The Midwest League came to Lansing, Michigan in 1996. The franchise began in Lafayette, Indiana, in 1955; after two seasons it moved to Waterloo, Iowa, where it stayed for 36 seasons. Before the 1994 season it moved to Springfield, Illinois, but only spent two seasons there before moving to Lansing. The franchise was an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals on two separate occasions in three different cities: as the Waterloo Royals from 1969 through 1976, as the Sultans of Springfield in 1995, and then, upon the team's move to Lansing, from 1996 through 1998. The Lugnuts were then an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs from 1999 through 2004 before joining the Jays' farm system for the 2005 season.
The team plays at Cooley Law School Stadium, which opened in 1996. The new name comes from a naming rights deal with Thomas M. Cooley Law School, based in Lansing and the largest law school in the United States. Cooley Law School Stadium seats over 11,000 fans and is one of the largest Class A Minor League baseball parks in the United States. The franchise national attendance record of 538,326 was set during its inaugural year. They won the Midwest League Championship in 1997 and 2003. The Lugnuts have their own "theme" which plays immediately after the national anthem for every home game.
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