|Team Uniforms (Home/Away)|
|Name||Toronto Nomads (2016-present)
|Other nicknames||The 'Mads
|Previous names||Toronto Ducks (1989-2016)
|Colors||Blue, white, navy blue
|General manager||Ray Morrell|
|Ballpark||GTAGunSafety.com Stadium (2017-)|
|Former||Classic Field (1991-2016)|
|Division pennants||(2) LL West - 1993, 2007|
The Toronto Nomads are a Canadian Bull League professional baseball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The team plays in the Lake League (LL) East division. They play their home games at GTAGunSafety.com Stadium.
The team were known as the Ducks until November 2016, when the club changed to their current name, Nomads.
The club is one of the founding clubs in the Bull League, and was formed when the league began in 1989. They are the only founding club never to have won or appeared in a Bull Cup Championship Series.
Their all-time win-loss record as of the end of 2017 was 815-1055 (.436).
- 1 History
- 2 Opening Day Rosters
- 3 Retired Numbers
- 4 Awards and other achievements
- 5 Championships
- 6 Minor League Affiliations
- 7 References
Early Years: 1989—1990
The Toronto Ducks were one of the original founding teams in the ten team Central League (which later became the Lake League). The team won the Weaver Cup, the league's championship trophy, at the end of the first season, following a one-game, winner-take-all playoff with the Seattle Salts.
Bull League archives do not record the 1989 or 1990 final standings or team and player statistics, but the team did not repeat their success the following year as the Ohio Oxen are recorded as the second Weaver Cup winners.
First Reorganization (1991—1993)1991, the Bull League underwent a major reorganization. Many of the original 20 teams were disbanded and 12-team, 4 division Bull League was formed. The Central League was renamed the Lake League and the Toronto Ducks were moved into its West division. The 1989 and 1990 seasons were then declared "exhibition" seasons by the league, and the championship results were therefore unofficial. The Weaver Cup was renamed the Bull Cup and the 1989 and 1990 champion teams are not recorded in the Bull Cup Championship Series records.
At the end of the short, 30-game season, the Ducks finished with a 17-13 (.567) winning record, but still placed last in their three team division. The Ohio Oxen finished first at 21-9 (.700).
The following year, the Ducks finished last again, which time with an 8-8 (.500) record.
In 1993, the Toronto Ducks had their first official playoff entry as they ended the 30-game season with a record of 21-9 (.700), to lead the West division. The team advanced to the Lake League Championship Series but lost to the Chicoutimi Cinquantes, who went on to win the Bull Cup championship.
Second Reorganization — The Modern Era:1995—2016
The 1994 was never played as a result of a labor interruption, and the league underwent another major reorganization and expansion for 1995. The Bull League expansion added four teams in total, and the schedule was lengthened to 80 games, approximately half the Major League Baseball season length.
The Toronto Ducks remained in the same division as the Ohio Oxen, and the Buffalo, NY-based New York Minutemen (which had been known as the Fastballs and by several other names prior). A new team was added in Hamilton, at the time known as the Hamilton Industrials. The division would prove to be the one of the toughest divisions in the now 16-team Bull League, with the New York Minutemen taking three Bull Cup championships in a row from 1997—1999.
But the division's success did not trickle down to Toronto, which struggled, often trading places in the basement with the expansion Hamilton team for many of the early seasons.
First Successes: 2006—2010
After several below-.500 seasons, the Ducks finally had two seasons in a row where they finished with an even 40-40 (.500) record, showing some promise of finally improving to a winning record. Hazel Dell had retired in 2001, and was now the owner of the team. Dell had made several acquisitions which were now paying off. One was catcher Eric Tessier, who ended the 2006 with the Lake League batting title, hitting .378 that year, and setting a club record. The team failed to make the playoffs, but had its first winning record since 1993, finishing 43-37 (.537) in second place.
In 2007, the Toronto Ducks finally finished first in their division, breaking in to the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons. They ended the year at the top of the West division with a record of 51-29 (.637), and although they lost the Lake League Championship Series to the Montreal Metros, the team felt they had finally turned a corner in having some success. Tessier continued his batting success, leading the LL in on base average and slugging, as well as runs.
The following year was the first in which the wild card Elimination Round had been introduced. The Ducks made the playoffs again, this time finishing in third place with a record of 42-38 (.525), and were the fourth seed in the playoffs after landing the second wild card entry. They were swept out by the LL East division champions, Montreal Metros.
In 2009, the team fell back below .500, struggling to find a pitching rotation that could consistently keep opposing batters from scoring less than 5 earned runs per game. But the next year, they made another playoff appearance, again as a wild card team, going 43-37 (.537) and this time suffering a first-round sweep at the hands of division rival Ohio Oxen.
