2004 Larry MacPhail Trophy
2006 John H. Johnson President's Trophy
2006 Baseball America Double-A Bob Freitas Award
2012 Golden Bobblehead (Best Charity Promotion)
2019 King of Baseball, Bob Lozinak
2000 Exhibition Game vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (May 15)
2006 Eastern League All-Star Game
2010 Eastern League Champions
2013 Exhibition Game vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (March 30)
2017 Eastern League Champions
2020 Pirates Alternate Training Site
Division Champions: 4 (2004, 2010, 2017, 2018)
Playoff Appearances: 9 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
The story of the Altoona Curve begins in 1979 when area native Bob Lozinak, a successful McDonald's franchisee, knew his hometown was a baseball haven and always dreamed of what it would be like to have a professional sports team.
Lozinak had a chance to make a dream of many come to fruition, so as the 1970s were about to come to a close, a series of meetings and preliminary discussions took place to put the plan into motion. However, there was enough opposition that thwarted the idea. An initial fear from natives was that a professional team would hurt the successful youth teams in the region. Professional baseball, for the time being, was put on the back burner.
In the meantime that same year, Bob and his family went across the country and bought what became one of the most successful franchises in the entire country: the Albuquerque Dukes, Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fast-forward 16 years. Like many other decisions in baseball, the latest round of major league expansion had a domino effect on the minor leagues. In 1995, Phoenix, Ariz. and Tampa Bay, Fla. were awarded major league franchises to play their inaugural season in 1998. To keep pace, baseball's rookie level added two teams in 1996. The following year, Class A and Class AAA each increased by two teams.
That left only Class AA in need of expansion to match the number of teams in the big leagues. In 1997, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues decided the Eastern League would receive the two new franchises to start play in 1999. Erie was an easy first choice of the NAPBL's expansion committee. After all, the SeaWolves had established short-season attendance records in the new Jerry Uht Park as part of the New York-Penn League from 1995-98.
The awarding of the second franchise wasn't easy. For months, it seemed Springfield, Mass. would land the team. However, an inability to finalize land and stadium finance deals left the NAPBL looking for another option. Enter Altoona. City native Bob Lozinak and a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers put together an 11th-hour stadium financing package and site plan. The proposal was presented to the expansion committee at an October 5, 1997 meeting in Las Vegas. It received unanimous approval and Double-A baseball was on its way to Altoona.
Ballpark groundbreaking ceremonies took place on March 7, 1998 and the franchise was officially awarded the following month. In June of that year, the team selected "Curve" as its nickname. The combination railroad/baseball moniker beat out several choices like "Lake Monsters," "Ridge Runners" and, believe it or not, "Fish!"
The next step for the Curve was affiliating with a major league team. Erie seemed to have an inside track on becoming the Pirates' new Double-A club, as the SeaWolves had served as Pittsburgh's short-season club from 1995-98. However, after a series of meetings with potential major league parent clubs, the Curve landed the coveted affiliation with the Pirates. The September 1998 announcement took the franchise to another level as the U.S. Route 22 pairing seemed an ideal fit. Central Pennsylvania fans, with their strong Pirates' roots, could now cheer for the Bucs' top prospects on their way to Pittsburgh.
The long-awaited first game in Curve history took place on April 9, 1999 in Reading, Pa. The game against the Phillies' affiliate was suspended by rain and completed the next day as part of a doubleheader. For the record, the Curve lost their first contest, 6-2, but recorded their first win hours later with a 6-4 decision in game two.
The Curve christened a brand-new Blair County Ballpark on April 15, 1999 with a 6-1 triumph over the Bowie Baysox. A crowd of 6,171 attended the history-making contest despite cold, rainy weather and nearly a one-hour delay.
After three remarkable seasons of running the new franchise, the Lozinak family sold the franchise to a group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg on April 2, 2002. Among the limited partners in Greenberg's collective: Pittsburgh Penguins' owner, star center and NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux; Pittsburgh Steelers' all-pro running back Jerome Bettis; Altoona-based businessmen Steve Sheetz and Don Devorris.
However, the Lozinak family returned home after operating the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx for a handful of years. On Dec. 1, 2008, Curve President and Managing Partner, Chuck Greenberg announced that his group was selling the Curve back to original owner and visionary, Bob Lozinak.
Since Lozinak's original idea of professional baseball in Altoona during the late 1970s to the present day, the Curve have welcomed nearly 7 million fans through the turnstiles to watch the Curve play regular season and playoff games while also showcasing two Eastern League All-Star Games and exhibition games against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With a trophy case full of various front office accomplishments, the Curve have been a stop on the way to the major leagues for nearly 200 players and captured Eastern League championships in 2010 and 2017.
To read more about the story of the Curve, please refer to the annual Altoona Curve Media & Information Guide. It is available for online viewing and copies are available for purchase at The Stockyard Team Store while supplies last.