Toronto Nomads

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Toronto Nomads
Founded in 1989
Toronto, Ontario Flag of Canada.svg.png
Toronto-nomads-logo.png
Team logo
Toronto nomads small.png
Secondary logo
Toronto-jerseys.png
Team Uniforms (Home/Away)

Affiliations
League Bull League
Subleague Lake League
Division East

West (1995-2017)

Team Info
Name Toronto Nomads (2016-present)

Other nicknames The 'Mads, The Roamers

Previous names Toronto Ducks (1989-2016)

Colors Blue, black, aquamarine, white

                   

Owner Tom Blade

General manager Ray Morrell
Ballpark
Ballpark GTAGunSafety.com Stadium (2017-)
Former Classic Field (1991-2016)
Titles
Division titles LL West: 1993, 2007 (2)
Playoff appearances 1993, 2007—2008, 2010, 2019—2020 (6)



The Toronto Nomads are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The team competes in the Bull League playing in the Lake League (LL) East division. They play their home games at GTAGunSafety.com Stadium.

The club was founded in 1989 as the Toronto Ducks, and are one of the founding clubs of the Bull League. They are the only founding club to have never appeared in (or won) a Bull Cup Championship Series.

Their all-time win-loss record as of the end of 2019 was 947-1185.[1]

History

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)

The Toronto Ducks former logo (1991-2015)
In 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).[2]

The following year, the Ducks finished last again, which time with an 8-8 (.500) record.[3]

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.[4] 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 19971999.

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.

Rebuilding: 2015—2016

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.

General Managers

Toronto Nomads General Managers
Years Name Record Notes
1991–1994
(Toronto Ducks)
Ray Morrell
1995–1999
(Toronto Ducks)
Tom Basham 164-236 (.419) Tom was briefly in charge of the Ducks after the league expansion in 1995, and the team struggled to perform under his guidance.
2000–present Ray Morrell

Rivalries

Ohio Oxen

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.

Retired Numbers

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.

Toronto Nomads Retired Uniform Numbers
Toronto-12-retired.png

Hazel Dell
3B
Retired 2016
Toronto-25-retired.png

Carl Simms
1B/OF
Retired 2013
Toronto-31-retired.png

Eric Tessier
Catcher
Retired 2016

Awards and other achievements

Player awards

Most Valuable Player Award

Sandy Koufax Award

Rookie of the Year Award

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.

As of end of 2023

Statistic Single season record Career record
Player Record Year Player Record
Batting average Rafael Alaniz .317 2023 Narushi Ohata .316
On base percentage Brian Chambliss .416 2019 Eric Tessier .422
Slugging percentage Makanaakua Mano .574 2023 Eric Tessier .579
Games Brian Chambliss 161 2021 Eric Tessier 955
At bats Nick Yagaslov 654 2022 Miguel Tafoya 3,505
Runs Nick Yagaslov 107 2021
2022
Eric Tessier 567
Hits Joseph Walker 194 2019 Eric Tessier 907
Doubles Mike Ryba 46 2023 Miguel Tafoya 220
Triples Sean Lewis 11 2000 Joseph Walker 33
Home runs Makanaakua Mano 43 2023 Eric Tessier 227
Runs batted in Makanaakua Mano 121 2023 Eric Tessier 611
Stolen bases Joseph Walker 57 2019 Joseph Walker 166
Earned runs average Knuckles Malone 2.33 2020 Knuckles Malone 2.49
Wins Knuckles Malone 22 2019 Knuckles Malone 91
Losses Jose Castaneda 16 2022 Alex Medina 64
Saves Damien Hines 36 2021 Damien Hines 103
Games pitched Damien Hines 73 2021 Damien Hines 261
Games started Alex Medina
Knuckles Malone
33 2021
2019
Mo-ruo Chen 194
Complete games Knuckles Malone 22 2019 Knuckles Malone 69
Shutouts Knuckles Malone 4 2020
2015
Knuckles Malone 21
Innings pitched Knuckles Malone 281.2 2019 Mo-ruo Chen 1,245.2
Strikeouts Knuckles Malone 264 2019 Mo-ruo Chen 1,168

Hall of Fame

The table below lists the players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame who have played for the Nomads (and before that, the Ducks). Players listed in bold were inducted wearing their Nomads uniform.

Toronto Nomads Hall of Famers
Player Position Years with Nomads Inducted
Hazel Dell Third Baseman/Owner 1991—2001
(2002-2017 as owner)
2009
Mark Fernandes Center Fielder 2002—2003 2009
Mike Lapi Catcher 1998—1999 2017
Speed Lewis Right Fielder 2000—2005 2014
Chuck Provost Second Baseman 2004 2012
Always Rosy Third Baseman 2006—2009 2016
Carl Simms Right Fielder 2010—2013 2014
George Slammer Left Fielder 2009—2010 2016
Ricky Terrazas Pitcher 2016 2019
Eric Tessier Catcher 1998—2011,
2016
2019

Championships

Lake League West division titles
Preceded by:
Ohio Oxen
1993
(As Toronto Ducks)
Succeeded by:
Ohio Oxen (1995)
Preceded by:
Ohio Oxen
2007
(As Toronto Ducks)
Succeeded by:
New York Minutemen

Minor League Affiliations

Toronto Nomads Minor League Affiliates
Level Team League Location
AAA Brampton Longhorns Cow League Brampton, Ontario
AA Kitchener Oilmen Heifer League Kitchener, Ontario
A London Bluebirds Calf League London, Ontario
Short Season A CFB Trenton Arrows New England League Trenton, Ontario
Rookie Fort Lauderdale Nomads Florida Rookie League Fort Lauderdale, Florida

References

  1. Toronto Nomads, History Team Index. BNN. http://bullleague.org/public_html/bull-league/reports/html/history/team_1_index.html. 2020-01-01 Accessed: 10 May 2019.
  2. Big Book of Teams 1992. The Bull Times. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1992bigbook.pdf. Accessed: 22 October 2016.
  3. 1992 Statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1992stats.pdf. 9 May 1992. Accessed: 22 October 2016.
  4. 1993 Statistics. Bull League. http://bullleague.org/bull-league/archives/1993stats.pdf. 7 June 1993. Accessed: 22 October 2016.

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.