Hernandez, and Alfredo Zarraga as the Pelicans went on to win 5-0. The pitching staff combined for 16 strikeouts in the final game of the series.

As the promotions to High-A continued for the Pelicans, the young team started to fade in August, posting just a 9-17 record through the month. Charleston went on to take the second half title in the division, setting up a divisional round between the two rivals, separated by just two hours.

Game one took place in Charleston on September 13th. In front of their hometown crowd, the RiverDogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, putting two of those runs on Pelicans’ starter Grant Kipp. Myrtle Beach scored their only run on a solo homer by Alcantara in the top of the sixth, but the RiverDogs poured it on with a three-run bottom of the seventh to win the opener 6-1. The series turned back to Myrtle Beach two days later in front of a crowd of over 4,000. After both teams scored two in the opening frame, the RiverDogs plated five in the top of the fourth and three in the top of the eighth to build a 10-2 advantage. A late rally would fall short as the Pelicans were eliminated with a 10-6 game two loss. Charleston went on to sweep the Lynchburg Hillcats in two games to win their second straight league title.

Overall, the Pelicans saw a total 19 players promoted through the season, with many of them capturing a Midwest League title with the South Bend Cubs. Myrtle Beach racked up two Carolina League weekly awards, one Carolina League monthly award, and five Cubs organization monthly awards. The Birds mounted 35 comeback victories and walked-off winners in six games. Their 78-53 record contained their most wins since the 2016 season.

<p>The Pelicans line up for game two of the Carolina League South Division series against the Charleston RiverDogs. It was the first playoff appearance for Myrtle Beach since 2017.</p>


Minor League Baseball and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans returned to the ballpark following the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. The Pelicans finished two games under .500 at 59-61 in the newly formed Low-A East league, finishing second in the South Division.

2021 saw multiple changes to the schedule, including a 120 game slate and six-game series, taking place from Tuesday through Sunday. After competing in the Carolina League from 1999-2019, the Pelicans matched up against new South Division opponents, including the Augusta GreenJackets, Columbia Fireflies, and eventual champions Charleston RiverDogs for 90 of the 120 games. The Pelicans also played series against other teams from around the Low-A East and former Carolina League teams, including the Lynchburg Hillcats, Salem Red Sox, Down East Wood Ducks, and Fayetteville Woodpeckers.

For the first time under Cubs affiliation, the Pelicans saw an entirely new team come to Myrtle Beach, with each player on the roster wearing the Pelicans uniform for the first time. This was also the Pelicans’ first season at the Low-A level with the Cubs, after being the Advance A affiliate of the Braves, Rangers, and Cubs from 1999-2020.

As a team, the Pelicans struggled on the hitting side for a majority of the season. Myrtle Beach posted a .229 batting clip for the year, ranking ninth out of 12 Low-A East teams. The pitching staff was more consistent through the summer, as the Pelicans held a 4.39 team ERA and 1,215 strikeouts, a number that ranked fourth in the league.

DJ Herz anchored the Pelicans’ pitching staff with a 3.53 ERA through 65 2/3 innings and a team-leading 105 strikeouts in his 17 starts. After receiving a promotion to High-A South Bend in September, Herz was named the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year at the conclusion of the season.

After a slow start to the season, outfielder Jordan Nwogu turned up the heat in the later months of the summer to lead the Pelicans with 10 home runs for the season. The Cubs 2020 3rd round draft pick hit just .147 in the first two months of the season before hitting .288 over July, August, and September with eight homers and 36 RBIs.

The roster was also highlighted by the 16th overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, shortstop Ed Howard. Despite low batting numbers in his first season of professional baseball, Howard dazzled in the field playing shortstop and second base in 80 games.

<p>DJ Herz was named the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2021 after tallying 105 strikeouts for the Pelicans.</p>
<p>Jordan Nwogu led the 2021 Pelicans with 10 home runs during the season. Nwogu was a third-round selection by the Cubs in the 2020 MLB draft.</p>

Following an over 600 day absence, baseball returned to Pelicans Ballpark on May 11th for the home opener against the Augusta GreenJackets. The Birds rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 4-2 comeback victory in front of over 3,000 Grand Strand fans. The first home series of the season concluded with the only walk-off home run of the year, as first baseman Matt Mervis launched a three-run big fly over the right field wall in the 10th inning to take down Augusta 9-7 on Sunday, May 16th.

The following month, the Pelicans recorded just the second no-hitter in franchise history and first since 2012 with a 5-0 win at Columbia on June 23rd. Herz started the game and lasted five innings with seven strikeouts to pick up his first win of the season. Jeremiah Estrada, Bailey Reid, and Danis Correa held the Fireflies hitless with Pablo Aliendo behind the plate.

One of the most exciting moments at Pelicans Ballpark came on August 10th, as the Pelicans came from five runs down to defeat the Charleston RiverDogs 6-5. Following a two-run double to tie the game in the ninth, Yohendrick Pinango stole third on the first pitch of the next at-bat. After the throw to third went wild into left field, Pinango broke for the plate into a swarm of teammates to grab the Pelicans’ seventh consecutive win. The victory launched Birds’ manager Buddy Bailey into fourth place all-time with 2,186 career victories as a Minor League Baseball manager.

In the return to Minor League Baseball, the Pelicans recorded four sellouts, with two coming on the Fourth of July weekend. In front of 6,599 fans, the Pelicans blew out the Down East Wood Ducks 12-3 on Independence Day, with the home crowd being treated to a postgame fireworks show.


After their streak of seven-consecutive postseason appearances was snapped during the 2018 season, the 2019 Pelicans faltered again and finished with the second fewest wins in club history. Myrtle Beach finished with a record of 55-81 and for the second straight season they finished ninth in the Carolina League. It was the first time since the 2009 and 2010 seasons in which the Birds failed to make the postseason in consecutive seasons.

Despite the lopsided record, the Pelicans enjoyed their best second half since their Carolina League championship season in 2016. Myrtle Beach finished third in the Carolina League Southern Division with a 34-35 record and were in playoff contention until the final week of the season regular season.

The Pelicans set new franchise lows in batting average (.227), hits (972) and at-bats (4274), but their struggles on the offensive side were slightly offset by the pitching staff, especially in the second half. After the All-Star break the Pelicans’ pitching staff was bolstered by promotions from Low-A South Bend and collected an ERA of 3.48 which ranked sixth in the league.

One standout on the mound was Jack Patterson who began the year in the Midwest League but was promoted to Myrtle Beach on July 5 and was brilliant. The southpaw delivered a historic run in which he made five starts with the Pelicans and did not give up an earned run in the 23.2 innings that he pitched. He continued that run after his promotion to Double-A Tennessee and ended up throwing 35.0 innings without being charged with an earned run.

