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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

Short Season Clubs

Continuing with a historical review of the current Phillies Minor League teams. May be of interest to some of you at least ... today I look at the Phillies history of short season affiliation with a primary focus on the present club - the Williamsport Cross Cutters.

The term “Short-Season” refers to leagues that are purposely structured to play a condensed number of games in their schedule. The leagues are primarily set up to begin later in the summer, usually June, generally in order to provision roster spots for newly signed players from the annual amateur draft or concurrent free agency.

While the GCL and DSL also play condensed schedules and are akin to “short season” structure the difference is that they are based at either spring training complexes or at Dominican Academies with limited travel and with the games generally held on the site’s fields. There’s usually only a few of us on hand to watch their morning or mid day games.

Short season leagues like the New York Penn League have teams based in various cities or towns with stadiums and fans who purchase tickets to attend ... the games are generally at night and the conditions are more aligned to what the players will experience when they are assigned to full season clubs and leagues ... things like longer bus rides for extended road trips and overnight stays, living at the home team site separately rather than as a group in team furnished hotels and a regimen of daily practice with evening games.

There’s a long history of Phillies short season affiliations, the classification “Short Season” term found it’s roots in 1963 ... prior to that multiple league classification names existed - that’s an article for another day 🤔... tomorrow in fact 🤓 Beginning with the 1966 season here’s a list of Phillies short season affiliations :

1966 to 1968 - Huron, SD ( Northwest League ) : Managers - Joe Lonnett ( ‘66 & ‘67), Dallas Green ( ‘68)

1967, 1988-2006 - Batavia, NY ( New York Penn League ) : Managers - Max Lanier (‘67), Don McCormack ( ‘88 to ‘89), Ramon Aviles ( ‘90 to ‘92), Dave Cash (‘90), Tony Scott (‘90), Al Leboeuf ( ‘93 to ‘95 ), Floyd Rayford ( ‘96), Greg Legg ( ‘97, ‘99) Frank Klebe ( ‘98, ‘00 to ‘01), Ronnie Ortegon ( ‘02), Luis Melendez ( ‘03 to ‘04 ), Manny Amador ( ‘05 ), Steve Roadcap ( ‘06)

1967 to 1968 - Eugene, OR ( Northwest League ) : Managers - Bobby Malkmus (‘67), Nolan Campbell ( ‘68)

1969-1971 - Walla Walla, WA ( Northwest League ) : Managers - Howie Bedell (‘69), Gary Powel ( ‘70/‘71)

1972 to 1977 - Auburn, NY ( New York Penn League ) : Managers - Nolan Campbell ( ‘72), Harry Lloyd ( ‘73), Larry Rojas (‘74), June Raines (‘75), Mike Compton (‘76) and Ruben Amaro Sr ( ‘77)

1979 to 1987 - Bend, OR ( Northwest League ) : Managers - Tom Harmon (‘79), PJ Carey (‘80 to’ 81, ‘85) Roly De Armas ( ‘82), Jay Ward (‘83), Ramon Aviles (‘84), Ed Pebley (‘86 ) and Mel Roberts (‘87)

1986 to 1987 - Utica, NY ( New York Penn League ) : Manager - Tony Taylor

Phillies Short Season League Champions :

1973 : Auburn Phillies - 46-23 record - members of that team that reached the major leagues - P Randy Lerch, P Dan Boitano, OF Rick Bosetti

1979 : Central Oregon Phillies - 43-28 record - members of that team that reached the major leagues - IF Julio Franco, 1B/OF Alejandro Sanchez

Williamsport ( New York Penn League ) :

The Phillies began their affiliation with the Williamsport franchise in 2007 as a member of the New York Penn League ( NYPL ) ... ( note - the Phillies had an Eastern League Affiliate in Williamsport from 1958 to 1962 - I’ll expand on that in tomorrow’s article ) ... and have played there as the Cross Cutters for 13 seasons ... Gregg Legg was the team’s first manager in ‘07 with Dusty Wathan at the helm in ‘08 followed by Chris Truby in ‘09/‘10, Mickey Morandini in ‘11, Andy Tracy in ‘12, Nelson Prada in ‘13 , Shawn Williams in ‘14 and Pat Borders from 2015 to 2019. This season Milver Reyes is slated to be the team’s manager.

Williamsport first had a franchise agreement with the Cubs from 1994 to 1998 playing at the Class A level as the Williamsport Cubs. In 1999 the team was re-named the Cross Cutters and the Pirates took over the affiliate agreement as a short season member of the NYPL thru 2006 ... the Phillies then took over, their affiliate agreement runs thru the 2020 season.

The 2015 Cross Cutters had the best record as a Phillies affiliate with a 46-30 mark, they won the Pinckney division but were eliminated in the playoffs by the West Virginia Black Bears who went on to win that season’s league title.

Phillies players who have reached the major leagues that played in Williamsport during their early development years include :

2007 Team : OF Domonic Brown, SS Freddy Galvis, OF Michael Taylor, Pitchers : Tyson Brummett, Jake Diekman, Sergio Escalona, Joe Savery and Brian Schlitter

2008 Team : C Travis d’Arnaud, OF Steve Susdorf, Pitchers : Tyler Cloyd, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Kyle Drabek, BJ Rosenberg, Michael Schwimer, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley

2009 Team : 1B Darin Ruf, IF Jonathan Villar, Pitchers : Jonathan Pettibone and Josh Zeid

2010 Team : OF Aaron Altherr, 2B Cesar Hernandez, C Cameron Rupp, OF Domingo Santana, Pitchers : Jesse Biddle, Lisalverto Bonilla, David Buchanan, Lendy Castillo, Percy Garner and Mario Hollands

2011 Team : OF Aaron Altherr, IF Cody Asche, 3B Maikel Franco, 1B Brock Stassi, Pitchers : Perci Garner, Adam Morgan, Colton Murray and Hector Neris

2012 Team : OF Cameron Perkins, OF Roman Quinn, 1B Brock Stassi, 3B Mitch Walding, Pitcher Hoby Milner

2013 Team : OF Dylan Cozens, 3B Zach Green, C Andrew Knapp, Pitchers : Drew Anderson and Yacksel Rios

2014 Team : C Deivy Grullon, 1B Rhys Hoskins, Pitchers : Ricardo Pinto, Edubray Ramos and Jessen Therrien

2015 Team : Pitcher Jacob Waguespack

2016 Team : Pitchers Seranthony Dominguez, Cole Irvin and Ranger Suarez

2017 Team : OF Adam Haseley

Till tomorrow ... Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Pictured is historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, PA

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