Falling Back Again: 2011—2014
The Ducks fell behind .500 once again and have stayed there starting with the 2011 season, despite frequently spending over budget to land contracts with promising players. Shortstop Francisco Delgado was costing the team over $5 million a year, but failed to hit over .200 with Toronto after 2010, though he was noted for achieving several defensive awards.
Catcher Alex Saldana was a coming off a Bull Cup year with Montreal, and came to Toronto in a pre-season trade in 2012, his only productive year with the Ducks, batting .237, tagging 6 home runs and 36 RBIs. The team extended Saldana, paying $2.7 million over two years starting in 2013. He promptly hit .165 that year, and played just 9 games the next year when he was moved to shortstop to make room for Gula Kareem and Hong-ryul Oh.
But it was the high-priced, low-production pitching staff that really soured Toronto's performance after 2010. Mu-ruo Chen was an ace starter with a great curve ball, who was managing winning seasons with Toronto, including a league leading 10 wins in 2007. The following spring, the club locked him down into a 10-year, $142 million contract, believing in Chen's continued success for the club. Those winning decision records ended in 2011 with a dramatic drop to 3-6, and his ERA shot up to 4.26, while his strikeout numbers fell drastically. Seeing the lack of offensive support, Chen opted-out of the remainder of his contract years in October of 2012, becoming a free agent. He then moved on to California where he managed to get signed for more money per year.
Ivan Morillo was another high-priced starting pitcher who did not pull his weight. The 2007 Rookie of the Year Award winner was awarded $2.125 million through arbitration in 2009, despite having a 5.00+ ERA. In 2010, he improved to 3.58 and hit a career high 110 strike outs. But the following year, he let in more earned runs than ever before, 62, and his ERA shot up to 5.25, resulting in a league leading 11 losses for 2011. He continued to be awarded bigger contracts through arbitration, despite his roller-coaster performance. Finally, in November of 2011, seeing some promise in the then-27-year-old's future, the Ducks signed him to a 4-year, $19 million deal, after which he rewarded them with only one year with an ERA under 4.00. He managed a career best 2.78 in [[2014 Season|2014], his best season to date, when he set a new career high for strike outs of 164, and had a sub-1.00 WHIP for the first time in his career.
The club started a serious rebuild in 2015 after seeing their playoff hopes fade year after year. They added free agent Knuckles Malone in June. Malone was a highly-scouted knuckleball pitcher, and proved his worth straight away, accumulating an impressive 141 strike outs in 120.1 innings, allowing not a single home run. He finished 2015 as the Ducks only starter with a winning record, and one of only two winning pitchers on the team (the other was closer Cyril Lefevre). Malone won the Rookie of the Year Award, and placed second in the voting for the Most Valuable Player Award and the Sandy Koufax Award.
Although Toronto finished last in their five team division, with a 32-50 record, the team recognized that they at last had an ace starter to build around. The team added a free agent, Alex Medina, who had shown promise as a breaking ball pitcher with the Kingston Cannons who had a ERA floating around 2.00 for his last two seasons there. He also won both the Sandy Koufax Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in 2015, the year Malone finished second in voting on both awards. The Ducks, snakebit by other big contract pitchers in recent years, nevertheless spent large to land Medina, signing him to an unheard of 9-year contract worth $347.5 million.
The Ducks now had a core pitching staff for 2016 that included the top two pitchers in the Bull League. However, Malone suffered an early injury in June 2016, ending his season early with a torn meniscus. Up until that point, he was 3-0, with all three wins coming on shut outs and striking out 36 batters in 27.2 innings. With a persistent lack of run support still plaguing the team, Medina went 4-6 with a 4.12 ERA and the team struggled finishing 33-49 (.402).
New Beginnings: 2016 and beyond
In November 2016, owner Hazel Dell sold the team to a corporate group, and in return his number 12 was retired. The new group kept the team in Toronto but changed the name to Nomads, featuring a masked rustler on the logo, in a nod to the city's history as a stockyard and historic cattle market.
|Tom Basham||164-236, ,419|
The team has had a long-standing rivalry with the Ohio Oxen. The two teams were the first unofficial champions of the Bull League in 1989 (Toronto) and 1990 (Ohio), before the introduction of the Bull Cup trophy, and so the teams are not included on the trophy for their championship wins for those years.
Ohio, which was located in the LL West, was a dominant team in their division in the league's early years, as were the Ducks in the LL East. The teams are now division rivals in the LL West.
Both teams took turns as division title winners between 1991-1993, with Ohio winning the honor in the first two years, and Toronto taking it in 1993. In their 2009 wild card entrance to the playoffs, Toronto was swept out by division champions Ohio, and have failed to make a playoff appearance since.
