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History 1991-96

THE PRINCETON REDS ERA (1991-1996)

A partnership which flourished from 1991-1996, began when the town joined forces with the Cincinnati Reds. In an effort to stimulate even further growth by the operation, Thompson, in his last major move as team president before retiring, hired ex-Huntington Cub employee Jim Holland, the team's first-ever full-time, year round, paid employee, as general manager in November, 1991. Holland remains here today as the longest-tenured general manager in the club's history.

The 1992 season began with a new president in the form of another local banker, Dewey Russell. Together with an aggressive board of directors, they have furthered the team's growth with continued improvements to the facility and as a result, Cincinnati granted the town with two-year contract renewals in 1992 and 1994. Even though the 1991 Princeton Reds featured future major leaguers Pokey Reese and Kevin Jarvis, it was the 1992 campaign that featured Princeton's first league dominant player in the form of third baseman Dan Frye, who was named the league's Most Valuable Player.  Frye led the league in homers, RBI's, runs scored, and hits while finishing fourth in the league's batting race. The 1992 squad also logged the franchise's first winning record at 34-31 while also capturing the inaugural Mercer Cup by beating the Bluefield Orioles by seven games to five in their regular season series

The most memorable season for professional baseball in Princeton to date is still easily 1994, when led by Appalachian League "Manager of the Year" John Stearns, the P-Reds rallied from an early season slow start and numerous injuries to capture the franchise's only pennant. In addition to Stearns' managerial honors, the '94 squad had four players (a single season franchise best for Princeton) named to the league all-star team while Conner, despite playing only 60 percent of the season, was named the Appalachian League's Most Valuable Player. The miracle comebacks and the never say die attitude of the '94 club is still legendary in Princeton today

The 1995 season dawned with great expectations and anticipation in Princeton, where the P-Reds were flying the '94 Appy League pennant at Hunnicutt Field. Those expectations reached a fever pitch when the Reds roared out to a 5-0 record. Would there be a repeat?

However, during that stretch, the team had logged a batting marking the .200 neighborhood, and the law of averages caught up withy defending champs en route to a 1995 record of 31-32, good for second place in the Northern Division standings.

The unblemished five-game start was followed by a 1-7 stint, which included a June 28 flood, leaving the Princeton home diamond under water during that period. Local officials termed the disaster the worst flooding in Mercer County in over 40 years. The flood broke one of the Reds' most cherished records: a string of 70 straight successful home openings, believed to be an Appy League record for consecutive non-rainouts.

Offensively, 18-year-old outfielder Darron Ingram won the Appy League home run crown on his last at-bat of the season in the ninth inning on August 28 at Martinsville. The 1995 P-Reds could definitely play long ball, finishing with 53 homers, good for second place in the league behind Elizabethton and setting a Princeton club record. The '95 P-Reds closed the season the way they started: with a winning streak, leaving them one game short of the .500 plateau for the season. A very uneventful 1996 season for the P-Reds became alarming at the season's conclusion with the August 30,1996 announcement that the Reds were leaving Princeton.