Boston Brawlers

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Boston Brawlers
Founded in 1989
Boston, Massachusetts Usa.png
Boston-Brawlers.png
Team logo
Boston Brawlers B.png
Secondary logo
BOS-jerseys.png
Team Uniforms (Home/Away)

Affiliations
League Bull League
Subleague Lake League
Division East
Team Info
Name Boston Brawlers (1991-present)

Other nicknames Bean Town Brawlers, The Big Red Fist

Previous names Boston Britons (1989-1990)

Colors Red, white, Cambridge blue

              

Owner Ted Mott
Ballpark
Ballpark Constitution Stadium (Since 2019)
Former The Brawl Pit (1995-2018)

Fenway Park (1991-1994)

Titles
League pennants 1991 (1)
Division titles 1991, 2020 (2)
Playoff appearances 1991, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016—2018, 2020—2021, 2025 (10)



The Boston Brawlers are an American professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The team competes in the Bull League playing in the Lake League (LL) East division. They play their home games at Constitution Stadium.

The team was formed in 1989 as the Boston Britons, and were renamed to the Brawlers in 1991 when the Bull League formed its current leagues and divisions. They appeared in the Bull Cup Championship Series in their inaugural season, losing to the Chicago Knights, and have not made another appearance in the championship series since that time. Along with the Montreal Metros, the Brawlers are one of only two teams in their division to have never relocated or changed their name since the Lake League formed in 1991.

The team all-time win-loss record at the end of 2021 was 1196–1337 (.472).[1]

History

Boston Brawlers OOTP settings
Team ID 5
Market
Fan loyalty (0-10) 7
Market size (0-20) 9 (Huge)
Market factors
Media area New England
Market population 8,099,000


Pre-1995

The Brawlers were formed in 1989 as the Boston Britons, one of the founding teams in the Bull League, which was then made up of 20 teams comprising the Central League and Southern League. The Britons played in the Central League.

In 1991, the league underwent a major reorganization, and just 12 teams remained. Boston was renamed as the Brawlers and played from historic Fenway Park, as a member of the Lake League East division.

In their first year under the new Bull League, they beat the Ohio Oxen to claim the Lake League Championship Series (LLCS), which was a best-of-five series at that time. They ultimately fell to the Chicago Knights in the Bull Cup championship, but seemed to show promise as one of the league's top teams.

However, that hope evaporated as they finished 7-9 (.437), a ½ game behind Chicoutimi the following year, which was stopped at the half way point. Ohio would be named LLCS champions, though no series was played. A year later, in 1993, Boston again placed behind Chicoutimi, which time with a 13-17 (.433) record, and missed the postseason.

The Early Years: 1995-2008

After the 1994 strike, Boston would remain in their division as the league expanded and reorganized to 16 teams. Still with the Montreal Metros and the Chicoutimi Cinquantes as division rivals, the Kingston Battlements were added as an expansion franchise. But Boston found themselves foundering in a division swimming with talent, mainly from the Metros, who took the LLCS and swept the player awards in the offseason. Boston's 32-48 (.400) finish was a club worst, and would remain their worst finish until 1999.

A few Brawlers managed to pick up some recognition, such as pitcher Jimmy McDonalds being named to a Platinum Glove Award. But overall, the team was far from its 1991 glory days.

A 1998 2nd place tie finish with the Metros, both teams just 1 game behind Kingston with a 42-38 (.525) records, seemed to show some promise. McDonalds, and outfielder TJ Cyrus were among the notable Brawlers veterans to make the All-Star game that year.

But it would just be a single season blip, as for the next two seasons they fell back down to a club worst 30-50 (.375) finish for both 1999 and 2000. They flirted with a .500 finish in 2001, but still only placed 2nd. Many of their 1991-1993 names were now retired or traded.

Rock bottom came in 2008, when the Brawlers crashed to a 27-53 (.338) finish, once again in last place in their division. The Brawlers were dead last in the Lake League in run production, just 4.1 runs per game, and second worst in pitching, allowing 5.9 runs per game.

2009-2016: The Martel Years

Judson Martel pitched for the Boston Brawlers from 2008-2016, and set several club pitching records during that time.

All that began to change in 2009, as rookie starter Judson Martel, a first overall draft pick just two years previously, took his first steps towards becoming one of the greatest Boston pitchers since Jimmy McDonalds.

Just 21 when he debuted the year before, Martel entered his sophomore year in 2009 having been named the #1 prospect on opening day. Though still rough around the edges, Martel finished 6-3 on the year with a 4.74 ERA, having won the second most games and pitched the most innings among all the starters.

