The ‘Dads began play on the road against the Charleston and Savannah before coming home to play the first minor league baseball games in the city since the Hickory Rebels, whose final season came in 1960.
The Crawdads came to Hickory in 1993 as Hickory Baseball Inc. (made up of five local businessmen) bought the Gastonia Rangers and relocated the team to their hometown. While the stadium construction and team name were making headlines at the end of the previous calendar year, the Crawdads were officially approved as members of the South Atlantic League on January 22nd, 1993.
Over 700 names were submitted in the name the team contest. The submissions were whittled down to a final five: the Hounds, River Cats, Valley Cats, Woodchucks, and Crawdads. In the early ‘90s, the trend was just beginning to pick a unique and creative team name rather than just the name of the affiliate, which would change every year. The Crawdads majority owner at the time, Don Beaver, said that they wanted to select an “unusual” name that also resonated with the local community as many kids grew up catching the critters in the nearby creeks.
In a nod to their original affiliate, the Chicago White Sox, the Crawdads dawned black jerseys on Sundays. While no longer affiliated with the White Sox, the Crawdads kept a Sunday uniform tradition alive but this time with “Sunday Blues”. Every Sunday home game, the Crawdads wear their alternate powder blue jerseys that were first introduced with the 2016 rebrand that brought blue into the color scheme. The current affiliate the Texas Rangers announced their own Sunday powder blue uniforms for the 2020 season, once again aligning, the Crawdads weekend uniform choice with their major league affiliate.
The original owners announced the sale of the team to the Texas Rangers in October 2017. In May of 2023, the team was purchased by Diamond Baseball Holdings.