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Team History

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Like many other decisions in baseball, the latest round of major league expansion had a domino effect on the minor leagues. In 1995, Arizona and Tampa Bay were awarded major league franchises to play their inaugural season in 1998. To keep pace, baseball's rookie level added two teams in 1996. The following year, Class 'A' and Class 'AAA' each increased by two teams.

That left only Class 'AA' in need of expansion to match the number of teams in the big leagues. In 1997, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, as it was then called, decided the Eastern League would receive the two new franchises to start play in 1999. Erie was an easy first choice of the NAPBL's expansion committee. After all, the SeaWolves had established short-season attendance records in the new Uht Park as part of the New York-Penn League.

The awarding of the second franchise wasn't easy. For months, it seemed Springfield, Massachusetts would land the team. However, an inability to finalize land and stadium finance deals left the NAPBL looking for another option. Enter Altoona. City native Bob Lozinak and others, along with a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers put together an eleventh-hour stadium financing package and site plan. The proposal was presented to the expansion committee at an October 5, 1997 meeting in Las Vegas. It received unanimous approval and Double-A baseball was on its way to Central Pennsylvania.

Groundbreak The first major decision for the owners of the new Altoona franchise was to select an ideal location to serve as the site for a future ballpark. DeWeese had scouted a location for the Curve's future home long before an expansion team became an option for Altoona. Applying a developer's singular vision for what might be, DeWeese identified a grassy patch in the shadow of Lakemont Park's iconic wooden rollercoaster as an ideal location for today's Blair County Ballpark.

Ballpark groundbreaking ceremonies took place in March 1998 and the franchise was officially awarded the following month. In June of that year, the Altoona entry selected "Curve" as its nickname. The combination railroad/baseball moniker beat out several choices like "Lake Monsters", "Ridge Runners", and believe it or not, "Fish!"

The next step for the Curve was affiliating with a major league team. Erie seemed to have an inside track on becoming the Pirates' new Double-A affiliate, as the SeaWolves had served as Pittsburgh's short-season club from 1995-98. However, after a series of meetings with potential major league parent clubs, the Curve landed the coveted affiliation with the Pirates. The September 1998 announcement took the franchise to another level as the U.S. 22 pairing seemed an ideal fit. Central Pennsylvania baseball fans, with their strong Pirates' roots, could now cheer for the Buccos' top prospects on their way to Pittsburgh.Affiliation

The long-awaited first game in Curve history took place on April 9, 1999 in Reading, PA. The game against the Phillies' affiliate was suspended by rain and completed the next day as part of a doubleheader. For the record, the Curve lost its first contest, 6-2, but recorded its first win hours later with a 6-4 decision in game two of the April 10 twinbill.

Finally, the Curve christened Blair County Ballpark on April 15 with a triumph over the Bowie Baysox. A huge crowd of 6,171 attended the history-making contest despite cold, rainy weather.

After three remarkable seasons, Lozinak sold the franchise to a group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg on April 2, 2002. Among the limited partners in Greenberg's collective: Pittsburgh Penguins' owner, star center and NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux; Pittsburgh Steelers' all-pro running back Jerome Bettis and Altoona-based businessmen Steve Sheetz and Don Devorris.

GreenbergDespite the ownership change, the Curve franchise enjoyed its most successful season to that point, drawing a record 363,871 fans to Blair County Ballpark. On August 5, 2002 the Curve announced a new four-year affiliation agreement with the Pirates, securing one of major league baseball's strongest affiliations through the 2006 season.

During the 2003 season, the Curve, led by third-year manager Dale Sveum took the franchise to new heights on the field, posting a 78-63 regular season record and securing the club's first-ever Eastern League postseason berth, losing to the eventual Eastern League champion Akron Aeros three games to one in the first round of the playoffs. The playoff run helped fuel yet another franchise attendance record as 365,376 fans came through the gates at Blair County Ballpark.

In 2004, the Curve, now managed by Tony Beasley, finished with a league-best 85-56 record and not only returned to the playoffs, but took the next step and advanced to the Eastern League Championship Series for the first time in club history before losing to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. 2004 also turned out to be a banner year at the gates as the Curve added a fifth consecutive franchise attendance record after drawing 394,062 fans to Blair County Ballpark. Among those 394,000+ fans who attended Curve home games in 2004 included Vice President Dick Cheney, who attended the club's Fourth of July game against Harrisburg. Following the season, Curve General Manager Todd Parnell was honored as the Eastern League Executive of the Year, while the franchise was presented the prestigious Larry MacPhail Trophy symbolizing the top promotional effort, both on and off the field, in all of minor league baseball.

