Founded in 1996 after Clyde Smoll moved the Elmira Pioneers to Lowell, Massachusetts, the Spinners play in the New York–Penn League, which has a Short-Season A classification with 76 games a year, 38 of which are at home.
The official mascots of the Spinners are Canaligator, Allie-Gator, and Millie-Gator. They were introduced on January 19, 1996, July 8, 1999, and Opening Day 2006, respectively.
For the 1996 and 1997 seasons, the Spinners played at Stoklosa Alumni Field. Since 1998, they have played at Edward A. LeLacheur Park in Lowell.
Drew Weber was the team owner from 1997 until June 2016, when it was purchased by Dave Heller.
The Spinners set a minor-league record in the 2000 season, as they sold every home ticket for every home game. This began a streak of sold-out home games. The streak was broken on August 30, 2010, at 413 games.
On August 21, 2003, the Spinners sponsored a Jack Kerouac bobblehead giveaway. Kerouac was a Lowell native, and played football for Lowell High School. The bobblehead was accepted by Cooperstown in 2005, the first time a literary icon was accepted there. The bobbleheads were so popular that many more were made than originally intended, raised $10,000 for the Jack Kerouac Scholarship Fund. The enshrinement also made media headlines as far away as Los Angeles.
The giveaway was repeated on August 7, 2012 when the film adaptation of On the Road was released. The dolls had a bobble head as well as a "bobble arm." The bobbleheads were also available online for ordering, and as the game was sponsored by the UMass Lowell English Department, their departmental scholarships received the proceeds from the online orders. A third Kerouac bobblehead, featuring Kerouac in his Lowell High football uniform, was given out on July 25, 2013.
In 2005, the Spinners created the "Yankees Elimination Program." They offered to pay for the uniforms to all Little Leagues and youth softball teams in New England so that they would change all teams named "Yankees" into "Spinners". Over the next five years, 150 teams in New England made the switch. The Spinners also invited the youth teams to play at LaLecheur Park, and assisted in other fundraising initiative for those teams. In 2010, the program was limited to 75 teams on first-come, first-served basis, and it was estimated that over $70,000 had been donated into youth baseball and softball programs through the initiative. Spinners VP and GM Tim Bawmann said,“The Yankees Elimination Promotion was originally built as a fun promotion in response to parents' stories of children losing interest in the game after facing taunts simply for playing in a Yankees uniform.”
Spinners games are currently broadcast on Lowell talk station WCAP. For the 2007 season they were on WLLH, another Lowell AM radio station, which at the time was an ESPN Radio affiliate. The games returned to WCAP the next season.
On September 1, 2008, the Spinners reached the New York–Penn League playoffs for the first time capturing the Stedler Division title. They reached the playoffs again in 2009.
In October 2014 the Red Sox agreed to extend their player development contract with the Spinners for two more years through the 2016 season. In November 2015, the contract was extended again through the 2018 season.
In the 2016 season, the Spinners ended with a franchise-best record of 47 wins, and tied their record for home wins (25). RF Tyler Hill won the NYPL batting title, and he and third baseman Bobby Dalbec became the first Spinners players to win Player of the Month awards. The Spinners won the Stedler Division title, but were swept by the Hudson Valley Renegades in the semifinals 2-0. Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Jason Groome also made his first start for the team in the playoffs after being promoted from the Gulf Coast League.2008: Lost to Batavia 2-1 in semifinals.
2009: Lost to Staten Island 2-1 in semifinals.
2016: Lost to Hudson Valley 2-0 in semifinals.
A full list of Spinners players who played in the major leagues, with their debut dates, is maintained on the team website.