The best Minor League alternate identities -- 1 for each system

April 5th, 2023

From former franchise names to regional fare and so much more, alternate on-field identities connect Minor League clubs with the local community in creative ways and often encapsulate one of the game's most important elements -- fun. Some teams take the opportunity to honor pioneers of the past, including Negro League teams and members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, while others pay homage to the local Hispanic community as part of the Copa de la Diversión initiative.

The tradition of sporting alternate uniforms seems to get bigger and more creative every season. Our Benjamin Hill has previewed some to look forward to this season, and below is just a sampling of some new or returning alternate looks this year, organized by parent club, but expect plenty more announcements as the season progresses:

Arizona Diamondbacks
If you're from Texas -- or any part of the Southwest, really -- you know what calf fries are. On April 15, May 13, June 15, July 16, Aug. 4 and Aug. 31, Double-A Amarillo will transform into the Amarillo Calf Fries to celebrate the team's western flair.

Atlanta Braves
The lowest and highest Braves affiliates will sport Copa identities this year. Single-A Augusta debuts its Copa identity as the Pavos Salvajes de Augusta on April 30 and then revisits the theme on May 25 and June 10, while Triple-A Gwinnett will be the Xolos de Gwinnett for the fourth year in a row on April 29, May 5, June 7, July 5, Aug. 2 and Sept. 23.

Baltimore Orioles
Since the Orioles have the luxury of housing all four of their Minor League affiliates in the Chesapeake Bay region, the alternate identities those teams plan to take this year reflect that regional flair. Take the Single-A Aberdeen Ironbirds, who will turn into the Chesapeake Bay Decoys (June 16), the Steamed Crabs (July 14), the Nicest Kids in Aberdeen (July 21) and the Harford County Cookies (Aug. 4). High-A Delmarva will become the Maryland Pride for Thursday home games and the Scrapple on Aug. 19. The Triple-A Tides will take on no fewer than six secondary looks this season, including the Squeezers (June 17).

Boston Red Sox
For the mostly New England-based Red Sox affiliates, the alternate identities these clubs take largely reflect the region’s culture. Take, for example, the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, who will morph into the Maine Whoopie Pies (June 9), Maine Red Snappers (June 24) and the Maine Bean Suppahs (July 8), with an obvious nod to Pine Tree State cuisine. At Triple-A, the Worcester Red Sox will become the Ruby Legs (June 11) and the famed Wicked Worms of Worcester (Aug. 17).

Chicago Cubs
Triple-A Iowa will be celebrating both its baseball past and its state history with two identities in 2023. On April 28 and July 20, the team will revert to its original identity as the Iowa Oaks, as they were known from 1969 to 1981. On June 4 and 14, the club will take the field as the Iowa Caucuses, a nod to Iowa's "first in the nation" voting status in the presidential campaign.

Chicago White Sox
Kannapolis is giving the fans what they want. Back by popular demand, Chicago's Single-A affiliate will become the Piedmont Boll Weevils for four games (May 18, June 8, July 6 and Aug. 17). High-A Winston-Salem hasn't revealed the details yet, but the Dash have teased a brewery-themed jersey coming out May 24 to celebrate the region's beer scene. Triple-A Charlotte, one of the Minors' most iconic franchises, will sport some half-dozen different alternates, including Copa's Caballeros de Charlotte.

Cincinnati Reds
There's nothing like the birth of a new tradition. Single-A Daytona will introduce the "Rumberos de Daytona" this season. The "barriles de bomba" will be loud when you enter the gates of Jackie Robinson Ballpark on April 28, July 21 and Aug. 17. Triple-A Louisville celebrates its club history with Louisville Redbirds night on May 13, and for the first time since 2019, the team will bring back the Derby City Mint Juleps jerseys on April 21-22.

Cleveland Guardians
For one night only, the Double-A Akron RubberDucks will become the Akron Devil Strips to pay homage to the colloquial name for tree lawns (July 7) and the Akron Sauerkraut Balls (Aug. 18) as a nod to the iconic deep-fried local signature appetizer. As part of the Copa program, the Triple-A Columbus Clippers will turn into Los Veleros for every Thursday home game.

