Ottawa Lynx - History

History

In 1991, Ottawa businessman and then Ottawa 67's owner Howard Darwin was successful in applying to the IL for an expansion franchise to begin play in 1993, at a cost of $5 million. The Lynx became the second IL franchise to play in Ottawa, after the former Ottawa Giants and Ottawa Athletics of the 1950s. The application was contingent on the City of Ottawa building a baseball stadium for the team. The stadium was completed in time for the 1993 season.

The Lynx began play in 1993, serving as the top farm team for the Montreal Expos. The team won the International League championship in 1995, the only time it would do so. During this period, the Lynx featured such future Major League Baseball players as Rondell White, Cliff Floyd, Matt Stairs, Kirk Rueter, and F.P. Santangelo. The Lynx eventually retired two numbers: Santangelo's 24, and Jamey Carroll's 3.

In 2000, Darwin sold his shares in the team to Ray Pecor for $7 million. According to news reports, Pecor would lose $1 million annually on the team due to low attendance.

In 2003, the Lynx were not given any assurances from either the Montreal Expos or Major League Baseball on the long term future of the Expos. They became the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles on September 24, 2002. As a result, Montreal shifted its affiliation to the Edmonton Trappers of the Pacific Coast League. The Lynx's working agreement with the Orioles ended when the latter signed a Player Development Contract with the Norfolk Tides on September 25, 2006.

In 2006, the ball club was sold to Joe Finley and Craig Stein, while Pecor maintained a minority stake. Finley and Stein declared their intention to move the team to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for the 2008 season, where a new stadium was set to begin construction that September (now built as Coca-Cola Park). The owners, facing a lawsuit from the City of Ottawa if they moved the Lynx, filed a lawsuit against the City of Ottawa on October 17, 2006, seeking $10.75 million in damages claiming that the city failed to provide enough parking spaces, which, the team alleged, was a violation of its lease.

The team played its last game in Ottawa on September 3, 2007, losing to Syracuse 8-5.

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