The IronPigs

There’s a lot of excitement these days in Allentown, PA, because minor league baseball is returning to the Lehigh Valley for the first time since 1960.

The team was called the Allentown Red Sox back then because they were affiliated with the Boston Red Sox.

A new ballpark is being built in Allentown.  It will be the home of the Phillies’ triple-A franchise starting in 2008. 

Yesterday, it was announced the team will be known as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, reflecting on the area’s steelmaking history.  “Steel is made from refined pig iron,” wrote Daniel Patrick Sheehan in the Allentown Morning Call.  The person who submitted the name was Ron Steele of Northampton.  It was one of 3,500 entries.

Online votes and focus groups chose the name from among the Keystones, Gobblers, Crushers, Phillies, Woodchucks, Vulcans and Phantastics.

The IronPigs name has created quite a stir in the Lehigh Valley, according to newspaper reports.

The minor leagues are filled with strange names for teams.  Most similar to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs may be the Lansing (MI) Lugnuts.

Checking minor league nicknames that begin with I… There are three teams named Indians (Kinston, Indianapolis and Spokane).  Others include the Isotopes (Albuquerque), Intimidators (Kannapolis) and IronBirds (Aberdeen).

All this brings us to the Philadelphia Phillies.  The name Phillies, a take-off on the team’s geographic roots, “Philly,” is the oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports.

When Bob Carpenter Jr. purchased the Phillies in 1943, a contest was held to find a nickname for the team.  Blue Jays was chosen from among 623 suggestions. 

Although it still maintained the official Phillies title, the club was known as the Blue Jays in 1944 and 1945.  The new name was used heavily during that time, but then usage began to drop off in the following years.  The Blue Jays name never appeared in the newspapers after 1947.

6 Comments

THIS NAME *****!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What not go with the Lehigh Valley Steelers??????

Knuckleheads.

the iron pigs………iron pigs….***! i can think of 10000 things beter than that, but **** wat isnt beter than iron pigs. i bet ed weade came up with that name.

I live in the Allentown area and was so overjoyed to hear real baseball was coming to the area, that I was going to trade in my Philadelphia season tickets for Allentown ones. Forget it now. I will NOT purchase Pig merchandise, nor will I ever chant “Go Pigs”. How embarrassing, once again we proved our area to be second-rate and not serious about real baseball. Go Phillies.

Hey zoop,

Watch that 2nd rate stuff. This area was built on the back of the Bethlehem Steel. If your roots are from here there is a better than even chance soeone in your family worked for them. Many of us did and our parents and grandparents. What difference does that make? The steel is comprised of many things..like pig iron !

Don’t knock the franchise or the team. If you don’t want to cheer..don’t! If you don’t want to watch..don’t! But don’t knock the area and what it means and meant to many of us who are now senior citizens and love the area and all it meant to us!

It really is almost as bad as “The Montgomery Biscuits”. I’m afraid to see what kind of logo they come up with, and shudder at the thought of grown men wearing t-shirts with some cartoony pig.

I think the name Iron Pigs is ridiculous and an embarrassment to the Lehigh Valley. I see they wanted a connection to the Bethlehem Steel Workers but even PigIron would be less offensive than IronPigs and a better connection to those who know nothng about the Steel connection. Allentown had an Independent League team called the Ambassadors which is 100 times classier than Iron Pigs. With all the Pennsylvania Dutch people in the area they should have named the team the “Bonnies”.
This way if they are having a bad game the people with the Dutch accents can yell out to them “You domb Bonnies”.

Other names more suitable would be Steelmen, Vanatics,or

Blast Furnaces…I can hear Harry Kalas doing an exhibition game when Lehigh Valley homers..”There it Goes Another Blast from one of the the Furnaces”

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