Riding a groundswell of support since the opening of Regions Field and the team's Southern League Championship in 2013, the Barons and Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a four-year extension of their Player Development Contract, which will run through the 2018 season. The new agreement ensures the Barons will continue to operate as the Double-A affiliate of the White Sox for 32-consecutive seasons.
The 2014 season will mark the team's 28th year as the Double-A Affiliate of the White Sox, the longest tenured partnership in the Southern League and one of the longest in all of Minor League Baseball. Over the first 27 years of the affiliation, the Barons have won five Southern League Championships (1987, 1989, 1993, 2002, 2013) and made the playoffs 15 times, including a franchise record and Southern League record tying six-straight appearances from 2000-05. In addition, the White Sox captured the 2005 World Series Championship with a roster featuring eight former Barons.
"We're very excited to extend our long-standing partnership with the Birmingham Barons," said Rick Hahn, White Sox Senior Vice President/General Manager. "Over the past 27 seasons, the White Sox have enjoyed a tremendous working relationship with the City of Birmingham and the Barons organization. Regions Field is one of the premier facilities in all of Minor League Baseball and provides the perfect training environment for our players. Winning the Southern League Championship last season was an exciting moment for our organization, our players with the Barons and our player development staff, and we look forward to even more success in the coming years."
Currently, there are 18 players on the White Sox 40-man roster that have spent time with the Barons including 2013 Barons Erik Johnson, Daniel Webb, Trayce Thompson, Jared Mitchell and 2013 Southern League MVP Marcus Semien. Since 1986, 43 players have made the jump directly from Birmingham to Chicago's South Side including names like Frank Thomas, Mike Cameron, Mark Buehrle, Bobby Jenks and most recently Jose Quintana.
"The Barons are thrilled to continue our longstanding relationship with the Chicago White Sox," said Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson. "This agreement will carry us through 32 seasons as an affiliate of the White Sox, which speaks to the incredible relationship between the two clubs. We look forward to a prosperous partnership for many years to come," Nelson added.