After the 1997 season, the Triple-A Louisville RedBirds switched affiliates from St. Louis to Milwaukee, and thus needed a new nickname. Playing off their city’s location on the Ohio River and its close relationship with baseball bats, they adopted the nickname RiverBats, which they would keep for four seasons before dropping the “River” and just becoming the Louisville Bats.
The RiverBats took on the color purple for reasons explained to me by team’s Senior Vice President Greg Galiette in the Story Behind the Nickname back in 2014: “In this college basketball, college sports-crazed state and area that we live in, if you take the red of the University of Louisville and the blue of University of Kentucky, mix the two together, you come up with purple.”
Even after changing their name from RiverBats to Bats before the 2002 season, Louisville kept the purple color scheme through the 2015 season, after which they adopted their current red and blue brand.
Fans longing for the purple days of old will get their wish during Throwback Weekend, when the team will commemorate the 20th season in their ballpark, Louisville Slugger Field, by wearing RiverBats uniforms from the 2000 season.
The RiverBats will take the field July 12 and 13 against the Toledo Mud Hens.