Boston still finished below .500, but thanks to the wild card the 39-41 (.487) Brawlers were seeded into their first postseason since 1991. Boston advanced past the Elimination Round to play against Ohio in the LLCS, losing the series 3-2.[2] But it was the spark that would ignite the Brawlers to make further playoff appearances in 2011, when they achieved their franchise best 48-32 (.600) record, though still only finishing in 2nd place, and then again in 2013. All this while, Martel was slowly cementing his place in Brawlers lore, with shutout after shutout, All-Star appearances, and then finally a Sandy Koufax Award in 2013.[3]

By the time Martel left for free agency in 2016, he had set club records for wins (73), winning percentage (.646), WAR (25.9), games started (142), complete games (25), shutouts (9), innings pitched (1050.0), and strikeouts (997).

In his final year as a Brawler, Martel was a again at the All-Star game, and finished 2nd in Sandy Koufax Award voting for the second year in a row. Boston again advanced to the LLCS, but were again stonewalled by the Ohio Oxen, who went on to win their 4th Bull Cup.

2017—present: Still in the mix

With Martel gone, the 2017 Brawlers were now riding on the successes of outfielder Angel Payan, slugger Bruce Aberto, and pitchers Alfonso Gutierrez, Neal Moran and Juan Carrillo. Another playoff appearance for the Brawlers would see them swept out by Montreal in the Elimination Round, but the team could prove they were still going to be a problem for Lake League teams for the foreseeable future.

The following year, 2018, the team was wild carded into the postseason again with a 50-50 (.500) finish, as offense numbers slowed but their pitching still proved hard for opponents to contend with. This time it was Minneapolis who showed them the door in the Elimination Round, taking the series 3-1.

Last year, in 2019, Boston failed to make the playoffs but this was mainly due to a surprisingly strong showing by the Toronto Nomads who built on some early season successes to wedge themselves into the 2nd wild card slot. Moran was still on the pitching leaderboards as one of the top arms in the LL, tying Minneapolis starter (and former Brawler) Pete Sharpe in winning percentage at .750, while Oscar "Gonzo" Gonzalez secured the saves title with 35.[4]

Though they missed the playoffs, with their switch that spring to their new, more hitting-friendly ballpark at Constitution Stadium, they are bound to make frequent postseason reappearances while their current roster remains mostly intact.

General Managers

Boston Brawlers General Managers
Years Name Record Notes
1995–2016 Ernst McAlister 794-977 (.448) Long-time Boston GM McAlister was instrumental in building the team up to a winning club for it's last few years
2017–2019 Scott Ellis 106-94 (.530) GM-Manager Ellis led the Brawlers to their second playoff in a row in 2017, the first time the club has reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons, and was named LL Manager of the Year in the same year. He followed up 2017 with another playoff run in 2018, but resigned after the playoffs.
2020–2021 Jack Marsh 181-143 (.559) Jack Marsh was assistant under Ellis from 2017-2019, and took the reigns when Ellis retired. He managed to maintain some of the team's successful momentum, with two consecutive playoff appearances, but both times the team saw early first round exits.
2022–2023 Jesse Donahoo 56-65 (.463) Jesse joined the Boston Brawlers during the 2021-2022 offseason. He managed the team until mid-August in the 2022 season, for a total of 121 regular season games. Some of his managerial moves included signing 5-year extensions to Pedro Rosario and Zong-ming Gang, firing bench coach Patrick Bates and signing former Miami pitching coach Ron DiCandia in his place, trading right-hander Branden Cassidy and a 2nd round draft pick to Chicago for four minor league prospects and a sixth round pick, and another Chicago trade that sent Neal Moran to the Windy City for a minor league reliever. During his time as Boston GM, the team was generally improved, and held 1st place in the LL East from July 6 to August 11.
2023–2024 Koty K 93-91 (.505) Koty took over in mid-2023 after the departure of Donahoo, during the tail end of a 3rd place finish and another playoff miss. He quickly set to work during the offseason focusing on developing talent from within, and preparing for the 2024 draft, in which the first selection would not come until the Supplemental round. Andres Cerda, a Michigan alumni and power reliever, was drafted and would see major level action by the end of the season after a 4-0 coffee stop at AAA Halifax. When the league announced the 2025 expansion, Koty jumped at the chance to take the reins of a brand new club, and left Boston to manage the new Denver Grizzlies.
2025–present Dex Nelson Nelson was hired just after the 2024 playoffs with plans to bring the above-.500 Boston squad back into the playoffs in the league's toughest division.

Rivalries

    See article: Bull League rivalries

Ohio Oxen

The Boston Brawlers have a long-standing rivalry with the Ohio Oxen, whom they defeated in the 1991 LLCS on their way to their first and only appearance in the Bull Cup Championship Series. Both teams had also played in the Central League championships the previous year, before the formal formation of the Lake League.

