Good day Revs fans,
Thought it’d be a good time to do our first winter ball update and check in on how our guys are faring in the Caribbean where, let’s face it, we’d probably all like to be right about now.
First, some exciting news for a member of last year’s pitching staff (more…)
As the calendar flips to a new year, MLB organizations finalize and announce their minor league coaching staff for each of their affiliates. In December, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that former Revolution infielder Keoni DeRenne (’07-’09) had been promoted from hitting coach at Class A to A-Advanced. The Arizona Diamondbacks have done the same with another Revs alum; former third baseman Vince Harrison (’10-’11) has been shifted as hitting coach of the Kane County (IL) Cougars of the Midwest League to the Visalia Rawhide of the California League.
Harrison immediately entered the coaching ranks upon his retirement as a player following the 2011 Revolution championship season. He joined the Pirates and began as hitting coach for the Class A West Virginia Power in the South Atlantic League (DeRenne was a successor in that job, holding the post the last two seasons), before joining the Diamondbacks for the 2014 season. 2016 marks Harrison’s third season with Arizona, going from Rookie League hitting coach for the Missoula (MT) Osprey in the Pioneer League, to Kane County, to Visalia.
The York Revolution’s 10th anniversary season will be ushered in with the third iteration of their downtown home. The former Santander Stadium, previously Sovereign Bank Stadium, will now be known as PeoplesBank Park through at least the 2022 season. The various options for the current agreement between the Revolution and PeoplesBank could extend the deal as long as 2035.
Prior to the 2014 season, the ballpark’s name was changed from Sovereign Bank Stadium to Santander Stadium, following Spanish banking conglomerate Santander’s purchase of Boston-based Sovereign. The agreement with PeoplesBank means the York Revolution’s stadium naming rights belong to a York County-owned company for the first time.
The name change is effective immediately, and over the next several weeks leading up to the Revolution’s home opener on April 28, all ballpark signage will be changed. The official press release from the York Revolution is after the jump:
Former York Revolution infielder Keoni DeRenne (’07-’09) is entering his fifth season as a minor league coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and will serve as hitting coach for the A-Advanced Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League in 2016. DeRenne spent the last two seasons as hitting coach for the West Virginia Power of the Class A South Atlantic League. Bradenton also serves as Pittsburgh’s spring training and rookie ball complex.
DeRenne first joined the Pirates prior to the 2011 season, following his retirement as a player-coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, working/playing with four different affiliates from Class A to Triple-A in 2010. He has even garnered some managing experience, skippering the Pirates entry in the Dominican Summer League in 2013.
Major League Baseball grants free agency to all players with expiring contracts five days after the conclusion of the World Series, granted that player hasn’t re-signed with their organization. In the case of players who had their contracts purchased from an Atlantic League team, their release is automatic following the World Series. That’s just a point of procedure, and not necessarily a comment on how that player performed. Five former Revolution players, and several other Atlantic League alums are now in one of those two categories:
OF Shannon Wilkerson (’15, Twins): Upon joining Double-A Chattanooga from York on July 9, Wilkerson made an immediate impact with his new club with a hot start, not unlike his first days with the Revolution in late May. He ended up being a fixture in Chattanooga’s lineup as leadoff hitter, and helped them to the Southern League Championship. Wilkerson’s .292/1 HR/22 RBI showing in 49 games with Chattanooga in his age 26 season should go a long way in Minnesota’s considerations to re-sign him. If not, it won’t be long before he finds work elsewhere. If he were available to the Revolution either before or following spring training, he almost certainly would be signed by Manager Mark Mason.
Tim Hagerty, who is the broadcaster for Triple-A El Paso (Padres), penned a great piece for Sporting News on career minor league pitcher Bill Sisler, who managed to play for 50 minor league teams over a quarter-century. Sisler’s story truly is remarkable, so please click and read for the details on how he was able to remain in professional baseball for so long. Sisler holds the record for most professional teams played for.
Perusing his page on BaseballReference.com, one thing jumped out, hence this post. One of Sisler’s 50 clubs was the 1933 York White Roses of the New York-Penn League, who were affiliated with the Brooklyn Dodgers. At age 32, Sisler played for two Pennsylvania clubs that season, Johnstown of the Middle Atlantic League being the other. While records are spotty, we know Sisler posted a 1-3 record in five appearances and 27 innings for York in 1933.