The Pelicans were also given a major spark by the flame-throwing Brailyn Marquez, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect who matched the temperatures in the month of August with his blistering fastball. In his Myrtle Beach debut, Marquez threw 13 pitches in the first inning, 12 of which were over 100 miles per hour. The lefty held opponents to a .214 batting average against and held a 1.71 ERA in his five appearances with the Birds.

<p>Miguel Amaya fires down to second during a match up with the Wilmington BlueRocks.</p>
<p>Amaya is seen here in the Pelícanos uniform, the alternate identity of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans as a part of MilB's Copa de la Diversión program.</p>

Myrtle Beach was also treated to the loud home runs that Miguel Amaya provided throughout the summer. The Cubs’ No. 1 catching prospect displayed his power as he mashed 11 homers and 24 doubles in 99 games. Not only was Amaya fun to watch at the plate, he was equally electric behind the plate as well. The 20-year-old threw out 46 runners, which ranked second in all of Minor League Baseball. Amaya was one of four players in the league to be selected to participate in the SiriusXM Futures Game held in Cleveland, OH during Major League Baseball’s All-Star weekend.

One of the most memorable moments of the season came in an early May game against the Salem Red Sox. The Pelicans beat the Sox 12-2 that night, but it was a defensive web gem from the Pelicans’ pitcher Javier Assad that was the star of the game. On a bunt up the first base side, Assad ran off the mound to field the ball, but when the baseball popped out of his glove, he instinctively kicked the ball to Cam Balego at first to record the out. The play was the No. 2 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays the following day.

Assad was one of four Pelicans selected to the Mid-Season All-Star game which was held in Frederick. Pitchers Jesus Camargo and Paul Richan and catcher Tyler Payne were the other three representatives from Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach recorded three sellout crowds of 6,599 during the 2019 season, including for a thrilling 4-2 win over Carolina on July 3. D.J. Wilson hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to jolt the Birds in front of the capacity crowd.

The Pelicans received a boost offensively in early August when the Chicago Cubs assigned utility man Ben Zobrist to rehab in Myrtle Beach. During his three-game stint, Zobrist launched two home runs and was a vital influence in the clubhouse.

Three former Pelicans made their major league debuts during the 2019 season. Adbert Alzolay debuted for the Cubs on June 20 and was given a standing ovation at Wrigley field for firing 4.1 innings and striking out five. Eloy Jimenez (White Sox) and Tayler Scott (Mariners) also saw their first glimpse of big-league time in 2019.

<p>In his first inning of work with the Pelicans Brailyn Marquez threw 11 strikes in 13 pitches.</p>
<p>Marquez's first 13 pitches by velocity: 100, 101, 100, 100, 101, 101, 100, 101, 100, 101, 102, 102, 84 (curve ball to strike out fellow top prespect Andrew Vaughn).</p>


All good things must come to an end, and it was an impressive streak that concluded in 2018 as the Birds failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. After tying the Carolina League record with seven- straight appearances in the postseason in 2017, it was a struggling offense that held the Pelicans back in the franchise’s 20th season.

The Myrtle Beach offense set nine new lows in the history of the Pelicans, including batting average (.232), hits (1,013), runs (468), at-bats (4,360), total bases (1,393), doubles (173), home runs (55), extra base hits (249) and RBIs (409). The offensive woes were somewhat offset by a stellar pitching staff that managed a 3.51 ERA, which placed third in the Carolina League.

In terms of the pitching staff, the highlight of the season was an incredible performance by Keegan Thompson on June 14. On a Thursday night in Myrtle Beach, Thompson threw seven brilliant, perfect innings with eight strikeouts. Due to a high pitch-count, he was removed from the game after the seventh, but that did nothing to diminish the dominance that he displayed on the hill in Pelicans Ballpark.

While mound saw most of the highlights for the Pelicans in 2018, there were plenty from the bats as well. On May 29th, Tyler Alamo broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 10th inning against Winston-Salem with a walk-off grand slam. It marked the third straight season that the Birds had knocked a grand slam against the Dash. That was one of six walk-off wins for the Pelicans in 2018.

The Pelicans were paced on the offensive side by catcher Jhonny Pereda, who burst on the scene to hit .272/.347/.363 over the course of 122 games. Coming into the season, Pereda had only started 149 games at catcher over his last four seasons. Pelicans’ manager Buddy Bailey, who convinced the Cubs to let the catcher start in Myrtle Beach over going back to South Bend, started him behind the plate 83 times, and it paid off. The 23-year-old threw out 38 percent of base runners to go along with his stellar offensive numbers.

Pereda was one of three mid-season All-Star selections for the Pelicans, with the other two being top-Cubs prospect and shortstop Aramis Ademan and reliever Tyler Peyton.

On the hill, Tyson Miller (3.54 ERA) and Alex Lange (3.74) placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in Carolina League ERA over their 23 starts apiece. Miller led the league in strikeouts (126), WHIP (1.09) and batting average against (.220) on the season.

Even with the strong staff, the Pelicans finished seven games out of first place in the first half and 15.5 out in the second half.

On the major-league side of things, seven former Pelicans made their way up to Chicago and other big league teams. Billy McKinney (New York Yankees), Pedro Araujo (Baltimore Orioles), David Bote (Cubs), Gleyber Torres (Yankees), Duane Underwood Jr. (Cubs), James Norwood (Cubs) and Ryan Cordell (Chicago White Sox) all made it to The Show in 2018.


While their 2017 campaign did not end in a championship, Myrtle Beach did tie a Carolina League record with their seventh consecutive postseason appearance.

On May 24, the Pelicans were just 23-22, sitting in third place in the Southern Division, 4.0 games behind Buies Creek. The Birds then went on to rattle off 17 victories in 21 games to win the division, becoming the first team in all of Minor League Baseball to clinch a postseason spot with their 3-0 triumph over Frederick on June 14.

The Birds wound up finishing with the circuit’s best first-half record at 43-27. However, Myrtle Beach cooled considerably in the second half, with the club’s 30-40 mark tying for the league’s second-worst record over the final 70 games. Still, though, the Pelicans registered their seventh consecutive winning season with a 73-67 overall record.

Nonetheless, the second half still had several memorable moments. On August 24, the Pelicans edged Down East 5-4, marking the 2,000th victory in manager Buddy Bailey’s legendary career. That triumph made the Madison Heights, Va., native the 11th minor league skipper to ever reach the 2,000-win plateau, and the first since Johnny Lipon did so during the 1990 campaign with the High-A Lakeland Tigers. Just a few weeks later, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on the southeastern United States, the Carolina League shortened the Mills Cup Playoffs, canceling the Mills Cup Championship Series. Thus, the circuit’s title would be split between the winners of the now-best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series and Northern In 2017, manager Buddy Bailey became the 11th minor league skipper to reach 2,000 career victories.

