The Asheville Tourists (Low Class A; Sally League) and the Colorado Rockies extended their player-development contract for four more years, through the 2016 campaign.
"This is another great day in the history of the Asheville Tourists," said team president Brian DeWine. "By the end of this contract, the Tourists and Rockies will have entered their third decade working together. It has been a great relationship, capped once again this season with another trip to the South Atlantic League playoffs. Of course, none of this would be possible without the city of Asheville and all our fans who have supported the Tourists for so many years."
Asheville has been the only low Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies since the expansion franchise began playing in 1993. The Tourists joined the Rockies' farm system a year later, in 1994. Among the six teams in the Colorado minor league organization, only Triple-A Colorado Springs (1993) has a longer affiliation with the major league club.
"The Colorado Rockies are absolutely thrilled to continue the Colorado-Asheville relationship," said Jeff Bridich, senior director of player development for the Rockies. "The Tourists have served as an important partner in the career development of countless players and staff members. As we near 20 years of working together, the Rockies and Tourists are proud of our past and eager to embrace a bright future."
At 19 years, the Asheville-Colorado partnership represents the longest current agreement between a major league team and a member of the South Atlantic League. The present-day relationship also is the longest stretch in Asheville baseball history. The Tourists' first Player Development Contract was signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and legendary general manager Branch Rickey in 1935, which is considered to be the official beginning of organized farm systems in major league annals.
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