SALEM, Va -- The Salem Avalanche announced today the signing of a two-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox. The team will take the field in April 2009 as the Red Sox's Class-A Advanced affiliate when the club opens its 42nd season of play in the Carolina League.
"This is a historic day for baseball fans in Salem, Roanoke and across Southwest Virginia," said Salem General Manager, John Katz. "We look forward to bringing Red Sox baseball back to the Roanoke Valley, and continuing the proud tradition of professional baseball in Salem."
Players from the Boston Red Sox farm system have played an instrumental role in helping the club win two of the past four World Series titles. Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury are among the many home-grown players who have made significant contributions to the Red Sox Major League roster.
"Salem is an ideal fit for the Boston Red Sox," said Red Sox Director of Player Development, Mike Hazen. "The playing surface is one of the best in the Minor Leagues, and the area's commitment to baseball has created a great environment for developing top-notch players, both on and off the field. We are committed to bringing championship-caliber baseball, and a team which the fans can take great pride in, to the Roanoke Valley."
"The Red Sox have a rich history in Southwest Virginia," said Katz. "The Roanoke Red Sox played in the Piedmont League from 1943-1953, and we look forward to bringing the next era of Red Sox baseball to Salem -- the City of Champions."
Salem ends a six-year affiliation with the Houston Astros that included two post-season appearances in 2006 and 2007. The Astros clubs were a combined 416-418 (.499) over their six years in Salem.
After two years on the west coast, the Red Sox top Class-A affiliate moves from Lancaster, CA, where it took a 76-64 regular-season record into the postseason, falling in the California League Championship Series to the Stockton Ports.
The Red Sox have fielded a team in the Carolina League for a total of 43 years since the league was founded in 1945:
- Wilmington Blue Rocks 2005-06
- Lynchburg Red Sox 1988-94
- Winston-Salem Red Sox 1961-84*
- Raleigh Capitals 1958-60
- Greensboro Patriots 1953-57
- Durham Bulls 1945-46
*Known as the Winston-Salem Red Sox every year except 1984 when the team was called the Winston-Salem Spirits.
About the Salem Avalanche
The Salem Avalanche, a subsidiary of Fenway Sports Group (FSG), is a professional minor league baseball team and a member of the Carolina League. Salem plays its home games at Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium. The 6,300-seat ballpark opened in August 1995, and has hosted more than 2.5 million fans since the stadium's inaugural game. With 12 skyboxes, a stadium club and multiple picnic areas, Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field is one of the premier facilities in the Carolina League. For more information visit www.salemavalanche.com or call 540.389.3333.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.