The Columbus Clippers are a minor league baseball team based in Columbus, Ohio. The team plays in the International League and is the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The team is owned by the government of Franklin County, Ohio.
From 1977 to 2008, the Clippers played in Cooper Stadium, which was known as Franklin County Stadium until 1984. The final game at "The Coop" was played on September 1, 2008 in front of a sellout crowd of 16,777. It was the third largest audience in stadium history. In 2009, the Clippers began playing in Huntington Park, located at the corner of Neil Ave. and Nationwide Blvd. in the Arena District of Columbus.
The Clippers began play in 1977 as an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, changing its affiliation to the New York Yankees in 1979, beginning a 28-year relationship that ended in 2006. An affiliation with the Washington Nationals lasted from 2007 to 2008. A four-year affiliation with the Cleveland Indians was announced on September 18, 2008. In September 2010 that working agreement with the Indians was extended through 2014. The agreement has since been extended through the 2016 season. Coincidentally, the major/minor league sports connection between Cleveland and Columbus is duplicated, but with reverse roles, in ice hockey, as the Cleveland Monsters are the top-level minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets.
In 2011, the team won back-to-back Governors' Cup championships for the first time since 1992 by defeating the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 3 games to 1 in the best-of-five series. They went on to defeat the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game to win their second consecutive Triple-A baseball title.
The 1992 Clippers were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time. In 2016, Forbes listed the Clippers as the fifth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $41 million.
Before the Clippers
Except for six seasons (1971–76), Columbus has been represented in the highest levels of minor league baseball since 1902, at first in the American Association (1902–54) by the Columbus Senators and Columbus Red Birds, and since then in the International League. The first IL team in Ohio's capital, the Columbus Jets, was the transplanted Ottawa Athletics which moved to Columbus in 1955. While playing for its first two seasons as the top farm club of the Kansas City Athletics, the Jets spent the next 14 years as a top affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates (whose owner, John Galbreath, hailed from Columbus). The franchise moved to Charleston, West Virginia, as the Charleston Charlies in 1971.