In the ever moving world of player development contracts and affiliations there some news to tell.
The Cincinnati Reds and their Pioneer League (Advanced Rookie) affiliate, the Billings Mustangs have extended their PDC with two more years through the 2018 season. When the new contract expires the cooperation between the two teams will have lasted for 44 years; one of the longest in professional baseball.
Mustangs managing partner David Heller started to exchange the usual pleasantries:
“The Mustangs are delighted to announce that we will be a part of the Cincinnati Reds’ family for another two years, through 2018. The Reds have been great to work with, have sent us not just first-rate players but future major league stars, and have consistently provided Billings with championship-level clubs. Ours is the longest affiliation between a minor and major league team at the short-season level and for good reason: the Reds give Billings championship-level players and Billings gives them a beautiful, well-run ballpark in a championship-level community. We’re a perfect fit!”
During the 42-year affiliation, the Mustangs have been extremly successful. Not only did they clinch a play off berth for the third time in a row by winning the North Division in the first half of the 2016 season, they also are the most decorated team with 15 Pioneer League titles. Former Mustangs who are currently playing in the Majors are Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce and Joe Votto to name a few.
Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe stated that the Reds couldn’t be prouder of the affiliation with the Mustangs. “The entire Billings community creates an atmosphere that is unrivaled in the Pioneer League and I don’t believe there is a better place for our youngest players to be first introduced to Minor League Baseball and fans of the game. We look forward to sending our players and staff to Billings for many years to come and are excited to try to bring another championship to Billings this fall.”
The history of the Billings Mustangs can be traced back to 1948 when the team started playing in the Pioneer League. The team ceased operations from 1964 through 1968 and has been playing continuously since 1969. Before the team became a Cincinnati Reds affiliate it was linked to the Kansas City Royals (1970-1973), the Seattle Pilots (1969), the St. Louis Cardinals (1957-1963), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1952-1956) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1949-1951).
From 1948 through 2007, the team played at Cobb Field but moved into their new home Dehler Park in 2008.