Just a few weeks later, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on the southeastern United States, the Carolina League shortened the Mills Cup Playoffs, canceling the Mills Cup Championship Series. Thus, the circuit’s title would be split between the winners of the now-best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series and Northern Division Championship Series.

Just before Game 1 of the SDCS, the Chicago Cubs announced that star catcher Willson Contreras would begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Pelicans. Contreras wound up going 1-for-4 over two games, but it wasn’t enough for Myrtle Beach, which was swept 2-0 by Down East in the rain-shortened series to end the season.

Thirteen different former Pelicans would make their major league debut during the 2017 campaign, tied for the second-most in a single season in club history (2014, 14). That included right-hander Dillon Maples, who began the campaign on Myrtle Beach’s Opening Day roster. The Sanford, N.C., native became the first Myrtle Beach alumnus since Alex Claudio in 2014 to play for the Birds and make his debut in The Show in the same season.

Just a few weeks later, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on the southeastern United States, the Carolina League shortened the Mills Cup Playoffs, canceling the Mills Cup Championship Series. Thus, the circuit’s title would be split between the winners of the now-best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series and Northern Division Championship Series.

Just before Game 1 of the SDCS, the Chicago Cubs announced that star catcher Willson Contreras would begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Pelicans. Contreras wound up going 1-for-4 over two games, but it wasn’t enough for Myrtle Beach, which was swept 2-0 by Down East in the rain-shortened series to end the season.

Thirteen different former Pelicans would make their major league debut during the 2017 campaign, tied for the second-most in a single season in club history (2014, 14). That included right-hander Dillon Maples, who began the campaign on Myrtle Beach’s Opening Day roster. The Sanford, N.C., native became the first Myrtle Beach alumnus since Alex Claudio in 2014 to play for the Birds and make his debut in The Show in the same season.


Myrtle Beach’s second season as a Cubs affiliate was just as big of a hit as their first, with the Pelicans becoming the Carolina League’s first outright back-to-back champions since the Winston-Salem Spirits, who were also a Chicago Cubs affiliate at the time, did so in 1985-86. In addition to earning the fourth title in Pelicans history, the Birds participated in their third consecutive Mills Cup Championship series, the Carolina League’s longest run since Frederick went to three straight Mills Cup Finals from 2005-07.

Making the postseason for the sixth straight year took some heavy lifting. On July 21, the Pelicans found themselves with a 49-48 overall record. Three days later, right-hander Zach Hedges, who posted a sparkling 2.89 ERA in 16 starts, was promoted to Double-A Tennessee. On that same day, Myrtle Beach scratched shortstop Gleyber Torres and center fielder Rashad Crawford from the lineup. Both those key, up-the-middle players were traded on July 25 in a package that netted the Cubs left-hander Aroldis Chapman.

Despite losing three of their best players, the Pelicans took off. After the 24th, including the postseason, the Birds went 38-11 (.776). Myrtle Beach’s 46-23 second half record was their best in club history and tops in the league in any half since Kinston went 47-23 in the first half of the 2006 campaign. The Pelicans’ second half Southern Division Championships marked their fourth straight season with at least one division title and helped Myrtle Beach to their sixth consecutive winning season at 82-57. During their second half ride, the Pelicans enjoyed arguably their most successful month in club history. Myrtle Beach finished August with a 22-5 record, their most victories in any month of recorded Pelicans history (through the 2005 season). In fact, the Birds tied with Short Season Class A Eugene, also a Cubs affiliate, for the best record in all of professional baseball during the month. Finishing behind the pair of Cubs affiliates was the Cubs themselves, with a mark of 22-6.

Myrtle Beach nipped Salem 2-1 in a decisive Game 3 of the SDCS for a berth in the Mills Cup Championship Series with the Lynchburg Hillcats. After losing Game 1 by a score of 4-3 in 12 innings, the Pelicans won 8-3 in Game 2 to even up the series. The Birds’ pitching was masterful in a 7-0 shutout in Game 3, which put them on the precipice of their second straight title. In Game 4, right-hander James Pugliese whiffed seven in 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, and a three-run seventh inning propelled Myrtle Beach to a 5-3 win and the Mills Cup title.

Strong pitching and defense were constants for the Pelicans throughout the 2016 campaign. The Pelicans finished with the Carolina League’s best ERA (3.47), while also issuing the fewest walks (411) and allowing the fewest home runs (65) and the second-fewest hits (1,176). Right-handed starter Trevor Clifton took home a number of honors, including both the Carolina League and Chicago Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The Maryville, Tenn., native led the circuit in ERA at 2.72, nearly a full run better than second-place Jordan Stephens of Winston-Salem. Clifton also paced the league in batting average against (.225) and WHIP (1.16) while coming in third in strikeouts (129).

Among starters, the right-hander also placed third in strikeouts per nine innings (9.8). The Pelicans were led offensively by first baseman Yasiel Balaguert and infielder David Bote. The former finished the season with 96 RBIs, the most ever in a campaign for a Myrtle Beach hitter. Over the year’s final 49 games, including the postseason, Balaguert batted .318/.360/.521, driving in 41 runs. The Chicago Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month for August, Bote led all of the organization’s farmhands with a .367 average and 16 runs scored during the month. His 15 extra-base hits were tied for the most in the system. The Longmont, Colo., native closed the regular year riding a 27-game on-base streak, the longest of any Pelican during the season, batting .365/.434/.583 with 21 RBIs during that stretch. He only continued to rake in the postseason, batting 15-for-26 (.577/.677/.769) with nine RBIs in seven playoff games en route to winning the Carolina League’s postseason Most Valuable Player award.

The 2016 season also saw some special moments with Pelicans alumni. On May 17, the Atlanta Braves named former Myrtle Beach skipper Brian Snitker their interim manager, making Snitker the first former Pelicans skipper to pilot a club in The Show.


The Pelicans’ first year as a Cubs affiliate was a hit throughout the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach captured the first-half Southern Division title en route to the best regular season record in the Carolina League by six games. The campaign culminated with a Mills Cup Championship for the first time since 2000, the Pelicans’ third total and second outright title.

A wobbly April left Myrtle Beach at 10-9, but eventual Carolina League Manager of the Year Mark Johnson was able to steady the club’s path as soon as the calendar flipped to May. The Pelicans began the month by winning 13 of the 16 games, including each the first five contests. Myrtle Beach finished the month 21-7 behind a torrid pitching staff backed by an airtight defense; the Pelicans surrendered more than four runs in just seven contests throughout the month, including each of the last 11.

