Baseball fans in Hagerstown, Maryland, can look forward to naming a team in the coming months, thanks to an announcement from Downtown Baseball, LLC, owners of a new franchise in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Owners of the city’s new team said that they’ll solicit input on a new name through a fan contest.
The new team will end a three-year baseball drought in Hagerstown when it begins play in 2023. The city’s previous hometown team, the Suns, ceased operations after Major League Baseball’s 2020 shakeup of affiliated Minor League Baseball, when the Washington Nationals did not renew their affiliation and MLB did not offer the team a place in any of its partner leagues.
The Suns existed in several different iterations beginning in 1981 as a Class A team in the Carolina League, then as a Double-A team in the Eastern League from 1989 to 1992, and finally as a Class A team again, this time in the South Atlantic League from 1993 through the cancelled 2020 season. Hagerstown fielded teams in the Cumberland Valley League (1896), Blue Ridge League (1915–1931), Interstate League (1941–1952), and Piedmont League (1953–1955) with names like Lions, Blues, Terriers, Champs, and Hubs, to name a few.
The new franchise will play in the Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports and Events Facility, which is under construction now.