Toledo Mud Hens

From Ohio History Central

The Toledo Mud Hens are a minor league baseball team that plays its games at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. The Mud Hens officially came into existence in 1896, but professional baseball existed in Toledo since 1883. The team adopted Mud Hens as its name in 1896, because the team played its games at Bay View Park. A nearby swamp was home to a large number of mud hens.

In 1902, the Toledo Mud Hens joined the American Association, a minor league association. The team remained part of this league until 1955. Usually the Mud Hens finished near the bottom of the standings, failing to attract a sizable fan base. At the end of the 1955 season, the Mud Hens moved from Toledo, and the city remained without a professional team until 1965.

In 1965, Toledo acquired another baseball team. It also became known as the Mud Hens in honor of Toledo's earlier team. The new Mud Hens joined the minor league International League, becoming a Triple-A ball club. The Mud Hens, like their predecessors, struggled, although in the late 1970s the team became nationally known. Actor Jamie Farr played a character on the sitcom M.A.S.H. Farr's character, Maxwell Klinger, from Toledo, Ohio, was a major fan of the Mud Hens. Klinger commonly wore Mud Hens gear, provided by Mud Hens General Manager Gene Cook, on the show. Because M.A.S.H. was one of the most popular television programs at this time, the demand for Toledo Mud Hens merchandise skyrocketed.

Today, the Toledo Mud Hens are a farm team for the Detroit Tigers. The team's mascots are Muddy and Muddona, male and female mud hens. After finishing last in their division in 2004, the Mud Hens made the playoffs in 2005.

See Also