That would prove to be a theme throughout the season. Myrtle Beach finished with a 3.01 ERA, the club’s best since their 2000 championship season and the Carolina League’s top mark since at least the 2005 season. Pelicans pitchers surrendered just 1035 hits in 2015 (7.9 H/9), the fewest among any team in the circuit. Myrtle Beach also issued only 339 walks in 1183.0 innings (2.6 BB/9), the second-fewest among any staff in the Carolina League.

At the forefront of the effort were a pair of Mid-Season All-Stars in Duane Underwood Jr. and Jonathan Martinez. The latter led the league in ERA at 2.56, surrendering just 82 hits in 116.0 frames to post a 9-2 record. Underwood Jr. finished 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA. Right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng also finished in the top 10 in the league in ERA at 3.55, registering a 7-7 record in 119.0 innings.

Myrtle Beach also received outstanding starting performances from Paul Blackburn (7-5, 3.11 ERA), Tyler Skulina (3-6, 3.11 ERA) and Daury Torrez (10-6, 3.75 ERA), but the staff’s dominance was truly an amazing display of depth. Jasvir Rakkar (2.98 ERA) finished second in the league with 16 saves, and all but one of the 20 pitchers who tossed at least 15.0 innings posted an ERA below 4.00, with 13 compiled marks below 3.00.

While the club’s pitching and defense starred, the Pelicans’ patient offensive approach helped knock out talented starters early from games to reach the underbelly of opponents’ bullpens. Myrtle Beach scored the second-most runs in the league (581) while also ranking second in both on-base percentage (.333) and slugging percentage (.365).

Mark Zagunis earned both Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star nominations, finishing second in the league in both OBP (.406) and walks (80), third in runs scored (78) and eighth in batting average (.271). Utility man Chesny Young also earned Postseason All-Star honors by being setting a Carolina League record with a 44-game on-base streak from June 6 through July 25. Young was the only player in the circuit to post an average above .300 at .321, 24 points higher than the second-place hitter. He finished second in total plate appearances per strikeout (10.27), third in OBP in .394 and in a tie for third in hits (129).

Jacob Rogers finished in the top-five in the league in home runs (12), batting .249/.347/.399 while Jeimer Candelario hit .270/.318/.415 in 82 games before earning a promotion to Double-A Tennessee.

The Pelicans sailed to the first-half division title with a 41-28 record. They went 40-29 in the second half to finish in second before taking care of Winston-Salem with a pair of one-run victories in Games 2 and 3 of the Southern Division Championship Series.

Myrtle Beach earned another one-run victory of Wilmington in Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship Series before blanking the Blue Rocks 2-0 in Game 2. With Game 3 tied 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Pin-Chief Chen rolled a walk-off single to left to give the Pelicans a series sweep and their first championship in 15 seasons.


In what turned out to be the final year of the Pelicans in the Rangers system, the club posted one of its best years in franchise history. The best first half winning percentage in team history (.647) propelled the Pelicans to the playoffs for a fourth straight season, and the team made the Mills Cup Championship for the first time since 2008, only to fall to the Potomac Nationals. With the most dominant offense in the league from start to finish, the Pelicans tore out of the gates with a 40-18 start despite an 0-4 opening series. Behind soon-to-be league MVP Joey Gallo, the Pelicans clubbed their way to victory. The slugger blasted 21 home runs in just 58 Carolina League games before his promotion to Double-A. The total was enough to pace the league all season, and it was the most homers in a single-season by a Pelicans since 2009, when Cody Johnson hit 32. Gallo homered three times in a game twice, something no Pelican had ever done. But he wasn’t the only one with power. The team hit 111 long balls in 2015, the fourth-most in team history, and recorded the first 100-homer season for the franchise since 2009. Jorge Alfaro (13), Nick Williams (13), Preston Beck (11) and Christopher Bostick (11) all knocked out double-digits bombs.

The team could run as well. The Birds stole 154 bases, the most in team history and by far the most in the league that year. Chris Garia, an unheralded minor leaguer entering the season, set the club’s single season stolen base record with 45 and might have had more had he not been injured the last two weeks of the year. As was the case every year in the Rangers-era, the Pelicans were not too shabby on the hill either. The Pelicans placed a league-best and franchise record eight players on the mid-season All-Star team, three of whom were pitchers: starters Andrew Faulkner and Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, and reliever Alexander Claudio joined position players Alfaro, Beck, Gallo, Garia and Williams. Faulkner spent most of the year near the top of the league in wins (10) and ERA (2.07), and did not allow a home run until his final High-A start on July 21, the latest of any qualifying pitcher in Minor League Baseball. Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the fifth inning on multiple occasions, and Claudio was dominant during 2015. He finished the season in Arlington with the Texas Rangers, marking only the second time that a player spent time with both the Pelicans and the Rangers in the same season.

The staff was second in the league in ERA for the year (3.43), and the bullpen blew just 14 saves all season, anchored by Jose Leclerc (14-for-16 in saves) and Abel De Los Santos (8-for-9). The Pelicans ran away with the first half crown with a 44- 24 record, 11 games up on second-place Salem. As was often the case during the four-year run with the Rangers, promotions hurt the Birds in the second half. Despite the promotions of Gallo (June 8), Keone Kela (May 10), Odubel Herrera (May 12), Gonzalez (June 8), Will Lamb (June 16), Claudio (June 25), Hanser Alberto (July 4), Alfaro (August 4) and Nick Williams (August 15), the Pelicans scratched and clawed their way to the second-half title. It was only the third time that the Pelicans had won both the first and second halves (2000, 2008), and they did it by finishing the season without their top three home run hitters, and three of their top five RBI producers. The Pelicans avenged their 2014 series loss to Salem despite a heartbreaking Game One loss in extra-innings on a controversial home run call.

After winning back-to-back games to beat Salem 2-1 in the series, the Birds opened with a win against Potomac in the Mills Cup Championship Series. However, the P-Nats tied things up at one game apiece before heading back to Virginia for the final three games. There, Potomac outpaced the Pelicans in 12-7 and 5-1 wins to take the series, 3-1. The 2014 year also saw a near-record number of former Pelicans make their big league debuts. Second to only the 2005 season (14), 2014 featured 13 Pelicans to make the Show for the first time.


The Pelicans continued to impress under the Rangers umbrella and the direction of third-year skipper and eventual 2013 Carolina League Manager of the Year, Jason Wood. The Pelicans would advance to the postseason for the third consecutive season for the first time in team history. They were also the only Carolina League team to make the postseason in each of the previous three campaigns and the only Rangers affiliate to do so as well.