The 2006 season proved to be a banner season for the Curve and the club's ownership group, Curve Baseball LP. In Altoona, the franchise continued to pack Blair County Ballpark and established several series and single-game attendance records. The highlight of the season, and arguably the top moment in the first eight seasons of Curve baseball, came on July 12th, when Altoona played host to the 2006 Eastern League All-Star Game. A Blair County Ballpark-record crowd of 9,308 was on hand to witness Curve All-Star Brett Roneberg take home Most Valuable Player honors in a 5-3 win for the Southern Division All-Stars.

Just a few weeks earlier, the Curve helped launch a new affiliated minor league club in Central Pennsylvania as the short-season Class-A State College Spikes began play in the historic New York-Penn League. The Spikes opened brand-new Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on June 20, 2006 before over 5,500 fans and finished their inaugural campaign as one of the top draws in the Penn League. Medlar Field, which is uniquely shared by both the State College franchise and Penn State University's NCAA baseball program, instantly joined Altoona's Blair County Ballpark as one of the premier professional baseball facilities in the country. The Spikes capped an amazing inaugural season by announcing in September 2006 that the club, like their sister franchise in Altoona, would become a Pittsburgh Pirates' affiliate through at least the 2010 season.

Johnson TrophyThe amazing 2006 season for the Curve Family continued even after the bats and balls had been long put away. In the Fall of 2006, the franchise won two prestigious awards, most notably, the John H. Johnson President's Trophy, which is given annually to Minor League Baseball's top club on the basis of long-time franchise stability, contributions to and promotion of the baseball industry and the financial success of the team. Curve President & Managing Partner Chuck Greenberg accepted the award on behalf of the franchise at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL on December 8, 2006. Also, the Curve was honored by Baseball America as the 2006 winner of the Double-A Bob Freitas Award.

The on-field and off-field success of the Curve continued throughout the 2007 season. For the sixth consecutive year, the club eclipsed the 350,000 mark in overall attendance and on June 1st the franchise officially welcomed its 3 millionth fan to Blair County Ballpark. Despite failing to reach the Eastern League playoffs for the first time since 2002, the club managed to post the league's fourth-best record (73-68) and enjoyed a sixth straight winning campaign. The 2007 edition of the Curve also featured one of the club's most prospect-laden rosters, highlighted by Pirates' top prospects, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and third baseman Neil Walker. While McCutchen and Walker garnered plenty of attention throughout the season, it was first baseman Steven Pearce, who stole most of the headlines. Pearce, the Pirates' eighth round pick in the 2005 June Draft out of the University of South Carolina, enjoyed one of the finest seasons in club history and among the most productive among all players in Minor League Baseball en route to being named the 2007 Topps/Minor League Player of the Year. Pearce, who began the season at Class-A Lynchburg before his promotion to Altoona on May 1st, hit .334 with 14 home runs and 72 RBI before a promotion to Triple-A in late July. He ended his season in the major leagues, becoming the first Pirates' position player since 1999 to make the jump from Class-A to the big leagues in the same season.

Andrew McCutchen In 2008, the Curve celebrated their storybook 10th anniversary season welcoming back plenty of former stars, including Adam Hyzdu and Josh Bonifay among many others. The Curve also unveiled their 10th Anniversary All-Time team.

On June 17, Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States attended the Curve versus Reading game while on a fishing trip in nearby Huntingdon.

On the field, though, the Curve underachieved, as they suffered their first losing season since 2001, finishing with a mark of 65-77 and in fifth place in the Eastern League's Southern Division.

However, 2008 will be remembered not for what happened during the season, rather what happened following the season. On December 1, 2008, President and Managing Partner, Chuck Greenberg announced that his group was selling the Curve back to original owner and visionary, Bob Lozinak. Greenberg announced that he was forming a sports consultation service and that many members of the Curve upper management would join his endeavor, including General Manager Todd Parnell.

Shortly after the announcement of the sale, it was made public that David Lozinak would be appointed as the team's Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the day-to-day functions of the ball club.

