Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Pigs get their name from "pig iron" - a type of iron created from iron ore. Pig iron is involved in the creation of steel, and for generations was the heart of the Lehigh Valley. For those not in the know, Lehigh Valley was the home of Bethlehem Steel, the company which gave us the steel for the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and a host of other landmarks around the United States.
Now the Iron Pigs have worked their way into the heart of the Valley. 2012 marks the fifth anniversary of the Pigs.
Home of the Iron Pigs
The Pigs play in Allentown at Coca-Cola Park, a stadium that holds 10,000 fans. Most home games see full or nearly full capacity. It's a great stadium for the Valley - clean and family-friendly. The stadium also features a giant coke bottle looming over the stats board. For every run scored by the Pigs, a single firework is shot out of the bottle. And all Friday night home games feature a fireworks show.
FeRROUS and FeFe
Ferrous and FeFe are - you guessed it - Pigs! FeRROUS' name - and yes, it's spelled that way, with the small 'e' and all other letters in caps - comes from a term referring to iron. FeFe's name is based on 'Fe', which, if you remember your days of high-school chemistry, represents Iron on the periodic table of elements. To keep with the theme, FeRROUS wears the number 26, which is the atomic number for Iron.
FeRROUS and FeFe add to the fun at the stadium, dancing on top of the dugouts and assisting in assorted games that are held between innings. Many of the games, including "piglet races", include children. This is really one of the most family-friendly baseball teams around!
Want to see them in action? Click here.
Hambone, Diggity and Cris P. Bacon
The Pork Race is a standard feature at Iron Pigs home games. The race starts out in the city, away from the stadium, and fans can watch on the big screen as the the competitors run through an assortment of locations and parking lots, until they reach the stadium. Once they get to the stadium, the race goes live, with the competitors racing towards the finish line, which is pretty close to first base.
And our competitors? In keeping with the theme, it's three pork-related meat products. Diggity, Hambone, and Chris P. Bacon. And if you're of a betting mind, don't bet on Hambone! He rarely wins, the poor guy - er, ham.
Watch the race here. Really. If you haven't seen a pork race, you just really should watch it!
And as of 2012, there's a new kid in the races - she's Barbie Q! Will she be able to beat the boys in the race? We'll have to wait to find out!
A few fun facts about players, past and present.
- John Mayberry, Jr, Iron Pigs alum and current Phillies outfielder, is the second generation of his family to play major league baseball. His dad, John Sr, played for several teams throughout the 1970's.
- Rich Thompson is the Iron Pigs all-time steals leader.
- Hector Luna hit a home run on his first at-bat in the majors.
Kids and the Pigs
Keeping Baseball Family-Friendly
The Pigs have an assortment of ways that they bring kids into their love of the game. Every home game, following the National Anthem, a child gets to call out the "Play Ball!" that opens the game. This honor always goes to a child under six. For the kids 7-12, there's the chance to announce the first three batters of an inning on the mike over the stadium. There's also the Iron Piglets Kids Club, which are presented by the Lehigh Valley Zoo, and includes such cool extras as an Iron Pigs lunchbox!
Do you take the family to baseball games?
Iron Pigs and Charities
The Iron Pigs participate in a truly impressive number of charitable endeavors throughout the year. Not all of the money they donate comes from the Piggy Bank outside the stadium, but there really is one there for fans who want to contribute. The Pigs also conduct drives, auctions, and other events to raise money for organizations that help the community. Quite a few of the organizations they select are geared at helping children and families.
In 2011, the Pigs donated over $100,000.00 to local non-profits, including the American Lung Association, The Special Olympics (Bethlehem and Lehigh Valley divisions), The Boys and Girls Club (Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton branches), the Animal Food Bank, and the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley.
For more information on the many charitable activities of the team, see here.
Other fun facts about the Pigs
Did you know that the official program book of the Iron Pigs is called "Pork Illustrated"?
Or that those guys who take care of the infield during the game are called the Dancing Dirt Dudes? Want to know why, check them out
And every Iron Pigs home game takes a moment to recognize our Hometown Heroes, with a different local military family honored each time. (This is my personal favorite thing that our team does.)
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Have you been to a baseball game? What's your favorite thing about them? Or your favorite team? Tell me!