Brisbane Bandits

From BR Bullpen

The Brisbane Bandits were members of the Australian Baseball League for nine of its ten seasons, missing only the final year. They had a composite record of 218-226 and won one championship. They rejoined the league when it was set up again in 2010 and have won two titles since.

Brisbane went 18-24 in 1989-1990, the first ABL season, under Mike Young. OF Paul Coogan was their lone All-Star. In 1990-1991, the Bandits fell to 13-26 and 7th place. Brisbane improved to 22-22 in 1991-1992 and followed with a 25-21 campaign in which they were led by MVP Kevin Jordan (.390/.453/.623), who won the batting title.

In the 1993-1994 ABL, the Bandits went 34-21 to finish third in the regular season then pulled off an upset to take the playoffs. Their new manager was Dan Radison, who would hold the post for three years. They again had the MVP and batting champion in an import player, this time Homer Bush (.374). Other All-Stars were OF Leon Glenn (19 SB) and C Dave Nilsson (.362/.474/.695); Nilsson led the league in slugging and was second in OBP.

Brisbane sunk to 24-36 in 1994-1995 but still had two All-Stars in 1B Ronny Johnson and 3B Steve Hinton. In 1995-1996, Brisbane had the best regular season record at 29-16 but dropped back-to-back extra-inning playoff games to be eliminated. They led with five All-Stars in 2B Adam Burton (.402/.504/.813), SS Hinton, OF David Hynes, OF Grant McDonald and P Frankie Rodriguez. Burton led in average, OBP and slugging while Rodriguez was second with a 2.69 ERA, just .01 behind leader Jon Deeble.

The Bandits finished third in the 1996-1997 ABL at 33-27 under new player-manager Dave Nilsson and made it to the finals before falling. 3B Paul Gonzalez and OF McDonald were the team's two first-team All-Stars. In 1997-1998, the team played its final season, going 20-33, though McDonald (.745 SLG) and fellow OF Glen Barker (20 SB) were named as All-Stars and Hinton led the league in hits.

Upon the revival of Australian pro baseball in 2010, Dave Nilsson again managed the Bandits, though by that time he was no longer a player. The team was 14-22 in 2010-2011, though Joshua Roberts led the league in slugging. Nilsson stepped back ahead of the 2011-2012 season to focus on business and family commitments. Kevin Jordan became manager and they tied for last at 20-25. Jordan's team improved to 23-22 in 2012-2013 but fell back to last at 18-28 in 2013-2014. Dave Nilsson returned as skipper in 2014-2015 and the team was 21-25; Thomas Coyle led the league with 60 hits and Ryan Searle led with 69 strikeouts.

Brisbane won its first championship in the re-formed Australian League in 2015-2016, when it defeated the Adelaide Bite, two games to none, in the finals after going 37-19 in the regular season. Donald Lutz was the finals MVP and Travis Blackley won the finale. Riley Unroe led in hits (67), runs (42) and steals (14), Jason Jarvis tied for the league lead in wins (8) and Searle led in saves (17) and ERA (0.40).

They repeated in 2016-2017; after a 21-18 regular season, they picked it up in the playoffs and swept the Melbourne Aces in the finals. Searle again led in saves (9), Mitch Nilsson tied for the home run lead (7) and Aaron Whitefield led in hits (53), runs (34) and steals (20) just as Unroe had done the prior campaign. Logan Wade was MVP of the finals. They won a third straight title in 2017-2018, going 28-11 in the regular season and taking two of three from the Canberra Cavalry in the finals. T.J. Bennett and Donald Lutz tied for the home run lead with 16 while Ryan Bollinger tied for the most wins (5) and strikeouts (75). That year, they had the league's first female assistant coach, Lisa Norrie.

The Bandits got their fourth straight championship in 2018-2019. Tim Atherton tied for the league lead with 7 wins and Bennett again led in homers (13) as the team went 25-15 in the regular season and then beat the Aces and Heat in the playoffs, Atherton winning finals MVP.

Sources include Flintoff & Dunn Australian Baseball Almanac