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The Prince William Cannons have teamed with the Southside Hitmen. As expected, the professional baseball team nearest D.C. announced on Dec. 2 that they are joining the Chicago White Sox farm system, ending a seven-year affiliation with the New York Yankee organization (see “Yankees Go Home?,” 11/ 26). The Yankees wanted to move their advanced-A level farm team to Tampa, but under the rules of the Professional Baseball Agreement governing relations between the major and minor leagues, the Yankees could not vacate Prince William with out finding a major- league team to take their place.
The White Sox will supply the Woodbridge, Va., team with players and other uniformed personnel, but the Cannons will retain their name, logo, front office personnel, ownership, and Carolina League membership. Dave Huppert, who caught two games for the 1983 Baltimore Orioles, will manage the 1994 Cannons. Huppert has never had a losing record in seven minor-league seasons, boasting a stellar career .604 winning percentage.
After finishing sixth overall in the eight- team league during 1993, Prince William personnel are hopeful that Huppert’s winning ways will continue. “We may get better teams,” says one team official. “The White Sox feel winning and player development go hand-in-hand. It’s no secret, with the Yankees, player development came first. They would say winning was a by-product of developing good players.” The 1994 Cannons will likely be largely drawn from the 1993 South Bend White Sox, winners of the Midwest League title.
Local fans with the right cable connections can look forward to seeing the Cannons that they cheered playing for the Sox on Chicago superstation WGN. No local system offered Yankee telecasts. The Chicago cable connection will also publicize any major-leaguer’s rehabilitation assignment appearances in Prince William far more effectively than the Cannons could.
The Cannons will also have new uniforms in the White Sox’s popular gangsta colors. The black, silver, and white merchandise is expected to boost sales of both Cannons and White Sox items at teams’ stand in nearby Potomac Mills mall.