30 Seasons on City Island: The 1993 Senators
This content was originally found in Issue No. 7 of this year’s Senators Program
Across all sports, there are teams that fans will always look back at as “once in a lifetime” type teams. The 1985 Chicago Bears, for instance, in the way they dismantled nearly everyone with a suffocating defense on their way to a Super Bowl victory. If things go as expected in the NBA playoffs, we very well may talk one day about the Golden State Warriors with that same reverence and awe. But here in Harrisburg, there is only one team that fits that bill and it will always be the 1993 Senators squad.
Regularly celebrated as one of the best minor league baseball teams in history, the 1993 edition of the Senators will be remembered for their prodigious offense, top-notch pitching, and steady leadership under the hand of manager Jim Tracy that ultimately led to 100 wins and an Eastern League championship.
Led by the starting outfield of Cliff Floyd, Rondell White, and Glenn Murray, the Senators could beat you repeatedly with their bats and their legs. Floyd won two legs of the Eastern League’s Triple Crown by hitting the most home runs (26) and collecting the most RBI (101) while finishing second in batting average. Murray tied Floyd for the league lead with 26 home runs and White posted a .328 batting average. The three also joined teammates Mike Hardge, Curtis Pride, Chris Martin, and Shane Andrews in each reaching double-digit stolen bases on the season as the Senators led the league with 187.
But this Senators’ squad wasn’t just adept with the bat, they were also the league’s best pitching staff as well. Harrisburg was led by Joey Eischen and Miguel Batista who racked up 14 and 13 wins respectively. The rotation also featured Gabe White and his 2.16 ERA, Kirk Reuter for eight brilliant starts, Ugueth Urbina before he was converted to a closer, and the workhorse of the staff, Reid Cornelius. Not to be out undone, the bullpen was solid with stalwart Heath Haynes and part-timers Joe Ausanio and Mario Brito shining in reliever roles.
The roster to begin the season was stacked with many of Montreal’s top prospects in the system and the team played like it, racing out to 35-9 start to begin the season. “There was so much talent on that team that fans flocked to see the Senators here and on the road,” Senators’ broadcaster Mark Mattern said. “Now that’s saying something in the minor leagues.”
But with success in the minor leagues, promotions to the next level are usually just around the corner for the top talent. The Senators were not immune to this as Rondell White, Reuter, Floyd, Gabe White, and Oreste Marrero among others were promoted mid-season. “When we lost the first group in June and July, the new guys came and said we’re here to win,” manager Tracy told Hutter. “This was the thing that was so special about this team.”
Those new guys finished the season with a flourish winning 25 of their last 36 games to post an astonishing 94-44 record, 19 games ahead of their nearest competitor. Harrisburg took care of business in the first round of the playoffs as they took three out of four games against the Albany-Colonie Yankees before advancing to face off against Canton-Akron. In the finals, the Senators rallied on the road from an 0-2 hole to beat the Indians in the best-of-5 championship series for the title and bragging rights as a truly dominant team from start to finish.
Years later, Tracy reflected on the accomplishment to Andy Linker: “It was a baseball team that made a unique name for itself. The thing that was special about that group of guys is that they were unselfish. It made them all better, individually and collectively.”
- Ranked as the 73rd best Minor League team of the century by MiLB in 2001
- Cliff Floyd was chosen the Topps/National Association Minor League Player of the Year and Eastern League MVP
- Jim Tracy honored as the Minor League Manager of the Year
- Joey Eischen named the Eastern League’s top pitcher
- Tops in the Eastern League in batting average (.278), runs scored (802), and stolen bases (187)
- Led the Eastern League with the best earned run average (3.48) and strikeouts (1,056)
- Senators’ GM Todd Vander Woude was Minor League Executive of the Year
- The front office staff was awarded the prestigious Bob Freitas Award for Class AA, symbolic of long-term success and stability in baseball operations
- Twenty-two of the team’s 42 players reached the Major Leagues including 10 of 11 starting pitchers used that season
- Eight of those 22 players played for more than a decade in MLB
- One of only three teams in the Eastern League since 1950 that played better than .680 ball