There is some affiliation news to pass along, as the Philadelphia Phillies and Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League) have extended their player development contract (PDC). The pact runs for four years, ensuring that the two teams will be paired through the 2020 season.
The announcement was made by IronPigs President & General Manager Kurt Landes and Phillies Asst. Director, Player Development, Steve Noworyta in an on-field presentation prior toMonday’s regular season finale at Coca-Cola Park. The playoff-bound IronPigs open post-season play at Coca-Cola Park on Wednesdayat 7:05 p.m. against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
The four-year extension is the maximum permitted under the agreement between Major League and Minor League Baseball.
“We’re excited to partner with the IronPigs for four more years. These are the best fans in Triple-A Baseball and now let’s go out and win the Governors’ Cup this September!” said Noworyta.
Added Landes: “Our relationship with the Phillies has played a large role in our organization’s overall success. Our fans have enjoyed watching some of the brightest stars in the Minor Leagues graduate to Philadelphia and we’re excited to have that continue for many years to come.”
A remarkable 19 members of the Phillies current roster, including recent stars like 3B Maikel Franco and RHP Jake Thompson, are among a collection of 109 players that have made the leap from “The Pigs to the Bigs” since the IronPigs’ inception in 2008. To date this season, the IronPigs have sent 18 players to Philadelphia.
Coca-Cola Park, located just 69 miles from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, has served as a valuable backdrop for established Phillies players on their road to recovery via Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network Major League rehab stints. A total of 40 Phillies have made Major League rehab appearances for the IronPigs all-time, including OF Aaron Altherr and OF Peter Bourjos earlier this year. Other notable rehabbers since 2008 include 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley, C Carlos Ruiz, OF Shane Victorino, RHP Pedro Martinezand RHP Roy Oswalt.
The list of former Major League standouts that came through the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliates prior to the IronPigs is extensive and is comprised of Hall of Famers 3B Mike Schmidt (1972, Eugene) 2B Ryne Sandberg (1981, Oklahoma City) as well as five-time Phillies’ N.L. All-Star SS Larry Bowa and three-time Phillies’ All-Stars 3B Richie Allen, C Bob Boone and C Darren Daulton among others.
The IronPigs recently completed their best regular season in franchise history, posting an 85-58 overall record while qualifying for the post-season as the International League’s Wild Card winner. This year’s team set a club-record for home runs (122) while finishing 2nd in the 14-team circuit for Team ERA (3.12). The IronPigs are seeking to become the first Phillies Triple-A affiliate to win a championship since Oklahoma City accomplished the feat in 1983.
Since 2008, the IronPigs have drawn 5,593,407 fans to Minor League Baseball’s flagship ballpark and are the only club in the Minors to surpass 600,000 in attendance for each of the last nine years.