BRADENTON, Fla. - The Pittsburgh Pirates and Altoona Curve extended their Player Development Contract for four years, running through the 2022 season, the two sides announced at LECOM Park on Saturday.
Heading into the 20th year of their partnership this season, Altoona is already the longest-running minor league affiliate in the 137-year history of the Pirates. This latest PDC extension will extend that relationship through a 24th season in 2022.
"We are extremely excited to extend our long-term partnership with the Altoona Curve for at least another four seasons," Pirates President Frank Coonelly said. "We have developed a close working relationship with the Lozinak family and the Curve management team, building what we believe to be a model partnership between a minor league affiliate and its parent major league club. In addition to its geographic proximity to Pittsburgh and the wonderful home ballpark at Peoples Natural Gas Field, Altoona is special to the Pirates because the entire Altoona community and the great Curve fans have always embraced our players, coaches and staff, making both playing and living in Altoona a truly special experience for them."
Fielding Pirates minor leaguers from the first day of the franchise in 1999, the Curve have picked up three regular-season division titles, qualified for the postseason eight times and won Eastern League championships in 2010 and 2017. The Curve are the only team in the Eastern League to qualify for the playoffs each of the last three years.
The Curve officially began their Pittsburgh affiliation with an announcement of the franchise's first PDC on September 15, 1998.
"It has always been an enjoyable task to negotiate the PDC with the Pirates," Curve owner Bob Lozinak said. "Both parties respect each other and always look to strengthen the partnership."
The relationship is one of the longest active partnerships in the minors. Of the 120 full-season minor league clubs, only 23 currently hold a longer continuous major league affiliate.
"On a day-to-day basis, it is truly an honor to work so closely with everyone from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization," Curve general manager Derek Martin said. "I am excited for all of us that this storybook relationship will continue through 2022."
With Peoples Natural Gas Field sitting less than 100 miles from PNC Park, Pirates fans in the Altoona area have found a natural fit pulling for their hometown Curve. Of the 144 Curve alumni who have gone on to play in the majors over the last 19 seasons, 103 have made their big-league debuts with the Pirates, including current stars Josh Bell, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon.
The announcement of the PDC extension was announced during the ring ceremony for the 2017 Eastern League championship-winning Curve players and coaches at LECOM Park prior to the Pirates' spring training game against the Minnesota Twins.
The 20th Season of Altoona Curve Baseball, presented by Stuckey Subaru, begins on April 5 at Peoples Natural Gas Field as the defending-champion Curve host the Akron RubberDucks. Individual game tickets are available online at AltoonaCurve.com, by phone at 877.99.CURVE or in person at the PNG Field box office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.