Adelaide Giants

From BR Bullpen

The Adelaide Giants were members of the Australian Baseball League for its entire first 10-year run. The team was based out of Adelaide, South Australia.

Adelaide started out in 1989-1990 with a 19-19 record and a fifth-place finish under Phil Alexander. They had no All-Stars or league leaders. In 1990-1991, the club improved to 26-16 and third place. Andrew Scott was the All-Star 2B and Alexander the All-Star manager, while Bill Wengert was second in the circuit in both wins (8) and strikeouts (62). A year later, Adelaide fell to 20-24 and 5th place. Barrie Bahnert was an All-Star outfielder. Jody Treadwell was second in the loop with 74 whiffs while Sean Snedeker placed 4th with a 3.24 ERA.

In 1992-1993, Joe Vavra took over the reigns but the team plummeted to 19-27 and 7th place in the eight-team circuit. Vernon Spearman was second in steals (20) and third in runs (36) while Tim Day was third in RBI (38) and tied for fourth in home runs (6). During 1993-1994, Tony Harris was the manager, a role he held for the rest of the decade. The team improved to 30-26 and fourth place. Scott was 5th in average (.335), second in extra-base hits (29), second in runs (46) and 4th in slugging (.659). Jason Brosnan fanned 86, second in the loop. Bahnert (OF) and Harris (Mgr) were both named to the league's All-Star team, while Scott was second-team at 2B.

Harris's squad was 32-30 and fifth-place in 1994-1995. Jesus Martinez (2.17) won the ERA title, while Martinez (88 K) and Kevin Pincavitch (83 K) were 4th and 5th in strikeouts. Michael Dunn was 3rd in OBP (.432), 4th in steals (24) and first in walks (45), while Scott was again a second-team All-Star at 2B. In 1995-1996, Adelaide went 21-25 and fell to 7th. Dunn was among the leaders in average (3rd, .388), OBP (3rd, .458), steals (2nd, 13), runs (tied for first, 41) and hits (69). He was named first-team All-Star in the OF, while Craig Watts (tied for first with 17 HR, 3rd with a .684 slugging and tied for second with 27 extra-base hits) was picked at 1B. Tom Becker won Rookie of the Year after placing 5th in strikeouts (59).

In 1996-1997, the Giants were 36-23 for Harris, finishing second to the Perth Heat but falling in the playoffs. Harris was again named the All-Star Manager, while Scott was chosen at 2B and as the MVP. Scott had led the league in average (.414), hits (75) and OBP (.505). Dunn had placed second with 41 walks, while Watts ranked third with 28 extra-base hits. 1997-1998 was an off-year as the team was 26-27 and placed 6th. Shayne Bennett was second with 84 strikeouts and tied for third in ERA (3.36), while Kevin Faircloth was second with 26 swipes. Dunn was named a second-team All-Star in the outfield.

In the final season of the ABL's first run, 1998-1999, Harris led his charges to a 28-17, first-place regular season finish before being upset by the Sydney Storm in the playoffs. Scott, as usual, was a stand-out, ranking second in extra-base hits (23), tying for third in hits (53), leading in RBI (41) and placing third with 35 runs. He was aided offensively by Watts (tied for 4th with 33 RBI), Darren Phillips (3rd with 38 RBI), Chip Sell (5th with a .320 average, tied for third with 11 steals) and Eric Stuckenschneider (3rd in OBP, tied for third with 11 swipes). On the mound, Matt Herges led in strikeouts (81), tied for first in wins (7) and was third in ERA (2.50) while John Challinor tied for third in saves (4). Scott was named the All-Star 1B, Watts the All-Star DH, Sell an All-Star OF, Harris the All-Star Manager and Challinor the All-Star reliever.

The name was revived in the 2019-2020 ABL when the Adelaide Bite changed their name, bringing back the Giants moniker. They won the division at 24-12 under Chris Adamson that year but lost in the finals to the Melbourne Aces. Aaron Whitefield (.376/.455/.528) led the league with 23 steals, Gunnar Kines (3-2, 1.50) led in ERA and Ryan Chaffee (2-0, 6 Sv, 1.25) tied for the most saves. Adamson's team fell to 12-10 in 2020-2021, with Curtis Mead (.347/.382/.549) and Rixon Wingrove (.250/.286/.597, 7 HR, 19 RBI) leading the offense and Dustin Beggs going 2-0, 0.61. The next season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They won their first title in 2022-2023. After a 25-15 regular season under Adamson, they beat the Auckland Tuatara in the semifinals then edged the Perth Heat 2 games to 1 in the finals. Nick Ward (.344/.418/.643) led the league in hits (54) and paced their offense in OPS, while Jordan McArdle was finals MVP with three homers. Jordan Fowler (2-2, 1.63) was their top hurler. They repeated in 2023-2024 with Ward, Quincy Latimore, Wingrove, Josh Altmann and Liam Spence all among the offensive leaders. Lachlan Wells (6-0, 0.94) won the MVP while closer Todd Van Steensel won finals MVP.

Sources include Flintoff & Dunn Australian Baseball Almanac