The Billings Mustangs and Cincinnati Reds have agreed to extend their Player Development Contract for two more years through the 2018 season. Mustangs Managing Partner Dave Heller and Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe made the announcement in a joint press conference on Monday at Dehler Park.
In addition to the 2016 season being the 64th year that the Mustangs franchise has called Billings home, it also marks the 43rd consecutive season that the Mustangs have served as the Rookie affiliate of the Reds.
"The Mustangs are delighted to announce that we will be a part of the Cincinnati Reds' family for another two years, through 2018," said Mustangs' Managing Partner Dave Heller. "The Reds have been great to work with, have sent us not just first-rate players but future major league stars, and have consistently provided Billings with championship-level clubs. Ours is the longest affiliation between a minor and major league team at the short-season level and for good reason: the Reds give Billings championship-level players and Billings gives them a beautiful, well-run ballpark in a championship-level community. We're a perfect fit!"
Billings has clinched their third consecutive playoff berth by winning the North Division in the first half of the 2016 Pioneer League season. The Mustangs are the most decorated team in the history of the league, having won 15 titles while producing hundreds of future big leaguers. Former Mustangs currently in the Majors include Billy Hamilton, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Votto.
"The Reds are extremely excited to announce this PDC extension and couldn't be prouder of our affiliation with the Billings Mustangs," noted Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe. "The entire Billings community creates an atmosphere that is unrivaled in the Pioneer League and I don't believe there is a better place for our youngest players to be first introduced to Minor League Baseball and fans of the game. We look forward to sending our players and staff to Billings for many years to come and are excited to try to bring another championship to Billings this fall."
Along with the on-field success, the Reds and Mustangs have seen Dehler Park gain major notoriety as one of the best facilities in Minor League Baseball. Earlier this summer Ballpark Digest named Dehler Park the best ballpark in Rookie League baseball.
The partnership between the Mustangs and Reds, which began in 1974, is the longest running affiliation in the Pioneer League and one of the longest in all of professional baseball.