Ohio defeated Boston the next two times they met in the LLCS, in 2009 and then again in 2016. In the former year, Ohio had entered as a wild card team and took the series from Boston 3-2. In the latter, Boston was the wild card team, and had even won the first game of the series against Ohio. But the Oxen fought back to win the next three games, and moved on to win the Bull Cup.

Montreal Metros

The Brawlers have developed a long-standing division rivalry with the Montreal Metros, who are the only other team that they have shared the division with for their entire history, both teams having been in the LL East since 1991.

Since 2018, when head-to-head records began being formally kept, the Brawlers have a 52-33 win-loss record (as of the end of 2021). They have met just one time in the LLCS, in 2011, when Boston entered as a wild card. Montreal won the series 3-2 and went on to take the Bull Cup that season. Montreal has 12 division titles compared to Boston's two.

Awards and other achievements

Player awards

Carl Simms MVP Award

    See article: Carl Simms MVP Award

Sandy Koufax Award

    See article: Sandy Koufax Award

Rookie of the Year Award

    See article: Rookie of the Year Award

Woodchuck Trophy

    See article: Woodchuck Trophy

Team Records

For career hitting percentage records, 2,000 plate appearances are required. For career pitching percentage records, 500 innings pitched are required.[5][6]

Statistic Single season record Career record
Player Record Year Player Record
Batting average Orlando Rios .349 2022 Francisco Erazo .316
On base percentage Angel Payan .491 2020 Francisco Erazo .444
Slugging percentage Lowell Woodford .530 2020 Francisco Erazo .544
Games Pedro Rosario 160 2022 Zong-ming Gang 1,083
At bats Zong-ming Gang 648 2022 Zong-ming Gang 4,432
Runs Orlando Rios 112 2022 Zong-ming Gang 634
Hits Zong-ming Gang 224 2022 Zong-ming Gang 1,333
Doubles Cirio de Mares 49 2024 Zong-ming Gang 298
Triples Nick Red 10 1996 Zong-ming Gang 44
Home runs Lowell Woodford 39 2020 Lowell Woodford 174
Runs batted in Lowell Woodford 128 2020 Lowell Woodford 586
Stolen bases Lowell Woodford
Orlando Rios
42 2020 Orlando Rios 144
Earned runs average Lenny Brisco 3.11 2021 Dandy Lundgren 3.53
Wins Ron Bayer 16 2022 Judson Martel 73
Losses Roberto Benitez 15 2019 Joaquin Torres 53
Saves Oscar Gonzalez 35 2019 Jesus Carrillo 69
Games pitched Oscar Gonzalez 69 2019 Oscar Gonzalez 291
Games started Lenny Brisco 34 2021 Judson Martel 142
Complete games Sincere Gilmore
Pete Sharpe
7 2020
2018
Judson Martel 25
Shutouts 9 players tied 2 Judson Martel 9
Innings pitched Lenny Brisco 234.2 2021 Judson Martel 1,050.0
Strikeouts Lenny Brisco 222 2021 Judson Martel 997

Championships

The Boston Brawlers appeared in the inaugural Bull Cup Championship in 1991, losing to the Chicago Knights. They have not appeared in the Championship since then.

Lake League pennants
New championship 1991[7] Succeeded by:
Ohio Oxen
Lake League East division titles
New title 1991[7] Succeeded by:
Chicoutimi Cinquantes
Preceded by:
New York Dragons
2020 Succeeded by:
New York Dragons

Minor League Affiliations

Boston Brawlers Minor League Affiliates
Level Team League Location
AAA Halifax Gunboats Cow League Halifax, Nova Scotia
AA Madison Cyclones Heifer League Madison, Wisconsin
A Lexington Moonshiners Calf League Lexington, Kentucky
Short Season A Lynn Brawlers New England League Lynn, Massachusetts
Rookie Jupiter Brawlers Florida Rookie League Jupiter, Florida

References

  1. Boston Brawlers, History Team Index. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/team_5_index.html. 2020/01/01. Accessed: 17 May 2019.
  2. Lake League 2009. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/sl_stats_100_0_2009.html. 2020/01/01. Accessed: 17 May 2019.
  3. P Judson "Fivespot" Martel #34. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/players/player_2874.html. 2020/05/06. Accessed: 17 May 2019
  4. Lake League 2019. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/sl_stats_100_0_2019.html. 2020/01/01. Accessed: 17 May 2019.
  5. Boston Brawlers batting leaders. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/team_5_batting_leaders.html. 2020/01/01 Accessed: 17 May 2019.
  6. Boston Brawlers pitching leaders. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/team_5_pitching_leaders.html. 2020/01/01 Accessed: 17 May 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Big Book of Teams. 1992 Ed. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1992bigbook.pdf. Pg. 11. Accessed: 17 October 2016.