The Fort Wayne Wizards shall now be known as the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Midwest League minor league baseball club announced this morning.
During a news conference at Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne, across the street from the site of the future Parkview Field, Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier and team general manager Mike Nutter unveiled the name and a primary logo of an apple wearing Johnny Appleseed's tin cap. Alternate logos will have the initials FW with a tin cap and an apple stem and leaf with a tin cap.
"In minor league baseball you have the opportunity to create a brand...with a true regional flavor," Nutter said in a statement. "Johnny Appleseed, while known nationally, is a regional pioneer and folk hero. His story, and the history of this area, gives us an identity that is distinctively Fort Wayne."
Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman in 1774, was a nurseryman who moved westward from Massachusetts, planting apple seeds and selling the seedlings to the settlers.
He had nurseries in Pennsylvania and Ohio before coming to Indiana in 1830. Apple trees were a welcome addition to the area, providing fruit that could be stored for year-round use by pioneers.
After he died in Fort Wayne in 1845, his estate papers revealed that he owned about 270 acres of land in the area, along rivers, canals and roadways. Some of the nurseries were along the Maumee River, at a point 10 miles downriver from Fort Wayne and also near the Indiana-Ohio line.
The TinCaps will open the new ballpark at 7 p.m. April 16 vs. the Dayton Dragons.
For more on this story, visit www.journalgazette.net later today or see Friday's print editions of The Journal Gazette.