The final block to the organization's new foundation was laid on December 5, 2008 when the Lozinak Family announced that they would bring back an old friend to steer the Curve into the future -- Rob Egan. Egan was the original play-by-play broadcaster for the team from 1999-2004. He left baseball for four years, but returned to the minors to become just the fourth General Manager in the club's 11-year history.

On December 30, 2008 Minor League Baseball approved the sale of the Curve from Greenberg's group back to Lozinak and the second chapter of the Lozinak era officially began.

Pedro AlvarezThe new 2009 season saw the Altoona Curve stumble under first-year manager Matt Walbeck as the team got off to a franchise worst 0-8 start and was never able to recover, finishing the year 62-80. However, the team did see one of the most prospect-laden lineups ever assembled in team history. As Pirates General Manager Neal Huntingdon traded away many valuable players at the major league level, an influx of talent came back in return. However, no one expected the fan fare that Pirates' 2008 top draft pick and top-rated prospect Pedro Alvarez would get when it was learned the New York native was being promoted from Lynchburg (A) on June 23. A throng of media attention ensued and Alvarez lived up to all his hype. The third baseman hit .333 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs in just 60 games with the Curve. He was named the 2009 Curve M.V.P. not only for those staggering numbers, but primarily for the impact he had in the team's overall success. In games in which Alvarez played, the Curve were 34-26 (.567) while going just 26-51 (.338) in games where Alvarez did not play.

An outstanding partnership with the Pittsburgh Pirates became even stronger during the 2009 season when, on May 23, the Curve and Pirates signed a four-year extension to their Player Development Agreement, which will extend through the 2014 season.

With a solid affiliation under its belt, the Curve embarked on what would be its most magical season during its time in Altoona in 2010. From the outset, the 2010 Curve had the swagger and winning attitude that would carry the club to its second division title and its first-ever Eastern League Championship.

The cast of the 2010 club pretty much came as a cohesive unit from High-A Lynchburg, where they won the Mills Cup (Carolina League Championship) in 2009. On Opening Day 2010, Altoona was greeted by a prospect-laden roster that included four of the Pirates Top-10 prospects according to Baseball America and eight of the Top-30 overall prospects. It was also a roster that had veteran talent and it proved to be the perfect mix to get Altoona off to a nearly perfect start as the club started the season 7-1, a drastic turnaround after starting 2009 0-8.

Pitching would prove to be the strength of Altoona early on and steadily throughout the championship campaign. Opening Day starter Mike Crotta earned the win on April 8 over Harrisburg at BCB and became the first Curve pitcher since '04 to earn the win on Opening Day. He'd dominate the E.L. in the first month of the season and be the first Curve player to be promoted to Triple-A as he got the call in late April.

Stephen StrasburgCrotta was not alone in his early-season success as starters Rudy Owens and Jared Hughes also excelled early. Owens, who was coming off of a breakout season in 2009, made his first Double-A start on quite a stage as he dueled Washington Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg in his first professional start on April 11 at BCB. Over 70 media members from around the country and upwards of 7,800 people came to watch the professional debut of the heralded Strasburg on a picture-perfect day in Altoona. The game was also carried live on ESPN360.com and had parts of its aired on ESPNews.

In drastic contrast to how they started 2009, Altoona won seven of its first eight games of the 2010 season and set the tone for what turned out to be a magical season. Outfielder Alex Presley, who'd spent the past two seasons with High-A Lynchburg, burst on the scene with a 19-game hitting streak, which began fittingly on April 11 against Strasburg. It ranked as the second-best hitting streak in team history but it wouldn't be the only dent that the Louisiana native would make in the history books.

With Presley swinging a hot bat and the pitching staff in a groove, Altoona spent a majority of the first month of the season in first place. The success spilled over into May, where the Curve had just four days out of first place and would not relinquish the top spot in the Western Division beyond May 20. Four days later on May 24, Presley once again made himself known as he broke Adam Hyzdu's record for most RBI in a game with an eight-RBI performance in Akron.

Winning led to more winning, which led to an eventual 11-game stranglehold on the E.L. Western Division by June 24. That night, Presley and closer Daniel Moskos received the call to Triple-A Indy. Altoona had one of the best records in all of Minor League Baseball for much of the first half but would hit a humbling month of July where they saw their lead shrink from 11 games on June 24 to just 2.5 games on August 1.

