For 46 years, Double-A Reading has carried the name of its parent club, the Philadelphia Phillies. Beginning in 2013, however, the Eastern League franchise will be fitted with its own identity.
Reading announced Sunday that te team will be changing its nickname, logo and uniforms for the upcoming season, with a ceremony to unveil the new look taking place on Nov. 17 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Established in 1967, the club has won four Eastern League titles, most recently in 2001, when the Phillies were co-champions with New Britain. Reading's affiliation with Philadelphia is currently Minor League Baseball's longest-standing relationship.
"We've come to realize we want our fans to be able to have their own brand," Reading general manager Scott Hunsicker told The Reading Eagle. "We want to be able to celebrate our association with the Philadelphia Phillies, yet at the same time give our fans their own name so that they can wave their flag even more proudly as fans of the Reading franchise."
The team turned to San Diego-based marketing firm Brandiose to orchestrate the rebranding. The company has worked with the Harrisburg Senators, Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Richmond Flying Squirrels in creating their own identities.
Before the ceremony on Nov. 17, the Phillies will march to the stadium as part of the annual Reading Holiday Parade. The official name change will be announced in the afternoon at an event that will include a performance by Grammy Award-winning guitarist David Cullen.
Fans who want to attend must register by signing up for the team's Baseballtown Insider newsletter.
"Since 1967, the Reading Phillies have been the proud affiliates of the Philadelphia Phillies," Hunsicker said in a statement. "Our relationship is the longest affiliation in the Minor Leagues and there has never been a better time to be a Phillies affiliate. Considering the heritage and fun nature of Baseballtown, our entire front office is extremely anxious to unveil and share our new name with everyone on Nov. 17."
The R-Phils went 76-66 this season, finishing second in the Eastern Division and earning a Wild Card playoff berth. They fell to Trenton, 3-1, in the best-of-5 semifinals.
Reading drew 9,477 for the Baseballtown All-Star Classic, setting an Eastern League record. The Phillies went on to lead the circuit in attendance, topping the 400,000 mark for a record-breaking 15th season.