Established in 1987, the Indians, or "K-Tribe" as they were popularly known, played through the 2011 season. The franchise relocated to Zebulon, North Carolina for the 2012 campaign to become the Carolina League version of the Carolina Mudcats. An effort is currently underway to secure a new franchise for the city. A total of 17 managers led the club since the start of the Indians affiliation including two who have since managed the big league club. The Indians played in 3,458 regular season games and compiled a win–loss record of 1,925–1,533.
Kinston has served as a farm club for ten different major league franchises and one minor league club. Professional baseball dates back to a 1908 squad in the Eastern Carolina League. Despite having one of the smallest markets in professional baseball, Kinston has proved its viability for over a century.
The K-Tribe won the CL Championship in 1988, 1991, 1995, 2004, and 2006. Previous league titles won by Kinston are the Carolina League title in 1962 as an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Coastal Plain League title in 1947 as an affiliate of the Atlanta Crackers, and a championship in 1935 for an unaffiliated semi-pro team. Thousands of men have played for Kinston teams including Rick Ferrell, Jim Thome, Ron Guidry, and Manny Ramirez.
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