Staten Island Yankees
- Location: Staten Island, NY
- League: New York-Penn League 1999-2019
- Affiliation: New York Yankees 1999-2019
- Ballpark: Ballpark at the College of Staten Island 1999-2000; Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George 2001-2019
The Staten Island Yankees were the NY-Penn League affiliate of the New York Yankees for two decades. When there was the announcement of a Yankees minor league team coming to Staten Island, the local papers and fans immediately nicknamed them the Baby Bombers. The Yankees' previous NY-Penn League affiliate was located in Oneonta, NY. With the expiration of their Player Development Contract there after 1998, the Yankees used the opportunity to work out an agreement with the owners of the Watertown Indians. The Yankees purchased 49% of the team and moved them to Staten Island, NY, where they were slated to play in a ballpark to be built on the site of a former rail yard. While awaiting the construction of the ballpark, the team worked out an arrangement with the College of Staten Island to use their ballpark until their stadium was completed.
In 1999, the Staten Island Yankees became the first professional baseball team to play in Staten Island since the New York Giants in 1889. The Giants and before them the New York Metropolitans (American Association, 1886-1887) played relatively close to the site of the current stadium. The 1999 Staten Island Yankees were managed by Joe Arnold who managed the Oneonta Yankees the year prior. Among the players on the roster were future major leaguers Andy Phillips, Brandon Claussen, Rosman Garcia and Alex Graman.
After the 2016 season the team announced it would go through a rebranding. A name-the-team contest was held with the finalists being the Bridge Trolls, Heroes, Killer Bees, Pizza Rats and the Rock Pigeons. Public opinion on the new choices was mixed and in December of 2016 it was announced that the name change would not go through in time for 2017 season. However, in 2018, they did adopt the name "Pizza Rats", but just for Saturday home games. The name was based on a video which had gone viral in 2015, depicting a rat carrying a piece of pizza up a flight of stairs in the New York subway, apparently simply preparing to chill out with a slice like any good New Yorker would.
Following the 2019 season, the Staten Island Yankees were identified as one of the numerous teams slated to be eliminated following the 2020 season, as part of a major reorganization of the minor leagues that would involve the disappearance of the Short-Season Class A classification and the NY-Penn League as a whole. Then, the entire 2020 minor league season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic and news about minor league teams being eliminated starting to filter out that fall. On December 3rd, it was confirmed that Staten Island was to be eliminated. The "Baby Bombers" quickly declined an offer to join the new amateur MLB Draft League, ceased operations – and sued both MLB and their departing parent New York Yankees. Most of that lawsuit was dismissed in September 2021, but the remaining question is whether the big Yankees breached a written agreement that was independent of the Professional Baseball Agreement that expired in 2020. In December 2021, the Yanks and three other dropped teams jointly filed a new suit against MLB. One of the others, the Tri-City ValleyCats, also has a pending suit against its former parent, and the other two - the Norwich Sea Unicorns and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes - are taking their first legal action.
- Jesse Yomtov: "Staten Island Yankees cease operations, sue New York Yankees, Major League Baseball", USA Today, December 3, 2020.