Yet for the third straight year, the Birds couldn’t make it out of the first round of the postseason. The eventual champs, the Salem Red Sox, swept the Pelicans with a pair of one-run wins.

The club was powered, once again, by the pitching staff. The Pelicans recorded the highest ERA of the Wood era, but it was still the Carolina League’s second-lowest ERA (3.71).

Alec Asher made the jump from Spokane for his first full professional season, leading the team and the circuit with 139 strikeouts. He also ranked among the league leaders in ERA (fourth, 2.90), WHIP (fourth, 1.20), and wins (tied for seventh, nine). Asher posted the most innings of any Pelicans hurler (133.1).

Jackson was the club’s Opening Day starter and also got the nod for the Carolina League in the Carolina- California League All-Star Game before his first promotion to Double-A on August 1.

Nick Martinez had the league’s third-lowest ERA (2.87) and 10th-most strikeouts (105). Texas promoted him along with Jackson on the same day.

The Rangers’ first selection in the 2013 draft, RHP Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, would fill one of those vacancies in the rotation and make his final five starts of the season with Myrtle Beach, allowing just one run over 12.0 IP in his last three regular season outings.

The Pelicans’ offense was led by its middle infield combo of second baseman Rougned Odor and shortstop Luis Sardinas.

The 19-year-old Odor ranked among the CL leaders in batting (third, .305), doubles (tied for fifth, 33), and stolen bases (tied for fifth, 27) despite spending the final month of the season with Frisco.

Sardinas, who also joined Odor in Frisco in August, had the sixth-best average (.298) and tied for the fifth-most stolen bases (27) in the CL.

The Pelicans finished the season with the second-most wins in the Carolina League and had four different win streaks of at least six games, including a season-best eight games from May 7-14.

In addition to Jackson, the Pelicans had Asher, Martinez, Odor and Sardinas selected to the Carolina League-California League All-Star Game in San Jose, California.


For the second straight season, Jason Wood’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans were impressive on the mound. With a 3.28 ERA — the team’s best mark since 2002 — the Pelicans boasted a 3.30 ERA in Wood’s first two seasons. Brad Holman, the Pelican’s pitching coach during that stretch, was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock during the offseason.

The Pelicans finished 74-65, including a 38-31 second half that launched the team into the postseason.

Five pitching contributors on the 2012 squad enter 2013 at big league camp. Wilmer Font, who had made his MLB debut the previous September, was on the 40-man roster along with Roman Mendez; Cody Buckel and Nick Tepesch arrived as non-roster invitees.

With Buckel, Tepesch, Mendez and Font making regular starts in the first half, the Pelicans boasted a 3.14 earned run average in April and an even stingier 2.31 clip in the month of May. Kyle Hendricks was efficient out of the rotation for the Pelicans, compiling a 2.82 earned run average in 20 starts before being shipped to the Cubs as part of the Ryan Dempster deal in July.

Also included in that July 31 trade was infielder Christian Villanueva, who was one of the most productive members of an offense that struggled to score runs. The Pelicans amassed 1,587 total bases, the lowest in a single season in franchise history. The Myrtle Beach offense mustered 3.84 runs per contest and was shutout 11 times in 139 games. Villanueva’s 10 home runs paced a Pelicans bunch that stroked a league-low 68 round-trippers.

Despite its offensive struggles, the Pelicans were able to return to the postseason for the second straight year. The Birds finished .500 or better in every month of the second half, including a 17-12 mark in June (first half ended June 17).

Because Winston-Salem posted the best record in the first and second half in the Southern Division, the Dash hosted all three postseason matchups with the Pelicans in the opening round. In 2012, the divisional series adopted a best-of-three format after being best-of-five for several years.

The series opened favorably for the Pelicans, who scored four sixth-inning runs and snatched game one by a 4-1 final. Tomas Telis tripled and knocked in three runs, while Luke Jackson struck out eight over five innings to claim the win. The Pelicans took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning of game two before the Dash took control.

The Pelicans would score just one more run in the series. A three-run seventh sparked the Dash to a 5-3 series-evening triumph. Facing elimination, the Pelicans were blanked in game three, falling by a 9-0 margin with all of the game’s runs coming in the second and third frames.


The 2011 season brought a new era as the Pelicans began a new partnership with the Texas Rangers. The Birds’ first season as the Rangers’ Class Advanced-A affiliate was a great success, with the club winning the Southern Division first-half title and qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2008.

On March 29, the Pelicans kicked-off the affiliation change, hosting the reigning AL champs for a preseason exhibition game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Rangers won 6-2 in front of a sellout crowd.

In his first season with Myrtle Beach, Jason Wood made his managerial debut, piloting an Opening Day roster that featured eight of _Baseball America_’s top 30 Rangers’ prospects.

Neil Ramirez got the Opening Day start for the Pelicans and took a no-hitter into the fifth. He didn’t stay in town for long, as he was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock after just one start. Robbie Erlin dominated for the first two months of the season, putting up a 2.14 ERA with 62 strikeouts and only five walks in 54.2 innings, earning a promotion to Double-A Frisco. Robbie Ross was the league leader in wins at the break and was named an All-Star for the third straight season. The lefty was promoted to Double-A August 2, but was still named Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. Finally, Barret Loux made his professional debut in 2011, skipping all lower levels and starting with Myrtle Beach at High-A. In 109 innings, Loux racked up 127 strikeouts to rank second in the league.

It was a historic day on May 3, when the Birds rocked Potomac 20-6, surpassing the 20-run mark for the first time in three years. Catcher Zach Zaneski had a record-breaking game, setting the Pelicans’ single-game record with seven runs batted in and tying the club record with five hits and four runs scored. Jared Prince also scored four runs to tie the team record and Strausborger got into the record books by tying the club mark with two triples. A day later, the Pelicans got a remarkable performance on the pitchers’ mound, as Joe Wieland took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He struck out 13 Nationals in six shutout innings.

June 12 was the longest day of the season for the Pelicans, playing a 23-inning marathon against Kinston. It was the longest contest in the 66-year history of the Carolina League. The extra innings were highlighted by spectacular relief performances from Zach Osborne, who put up four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out six, while Chad Bell, who struck out eight and held the Indians to one hit in five shutout frames. In the bottom of the 23rd inning, six hours and 27 minutes after the first pitch, Kinston’s Casey Frawley singled off Kasey Kiker to score Roberto Perez with the winning run and beat the Birds 3-2. Zaneski caught all 23 innings for Myrtle Beach.

