The professional minor league baseball team in Charleston, West Virginia, has played as the West Virginia Power since 2005—most of that time in the Class A South Atlantic League, and last year in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. That changed this week when the team unveiled a new brand that pays homage to the city’s ties to the coal mining industry. Going forward, the team will be known as the Charleston Dirty Birds.
Team President Chuck Domino explained the new nickname in a video that was shown between games of a double-header in Charleston yesterday:
“In the early 1900s, canaries were employed in West Virginia coal mines to detect methane gas to determine whether or not it was safe for coal miners to proceed. These canaries risked their lives for the coal mining industry in West Virginia. It was a dirty job, but these birds were up to the task. Ladies and gentlemen, on this day in the state capital of Charleston, West Virginia, we proudly honor these great little creatures who played such an important role in West Virginia’s coal mining industry. Some sacrificed their lives. These birds emerged from the mines weary and covered in coal dust to signal to the coal miners that it was safe to proceed. And now, here they are fans, representing West Virginia’s coal mining heroes, your professional baseball team, your Charleston Dirty Birds!”
The Dirty Birds debuted their new look, which was created by Buffalo-based designer Caroline Jette, in the second game of last night’s double-header, which they lost 11-0. The white home jerseys feature black sleeves and the lettering “Dirty Birds” across the front in orange with black and teal outlines. Continuing with the coal miner theme, a cap logo features the letter C for Charleston formed to look like a miner’s head lamp.
The new nickname will be the fourth in the franchise’s history, which dates back to 1987. Previous monikers include the Charleston Wheelers (1987–1994), Charleston Alley Cats (1995–2004), and West Virginia Power (2005–2021). The Dirty Birds’ first full season will be the franchise’s second with the Atlantic League, which the team joined after they lost their affiliated status in the 2020 shakeup of affiliated Minor League Baseball.