They may be a minor league team, but there’s nothing minor about how local fans feel about the Carolina Mudcats. Based in Zebulon, North Carolina, this team has inspired baseball fans all around the region to sit up and take notice of some serious ball playing, notably ball playing that inspires pride in residents who have seen some of their family, friends, and neighbors go on to play for the Carolina Mudcats. Many of these players have in turn gone on to have very successful careers in the Major League.
With origins that date back to 1959, the Carolina Mudcats have a history of being in demand. They were so in demand, in fact, that the team had to relocate several times to appease cities that wanted them to play on their home turf. These included major cities of the South like Charleston, Savannah, Lynchburg, and even Evansville, Indiana.
Initially known as the Columbus Astros, fans were given a chance to rename the team when owner Steve Bryant held a contest among season ticket holders in 1989 who decided that the team should be called the Columbus Mudcats. Two years later, the team was moved to Zebulon where it officially became the Carolina Mudcats.
Several former players of the Carolina Mudcats have gone on to achieve success in Major League Baseball, among them Harvey Garcia, Ken Caminiti, Juan Uribe, Doug Strange, and Craig Wilson. All of these players credit their time with Mudcats as helping lay the foundation for what would eventually become a series of successful national careers.