With the news earlier this month that newcomer New Britain, CT would play in the Atlantic League in 2016, it unfortunately meant a current league member would not, as the league is adamant about keeping an even number of franchises. Otherwise, the all-travel Road Warriors would have to be reintroduced, a situation the league has not been in since 2011, and one with obvious burdens the ALPB does not wish to re-visit.
On October 21 it was announced the Camden Riversharks, after 15 seasons at Campbell’s Field across the river from Philadelphia, had ceased operations. While it’s exciting to welcome a new league member in New Britain, made possible by the Double-A Eastern League franchise that had been calling their ballpark home relocating to nearby Hartford, it’s nonetheless disappointing to lose the second-closest team to York and a natural rival from the league lineup. The Riversharks’ lease at Campbell’s Field expired following the season, and was not successfully renegotiated.
Also falling by the wayside is the best setting in the Atlantic League, in the opinion of this humble writer, pictured above. It was pretty cool to sit on the first base side at Campbell’s Field, where you get an awesome view of the Philadelphia skyline and the Delaware River under the Ben Franklin Bridge, which connects New Jersey and Philadelphia. It was definitely one of the best settings for a game in pro baseball.
When the York Revolution suits up for its 10th season in the Atlantic League in April, the fans will literally be on the field with the players. Or pictures of the fans, at least.
This fall, the organization will make several announcements leading up to Opening Day 2016 (April 28) about plans for the 10th anniversary season of Revolution baseball.
The first such announcement came in August, when online fan voting began to determine the York Revolution 10th Anniversary Team, which will last until February when the team is announced. Former players elected to the team will be honored in-person on opening day. Fans may vote an unlimited number of times by clicking here.
The next step is also fan-interactive, as the Revolution are asking fans to submit their favorite fan photos via the team’s social media channels, which will be used to comprise the back numerals on a special 10th anniversary jersey the team will wear exclusively for Friday night home games in 2016. The jerseys will be auctioned off to fans at season’s end.
When the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West on September 29, former York Revolution pitcher Ian Thomas (’12) was a part of the clubhouse celebration, a member of the Dodgers expanded September roster. Thomas is the first former Rev to be on an MLB roster when that team clinched a playoff spot.
Last season, former Revs catcher Octavio Martinez (’11), who is in his third season as a member of the Washington Nationals Major League coaching staff, was a part of their NL East clinching celebration, but it’s Thomas who will hold the distinction of being the first Rev to enjoy a big league champagne and Budweiser shower. Thomas is the second former York player to be part of an MLB playoff team at any point in the season; last year RHP Julio DePaula (’13-’15) was on the Orioles Major League roster for one game, but not with the club when they celebrated clinching the AL East.
The video above is just a small token of our appreciation for what was a wonderful ninth season in Downtown York. You may have heard rumblings by now, but big things are in store for next season when we’ll celebrate our 10th anniversary. (CLICK HERE to vote for the 10th Anniversary team.) As usual, Revolution fans were the truth during the 2015 season, and right through the final series against Somerset. The second to last game of the season September 19 drew a season-high 6,291 fans to Santander Stadium (11-6 win), and a day later the season ended with the third-largest crowd of 2015, when the Little League National Champions from Red Land were in the house in front of 6,053 (7-3 win).
It says a lot about the fans when two of your three 6,000-plus crowds for the season are on the final two days when the team is out of the playoff race, but our most fervent fans know better than anyone the second half Revs were a much different club than the first half this season:
When the Minnesota Twins purchased the contract of Shannon Wilkerson from the York Revolution on July 9, it marked the first time a former Rev went to work for that organization. Upon his assignment to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League, each party took full advantage of the transaction, as the Lookouts won their first championship since 1988 on September 21, defeating the Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers) 4-0 in the deciding Game 5 of the series.
