Trenton Thunder

Last updated
Trenton Thunder
Founded in 1980
Trenton, New Jersey
TrentonThunder.png TREthunder.PNG
Team logoCap insignia
Minor league affiliations
Class Collegiate summer (2021–present)
Previous classesDouble-A (1980–2020)
League MLB Draft League (2021–present)
Previous leagues
Eastern League (1980–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamUnaffiliated (2021–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles (4)
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2013
  • 2019
Division titles (12)
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1999
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2012
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
Team data
ColorsNavy blue, gold, white, blue, silver
MascotsBoomer and Cloudman
Ballpark Trenton Thunder Ballpark (1994–present)
Previous parks
Garden State Baseball, LP
Joe Plumeri
Joseph Finley
Joseph Caruso
General ManagerJeff Hurley
Manager Jeff Manto

The Trenton Thunder are a collegiate summer baseball team of the MLB Draft League and currently host the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. They are located in Trenton, New Jersey, and play their home games at Trenton Thunder Ballpark and Rider University's Sonny Pittaro Field.


From its inception in 1980 to 2020, the club was a Minor League Baseball team of the Double-A Eastern League until Major League Baseball's reorganization of the minors following the 2020 season. Prior to this, they were affiliates of the Chicago White Sox (1980–1985), Detroit Tigers (1986–1994), Boston Red Sox (1995–2002), and New York Yankees (2003–2020).


The Trenton Thunder were founded in 1980 in Glens Falls, New York, as the Glens Falls White Sox. The team was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox from 1980–1984. The Detroit Tigers replaced the White Sox in 1985 with the team being renamed as the Glens Falls Tigers, and stayed on as a Tigers affiliate after the franchise moved to London, Ontario, in 1989, becoming the London Tigers and began playing at historic Labatt Park.

In 1994, the London Tigers relocated to Trenton and became the Trenton Thunder. The team kept the Tigers affiliation for that season only, before switching affiliations to the Boston Red Sox in 1995. As a Red Sox affiliate, the club recorded three first-place finishes, but was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round each time. In 2003, the Thunder became the Yankees affiliate, and the Portland Sea Dogs became the new Red Sox affiliate. The switch reflected both teams' fanbases, as Central New Jersey is home to many Yankees fans, while Maine is home to many Red Sox fans.

On June 4, 1994, Phil Stidham became the first Thunder alumnus to play in the major leagues, for the Detroit Tigers, giving up six runs on six hits, including two home runs, as part of a 21–7 romp by the Minnesota Twins. [1]

In 2006, the Thunder became the first team in Minor League Baseball history to draw over 400,000 fans for 12 consecutive seasons at the Double-A level or below. Through 13 seasons, over 5.4 million people had attended a Thunder game. [2]

Surpassing the previous mark of 8,729, set while Derek Jeter was on a rehab stint with the team, the Thunder set a new single-game attendance record on May 23, 2007, when 9,134 fans attended, to watch Roger Clemens make his second minor-league start, as he worked toward a return to the Yankees. On Sunday, July 3, 2011, a paid attendance of 9,212 set a new record, as Derek Jeter returned once again, for a rehab start.

On September 15, 2007, the Thunder defeated the Akron Aeros to win their first Eastern League Championship Series in team history. Trenton defended its league title with 5–1 win over the Akron Aeros on September 14, 2008. The Thunder lost to the Altoona Curve in the 2010 Eastern League Championship Series.

In 2013, the Minor League Baseball website named the Trenton Thunder the Minor League team of the year. Trenton also took home two other awards which included "Promo of the Year" for the Retirement Party for team bat dog Chase That Golden Thunder. The 13-year-old Golden Retriever retired this year and in his final game the team included a bobble head give away in honor of the long time mascot. The third award was for "Mascot of the Year" which included an online four minute which garnered the most hits of any other team's mascot video. [3]

On November 7, 2020, the Yankees organization announced that they would end their affiliation with the Thunder in favor of the previously independent Somerset Patriots, located in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. The Thunder were offered the Patriots' spot in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. [4] Instead, they became members of the newly created MLB Draft League, which serves as a showcase for draft-eligible prospects. [5]

In April 2021 it was announced that the Trenton Thunder, will host the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. “After 27 years serving as the Double-A home of the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees, we are excited to welcome the highest level of Minor League Baseball to New Jersey,” said Jeff Hurley, GM & COO, Trenton Thunder. “We look forward to working with the Bisons, Blue Jays, and Major League Baseball to make this a successful season start.”

