Throwback Tuesday: Remembering the 1992 Prince William Cannons in Honor of “The Shot”
Hey P-Nats fans! Andrew Grella with you on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Woodbridge. Today marks a memorable anniversary in college basketball history. 25 years ago today, love it or hate it, Christian Laettner sunk an epic buzzer beater against Kentucky that sent Duke to the final four with a 104–103 overtime win. With only 2.1 seconds remaining and the ball on the opposite endline, a Duke win seemed improbable. But the Grant Hill to Laettner connection will forever be remembered as possibly the greatest shot in NCAA tournament history. With the Final Four happening this weekend and since it is our 40th anniversary this year, I thought it would be cool to look back at the 1992 Prince William Cannons in honor of one of the craziest shots in college basketball history.
To tie “the Shot” to the P-Nats a little bit, Grant Hill, who in-bounded the ball to Laettner, grew up in Virginia. Hill attended South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia, which is only about 30 miles north of Woodbridge. Who knows, perhaps Grant caught a few games at the Pfitz while growing up in the Old Dominion.
“The Shot” happened on March 28, 1992, just a few weeks before opening day of the 1992 season for the Prince William Cannons. The Potomac Nationals were referred to as the Prince William Cannons back then and were affiliated with the New York Yankees. The team was just three years out from their second ever League Title in 1989 as the Prince William Yankees.
The Yankees prospect list in 1992 looked like this (Courtesy of Baseball America):
- Brien Taylor, lhp
- Carl Everett, of
- Russ Springer, rhp
- Mark Hutton, rhp
- Ed Martel, rhp
- Robert Eenhoorn, ss
- Dave Silvestri, ss
- Gerald Williams, of
- Roberto Munoz, rhp
- Sam Militello, rhp
Carl Everett was the best prospect to reach Prince William that season. He only played six games for the Cannons after spending most of the season in the Florida State League with Fort Lauderdale. Despite the short stint, Everett hit a mean .318 with four home runs and nine RBIs. After the 1992 season, Everett was selected in the 1992 Expansion draft by the Florida Marlins and would go on to make his major league debut the following season for the Fish. Everett went on to play 14 seasons in the big leagues with the Marlins, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners. He won a World Series with the White Sox in 2005.
Everett was one of 11 future major leaguers to play for the Cannons in 1992. Other players to reach the majors were C Mike Figga, 2B Kevin Jordan, 3B Andy Fox and OFs Lyle Mouton, Jalal Leach and Bubba Carpenter. Pitchers Rafael Quirico, Ramon Manon, Matt Dunbar and Kenny Greer also played at the Major League level in the Cannons class of ‘92.
Kevin Jordan had the best offensive season for the Cannons. He hit .311 in 112 games for Prince William. He drilled eight home runs and drove in 63 runs. He led the team in batting average and doubles and was second in runs batted in. Jordan played parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bruce Prybylinski tallied the best numbers for any starting pitcher that year. Prybylinski posted a 12–10 record for the Cannons with an ERA of 3.00 in ’92. He allowed 55 earned runs in 26 starts totaling 164.2 innings pitched that season. The right hander struck out 105 batters and only walked 27 in one of his best career seasons.
Rick Polak put up some seriously impressive numbers out of the bullpen for Prince William. Polak appeared in 52 games in 1992. That amounts for a total of 75 percent of all games the Cannons played that year. He was lights out, allowing only 11 earned runs in 67.2 innings pitched. He struck out 62 and only walked 29 securing 22 saves for the team. Rich’s son, Joey Polak, also plays baseball and is currently playing in his freshman season for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Cannons finished 31–38 in 1992. That placed them in fourth in the Northern Division of the Carolina League at the end of the season. The Peninsula Pilots, now known as the Wilmington Blue Rocks, won the League Title in 1992. That year marked the final year of the Pilots, the Seattle Mariners affiliate, before their move to Wilmington, DE.
Although the Cannons did not have a very memorable season win wise in 1992, they had a ton of talent come to Woodbridge. An off year for the Yankees organization, the major league club finished at 80–82 under Buck Showalter. Two of the core four members, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte would join Prince William the following season.
However, 1992 was an important year in current P-Nats history. The New York Mets selected our manager Tripp Keister in the 33rd round of the 1992 draft out of the University of Delaware. He would make his professional debut with the Pittsfield Mets of the New York Penn League that season. Keister played in the Mets organization until 1995.
I hope you enjoyed today’s throwback to the 1992 season in honor of “the Shot.” Stay tuned for more throwback posts like this as the season moves on. The Potomac Nationals are celebrating their 40th season at historic Pfitzner Stadium. Make sure to join us in 2017 and be a part of all the action! Tickets can be purchased at our box office, online at potomacnationals.com, or by calling 703–590–2311.
See ya next time on P-Nats and Cracker Jacks! Go P-Nats!