Colorado Rockies
Lots of identities will be returning for Rockies affiliates in 2023. Single-A Fresno will be continuing two from last year -- the Growers (May 13) and the Tacos (May 26) -- and also will have a tribute to the Fresno Tigers of the Negro Leagues (June 16). Double-A Hartford will don four alternate jerseys, including the popular Steamed Burgers (Aug. 1) and the much-anticipated Bouncing Pickles (May 17). In keeping with the burger theme, Triple-A Albuquerque will become the Green Chile Cheeseburgers on July 29.

Detroit Tigers
Pepperoni Balls, a savory treat of dough stuffed with pepperoni and cheese, are a food staple on the shores of Lake Erie. Thusly, they're spawning one of the four alternate identities for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, who will become the Erie Pepperoni Balls for the weekend of Aug. 4. For the 30th anniversary season at High-A West Michigan, the Whitecaps will morph into Las Calaveras de West Michigan (June 10, July 30 and Sept. 8), the Grand Rapids Dam Breakers (July 29) and the Beer City Bung Hammers (Aug.18).

Houston Astros
The Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks are celebrating their parent affiliate Astros’ 2022 World Series victory all summer long, including when they morph into the Blue Ghosts (May 26-28) and for Día De Los Hooks weekend (Aug. 18-20). The alt-identity schedule is packed at High-A Asheville, where the Tourists plan to transform into the Beer City Tourists (June 1), the Blues (July 14), the Hippies (Aug. 10) and Yacumamas de Asheville (April 23, May 21 and June 25).

Kansas City Royals
Flock to Arvest Ballpark the weekend of May 19, when the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals naturally turn into the Growlin’ Chickens for back-to-back nights. The Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers are assuming four alternate identities throughout the summer, including the Runzas (June 3), Cattlemen (June 30) and Rockets (July 15).

Los Angeles Angels
Single-A Inland Empire leads the way with seven alternate identities for the 2023 season, including the Cherubs (June 7) and Riverside Night (July 28). High-A Tri-City will bring back the Columbia River Rooster Tails, while Double-A Rocket City will debut a Copa identity as the Lunaticos de Rocket City on May 7, June 25 and Aug. 27. Triple-A Salt Lake will honor the Salt Lake Occidentals of the Negro Leagues on June 24.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Double-A Tulsa will be bringing back the Noodlers from July 27-30 in addition to honoring the T-Town Clowns of the Negro Leagues on May 12-13. Triple-A Oklahoma City once again celebrates its pre-Bricktown history with the 89ers on May 19 and June 17.

Miami Marlins
Two clubs will be donning multiple alternate identities this coming season. Double-A Pensacola will wear four different jerseys in 2023, including those of the Pensacola Seagulls of the Negro Leagues on May 21 and June 11. Fans of Triple-A Jacksonville can rejoice at the return of two identities -- the Red Caps (June 27) and the Comic Hero (April 22). High-A Beloit will make its Copa debut as the Paletas de Beloit on May 5, May 31, June 29, July 22 and Aug. 27.

Milwaukee Brewers
Of the two affiliates with alternate identities in 2023, High-A Wisconsin sports five of them, including Yooper Night (Aug. 12), a nod to Michigan's Upper Peninsula (the UP), commonly referred to as the Yoop. Single-A Carolina will become the cleverly named Micro Brews on April 27 and May 25, as will also wear a special blackout jersey for every Friday home game.

Minnesota Twins
The alternate identities in the Twins system revolve around the letter "G": the Triple-A St. Paul Saints will turn into the Colored Gophers (June 10) and the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels are morphing into the Mat Grapplers (July 5). Pretty Gggggreat, if you ask us.

New York Mets
Celebrating strawberry season in the Southern Tier, Double-A Binghamton will become the Southern Tier Shortcakes on June 15-17, with jerseys featuring a downright adorable shortcake logo, and make its Copa debut as the Cóndores de Binghamton (May 12, July 20 and Sept. 15). Triple-A Syracuse is taking a unique approach to its alternate jerseys -- in addition to its classic Salt Potatoes jersey, the club will be sporting a mashup of its Salt Potato and Salt City Mets identities on Aug. 26.

New York Yankees
The Hudson Valley is not only known for its bucolic views, it's also extremely fond of its cider donuts. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the tasty treats were advertised in the region more than a quarter-century before they were in New York City. So the donuts are steeped in regional history, which the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades will honor by becoming the Cider Donuts for four games this summer, beginning June 3. Furthermore, the concessions at Dutchess Stadium will sell apple cider and donuts throughout the season.