The Blue Jays began the 2021 MLB season by calling their spring training facilities in Dunedin, Florida, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions in Canada. Toronto had played the coronavirus-shortened 60-game 2020 season in Buffalo. According to the Bisons, the move to Trenton allows the club to complete a joint renovation project to prepare Buffalo’s Sahlen Field for major-league regular-season games. Buffalo expects the upgrades will “far exceed the new required Major League Baseball Player Development League facility standards, making Sahlen Field one of the premier locations for player training and performance amenities in Minor League Baseball.”

Retired numbers

Season records

1994Tigers Tom Runnells 55–85, 5th place South
1995Red Sox Ken Macha 73–69, 1st place South (tie)
1996Red SoxKen Macha86–56, 1st place South
1997Red Sox DeMarlo Hale 71–70, 4th place South
1998Red SoxDeMarlo Hale71–70, 3rd place South
1999Red SoxDeMarlo Hale92–50, 1st place North
2000Red SoxBilly Gardner, Jr.67–75, 5th place North
2001Red SoxBilly Gardner, Jr.67–75, 5th place North
2002Red Sox Ron Johnson 63–77, 5th place North (tie)
2003Yankees Stump Merrill 70–71, 4th place North
2004YankeesStump Merrill64–78, 6th place North
2005Yankees Bill Masse 74–68, 2nd place North
2006YankeesBill Masse80–62, 1st place North
2007Yankees Tony Franklin 83–59, 1st place North
2008YankeesTony Franklin86–54, 1st place North
2009YankeesTony Franklin69–72, 3rd place North
2010YankeesTony Franklin83–59, 1st place East
2011YankeesTony Franklin68–73, 4th place East
2012YankeesTony Franklin79–63, 1st place East
2013YankeesTony Franklin74–67, 2nd place East
2014YankeesTony Franklin67–75, 4th place East
2015Yankees Al Pedrique 71–71, 3rd place East
2016Yankees Bobby Mitchell 87–55, 2nd place East
2017YankeesBobby Mitchell92–48, 1st place East
2018Yankees Jay Bell 79–61, 1st place East
2019YankeesPatrick Osborn76–62, 2nd place East

Playoff appearances

  • 1995 season: Lost to Reading, 3–0 in semifinals
  • 1996 season: Lost to Harrisburg, 3–1 in semifinals
  • 1999 season: Lost to Norwich, 3–2 in semifinals
  • 2005 season: Lost to Portland, 3–2 in semifinals
  • 2006 season: Lost to Portland 3–1 in semifinals
  • 2007 season: Defeated Portland 3–1 in semifinals; defeated Akron 3–1 in championship series.
  • 2008 season: Defeated Portland 3–0 in semifinals; defeated Akron 3–1 in championship series.
  • 2010 season: Defeated New Hampshire 3–0 in semifinals; lost to Altoona 3–1 in championship series.
  • 2012 season: Defeated Reading 3–1 in semifinals; lost to Akron 3–1 in championship series.
  • 2013 season: Defeated Binghamton 3–0 in semifinals; defeated Harrisburg 3–0 in championship series.
  • 2016 season: Defeated Reading 3–1 in semifinals; lost to Akron 3–0 in championship series.
  • 2017 season: Defeated Binghamton 3–1 in semifinals; lost to Altoona 3–0 in championship series.
  • 2018 season: Lost to New Hampshire, 3–0 in semifinals
  • 2019 season: Defeated Reading 3–0 in semifinals; defeated Bowie in the championship series 3–1.

