ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Philadelphia Phillies have announced a four-year extension of their Player Development Contract, maintaining the two clubs' affiliation through at least the 2016 season. The announcement was made by IronPigs general manager Kurt Landes and Phillies asst. director, player development, Steve Noworyta on Wednesday at Coca-Cola Park.
The four-year extension is the maximum permitted under the agreement between Major League and Minor League Baseball.
"This has been an exciting run for us here in the Lehigh Valley. The Phillies and IronPigs have a great relationship and we think it's something that is going to be special for a long, long time," said Noworyta.
Added Landes: "We feel extremely fortunate to have such a strong affiliation with one of Major League Baseball's most successful franchises. There is no question that our relationship with the Phillies has played a significant role in our organization's overall success."
Ten members of the Phillies current 25-man roster, including LHP Antonio Bastardo, LHP Jake Diekman, RHP Kyle Kendrick, C Erik Kratz and OF John Mayberry, Jr., are among a collection of 50 players and one coach (Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross) that have made the leap from "The Pigs to the Bigs" since the IronPigs' inception in 2008. Already this season, the IronPigs have sent ten players to Philadelphia.
Coca-Cola Park has served as a useful backdrop for established Phillies players on their road to recovery via Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network Major League rehab stints. A total of 18 Phillies have made Major League rehab appearances for the IronPigs all-time, including superstars 1B Ryan Howard and 2B Chase Utley during the IronPigs most recent homestand at Coca-Cola Park. Other notable rehabbers since Day One include C Carlos Ruiz, OF Shane Victorino, RHP Pedro Martinez and RHP Roy Oswalt.
The list of former Major League standouts that came through the Phillies' Triple-A affiliates prior to the IronPigs is extensive and is comprised of Hall of Famers 3B Mike Schmidt (1972, Eugene) and current IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg (1981, Oklahoma City) as well as five-time Phillies' N.L. All-Star SS Larry Bowa and three-time Phillies' All-Stars 3B Richie Allen, C Bob Boone and C Darren Daulton among others.
While the IronPigs all-time record is 318-355 (.473), their 54-43 record this season is the best in the International League's Northern Division and the 3rd-best in the entire circuit.
Last season the IronPigs set a franchise record with 80 wins while advancing to the International League postseason for the first time in club history only to finish two wins shy of capturing the first league championship for a Phillies Triple-A affiliate since 1983. The Pigs held either sole possession of the North Division or the Wild Card lead for 109 days of the 2011 season before capturing a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season in a rain-shortened victory over Syracuse. The IronPigs swept division rival Pawtucket in the first round of the Governors' Cup Playoff before falling in four games to Columbus in the IL's best-of-five championship round.
Coca-Cola Park and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs have received numerous honors and distinctions since debuting, including Ballpark Digest's "Ballpark of the Year" award and "Best Game Operations and Presentation" award as chosen by gameops.com. Since 2008, the IronPigs have drawn 2,914,177 fans to Minor League Baseball's flagship ballpark and have led Minor League Baseball in overall attendance each of the last three seasons.
Single-game tickets, mini-plan packages and group tickets for all remaining IronPigs home games presented by Capital BlueCross, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Coca-Cola Park Ticket Office, online at www.ironpigsbaseball.com or by calling (610) 841-PIGS. Playoff packs go on sale to the general public on July 31 at 10 a.m.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are dedicated to providing family-friendly entertainment and are the only Minor League team to offer bubbles to fans entering the AT&T Plaza and balloons for all children exiting Coca-Cola Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.