Prince William Pirates

From BR Bullpen

The Prince William Pirates are most notable as the first professional stop for Barry Bonds. The Pirates were second in the 8-team Carolina League their first year, trailing only the Lynchburg Mets. Johnny Lipon guided the club, which was successful despite being outscored 604-584 and producing the fewest runs in the league. All-Star 2B Bip Roberts (.301/~.361/.420, 50 SB in 63 tries) led the league with 150 hits and was second in steals. The other All-Star was 3B Kim Christenson (.285/~.401/.415). OF Joe Charboneau (.289/~.382/.418) was already past his prime while DH-1B Nick Castaneda (.274/~.464/.508) led the club in OBP on the way to a fine minor league career. Dorn Taylor (11-5, 3.40) finished fifth in the league in ERA while Dave Johnson had a dazzling 1.32 ERA in 13 starts yet only went 7-5. 108,818 fans came out, third-most in the circuit.

The next year, the club slipped to 65-74 under Ed Ott, being outscored 533-529. They drew 127,356 fans, second to the Durham Bulls. Three All-Stars were on the team this time - C Burk Goldthorn (.254/~.385/.401) , 3B Dimas Gutierrez (.265/~.308/.362) and OF Barry Bonds (.299/~.388/.547) . Bonds was named the league's #3 prospect by Baseball America, behind Shawn Abner and Carl Hamilton. 1B Bobby Bonilla (.262/~.342/.377) and 2B Jose Lind (.276/~.333/.321) would join Bonds as regulars on the top Pirates teams of the early 1990s. Orlando Lind (11-7, 1.82) was second in the league in ERA while Jim Neidlinger (8-13, 4.30) tied for the most losses.

In their last year, the Prince William Pirates were 4th in attendance (117,000) and third in the four-team northern division in both halves under Rocky Bridges. They again were outscored by a small margin, 626-613. 1B Lance Belen (.293/~.355/.479, 18 HR, 88 RBI) was fourth in the league in homers and RBI and was their lone All-Star position player. SS Felix Fermin (.280/~.331/.316, 40 SB), 3B Jeff King (.235/~.331/.417) and C Tommy Prince (.253/~.337/.420) all went on to sizeable major league careers. All-Star pitchers were Jose Melendez (13-10, 2.61, second in the league in ERA) and Rob Russell (13-5, 2.90, 4th in ERA, the leader with three shutouts). Chris Ritter (14-9, 3.05) led the league in strikeouts (149, 3 more than Melendez) and was fifth in ERA. John Smiley (2-4, 14 Sv, 3.10, 93 K in 90 IP) was rated the #3 prospect in the league and Melendez #8.

The next season, they became the Prince William Yankees and the Pirates affiliated with Salem, becoming the Salem Buccaneers.

Sources: 1985 Baseball Guide, 1986-1987 Baseball America Statistics Reports

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Pitching Coach
1984 75-65 2nd Johnny Lipon Spin Williams
1985 65-74 6th Ed Ott Chris Lein
1986 67-72 6th Rocky Bridges