Opening Day Rosters
Starting positional players at opening day.
The Toronto Nomads have retired three uniform numbers, including Hall of Fame first baseman and outfielder Carl Simms, who played his last four years in the Bull League with Toronto, from 2010 to 2013, and home run powerhouse catcher Eric Tessier, who was with the Ducks for 15 seasons in total, taking a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP Award during his tenure. The last owner of the team while it was called the Ducks was Hall of Fame third baseman Hazel Dell, whose number 12 was retired when the team changed ownership and was renamed.
Awards and other achievements
- 2015 — Cyril Levefre
The following players still hold current league leader records.
For career hitting percentage records, 1,860 plate appearances are required. For career pitching percentage records, 500 innings pitched are required.
|Statistic||Single season record||Career record|
|Batting average||Narushi Ohata||.388||2004||Narushi Ohata||.316|
|On base percentage||Eric Tessier||.498||2006||Eric Tessier||.422|
|Slugging percentage||Eric Tessier||.820||2006||Eric Tessier||.579|
|At bats||Joseph Walker||396||2018||Miguel Tafoya||3,505|
|Runs||Eric Tessier||74||2007||Eric Tessier||567|
|Hits||Hazel Dell||112||1998||Eric Tessier||907|
|Doubles||Narushi Ohata||29||2002||Miguel Tafoya||220|
|Triples||Sean Lewis||11||2000||Njoroge Kijana||26|
|Home runs||Eric Tessier||37||2006||Eric Tessier||227|
|Runs batted in||Narushi Ohata||83||2005||Eric Tessier||611|
|Stolen bases||Sean Lewis||19||2001||Hazel Dell||48|
|Earned runs average||Knuckles Malone||1.80||2015||Mo-ruo Chen||4.13|
|Wins|| Ivan Morillo
|Losses||Logan Starr||13||2001||Mo-ruo Chen||59|
|Saves||Bobby Moore||21||2006||Adam Carroll||102|
|Games pitched||Innis Lacoste||46||2001||Adam Carroll||220|
|Games started|| Alex Medina
|Complete games||Knuckles Malone||7||2015, 2018|| Ivan Morillo
|Shutouts||Knuckles Malone||4||2015||Knuckles Malone||11|
|Innings pitched||Alex Medina||148.2||2017||Mo-ruo Chen||1,245.2|
|Strikeouts||Ivan Morillo||164||2014||Mo-ruo Chen||1,168|
Hall of Fame
The Nomads have two inductees in the Hall of Fame, third baseman Hazel Dell who later purchased the team and became the owner, and Eric Tessier. Dell sold the team in 2016. Hall of Fame player Carl Simms played one season for the Nomads (then called the Ducks) in 2013.
|Toronto Nomads Hall of Famers|
|Lake League West Division Pennants|
| Preceded by:
(As Toronto Ducks)
| Succeeded by:|
Ohio Oxen (1995)
| Preceded by:
(As Toronto Ducks)
| Succeeded by:|
New York Minutemen
Minor League Affiliations
|AAA||Brampton Longhorns||Cow League||Brampton, Ontario|
|AA||Kitchener Oilmen||Heifer League||Kitchener, Ontario|
|A||London Bluebirds||Calf League||London, Ontario|
|Short Season A||Killam Cyclones||Milk League||Killam, Alberta|
|Rookie||Fort Lauderdale Nomads||Florida Rookie League||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
- Toronto Nomads, History Team Index. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/team_1_index.html. Accessed: 7 May 2018.
- Big Book of Teams 1992. The Bull Times. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1992bigbook.pdf. Accessed: 22 October 2016.
- 1992 Statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1992stats.pdf. 9 May 1992. Accessed: 22 October 2016.
- 1993 Statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1993stats.pdf. 7 June 1993. Accessed: 22 October 2016.
- 1991 statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1991stats.pdf. Accessed: 17 October 2016.
- 1992 statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1992stats.pdf. Accessed: 17 October 2016.
- 1993 statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1993stats.pdf. Accessed: 17 October 2016.
- Toronto Ducks positional chart. Bull News Network. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/reports/html/2016/history/team_1_starters_positional.html. Accessed: 18 October 2016.
- Toronto Nomads Twitter Status. May 5, 2017. https://twitter.com/nomadstoronto/status/860920035530997760. Accessed: 5 May 2017.
Batting and pitching team leaders lists are from Toronto Nomads: Batting Leaders and Toronto Nomads:Pitching Leaders available at http://bullleague.org/bull-league/reports/html/2016/history/team_1_batting_leaders.html and http://bullleague.org/bull-league/reports/html/2016/history/team_1_pitching_leaders.html.