Despite the tough month, there were many highlights, including the six representatives that Altoona sent to the E.L. All-Star Game in Harrisburg, Pa. Hector Gimenez, Derek Hankins, Josh Harrison, Matt Hague, Rudy Owens and Chase d'Arnaud all represented Altoona in the game on July 14. Gimenez won the Home Run Derby while d'Arnaud racked up MVP honors as the Pepperdine product smashed a grand slam that helped the West top the East in the game.

Individual performances are great but team performance resonate louder and a huge effort by Altoona resonated into the record books on July 17 when the Curve scored 10 runs in the top of the ninth inning in Harrisburg to defeat the Senators, 18-15. It was the longest nine-inning game in team history and it also tied the most runs scored in a game as well as in an inning by any Curve team in franchise history.

With the lead at 2.5 games starting August 1, Altoona rattled off five straight wins to start the month and then on another Saturday in Harrisburg they once again scored 18 runs in a 10-run ninth inning to blast the Senators, 18-6. Where the Curve faltered in July they dominated in August as the pitching staff was lights out down the stretch toward the first division title since 2004. Owens, who had been the ace all season long, led the staff by posting a 4-0 record and a 0.82 ERA In six starts during the month of August.

The pitching was so good in fact that it held the line for what would be the longest home game in team history on Friday, August 13. Altoona and New Hampshire locked horns in a 3-3 game that took 19 innings and five hours, 49 minutes to complete. It ended in epic fashion with Curve outfielder Miles Durham sending a home run over the wall in left-center field to send the Curve home victorious, 4-3.

Another star rose the very next night in LHP Justin Wilson as he came out and threw a career high eight innings while allowing just two hits with a career best 11 strikeouts to blank the 'Cats, 2-0.

With timely hitting and clutch pitching, the stage was set for the division-clinching game in late August and it happened in Bowie, Md. when Owens and the Curve bested the Baysox, 9-1. It was Owens' 12th win of the season.

Altoona wound up with an 82-60 record when the regular season was all said and done, second best in franchise history. Gimenez and Owens would be named Post-season E.L. All-Stars by the league's coaches, media and staff.

The playoff run began in Altoona against the Senators of Harrisburg and after dropping Game One, the Curve rattled off three straight wins to down the 'Sens in the best-of-five series. Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson and Tony Watson all pitched well in the three wins that helped send the Curve back to the E.L. Championship for the first time since '04.

A strange trend that began in the Harrisburg series and continued in the Championship round was the Curve going deep. The team that hit 80 home runs in 142 regular-season games went on to hit a combined 14 homers in just eight playoff games.

Armed with the long ball, Altoona and Trenton squared off in the ECLS and Game One would once again bring some national attention to Altoona as future Hall of Famer and five-time All-Star Andy Pettitte made a rehab start for the Thunder in Game One. MLB Network flocked to BCB to cover the game and the national spotlight once again shined on Curve, PA. d'Arnaud homered off Pettitte in the first but Altoona wound up losing the game and once again found themselves in a hole.

Just as in the ELDS, Altoona used three straight wins to clinch the series and the league championship. Locke came up big in Game Two to help even the series before it shifted to Trenton, N.J. for the final three games. Wilson, who did not allow a run in his first playoff start, stayed perfect and did not allow a run in his second. All told, Wilson pitched 13 innings in the playoffs and did not allow a run. He was awarded the E.L. Playoff MVP for his efforts.

The championship-clinching win came on September 18 with closer Daniel Moskos getting the final out to seal the victory and bring the first E.L. Championship to Altoona

Eastern League Champs

A few short months after the first-ever E.L. title was won, the Curve as a franchise took another step forward by unveiling the team's new logo set, which paid homage to the railroad engineers that helped put Altoona on the map. Along with the fresh new look came a new addition to the mascot family with the team bringing "Tenacious" into the fold.

Armed with a fresh new look for 2011, the Curve were also given a makeover in the coaching staff assignments as P.J. Forbes became the sixth manager in Altoona Curve history. Forbes, who had piloted the Reading Phillies of the Eastern League for three seasons from 2006-08, was coming off of back-to-back playoff appearances with High-A Lynchburg and High-A Bradenton in 2009 and 2010 (he led the '09 Hillcats to a Mills Cup title) before joining Altoona.

The 2011 Curve didn't get off to as fast of a start as the 2010 championship-winning club but did come out and compete on a nightly basis. A strange streak occurred during the season's first month as Altoona went on an unprecedented streak of 19-straight games of alternating wins and losses. The streak ran from April 10th through May 1st and was snapped on May 2nd, when Altoona won its second-straight game.