Arm & Hammer Park

Waterfront Park Mercer County Waterfront Park.jpg
Waterfront Park



The Thunder's mascot is a blue "Thunderbird" named Boomer. He wears a Thunder uniform as well as purple and yellow shades. Boomer traditionally takes part in many of the promotions and activities throughout Thunder home games, such as a race around the bases against a young fan. Boomer's likeness has appeared on numerous pieces of merchandise, and he is involved with several programs assisting children in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Cloudman is the Thunder's newest mascot, debuting during the 2015 season. He is a fearless caped crusader who serves the greater good in our community. The Cloudman's Hometown Heroes program debuted in 2015. Fans have the opportunity to nominate local heroes in their community to be honored in the middle of the seventh inning of every home game. Current and former armed forces members, first-responders and individuals who do good in the community are often nominated. Cloudman can be seen all over Arm & Hammer Park during a Thunder game, usually in tandem with Boomer, the Thunder's original mascot. Together Cloudman and Boomer take part in such in-game activities as shooting T-shirts off into the crowd, racing a youngster around the bases for a prize, and competing against one another to pick the loudest section in the stadium on a given night.

Chase, Derby and Rookie

Chase "That Golden Thunder" was a Golden Retriever who was part of the Thunder family from late in the 2002 season until his death in 2013. He often served as "batdog" during the first inning at most Thunder home games, retrieving bats and balls and returning them to the Thunder dugout. Contrary to popular belief, his teeth did not leave marks in the equipment, as Retrievers are trained to carry birds without puncturing them; however, he did have a golden tooth, due to his bat carrying duties. Later in the game, Chase usually caught frisbees to win a cash prize for a lucky fan. Chase had garnered significant media attention, appearing on FOX, CNN, YES Network, UPN9, WNBC4, and even Japanese television. In 2008, Chase sired a litter of pups. One of the pups was trained to be his successor and was named Home Run Derby (or Derby for short) in a fan poll during the offseason. Another of the pups from that litter was named Ollie, and served as a batdog for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats until September, 2016. Chase died July 8, 2013, aged 13. He was diagnosed with cancer in February and had been suffering from arthritis. [6]

One of Derby's pups, Rookie, has been trained to keep the family business intact as a third-generation "batdog". [7] In 2017, Rookie and Derby shared "batdog" duties with Rookie retrieving bats in the first inning and Derby retrieving in the second inning during every game. On January 8, 2018, Derby died from cancer. Rookie became the Thunder's batdog beginning with the 2018 season. [8]


Joe Plumeri, Trenton-born and Vice Chairman of the First Data Board of Directors, Joseph Finley and Joseph Caruso are the owners of the Trenton Thunder. Together, they make up Garden State Baseball, LP. Both Plumeri and Finley also owned the Lakewood BlueClaws as American Baseball Company, LLC until July 2017. [9] Finley also is part owner of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. [10] [11]


{{MiLB roster |TeamName=Trenton Thunder |TemplateName=Trenton Thunder roster |Pitchers=

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  1. "Phil Stidham 1994 Pitching Gamelogs – Baseball-Reference PI".
  2. "Trenton Thunder".
  3. "Trenton Thunder, Double A-Affiliate of the New York Yankees, Named Minor League Team of the Year".
  4. "New York Yankees announce new Minor League affiliation structure". November 7, 2020. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  5. "Trenton Thunder Continue Affiliation with Major League Baseball in New MLB Draft League". Trenton Thunder. Minor League Baseball. November 30, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  6. Famous minor league bat-dog dies, USA Today, July 9, 2013
  7. "E:60 – The Family Business – ESPN Video".
  8. LoGiudice, Daniel. "Trenton Thunder bat dog, Rookie, shines as late father, Derby, is honored". app. Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  9. "Shore Town Baseball Acquires Lakewood BlueClaws".
  10. Patrick Mcgeehan (December 17, 2000). "Private Sector–A Wall St. Son at Nasdaq's Table". The New York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  11. Tom McCarthy (2003). Baseball in Trenton. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN   0-7385-1310-5 . Retrieved July 15, 2010.
Preceded by
New Britain Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
Double-A affiliate

Succeeded by
Portland Sea Dogs