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.