Despite the streak and an eventual 64-77 finish to the season, many positive things happened on the field in 2011 and they began with center fielder Starling Marte.

Starling Marte Marte, a native of Santo Domingo, D.R., was on the Curve roster from the get-go in 2011 and never ceased to impress. The 22-year-old proceeded to tear through the Eastern League en route to an Eastern League batting title and Eastern League Rookie of the Year honors. It was the first time in franchise history that a member of the Curve had won the Rookie of the Year award and it was also the first time that an active Curve player won the batting title (Jeff Keppinger won it in 2004 but spent the final months of the season as a Binghamton Met).

The speedy outfielder also set a few Curve single-season records along the way in 2011, posting franchise bests in outfield assists (18) and hits (178). In addition to his other accolades, Marte was both a mid-season and post-season E.L. All-Star, an XM Futures Game Selection, an Eastern League August Player of the Month and a Topps Double-A All-Star.

Season number 13 in Curve, Pa. also saw nine different former Curve players make their Major League debuts. Many of the nine played for the 2010 Eastern League Championship club (Mike Crotta, Daniel Moskos, Josh Harrison, Tony Watson, Chase d'Arnaud, Jared Hughes and Jeff Locke) while some were first-year Curve players that cracked the Pirates' 25-man roster (Eric Fryer and Aaron Thompson).

Off the field, the Curve received much national notoriety for the first-ever, on-field reversible cap, which was introduced in 2011. The cap featured the new Curve engineer on the regular side and a "Rally Cap" on the inside fashioned after rally mascot Al Tuna. The Curve's Summer Cruise Night Series, which combined a cruise giveaway with the stupendous films of Tom Cruise, was also a finalist for a Golden Bobblehead for one of the best promotions in Minor League Baseball. Average attendance at Blair County Ballpark also rose for the first time since it climbed from 2005 to the 2006 seasons.

The offseason leading into the club's 14th year of existence was also no quiet one as the Curve forged a partnership with Peoples Natural Gas that renamed the ballpark Peoples Natural Gas Field. The partnership not only included a naming-rights deal but spurred economic development at the park and surrounding areas with the use of green energy.

Altoona's 2012 season began on April 5 with a very special announcement from Pirates President Frank Coonelly, who announced to the Opening Night crowd that the Pittsburgh Pirates would be returning to Altoona to play an exhibition game before the 2013 season for the first time since 2000. On the diamond, the Curve had an up-and-down season under P.J. Forbes, who directed the Curve for a second-straight season. An end-of-the-season winning streak propelled the Curve above the .500 mark and the team finished 72-70, but missed out on the E.L. playoff picture.

In the future, the 2012 season may be remembered as the season where fans in Curve, Pa. had the opportunity to see two future aces in the making with top prospects Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon both making their way to Double-A during the season. Cole, the first-overall pick in the 2011 draft, reached Altoona on June 20 and made his debut at home while Taillon debuted almost exactly two months later on the road in Trenton. It was the first time that both the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America were in Altoona at the same time since Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker were in Curve uniforms for the 2007 season.

Other standouts on the field for the Curve included shortstop Brock Holt, who eventually went on to make his Major League debut later in the season with the Pirates. Holt stayed in Altoona until the beginning of August before he received his first promotion to Triple-A. After putting on a hitting clinic with Altoona, Holt lampooned International League pitching to earn his call up to Pittsburgh. The Texas native hit well enough with Altoona before his promotion and had enough at-bats to still hang on to win the Eastern League batting title, marking the second-straight season a Curve batter won the crown.

Holt was part of 11 more former Curve players to make their debuts in the major leagues in 2012, bringing the overall number to 101 in 14 seasons. Another former Curve player who made a splash in the bigs in 2012 was Marte, who homered in his first at bat as a member of the Pirates in Houston on July 26.

After being nominated for a Golden Bobblehead in 2011, the Curve franchise won a Golden Bobblehead in 2012 in the "Best Charity Promotion or Event" category for its efforts with Curve, Pa. Blue Out Saturdays, which aimed at raising awareness and funds for Prevent Child Abuse, Pennsylvania. The club, which partnered with six other teams across the state of Pennsylvania, wore Blue jerseys in support of the cause for each Saturday home game and also helped raise funds through the sale of special Blue-Out T-shirts and wristbands as well as text-to-donate programs. All told, the Curve's efforts plus those of the other six participating teams raised over $11,000 from the season-long efforts.