The first-half race came down to the final weekend. With the help of Wieland’s pitching on June 17 against Frederick, the Birds came out on top to edge the Indians by two games and clinch the club’s first playoff berth since 2008, setting off a wild celebration in front of the home fans. The Pelicans enjoyed playing in front of that crowd, going 23-9 on the Grand Strand in the first half.

The Birds finished a half-game behind Frederick for the best overall first-half mark in the CL at 40-29. They scored the most runs in the Carolina League (312) and allowed the fewest (246), giving them the best run differential in the circuit by far (+66). The offense, guided by hitting coach and 13-year minor league skipper Julio Garcia, also led the league in on base percentage and was second in batting average.

Under the tutelage of pitching coach Brad Holman, who worked with many of the hurlers at Low-A Hickory in 2009 and 2010, the pitching staff led the loop in ERA with a 3.14 mark. They racked up the most strikeouts and allowed the fewest home runs. The staff finished the half in second place in the league in opponent batting average and walks per nine innings. The team defense excelled as well, making only 60 errors in 69 games, tied for the fewest errors in the league.

Four Pelicans received All-Star nods and a trip to Modesto, California on June 21. Joe Wieland was tabbed with the start for the CL team and was dominant in a 1-2-3 first inning, retiring the side on six pitches, all of them for strikes. Robbie Ross also tossed a 1-2-3 inning, posting two strikeouts as he dealt to a familiar face behind the plate. Catcher Zach Zaneski, center fielder Ryan Strausborger and Mike Olt were also named to the All-Star Team.

Olt was a headliner for Myrtle Beach, winning Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for April and continuing his stellar play for the first half. He cracked ten home runs to rank third in the league and led the circut in on-base percentage and walks. His season was interrupted on June 6 against Winston-Salem, when he suffered a broken collarbone in a collision at home plate. He missed more than two months due to the injury.

Outfielder Jared Prince also found a way to leave his mark, marching into the Carolina League record books in painful fashion. He was hit by a pitch 30 times to equal the single-season record. Prince, who started 4-for-45, batted .301 the rest of the way to finish at seventh in the league in hitting (.282). Prince made the year-end Carolina League All-Star Team and was voted by his teammates and coaches as the Pelicans’ Most Valuable Player

The Pelicans went into the playoffs as Southern Division first-half champions, battling Kinston for a trip to the Mills Cup finals. Justin Grimm got the Game One start, tossing six innings of one-run ball, while catcher Vinny DiFazio cranked a two-run homer to give the Birds the opener, 4-1. Kinston came back to take Game Two and even the series before the set shifted to Kinston. The K-Tribe knocked out the Pelicans with 7-0 and 9-2 routs to win the best-of-five series three games to one.


The 2010 campaign started with a bang, with the team playing host to the Wilmington Blue Rocks in front of a near-sellout crowd in a 4-1 Pelicans victory. The Pelicans made history a month later, when phenom pitching prospect Julio Teheran made his Carolina League debut. Throwing game two of a twin-bill against Winston-Salem on May 19th, Teheran whiffed 12 Dash batters in seven innings of work while allowing just one run. It was the middle of a long day though, as the Pelicans split the day’s doubleheader with what turned into a 20-inning, 4-3 loss. The game was one inning shy of the Carolina League record.

Even with some struggles on the field, the first half was punctuated by a few outstanding pitching performances. At one point, the Pelicans boasted a starting rotation of four of the top five pitching prospects in the Atlanta Braves’ minor league system: Teheran, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino and J.J. Hoover. At that time, FanGraphs named the Pelicans rotation as the most talented in Minor League Baseball. From that list, Hoover, Teheran, and Delgado were each selected to represent the Pelicans in the 2010 California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach on June 22. Vizcaino was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team before his call-up to Myrtle Beach in the second week of June.

After a troublesome first half, the Pelicans were a stronger ballclub entering the second half with a loaded pitching staff and an offense gaining traction behind added lineup anchors Mycal Jones, Mike Jones and Dan Nelson. June ended with a 3-4 record in the first week of the second half, and the Pelicans kept the bar set near the .500 mark for nearly the rest of the way. Behind their “big three” all-star rotation stalwarts of Delgado, Hoover and Teheran, the Birds did their best to stifle Carolina League lineups and remain in the hunt for the second-half Southern Division title. The stable was quickly plundered, though. Before July was done, the Birds lost two of their big guns when Delgado and Teheran were promoted to Double-A Mississippi. Hoover joined the duo after an August promotion.

After finishing 17 games out of the running in the first half, the Pelicans reasserted themselves contenders in the second half. Following a July 12 doubleheader sweep of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Pelicans remained within three-and-a-half games of first place for nearly the rest of the second half. Myrtle Beach’s last road trip, however, was the club’s downfall. The Pelicans suffered a three game sweep at Winston-


With the bar set to perhaps its highest high after 2008, the Pelicans were tasked with following up a season that exceeded expectations in nearly every measurable category. On the field, the ’09 season began with anticipation and question marks as a young Pelicans squad arrived in Myrtle Beach highlighted by the top two prospects in the Atlanta Braves minor league system: outfielder Jason Heyward and first baseman Freddie Freeman. The pair did not disappoint in their few months on the Grand Strand. When both were promoted to Double-A Mississippi just before July 4, Freeman was the team’s leading everyday hitter with a .302 batting average, and Heyward battled through minor nagging injuries to post a .296 average with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs. The Georgia native would ride the momentum of his productive Pelicans season and further success at Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett to Minor League Player of the Year honors from USA Today and Baseball America.

The 2009 season was marked by the inexperience of a youthful roster still learning to compete in the Carolina League. The Pelicans set marks for most losses in a first half (42) and a season (84), but the team did experience its share of highlights as well. Myrtle Beach hosted its first Fourth of July home game to the tune of a near-capacity crowd of 5,681 and a 3-2 comeback victory over the Salem Red Sox. Outfielder Cody Johnson, a 2006 Braves’ first-round draft pick, smashed team records all season while blasting 32 home runs, nine more than any other Pelican had ever hit in a single season in club history. In addition, Johnson became the first Carolina Leaguer to crack the 30-homer plateau since Daniel Peoples did it for the Kinston Indians in 1997. Johnson and Heyward were named to the 2009 California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Lake Elsinore, California, and Johnson was named to the Carolina League’s Postseason All-Star team as well.

<p><em>A Pelican back in 2004, Brian McCann made an encore appearance in 2009.</em></p>

The Pelicans hosted a pair of Major League rehab appearances by key Braves during the ‘09 season as well. In late April, suffering from vision blurriness, former Pelican catcher Brian McCann returned to the Grand Strand, where he played in two games, doubling twice in six at-bats. July brought a pair of starts by two-time American League All-Star Tim Hudson. Recovering from Tommy John surgery, he threw 4.2 innings on his eventual road back to the big leagues.