Oakland Athletics
The club's three lowest affiliations will be donning Copa identities again in 2023 -- the Caballos de Stockton for the Single-A Ports (May 5-7); the Locos de Lansing for the High-A Lugnuts (April 29, May 5, June 14, Aug. 12-13 and Sept. 1) and the Matamoscas de Midessa for the Double-A RockHounds (May 5, June 10, July 28, Aug. 25). The Triple-A Aviators will throw it way back and revert to become the Stars again on April 9, June 4, July 30, Aug. 13 and Sept. 10.

Philadelphia Phillies
Single-A Clearwater will continue to wear its colorful Beach Dogs jerseys during Friday home games, while Double-A Reading will sport three alternate identities, including its throwback Reading Keystone uniforms. Triple-A Lehigh Valley has five jerseys lined up, including a brand-new Space Savers identity that it will be showing off on April 21.

Pittsburgh Pirates
A pair of Pirates affiliates are making the most of their alternate looks. Double-A Altoona will take on two identities -- the Allegheny Yinzers, back by popular demand, will take the field every Sunday home game except Aug. 13, and the Altoona Pizzas from Aug. 8-13. Triple-A Indianapolis will don special Indy 500 jerseys on April 29 as well as jerseys emulating the Pirates' font as part of Prospects Weekend on May 19-20. In celebration of the Negro Leagues, the Indians will become the ABCs on May 27 and June 20-24.

San Diego Padres
High-A Fort Wayne is taking a unique approach to one of its alternate jerseys. In addition to two other identities, the club will honor the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League on June 3. Triple-A El Paso returns with an updated look as the El Paso Margaritas on April 13, May 5, June 22, Aug. 10 and Sept. 14.

San Francisco Giants
While every Giants affiliate has something planned, High-A Eugene definitely takes the cake here. The Emeralds just unveiled their Exploding Whale identity, and it's nothing short of incredible. The club will be sporting the threads on April 22, May 6, May 26 and Aug. 19. Single-A San Jose will bring back its popular Beer Batters jerseys for a fun-filled weekend from June 16-18.

Seattle Mariners
The Double-A Arkansas Travelers will rebrand for an entire week to pay homage to their state’s fondness for the outdoors and waterfowl hunting, turning into the Mad Mallards for the Aug. 1-6 series. While “duck season” runs outside of the baseball season, the Travelers are excited to celebrate this great Arkansas tradition with a new logo designed in the distinctive green and orange coloring of the drake mallard duck.

St. Louis Cardinals
No other club quite embraces the spirit of alternate identities like Triple-A Memphis. The Redbirds will be sporting seven different jerseys throughout the season, highlighted by the throwback Chicks uniforms that will be worn at every Thursday home game.

Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay’s affiliates are some of the most successful teams in Minor League Baseball, and the Triple-A Durham Bulls are one of the oldest. They’ll pay tribute to their 110-year old history with several alternate identities, kicking off the season with the 1913 Bulls Throwback on April 1 and continuing on with the Bull Sharks (Aug. 11) and the Black Sox (Aug. 19). As they have since the 2018 season, the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs will suit up to honor the preferred salty snack of the Lowcountry and become the Boiled Peanuts for three games (April 26, June 21 and Aug. 3).

Texas Rangers
High-A Hickory loves to have fun with its alternates, which -- of course -- means the return of the Couch Potatoes on July 15 and the introduction of the Hickory Dickory Docks, debuting on Aug. 17-19. Double-A Frisco will return with three identities, including the Dallas Black Giants of the Negro Leagues on July 8 and Aug. 4. Similarly, Triple-A Round Rock will become the Austin Black Senators again on April 15.

Toronto Blue Jays
Who doesn’t love Buffalo wings? That’s why on National Chicken Wing Day, the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons will take the field as their delicious alter-ego, the Wings on July 29. Double-A New Hampshire will honor the local invention of the chicken tender by rebranding as the Chicken Tenders (July 27) and later as Hockey (Aug. 25).

Washington Nationals
So far, the only Nats affiliate to announce a non-Copa alternate identity for the season is Triple-A Rochester. The club will become the Rochester Plates on June 1 and will celebrate the identity at every Thursday home game. On the Copa side, Single-A Fredericksburg joins the fold as the Fundadores de Frederickburg on May 3, June 7, June 28, July 26 and Aug. 16.