Chattanooga rallied from a 2-1 series deficit, winning Games 4 and 5 at home to secure their first Southern League title in 27 seasons. Wilkerson, who immediately moved into an everyday role with his new club as their center fielder, batting either lead-off or ninth, was a big factor in the series going 7-for-19 (.368) with an RBI and a run. In nine postseason games, Wilkerson hit .303 with five RBI and five runs scored. To advance to the finals, Chattanooga dispatched the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays), in four games.
The jersey number former York Revolution pitcher Ian Thomas (’12) has worn in his two Major League seasons with the Braves and Dodgers will now carry some coincidental significance; by pitching one third of an inning on September 15 during the 16-inning game between Colorado and Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, Thomas was part of a game which featured a MLB-record 58 players used. 24 pitchers were used in the game, also a big league-record.
Tied 3-3 in the top of the 10th with two out, Thomas came in and retired the only man he faced, Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez on a ground out to short. It always seems to happen in marathon extra-inning games: Each team scored a run in the 11th to keep the game going. After Colorado’s DJ LeMahieu put the Rockies ahead with a one-out RBI single to center, staffed at the time by Lancaster native Chris Heisey, it was Heisey who returned the favor with a one-out run-scoring infield single of his own to extend the game. Go figure there ends up being a York and Lancaster connection to this bit of Major League history.
Upon joining the Revolution on May 22, outfielder Shannon Wilkerson quickly endeared himself to York with his hustle and defense, and it didn’t take long for the Minnesota Twins to notice as well. After the Twins purchased Wilkerson’s Atlantic League contract on July 9, the seven-year pro was assigned to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League.
With a 4-1 road win over the Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays) on September 14 to win the best-of-five series 3-1, Wilkerson and Chattanooga advanced to the Southern League Championship where they’ll face the Biloxi Shuckers (Milwaukee Brewers), also a best-of-five. Wilkerson carried Chattanooga in Game 3 to take control of the series, when he went 3-for-3, drove in two runs, and scored two runs in a 7-3 Lookouts victory. Both of his RBI came with two out, to take a 2-1 series lead.
With Chattanooga, Wilkerson actually out-performed his numbers in York in the first half of the season; he hit .256 with two home runs and 16 RBI, batting primarily in the lead-off spot for the Revolution, in 40 games. His on-base percentage during that time was .305 however, and he scored 20 runs and racked up 11 extra base hits, adding seven doubles and two triples. In Chattanooga, Wilkerson finished the season hitting .292 with a homer and 22 RBI in 49 games, and scored 30 runs while collecting five doubles and four triples, as the Lookouts primary lead-off man as well.
When the Revolution avoided a three-game sweep and salvaged their final home series of the month with a 3-2 win in 14 innings over the Somerset Patriots on August 23, a list of fun milestones were reached:
- The RBI base hit from James Simmons which tied the game, and the RBI base hit from Jose Constanza which won it in the 14th after trailing 2-1 (watch the video above), gave the Revolution their ninth walk-off victory of 2015. That is a new franchise high for a single-season, surpassing the total of eight by the 2009 Revs. Like 2009, where York compiled a franchise-worst overall record of 53-87, the numerous walk-off wins this season have also been a silver lining in an otherwise challenging season. The Revolution was 47-65 (but 23-19 in the second half) as of August 23, and just 22-34 at home. However, an eye-popping 41% of their home wins this season as of 8/23 have come in walk-off fashion. As of 8/23, the Revs are 12-3 in one-run games decided at home this year.
- Over the weekend, the Revolution drew 15,828 fans to Santander Stadium, a season-high for a three-game series. (6,268 Friday, 5,781 Saturday, 3,779 Sunday.) That is over 2,000 fans better than the previous high for a three-gamer this season. The weekend also came within 800 fans of the best-ever attendance for a three-game home series, when 16,643 fans were turnstiled from September 16-18, 2011 against Southern Maryland.
In the 5-1 win at Long Island on July 21, Mikey Reynolds gave the Revolution a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a straight steal of home, with no other runners on base. Reynolds led off the inning with a single. While the Bobby Blevins pitch glanced off catcher Mike Blanke’s glove, probably mostly due to panic, it looks like there was a pretty good chance Reynolds would’ve beaten the pitch and scored anyway.