On a late-season Saturday night in September, Pelicans manager Rocket Wheeler etched his name atop the Myrtle Beach record book as well. A 5-4 Pelicans win over Winston- Salem on September 5 made Wheeler the winningest manager in Pelicans history. The victory the Pawley’s Island resident past former Pelicans skipper Randy Ingle, whose 271 wins now rank second in franchise history.

The 2009 season ended on a bittersweet note. On September 15, the club bid farewell to its mascot and beloved “Home Run Dog,” Dinger. The longtime mainstay had taken on a lighter role in recent seasons with his younger brother Deuce taking over duties as the club’s canine ball caddy, but Dinger still left an indelible mark on the franchise. Upon the announcing of his passing, the Pelicans front office was flooded with cards, gifts, and well-wishes from fans across the nation.

Better news arrived just 10 days later, however. The Pelicans announced that they had been awarded the 2010 California- Carolina League All-Star Game, just one season after hosting the contest for the first time in 2008. Myrtle Beach became the first Carolina League repeat host of the ASG since the Pelicans franchise came into existence in 1999.


The Pelicans 10th Anniversary season became one of the most remarkable seasons in the franchise’s brief history on the Grand Strand. Rocket Wheeler returned to Myrtle Beach for a third season at the helm and guided the team to a sweep of the first and second half titles in the Southern Division and the franchise all-time wins record (89). Wheeler’s Pelicans also broke the franchise record for wins in the first half (45).

The Pelicans hosted a venue attendance record (6,599) when it hosted the 2008 California-Carolina League All-Star Game in June. Myrtle Beach first baseman Ernesto Mejia highlighted the festivities by winning the Home Run Derby, besting teammate Brandon Hicks in the semifinals of the sudden-death showdown.

With their first-half title, the Pelicans ended a four-year run of first-half championships for Southern Division rival Kinston. The moment was made sweeter when the Birds claimed the title at Grainger Stadium in Kinston. With the first-half crown, Myrtle Beach also ended the longest active playoff drought in the Carolina League.

With the second-half title also in hand, the Pelicans matched up with the wild card winning Winston- Salem Warthogs (Chicago White Sox) in the divisional series.

Myrtle Beach ended the Warthogs’ season by winning the series two-games-to-one. It would be the final games the Warthogs would play, as the club was renamed the Dash after the season.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans, a depleted bullpen was unable to get them through their Mills Cup Championship matchup with Potomac. With the series tied at a game apiece, the Pelicans took a three- run lead to the bottom of the ninth inning of game three but the Nationals forced extra-innings with a dramatic three-run rally and won the game in 10 innings. The Pelicans lost the series the following night.

The 2008 season will also be remembered as a tremendous time of loss for both the Pelicans and Braves organizations. In May, the only pitching coach in franchise history, Bruce Dal Canton, left the team after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It marked the first time that Dal Canton wasn’t in the Pelicans dugout. Unfortunately, he would not return. Dal Canton lost his battle with cancer after the season. The Pelicans retired his number 43 on Opening Day of the 2009 season.

The 2008 Pelicans were a record-breaking unit. Boasting the most prolific offense in franchise history, the Pelicans broke notable offensive marks: team batting average (.260), runs scored (764), home runs (153) and doubles (298). Additionally, Mejia broke the single-season records for doubles (47), RBIs (93) and at-bats (519).

Outfielder Willie Cabrera was named 2008 Myrtle Beach Pelicans MVP. Cabrera, a fiery outfielder from Los Angeles, batted .290 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI and was the vocal leader in the Birds’ clubhouse.

Southpaw Scott Diamond led the Birds’ pitching staff to the lowest ERA in the league (3.48) and was named Pelicans Pitcher of the Year. A league-best six Pelicans were midseason all-stars and a circuit-leading five were postseason selections. Wheeler was named Carolina League Manager of the Year and Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America, while Pelicans General Manager North Johnson was voted Carolina League Executive of the Year. The hardware continued to pile up when head groundskeeper Chris “Butter” Ball took home his third consecutive Sports Turf Manager of the Year award for maintaining the finest playing surface in the league. To cap off the season, the Pelicans were awarded the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 Community Service Award, representing the culmination of the team’s re-dedication to its outstanding fan base and the Myrtle Beach community.

Bruce Dal Canton served as Pelicans pitching coach from the team’s inception in 1999 until 2007. He passed away in 2008 from esophageal cancer at 66 years of age. In 2009 the Pelicans’ home clubhouse was named in his honor. His uniform number, 43, is retired and painted on the building’s roof.

Dal Canton played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues, two with the Atlanta Braves, the club he also spent his entire 26-year career with as a coach. Dal Canton coached at every level, from rookie ball to the Major Leagues, and was the Atlanta Braves pitching coach from 1987-1990.

Signed by the Pirates out of an open tryout, Dal Canton left a career as a school teacher to pursue his baseball dream. He began playing at Double-A in 1966 and debuted in Pittsburgh just a season later. Over his career, Dal Canton went 51-49 with a 3.67 ERA.

Dal Canton began coaching in 1982 with the Braves Class A-Advanced Carolina League affiliate in Durham, NC. He also served as the Roving Pitching Coordinator throughout the Atlanta system. Within six years, Dal Canton was coaching in the Majors. Throughout his career, he worked with John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Mark Wohlers, Pete Smith, Steve Avery, Kevin Millwood, John Rocker, Kerry Ligtenberg and most every arm that famously went on to help the Braves win 14 straight National League East titles.


Not content with just a new look, the 2007 season brought a revitalization of the Pelicans home park, spearheaded by Greensons Baseball, LP. The group’s $2.5-million investment in the ballpark began with the installation of a brand new, state-of-the-art video board that would bring a big league feel to the Pelicans’ ballpark. Then, the Pelicans added the only left-field bleacher seating in the Carolina League and the Pelicans Beach. The boost by Greensons Baseball made the park one of the premier venues in all of Minor League Baseball.

In their first full season under Greensons Baseball, the Pelicans reached new heights. In late May, the Pelicans were awarded the 2008 California/Carolina League All-Star Game. In addition, the Pelicans were a finalist for the prestigious Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy, awarded to the minor league team that displays extraordinary promotions both on and off the field. The Pelicans’ front office staff increased in size from eight to 20 full-time personnel, all with the distinct goal of making Pelicans baseball the best family entertainment option on the Grand Strand. The club added positions such as director of promotions, director of community relations and director of in-game entertainment.

