|Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds|
|Owner(s)/Operated By: Lehigh Valley Professional Sports Clubs Inc.|
The Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds were an Atlantic League team based in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. From the 1998 season to 2001, they played in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Black Diamonds were previously known as the Newburgh Black Diamonds before moving to the Lehigh Valley.
The Black Diamonds never really had a home field. In their first season in the league they were forced to play in Newburgh, New York at Delano-Hitch Stadium. When a lease agreement could not be reached with the Newburgh stadium the team played the entire 1999 season on the road. After the league amended their charter before the 2000 season forcing all teams to have a home stadium the Black Diamonds played at Memorial Park in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. They spent the rest of their short existence as a traveling team in 2001. In 2002 The Black Diamonds became the Pennsylvania Road Warriors when the stadium appeared to have fallen through and a deal to purchase the team could not be reached.
The Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds were originally slated to play at the Lehigh Valley Multi-Purpose Sport Complex, a 6,400-seat, $15 million-dollar ballpark in Williams Township, Pennsylvania. Construction was halted by developer Jim Petrucci when the team owner, Thomas Flaherty, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 1, 2000, with some $3 million in debts. Bankruptcy records showed 128 people submitted claims for $52,683 in season ticket sales.
For the four years that the Black Diamonds were in existance they would only have a home stadium for two of them. Their win-loss percentage and standing in the league was also less than good. In 1998 they finished the season with a 42-58 record placing them in 4th place in the six team league. In 1999 they would finish tied for last in the league with a 52-67 record. In 2000 the Black Diamonds again finished last in the now eight team league with a record of 51-88. Finally, in 2001 they finished last for a third year in a row with a dismal 37-89 record.
The Black Diamonds would go down in history as one of the most un-successful and poorly managed team in baseball history. While in Quakertown for the 2001 season they played at Quakertown's Memorial Stadium. The stadium was not built for minor league baseball and only held about 900 fans. The Black Diamonds stood third in line behind the Quakertown summer college baseball league and American Legion team in terms of schedule priority. Therfore most of their games were afternoon games that took place on weekdays. According to statistics the average attendance for the season was 86 people per home game. With one home game having a paid attendance of 2 people. The players who played on the 2000 Black Diamonds were also left without host families or hotels. To save money the team management paid for the team members to stay at a local campground for the season. A 4 part article about the team was written in 2001 and featured in ESPN the Magazine. Players from the 2000 team stated that about seventy percent of the players on the team lived in the campground that year. One player said that often times the team would come home from a 5 hour bus ride at 4 in the morning and players would have to set up a tent in the pouring rain.
Finally after spending the 2001 season as an away team the Lehigh Valley franchise was officially disbanded. The team would now be re-named and taken over completely by the league until a replacement team could be found. The Lehigh Valley Multi-Purpose Sport Complex was demolished in early 2005, without ever hosting a single baseball game.