Florence Freedom

From BR Bullpen

Team-florence-logo.jpg

Team History[edit]

The Johnstown Johnnies moved to the Cincinnati, OH metropolitan area to become the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League in 2003. The team was slated to play in Florence, KY, on the other side of the Ohio River, but because no ballpark was available at the time, they played their first season in Hamilton, OH, on the campus of Miami University, with disastrous results, finishing with the worst record in the 12-team league. The team had tried to tap into connections with the Cincinnati Reds, hiring former Reds star Chris Sabo as manager, but he quit at the beginning of training camp, leaving the job to former Reds pitcher Tom Browning. Attendance was awful that first year, not surprising as the city of Florence is over an hour away from Hamilton, making it difficult from local fans to connect with the name.

Things improved markedly off the field in 2004, when the Freedom moved into the brand-new (and not completely-finished) Champion Windows Field in their home city and tripled their attendance numbers. On the field, things were still as bad, leading to Browning's firing by text message on July 7th. He was replaced by Pete Rose, Jr., the son of the local legend Pete Rose, but after one game Rose quit to resume his playing career in the rival Northern League. Mike Easler inherited the reins of the team for the remainder of the season. While this was going on, the front office being roiled by the financial and legal troubles of owner Chuck Hildebrandt. The League was forced to take over operation of the team partway through the season and sold it to local businessman Clint Brown at the end of the year.

2005 saw a great improvement on the field, the Freedom having their first winning season under new manager Jamie Keefe, lured away from the Chillicothe Paints. While the team's play has been mediocre in the following years, the next winning season only coming in 2012, it has at least found some stability within its home community. After the 2008 season, Toby Rumfield was named the team's new manager.

After the 2019 season, the team rebranded itself as the Florence Y'alls [1].

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
2003 27-61 12th Tom Browning
2004 31-65 11th Tom Browning (13-33) / Pete Rose Jr. (1-0) /
Mike Easler (17-32)
2005 53-42 2nd (t) Jamie Keefe
2006 38-56 10th Jamie Keefe
2007 42-54 9th Jamie Keefe
2008 47-49 8th (t) Jamie Keefe
2009 49-47 6th Toby Rumfield
2010 38-58 10th Toby Rumfield
2011 39-57 10th (t) Fran Riordan
2012 57-39 2nd (t) Fran Riordan Lost League Finals
2013 53-43 4th (t) Fran Riordan Lost in 1st Round
2014 41-55 9th Fran Riordan
2015 49-47 5th (t) Dennis Pelfrey
2016 46-49 6th Dennis Pelfrey
2017 61-35 2nd Dennis Pelfrey Lost League Finals
2018 49-47 3rd Dennis Pelfrey
2019 57-39 1st (t) Dennis Pelfrey Lost League Finals

Related Sites[edit]