<p>2007 Pelican Jordan Schafer played six seasons in the Major Leagues. _</p>

On the playing field, individuals garnered most of the attention. Jordan Schafer was a machine at the plate, amassing a minor-league-leading 176 hits in 136 games. He finished fifth in the Carolina League with a .289 batting average and fifth in the league with 52 extra-base hits. Schafer’s sparkling season earned him Pelicans team MVP honors. In 2007, power came by way of the franchise’s career home run king, Isiah “KK” Ka’aihue. His total of 22 was just one shy of the single-season franchise record set by Mike Hessman in the team’s inaugural 1999 season. Ka’aihue also hit for average, batting at a .298 clip, good for fourth-best in the Carolina League. The other steady force the lineup was Roberto Alvarez, who finished with a .291 batting average, sixth-best in the league. The Pelicans were the only team to have three players finish in the top ten in the league in batting average.

Although the big three stole the spotlight at times, Quentin Davis literally tried to steal it back, swiping 37 bases in 2007, three shy of the Pelicans’ franchise record at the time.

Overall, despite the efforts of manager Rocket Wheeler, the inexperience and ever-changing clubhouse doomed Myrtle Beach from a postseason run. The club stumbled to a 59-80 record, placing them last overall in the Carolina League Southern Division.


The 2006 season brought a world of change for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Baseball Club. Just 10 days into the new year, Capitol Broadcasting Company of Raleigh, N.C. announced an agreement to sell the Pelicans to Myrtle Beach Pelicans LP, a group managed by Greensons Baseball. The new buying group already operated two Minor League Baseball franchises in Pennsylvania: the Altoona Curve of the Double-A Eastern League (sold in 2008) and the State College Spikes of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League.

Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg headed the new ownership group. “We have had our eye on the Pelicans for some time and we are thrilled to become a part of the dynamic Myrtle Beach community,” said Greenberg. “We salute Capitol Broadcasting for establishing an outstanding tradition of fun, affordable, family entertainment and pledge to build on their wonderful foundation for many years to come.”

The Pelicans went into the 2006 baseball season under the ownership of Capitol Broadcasting until May 31, when the sale of the team became official, and Greensons Baseball took over. (Editor’s note: Greensons Baseball became Greenberg Sports Group in 2008).

On the field, year eight for the Pelicans featured more ups than downs, and not just in the win and loss columns. During the season, a total of 15 players received promotions to Double-A or higher after starting the year in Myrtle Beach. Before receiving a promotion to Double-A Mississippi in late August, scrappy outfielder Matt Young literally walked his way into the Pelicans record book. Young drew 71 walks, breaking the previous record (67) set by Andy Marte in 1999.

Another Pelicans outfielder made history in 2006 as Carl Loadenthal claimed the Carolina League batting crown with a .323 average. The former Rider University standout became just the second Pelican

in franchise history to win a batting title, joining Giles, who hit .326 in 1999. Loadenthal’s .323 batting average ranks as the highest single-season average for a left-handed batter in club history.

Second baseman J.C. Holt pieced together a 20-game hitting streak (Aug. 2-23), at the time the longest in franchise history.

Aside from individual accomplishments, the Pelicans as a team posted the third-best record in the league, and the best overall record of any team in the Atlanta Braves minor league system, at 72-68.

Under their new ownership group, the Pelicans re-branded themselves with a fresh and unique look, their first logo change since their inception in 1999. In November, the Pelicans introduced their new look, unveiling a fresh set of logos and upgraded uniforms.

The Pelicans modernized their identity to better connect with the lifestyle and personality of Myrtle Beach. The new look adopted the American White Pelican and South Carolina’s iconic crescent moon surrounded by dock rope and the words “Myrtle Beach Pelicans” in a beach-themed script. The Pelicans’ new colors, Midnight Blue, Sun Gold and Pelicans Blue, were designed to pay tribute to Myrtle Beach’s laid-back Southern charm. The Pelicans are the only professional sports team to employ their unique shade of Pelicans Blue.

The new look ushered in entirely redesigned caps and uniforms, the new home kits featuring white sleeveless tops with Pelicans Blue sleeves and the new “Pelicans” script across the chest. The road uniforms feature gray sleeveless tops with Pelicans Blue sleeves and “Myrtle Beach” across the chest. Both the jerseys and pants have Pelicans Blue and Sun Gold piping. The club also introduced an alternate jersey in Pelicans Blue with “Pelicans” across the chest in Sun Gold. The new home cap features the unique Pelicans Blue color and the American White Pelican head. Road caps will be Pelicans Blue with the letters “MB.”




A memorable April 21st: Donnie Hood hits for the cycle and Justin Jones, Westin O’Brien, Mark Carter combine to throw the first no-hitter in franchise history, blanking Dayton, 15-0. The season gets better from there: Keith Butler collects three hits in three at-bats and drives in the game-winning run in the All-Star Game to be named the Star of Stars. The Lugnuts win their second league championship in dominating fashion, sweeping South Bend in two games, Battle Creek in two games, and Beloit in three games. Starters Anderson Tavares, Carlos Vásquez and Andy Sisco lead the way, with lights-out closer Jason Wylie saving a franchise record 29 games to go along with 1.38 ERA.


After a year absence, the Pelicans were back in the postseason in 2002, this time under the direction of a new field manager. Randy Ingle took the reins in Myrtle Beach after the club’s first three unforgettable seasons under manager Brian Snitker. With Ingle leading the charge, the Pelicans jumped out to a 43- 27 record to clinch the first half Southern Division title. With a playoff spot already secure, however, the Pelicans fell behind the Kinston Indians and finished four games out of first in the second half. The K-Tribe steamrolled into the playoffs, sweeping the Pelicans in the opening round on their way to the 2002 Carolina League title.

Aided by another strong season on the mound, the Pelicans finished 79-61. Pitcher Bubba Nelson dealt his way to the best ERA in the league (1.72). Teammate Daniel Curtis was not far behind, finishing with the third-best mark in the circuit (2.53) to go along with a league-high three complete games. Another standout on the mound was future World Series champion, Adam Wainwright, who led the league in with 9 home runs and 36 runs batted in.


Year three was the first season the Pelicans did not qualify for the postseason. A respectable 71-67 record placed the club third in the Carolina League overall during the regular season. First baseman Adam LaRoche played his first full season with the Pelicans and showed early signs of his future big league potential, giving Pelicans fans a preview of things to come.

The 2001 campaign was the third and final for the Birds under manager Brian Snitker. “Snit” would later become the first former Pelicans skipper to manage in the big leagues when he took over as the manager of the Atlanta Braves in 2016.