Fast forward to March of 2013 and the second-ever exhibition game between the Curve and Pirates. Despite snow the Monday before the game, the temperatures warmed up and the Curve welcomed a franchise-record 10,116 fans to watch the Pirates and Curve play their first exhibition game since 2000. Just like in 2000, fans were treated to a Curve victory, this time by a score of 8-6. Former Curve OF Starling Marte had himself a day, hitting a grand slam while going 2-for-3.

A pair big of big announcements also came with the Pirates-Curve Exhibition that day. The first announcement being that the Curve and Pirates had extended their Player Development Contract a season early and extended it through the 2018 season. When the affiliation reaches the 2018 season, the Curve and Pirates will be in their 20th year as parent and affiliate. It was then revealed a short time later that the Eastern League All-Star Game was returning to Blair County with the Curve poised to host the 2014 game at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Altoona's regular-season had its ups and downs and the team finished with a record of 63-79 under first-year manager Carlos Garcia. Despite the record, fans were treated to some of the best prospects in the Pirates system throughout the season that included RHP Jameson Taillon, OF Gregory Polanco, RHP Nick Kingham and SS Alen Hanson. Taillon, who had a cup of tea with the Curve in 2012, spent a majority of 2013 with the club before a promotion to Triple-A in August while Polanco joined the team in June and also went to Indianapolis during the month of August. Kingham joined the club midway through the year and finished the campaign with the Curve. Hanson did the same but did not join the team until late July after beginning the year with Bradenton.

One couldn't talk about the 2013 Curve season without talking about the performance of outfielder Alex Dickerson, who was in his first season at the Double-A level. Dickerson, a native of Poway, Calif., had a slow start to the year before lighting the world on fire from June until the end of the season. He went on to hit .288 for the season with 36 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs and 68 RBI in 126 games en route to being named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year. He was the second Curve player to ever win the award and the second in the last three seasons after Starling Marte won it in 2011.

The 2013 campaign also saw the club's second ever no-hitter come to fruition when Ethan Hollingsworth, Jason Townsend, Jhonathan Ramos and Ryan Beckman combine on a nine-inning no-no on July 25, 2013 in Manchester, N.H. versus the Fisher Cats. It had been over 10 years since the Curve threw a no-hitter, which occurred in 2002 when Adrian Burnside, Neal McDade and Chris Spurling accomplished the feat.

 

In 2014, the Curve hosted the annual Eastern League All-Star Stop presented by UPMC Health Plan for the second time in franchise history. Over 6,000 fans packed into Peoples Natural Gas Field to watch the leagues brightest stars for the game itself on July 16 while over 10,000 total across the two-days' worth of events filled PNG Field. During the first day of events, the Curve dedicated one seat in the lower seating bowl a POW/MIA Chair, never to be inhabited in memory of those soldiers that have not yet returned home. At the end of the year, Curve General Manager Rob Egan was presented with the Eastern League Executive of the Year Award at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, the second-ever member of the Altoona front office to receive the award.

On the field, the Curve struggled to a 61-81 record but the season saw outfielder Willy Garcia set a new team record with 19 outfield assists. Catcher Elias Diaz led the club offensively, hitting .328 with six home runs and 54 RBI through his 91 games, while right-hander Adrian Sampson aced the pitching staff, posting a 10-5 record with a 2.55 ERA in 24 starts. Both players represented the Curve in the All-Star Stop. The team also set a franchise-record for steals in a single season with 159, besting the 155-mark of the 2005 Curve.

In 2015, the Curve played their first season under the direction of manager Tom Prince, A former Major League catcher, Prince guided the Curve to their first playoff appearance since 2010 with a 74-68 record. Although the team was eliminated by Bowie in the Division Series, the Curve had one of their most successful seasons in recent years. Twelve players were promoted to Triple-A for the first time in their careers, with two of them reaching the Majors before the end of the year.The franchise also saw its highest attendance total in nine seasons. The season culminated with the Curve earning the Eastern League's nomination for the John H. Johnson President's Award, the top honor in Minor League Baseball.

2016 will be the 18th year in the Curve's history. With bright, young talent on the way through Altoona and the excitement oozing over from Pittsburgh with former Curve players impacting the Pirates' success, you have a combination that can make the 2016 season one of the most memorable yet.