Thank you to the Long Island Ducks for providing the video, and here it is with Darrell Henry’s call dubbed over it:
It’s a rather amazing statistic, but exactly a quarter of the way through their ninth season as a franchise, the York Revolution have finally played in the 15th inning, after a 4-3 victory at Long Island on May 31. It’s an anomaly to make it through a single season without one game that long, let alone eight full seasons.
Adding to the intrigue was Sean Smith’s solo home run to put York ahead in the top of the 15th, which is no big deal except for the fact it was his first homer since…this one in last year’s postseason and the grueling rehab that came after it. Josh Judy then entered for a tidy three up, three down 15th for the save, his seventh in as many opportunities. The Revs used eight pitchers in the game, one short of tying a team record.
The Revolution had played 14-inning games five times previously (all losses), four of which were on the road. The longest game innings-wise in Santander Stadium history remains a 7-4 loss to Somerset on May 6, 2013. The 5/31 win over Long Island lasted four hours and 35 minutes, making it just the sixth-longest time-wise in franchise history. That honor still belongs to the four hour, 57 minute, 14-inning marathon at Bridgeport on August 3, 2010, a 6-5 Revolution loss.
By our count, when LHP Shawn Teuful signed with the Revolution prior to this season, he became the 18th Rev past and present who had a blood or close relative that played Major League Baseball. In five cases, both the relative and the Rev played in the Majors. The list:
OF Erold Andrus (2010): Brother of Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.
OF Steve Bumbry (2014): Son of longtime Orioles outfielder and coach Al Bumbry, who was also a coach for the Revolution in 2007.
OF Edgard Clemente (2008): Nephew of Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente. Edgard appeared in 114 MLB games between 1998 and 2000 with the Rockies and Angels.
2B Jose Enrique Cruz (2008): Nephew of longtime MLB outfielder Jose Cruz, cousin of his son, 12-season MLB outfielder Jose Cruz Jr.
3B Jake Daubert (2008): Daubert’s great, great grandfather, also Jake Daubert, played first base in the Majors for 15 seasons, from 1910 to 1924 for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds. The elder Daubert died at 40 immediately after his final season on October 9, 1924, after the Reds’ season had ended just days earlier on September 28. (more…)
When RHP Julio DePaula re-signed with York after his brief MLB cameo with the Orioles last season, he became the ninth player to appear for the Revolution one season removed from being on a Major League roster. The situation did not occur last season. The current list:
2007: Pitcher Wayne Franklin, with the Braves in 2006
2008: Pitcher Aaron Rakers, with the Orioles in 2007
2008: Infielder Shea Hillenbrand, with the Dodgers and Angels in 2007
2009: Pitcher Rick Bauer, with the Indians in 2008
2009: Pitcher Chris Britton, with the Yankees in 2008
2012: Infielder Joe Thurston, with the Marlins in 2011
2013: Outfielder Jason Repko, with the Red Sox in 2012
2013: Outfielder Tyler Graham, with the Diamondbacks in 2012
2015: Pitcher Julio DePaula, with the Orioles in 2014
Oh those nutty promotions. However, I wouldn’t try to suggest to the official team Twitter account that the Revolution’s efforts to try and raise enough money to acquire Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard are anything less than genuine. The official release from the team is below:
News broke on Wednesday, March 18 that the Philadelphia Phillies are willing to pay $50 million of the $60 million still owed to Ryan Howard over the final two years of his contract, in order to trade the first baseman.
After a quick look at the numbers, this left the York Revolution of the Atlantic League roughly $9,997,000 short of the funds required to put Howard in a Revolution uniform for the 2015 season. An Atlantic League maximum salary is roughly $3,000 per month.
By Paul Braverman
As this spring training marks the 20th anniversary of the end of Michael Jordan’s foray into baseball, and the misinformed ridicule that came with it, I was hoping time would’ve judged Jordan’s effort a little more kindly than the Sports Illustrated cover in March of 1994 showing Jordan missing a pitch, with the huge headline of “Bag It, Michael.” And this was merely an anecdotal photo of him whiffing on a pitch in an exhibition game, long before the completion of what I consider to be one of the greatest sporting accomplishments of the 20th century.
No, 20 years later Jordan’s spring with the White Sox and summer with the Birmingham Barons is mostly remembered little more than as a failed publicity stunt, an indulgence of someone so famous he couldn’t accrue more global fame, and a punchline. This despite the vouching from his Double-A manager, Terry Francona, on just how seriously Jordan took the game and the confirmed attendance of Jordan at 6:30 a.m. batting sessions.
To make a Jordan baseball joke now would be akin to playing Pogs rather than Angry Birds on your phone, but in the 90s jokes about “45” were unrelenting. (#23 was taken by current White Sox manager Robin Ventura.) Of course that tide was stemmed by Jordan’s return to the NBA and three more championships. It was that, and decidedly NOT the remarkable challenge of trying to go from one major sport to another at age 31 which cemented Jordan’s legacy as the unchallenged greatest sporting hero of my generation. But to not appreciate Jordan’s “success” in baseball is to not understand baseball.
Expect minimal changes to the Revolution’s uniforms this season; some new road greys are in the offing but they should be very similar in design to the past three seasons. As you can see above however, the team will introduce a new “multi-paneled” alternate cap into its repertoire. In the classic style of the Montreal Expos or Toronto Blue Jays of yesteryear, the new lid will pair with the seldom seen yellow alternate cap with the “Talon Y” logo which was introduced last year. Expect to see more of that one on the field this season, in addition to the new alternate, which will feature use of the “YR” logo on the field for the first time.
The navy “Y Logo” cap is returning as the primary on-field Revolution cap for a fourth year, since the identity re-design prior to the 2012 season. All three of the on-field caps pictured above will be for sale in the First Capital Federal Credit Union Team Store, by the time the season starts.
It’s that time of year again; Zion Lutheran Church will hold its annual baseball talk at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 23 at 2215 Brandywine Lane in York. As in years past, the event will feature Baltimore Sun Orioles beat writer/national baseball writer Dan Connolly discussing all things Birds, and joining him again will be Mel Antonen, who covers MLB nationally for Sports Illustrated and Sirius/XM radio, as well as MASN. Orioles radio play-by-play voice Fred Manfra has also been added to this year’s lineup. Questions are of course welcome at the talk, which will cover the Phillies as well as the Orioles, in addition to any pressing national topics. Feel free to come with your 2015 York Revolution questions as well. There is no admission fee, but a freewill offering will be taken to benefit the church’s youth attending the National Youth Gathering. In addition, autographed copies of Connolly’s soon-to-be-released book, 100 Things Orioles Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, will be available for purchase for $15 following the event. See you there!
In our final installment of “Remembering 2014” this week, we re-visit the record-breaking season Revolution outfielder Justin Greene enjoyed, leading up to York’s fourth playoff appearance in five seasons, and their fifth in eight seasons of existence. As he became the first Rev to win the Atlantic League batting title, Greene also set the single-season franchise average record. Now that we’re done reminiscing about last season, next up: The first player acquisition announcements for the 2015 season on Friday!
By Paul Braverman
When a player hits .358, any “slumps” are swallowed up in a season full of two and three-hit nights and are awfully hard to find. For 2014 Atlantic League batting champion and York Revolution MVP Justin Greene, one slow start may have resulted in his career being taken off the fast track to the big leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks, shifting to an unforgettable and record breaking summer detour in Central Pennsylvania.
Courtesy of Jason Bristol at CBS 21, York Revolution outfielder Sean Smith will be presented with the “Ron Santo Inspiration Award” on Sunday, January 25 in Chicago.
The award, named for the late Chicago Cubs third baseman and broadcaster, is presented at the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago awards dinner. Smith, a Chicago-area native, is currently there rehabbing his injury.
Smith of course made national news and led SportsCenter the night of September 26, after his game-tying home run in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the Freedom Division Championship Series against Sugar Land. Despite tearing his patella tendon running out of the box as he got to first, he refused a pinch runner and executed the now famous “hop seen ’round the world” to finish off the home run. The Revolution would later win 3-2 on a Johan Limonta walk-off single in the 11th.
The footage was shown on just about every major sports outlet and broadcast network, and the YouTube video is now close to 1.3 million views: